Launched in April, the Old Granada Studios premises were taken over by The Urban Market for the duration of the month, showcasing Manchester’s offerings in art, design and crafts, fashion and vintage, plus local produce and street food. Championing the concept of “bringing the community together”, this was a fantastic opportunity to promote the city’s dynamic and varying creative offerings.
Sadly, I missed out on the events, including the food-focused one, ‘BIte’, but I was delighted when a friend tweeted saying gluten & wheat-free suppliers of baking mixes and pies, Foodamentalists, were keen for me to try their products. This was a lovely surprise and I felt honoured to have been known and requested to sample their food as a wheat-intolerant blogger!
Losing the gluten but keeping the flavour
Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the brand but looking at their website I could tell that the personal element, signature style and commitment to sourcing local produce and the freshest ingredients were a huge part of what Foodamentalists are about. I like that the company, which formed in 2009, is based on three fundamental principles: gluten-free, local and homemade; all elements which I value when buying from independent brands and retailers.
The business didn’t actually start out producing gluten-free products but due to a high demand, they decided to take up the challenge and since 2010, have done successfully ever since, winning awards along the way. From savoury snacks to treats, Foodamentalists make all products by hand and use no artificial additives, preservatives or colourings, plus many are dairy-free as well as being gluten and wheat-free.
From pies to brownies: The taste test
The other week I got a special delivery from Steve, the main man behind the brand – his passion was apparent and certainly infectious. Having been wheat intolerant for nearly 10 years now, I was excited to try out the Foodamentalists range along with James, who is trying to cut out wheat from his diet but loves his wheat-based foods. So, here’s the verdict – from a wheat-free and ‘normal’ eater!
I’ve not eaten a pie in a LONG time, mainly because I daren’t risk being disappointed with a too hard/crumbly gluten-free pastry alternative; James, on the other hand, grew up in Wigan so it’s in his blood to love them. I was given a Steak & Ale, Chicken & Bacon and a Beef & Mushroom pie, all of which we were both really impressed with. The pastry was just how it should be: rich and buttery, while being flaky and soft but still retaining its texture and structure and came out the oven beautifully golden.
I loved the chicken filling, pieces of chunky meat in a delicious light gravy, while the other two pies had a richer, ‘meatier’ flavour thanks to the beer/red wine gravy – just what you’d expect from a standard meat pie.
PERFECT TORTILLA MIX
James and I both LOVE Mexican food, especially his infamous chilli and meals at Barburrito or Chiquitos, so it is perhaps a surprise that I had never eaten fajitas – finding wheat/gluten-free alternatives can be a challenge so I’ve never really bothered. However, this was until the addition of ‘a mix that makes soft flour tortillas, this mix is very easy to use and makes a great alternative to gluten-free bread.’
We made a spicy chicken dish with peppers, onions and mushrooms, cooked some basmati rice and had Doritos, sliced tomatoes, grated cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream on the side – just how it should be! Now for the main part – the fajitas. Adding egg and milk to the batter in large bowl, I let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before we needed it. The process was simple; heat a frying pan with a little oil and once hot, pour a layer of batter until it covered the base, cook for a couple of minutes until the side started to curl up, then flip over and cook for another minute. I left James in charge of the tossing part – he didn’t drop one once, like a pro!
With six cooked in total, we sat down for our Mexican feast. I’d made a couple fajitas a bit too thick by accident, so sadly they were a little stodgy, but the others allowed for a great base to add all our fillings and eat them the proper way. The combination of flavours and texture of the fajitas was great, although they were more like a thicker pancake. For me though it was nice to enjoy the proper Mexican experience I’d missed out on!
CHOCOLATE BROWNIE MIX
Only needing 2 eggs, melted margarine (I used coconut oil instead) and vanilla extract, this gluten and wheat-free brownie mix, claiming to be a ‘natural alternative to wheat-based brownies with a delicious chocolate flavour’, was so easy to make. Once all mixed together, it smelt amazing and looked like a standard smooth, glossy brownie mixture. I decided last minute to use a muffin tray rather than a baking tray; the mixture filled 6 cups perfectly and in the oven they went for about 15 minutes.
The result? Impressive spongy soft muffins with a sweet chocolate taste, the perfect moist texture without being too gooey or hard and crumbly; I’d died and gone to naughty chocolate heaven! It’s fair to say, between James and I, these little treats didn’t last long!
Foodamentalists: The verdict
Foodamentalists’ mission statement is ‘to ensure that we can lose all of the gluten, but none of the taste, texture and quality of proper home-baked goodies…We don’t compare them to any “substitute for the real thing”, so all our products have to stand on their own as great tasting and quality products.’
I must say, from trying out a range of products, this statement is justified. I felt that while I was enjoying these traditionally wheat-based foods, they weren’t pretending to be their gluten-packed counterparts and they stood out as tasty products in their own right. As a treat, if you have a craving for a pie or homemade brownies, I would recommend Foodamentalists as a friendly brand with a passion for filling that gap.