Packing for a holiday. Never an easy task. When you have an allergic/intolerant member of the family that task becomes even more tricky as you have to set aside room in the cases for ‘safe foods’. Although dairy free and gluten free foods are widely available, even in Spain, as I discovered recently, you still want to have a few favourites ready to eat as soon you as you land. It is easy enough to manage the little packed lunch, but what about meals?
Whilst visiting the Allergy Show I happened upon a new brand that looked like a very good solution to this little problem. http://www.ilumiworld.com/ Ilumi make ambient ready meals that are free from gluten, milk and nut free. The food comes in handy little packs and the meals range includes: thai red chicken curry, chicken casserole, beef chilli, beef meatballs in tomato sauce and spanish style rice, as well as a variety of sauces, gravies and soups. The prices range for £1.50 for a sauce to £3.50 for a meal. The food is available to buy direct from their website http://www.ilumiworld.com/products Delivery is free and super fast. The website is very informative and includes sections on: their story, their cooking methods, diet/lifestyle and they also have a ‘magazine’ section, which I thought was very interesting.
I was fortunate enough to be sent some free samples just before we went away, so I gave them a go to see if they lived up to their reputation. I had already started to hear about them through various other blogs and was considering buying some myself anyway. The samples they sent me included the Slow Cooked Chicken Casserole, the Keralan Chicken Curry, Chilli con Carne and Sweet Chilli Stir Fry Sauce. All sounded delicious.
Tom was out one evening, not returning for dinner, so I decided that would be the time to try and the Chicken Casserole. It was in an individual little tray. Microwaved in a couple of minutes and it was ready to eat. There was a generous amount of chicken and it tasted ‘real’ unlike the meat in many ready meals. the consistency of the sauce was very good and definitely what I would call ‘casserole’ in texture and flavour too. The vegetables were good too, enough of them and cooked just right. I wondered if I might need anything to accompany it, but the pack said it was a whole meal and I noticed that there was also some potatoes in the sauce, so I figured that’s why it was considered a complete meal. In my opinion there was enough food(for one) and I would recommend it.
The Chilli con Carne was also enough for one person, but they advised you add rice to this one, which is what I did, but another time I might add a jacket potato, as I think they go so well together. Ilumi do also have rice ‘pouches’ and at £1 each they are considerably cheaper than many of the other microwaveable rice packs. The chilli was delicious, not too hot, not too mild, the meat texture was good, the sauce was perhaps a little runny, but it was still far better than many other ready meals that I have tried. The chicken curry and the stir fry sauce were also excellent and are extremely useful staples to keep in the cupboards. That is the beauty of them, because they are ambient, they do not have to be refrigerated and that is why I think they really come into their own for the travelling allergic families. Pop a couple in the suitcase and you know you have at least a few meals sorted to get you through the first few days. Genius.
So thank you Ilumi, for creating this range in the first place, and being kind enough to send me some samples to try. I will certainly be ordering more, not just for when we travel, but just to have to hand for days when I have got held up at work and haven’t had enough time to get the dinner sorted before I collect the children – and that translates as probably once a week!!!!!