Yesterday morning I dragged myself out of bed onto a (delayed) Southern train and then a (diverted) TfL bus and then down too much of Oxford Street/Soho, looking like a cadaver (no make up etc) in black skinny jeans and cosy cotton open cardigan with a big neck by UNIQLO to an event organised by Flora to showcase their three new flavours in the Flora Freedom line. The reason it was such a hardship was hardly anything to do with arriving home at 1am from an event I helped out at (so I only had a couple of glasses of wine throughout the evening), and everything with the fact my tummy decided to play up at the most inconvenient possible time (everyone with IBS or an IBD will know what I mean from first hand experience). To make up for the hardship, I received the cutest basket with some goodies and most importantly some examples of recipes using the new spreads, from the Great British Bake Off contestant Benjamina Ebuchi.
I’m really keen on these spreads because they are dairy-free but don’t taste horrible like I remember plain margarine tastes like (sorry Flora, nothing personal), and you might have guessed from the preamble that I have issues with my digestive system which makes being a foodie slightly more complex.
The three flavours are Avocado oil and Lime, Coconut and Almond and Walnut. Being the walking stereotype of a millennial that I am, the avocado one is my favourite, followed by the Walnut one and then the coconut one (if you’ve read my post on Piña Colada Day you know already about my complex relationship with coconut).
Benjamina used the Avocado and Lime spread (the savoury one) to make galettes (savoury crêpes if you’ve never been to France) with avocado and chorizo (two of my favourite things! – I did say I am a walking millennial stereotype-). The Walnut spread is a bit of a jolly that can be used for savoury and sweet: she made raisins and walnut cinnamon buns, which were delicious and not overpoweringly sweet, which is just how I like sweets these days, but I think it’s going to become my go-to for cooking dark greens for warm salads. Although the avocado one works well for that too.
The coconut and almond one is obviously geared towards sweets, and it was the star of the coconut and raspberry baked doughnut with a prosecco glaze (as seen on Instagram), which was very sweet so I could only have one, but was absolutely amazing.
The texture of both the buns and the doughnut was light and fluffy and not at all something you could have known was done with a vegetable oil-based spread instead of the most traditional butter just from trying it. The spread is very versatile and easy to play with, even for the worst baker ever (which is me), so I’m looking forward to digging into the realm of endless possibilities with them. Benjamina suggests using the Avocado and Lime as a creamy base for mix-ins in your sandwiches, or cooking scrambled eggs with it (which will be my first port of call, of course). The coconut and almond is suitable to all sweet baking needs, although you can also swap it for the walnut one (which is also great for icing cakes). However, she suggests the Walnut spread is the go-to for adding a wonderful nutty flavour to savoury pastries to use as base of a quiche etc and I’m so behind that.
The Flora Freedom range is dairy-free, certified by the Vegan Society (100% of the oils used are coming from plants), and created as a response to a growing demand for products to be consumed in a vegan or lactose-free diet (and may I add this, with convenience too). It has 45-60% less saturated fat than butter which, while the medical literature debates the role of these kinds of fats in the risk of diseases, is erring on the side of caution, which is always a wise thing to do. I’m looking forward to having some fun instagramming my experiments with this range in the coming weeks, and spicing up my diet a little (I really need to go back to cooking my own food and having actual meals 3 times a day, my health and fitness at the moment is shameful). You are now my accountability partner, let’s do this.