Thornleys Natural Foods is a family-run company specialising in gluten-free recipe mixes. Their dry mixes come in little sachets, which you add to fresh ingredients to make a meal for four. The range of products includes two sauces and three recipe mixes.
It’s interesting being sent something to review when you aren’t really the target audience. If I wanted to make a chilli con carne, for example, I’d just throw spices at some meat, chuck in some tomatoes and beans and let it simmer. But coeliac disease does not just affect those who like to dance around the kitchen, stirring a big pot because it makes you feel vaguely like a witch with a cauldron (er, just me then?). Coeliac disease can affect anyone, including people with no time, loads of kids, and those who can’t cook or simply can’t stand to cook.
For these people I think these little mixes are ideal. The vast majority of Free From products around seem to be sweet: just go into any supermarket and gaze at the gluten-free biscuits and cakes in their Free From aisle. But savoury products seem to be few and far between. And if you have a family where some but not all eat gluten-free, I can imagine it is very difficult to think up dinner ideas which please everyone. It’s difficult for me even with a gluten-free household.
The prices range from £1.95 – £2.30 (the sachets are different weights). This is a little on the high side, but when you think that it feeds 4, I don’t think it is excessively high for a Free From product.
So how do they taste?
On the whole, I was very impressed. The flavours were mild and pleasant – you could easily serve the chilli con carne to a child without worrying that it would blow their head off with the spice. The sauces did not clump together, and cooked up very nice & smoothly. Although they all contain milk (except for the chilli mix), instead of adding extra milk I substituted almond milk, which worked just as well. I can generally tolerate whole dairy, but milk and cheese powder really set off the lactose intolerance, so I’m glad I played it safe.
My absolute favourite was the tuna pasta bake. I can never be faffed making up a bechemel sauce (or white sauce, whatever is supposed to be used), and so I usually use tomatoes instead. But I think I would definitely keep a few sachets of this in my cupboard!
Overall, I thought the Thornleys products are a great addition to the gluten-free market. A nice little timesaver, I can imagine these mixes would also be popular with children.
To see my Thornleys review on the Can I Eat It? blog, click here.
To check out the Thornleys range of products, click here.