My Sunday mini brunch: Free-range egg fried in organic coconut oil, topped with brie on a BFree Multiseed Bagel and served with sliced mango.
I eat meat and eggs, and as far as I know, I don't have any major problems with gluten or wheat. So I don't have to eat vegan or avoid those other things. However, when BFree offered me the chance to try some products from their new vegan range - they recently removed eggs from their wheat and gluten-free recipes to be completely vegan-friendly - I was happy to give it a go. I love bread, the big bad white kind - who doesn't? My most favourite thing to eat is a French baguette and a ball of buffala mozzarella. But it comes at a price. It has to be a very occasional treat because my stomach feels like a rock after eating the bread. It's not painful, but I feel heavy and gross, and I swear if I stand sideways you can actually see that darn bread hanging around in my abdomen. I probably do have some kind of intolerance; if I stay away from wheat, I lose weight and feel a lot lighter which is noticeable in the tum. So I was very interested in whether I could get my bread fix from BFree's vegan alternatives and avoid my shame eating sessions. (I have found that you can't actually trick your digestive system by non-committally eating the bad stuff standing at the kitchen counter. And wearing gym clothes doesn't help, either.)
I received a pack each of BFree's multiseed bagels, plain bagels, and multigrain wraps - all free of wheat, gluten, egg, dairy, soy, and nuts. First, I tried the wraps. I had made a scroungey dinner where I scavenge the cupboards and freezer for stuff I can throw together to make something tasty and wound up with a kind of Moroccan mince that needed something to go with it. I remembered the wraps, warmed them up for a few seconds in a pan and filled them with the spicy concoction - my dinner now made sense and seemed completely intentional! I did notice a difference between the taste and texture of these and regular wheat wraps, but I still enjoyed them in their own right, and because I had used turkey mince instead of beef or lamb and the wraps were wheat-free, it made for a hearty meal that didn't sit - you guessed it - heavy.
Next, I tried one of the plain bagels. It looked like a regular one, so that was a good start. I toasted it because that's how I would normally eat a bagel, and put butter on it (remember, I can eat dairy.) It had the chew of a regular bagel, but it was less dense, which makes sense. The texture was nice, too. It also passed the kid test - my daughter had the other half and liked this version of what she calls "sweetless doughnuts." Later, I tried the multiseed which are topped with quinoa seeds, toasted golden linseeds and poppy seeds which are very nutritious and look really yummy - and most stayed on even after the toaster launched the bagel onto the counter! As you can see above, I used the multiseed bagel to make a fancy fried-egg sandwich with brie and it was totally delicious. I realise it's kind of odd to eat a vegan bagel with egg and cheese, but I think it goes to show that anyone can enjoy them whether or not you are vegan, or wheat or gluten intolerant. I love regular bagels but I never buy them because of how I feel after. But these will satiate bagel cravings without the uncomfortable (and unsightly) after-effects.
I didn't freeze the wraps because they got eaten up at dinner, but the bagels toast perfectly after freezing so they're great to keep in the freezer for a moreish yet guilt-free snack or sandwich. And I'm curious to see how the wraps fare as a substitute for flour tortillas in quesadillas which I love but feel terrible after eating!
Verdict: I got my bread fix. I'm really impressed with the range and my favourite was the multiseed bagels. The freezer will be stocked for both scroungey and planned meals and treats.
BFree is the number one gluten and wheat free bakery brand in Ireland and the first to introduce an allergen free Fajita Kit to the UK market. The BFree vegan friendly range is available from Tesco Express stores nationwide with an RRP of £2.20 - £2.80 and selected ASDA stores.