Delicious Dairy Free and Gluten Free Lasagne

For the Bolognese Sauce:

1 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
125g mushrooms, sliced
500 g (1lb 2oz) beef mince
500g Passata
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Beef stock cube
100g Fresh Spinach

Cheese Sauce/White Sauce:
2 x Ilumi cheese sauce mix
600mls unsweetened dairy free milk or semi-skimmed milk
(For best results use soya milk)

250g pack of dried Lasagne sheets (Gluten Free)

Optional extras:
Cheese or Dairy free alternative to sprinkle on the top
Why not try swapping the mince for chopped aubergine, peppers and courgette for a meat free alternative.


Gently heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid.
Fry the onion for 5 minutes, until softened, stirring often. Add garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes

Turn up the heat to medium, add the minced beef and fry until evenly browned.

Add the passata, tomato puree, oregano and beef stock cube. Bring to a boil stirring constantly then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach leaves for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the cheese sauce: Empty the contents of the sachet into a medium sized saucepan. Gradually add 600mls of unsweetened dairy free milk or semi-skimmed milk into the pan and mix until smooth. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened

Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 350°F / 160°C Fan oven / Gas mark 4.

Take a baking dish about 25 x  20cm (10″” x 8″”) in size. Spoon a third of the bolognese sauce over the base, and then spoon a quarter of the cheese sauce over the bolognese. Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets then repeat this layering of the bolognese, cheese sauce and pasta twice more. Top with the remaining cheese sauce and season with finely ground black pepper. Bake for 35min to 40 minutes, until golden.

Serve with a simple side salad!


Coeliac Awareness Week – Chat with Ann from PERK!ER

This week is Coeliac Awareness Week. We had a chat with Ann, co-founder and director at PERK!ER.

Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Ann, co-founder of PERK!ER with my partner Steve. Our brand name is a mash-up of our surnames Perkins and Turner! We live and work together – it’s a perky partnership!

What are you allergic to and when were you diagnosed?
I’m intolerant to both gluten and dairy; I was diagnosed with the gluten in July 2009 and diagnosed dairy intolerant at the end of 2014.

What was eating like before you realised you had a food allergy?
Looking back I was subconsciously reducing the gluten and dairy in my diet before diagnosis. I ate a lot more salad and vegetables than pasta and bread, for example. I was never really that keen on cheese, cream or milk either, even as a kid. However, I was eating some gluten and dairy pretty much every day. I might have had a splash of milk in my tea, a bit of chocolate, some bread or breakfast cereal, so they were constantly causing me health issues without me even realising. It took me a long time to work out they were the culprits!

What did you have to change; did you find this easy or difficult?
Before when I was eating a little bit of gluten and dairy, I had some health issues and often didn’t feel great, so I actually found it easy to avoid gluten and then dairy. It makes me feel so much better, I feel like myself on a good day every day! Because of this, I would never ever knowingly eat it again.

Finding food that tastes great, is good value and healthy has been challenging for me at times. Eating out is the hardest now – I don’t miss anything at home as I’ve changed my diet to be naturally gluten and dairy free and found new foods and recipes that both Steve and I love.

What was the positive impact to how you felt after diagnosis?
There have been a number of positive impacts for me since diagnosis. Firstly, energy – I feel so much more energized! Before diagnosis I used to get to the end of the week and feel so exhausted. I can now think more clearly, whereas before I had some times when I felt ‘foggy’. I also no longer suffer with severe abdominal pains, like knives going into your guts (yuk!) and headaches – it’s a huge relief.

What are the biggest challenges you face when food shopping?
The hardest time is when I’m on the go. I’m often travelling on business and want to grab a quick, fresh lunch. I find the choice in convenience stores and motorway services really poor, which means I need to carry food around with me most of the time… My bag is always full with plenty of PERK!ER Quinoa bars!

Another challenge is label checking. Every shopping trip I have to read the back of packets to make sure anything new is safe to eat and that the recipes of old favourite’s haven’t changed.

What are the biggest challenges when cooking at home? For example, does everyone in your household eat the same thing?
We pretty much are a dairy and gluten free household now. When we have family and friends over it is always completely gluten and dairy free, but they never notice. In fact, most of the time friends and family ask for the recipes!

How is eating out, where are the best places to go?
For a quick lunch Pod is brilliant. For a longer lunch or dinner my fave’s are Las Iguana’s & Wahaca, and there’s a great Indian and some nice country pubs near us too.

Are there any other day to day challenges that you have not already mentioned?
My family are brilliant – my niece is also gluten free so we all understand about allergen control, but sometimes it’s hard for some friends to cater for me. They want to know for sure they are providing food that’s gluten and dairy free, which can be stressful for them unfortunately. I find it is always worth offering to talk through any concerns they have, bring something to help or cooking a pudding to help take some of the stress away.

What are your go to products/brands that make life easier?
I have quite a few…
• Of course, PERK!ER! Delicious and super-healthy quinoa bars and sprouted bars are firm favourites.
• BFree pitta breads and chia seed wraps are utterly amazing!
• I love almond milk in my tea, so Alpro is a go to brand for me
• Amisa buckwheat crackers are great to take out or have with a salad to add a crunch
• Good Food Company for delicious gluten free and vegan falafels
• Ilumi Spicy Harira Soup
• Explore Asia do a fab range of black bean and edame bean noodles
• Cauldron for tofu, delish grilled with peri-peri spice!
• I love spice so I always have some Nando’s sauces and a cupboard of spices from peri-peri, chipotle, jerk, and herbs to add flavour to veg and protein
• We eat lots of veg and a couple of times a week I’ll roast courgettes, butternut squash, peppers and sweet potatoes with some herbs and spices and have them in the fridge to add to our lunches. Being organized as much as possible definitely helps!

You can find PERK!ER Fruit Berry porridge in our online shop

For more delicious gluten, wheat and dairy free goodies, visit, follow on Twitter @Perkierfoods or Instagram, or like on Facebook!

Beef with pak choi, mushrooms and noodles – GF noodle recipe

It’s Noodle Month, so why not try this delicious recipe including tender beef and meaty wild mushrooms.

You will need…

  • 75 g thin rice noodles
  • 115 g quality beef sirloin
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • ½ red onion , finely sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger , peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli , deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 small handful shiitake and oyster mushrooms , brushed clean and torn up
  • 200 ml organic chicken stock
  • 1 pak choi , quartered


  1. Boil the kettle and soak the noodles in the boiling water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, rub the beef with olive oil, sprinkle with the cumin and a small pinch of salt and rub all over.
  2. Place in a really hot frying pan and sear on all sides. Add the onion, ginger and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, stock and pak choi.
  3. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan. Stir around, and correct the seasoning. Slice up the beef and serve the noodles and pak choi in a big bowl, with the beef slices on top. Pour over the broth from the pan.



Slow Cooking Tips

There is nothing better than coming home to the smell of a meltingly tender slow cooked casserole, particularly on dark nights after work. Stick a few green vegetables on when you come in – kale is apparently on the nations favourite list (sales up 54% in a recent grocery trade report) – and you’ve got a nutritious, balanced meal to tuck into.

As it’s National Slow Cooking Month (yes, really) we thought we’d share with you some tricks of the trade and top tips. With a slow cooker saving you both time and money, what’s not to love?

1) To brown or not to brown?
That is the question apparently – the long-running discussion surrounding whether meat should be browned off (or not, as the case may be) rages on. You only need to turn to Google to see pages of forum debates.

Those in the ‘to brown’ camp swear that slightly crisping or colouring the meat before adding the rest of the vegetables onto the slow burner adds flavour and depth the dish, as well as adding attractive colour to the meal. Queen of British Cooking, Deliah adds that browning “seals in the juices”.

Those that don’t bother are equally adamant it makes no difference to flavour as it’s cooked for such a long time that it doesn’t matter – the flavour is driven by the length of time the dish is cooked, the type of liquid added and what vegetables are added.

In summary it seems to be a good idea to sear off the meat if you have time and/or inclination, and it doesn’t really effect it if you don’t!

2) How long?
Is a piece of string? The longer the better, is the general consensus. Low and slow is the rule of thumb – however this does depend on the cut of the meat. Quality cubed steak or leaner cuts like chicken may take less time, even as little as a couple of hours. Sometimes over-cooking lean meat can even make it tougher! More ‘muscled’ meat with a good marbling of fat (and usually cheaper cuts) such as a shoulder or shin, will need more time – up to 4-6 in a slow cooker during the day.

Root vegetables such as carrot or swede will need to go at the bottom of the pot and for the longest amount of time as they will need more time to soften. Things like pasta, rice or fresh herbs could be added right the end of the cook when you get in from work – ideal for things like pilau

3) How much liquid?
And what kind? The rule of thumb is that you should put in as much liquid to just cover the meat & vegetables. The slow cooker has a tightly fitting lid so you don’t want to overfill it (causing a spill) and the steam from cooking will keep the dish full of moisture as it won’t evaporate. What you think is probably too little liquid for a 4-6 hour cook will be just perfect. Using plain water is also fine, but a good stock or, even better, a mixture of ale or wine with stock will bring out the best of those savoury flavours. Always add any dairy products such as cream towards the end or else they might curdle.

4) More than meat?!
Yes you can use your slow cooker for dishes that aren’t meat & veg based! They are also ideal for soups and curries. And for the more adventurous, Mumsnet forums are full of recipes for going one step further – Rice Puddings and Sponge Puddings are a favourite. We even found this recipe for a gluten free version – feel free to share your recipes with us too!

5) So how is this saving me money?
Use a slow cooker to use up any leftover bits and pieces in your vegetable drawer – ideal after the glut of Christmas or a big Sunday dinner, avoiding waste and sticking leftovers in the bin. You can make bigger batches with a slow cooker, so you can freeze portions for later. Alternatively you can bulk up the stews with cheaper vegetables to feed more people for less. Finally you’ll be able to buy much cheaper cuts of meat (brisket or shin is ideal) than you would for ‘fast’ cooking or stir-frying.

So dig out your slow cooker at the bottom of the cupboard and give it a whirl this weekend. Alternatively if you don’t have the time (or want a lazy, no fuss solution!) – just order ilumi’s Beef Casserole to achieve the same effect! We also love our Pork in Cider or Lamb in Gluten Free Ale.

Share your slow cooking recipes with us and you could feature in our ilumi Fan Recipe Book.

ilumi Fan Recipes

Gluten & dairy free chocolate brownies

Preperation time

10 mins

Cook time

30 mins

Total time

40 mins

The recipe makes 25 brownies.


6 eggs (separated)

35g to 70g of Sweetener, I only use 35g but if you like it sweeter then you can add up to 70g.

60g cocoa powder

1tsp vanilla essence

fan recipes


Preheat the oven at 180ºc, line a baking tin with baking paper

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

In a separate bowl add the egg yolks, sweetener, vanilla essence & cocoa and then whisk together if you find that the mixture is to stiff you can always add few drops of water.

Carefully fold in the egg whites

Pour the mixture into the tin and the bake for 20 to 30 mins

The brownies are delicious served hot or cold

If you would like to add a topping I mix a bit of sweeter with some fat free fromage frais and coco powder and then spread on the brownie top with some fresh strawberries.

Recipe sent in from Mel Flack via Facebook


ilumi Asda Photobomb

Thank you to everyone who has given ilumi such a warm welcome in Asda! We hope you all are enjoying our new noodle snack pots and easy cook rice, as well as our new improved retail range. Keep letting us know what you think by posting on our Facebook page here.

If you follow us on social media (if you don’t then you should be!) you would know that we’ve been running a competition to win £50’s worth of ilumi.

We had a fantastic response from our lovely customers and some really good selfies with our new range. Unfortunately we could only choose 1 winner, and that was Regina on Twitter who sent in this great photo of her daughter next to the ilumi dishes on the shelf at Asda.


If you’d like to see the rest of the entries please follow this link to our Pinterest board.

And once again, thank you all for taking part.

ilumi Fan Recipes

ilumi fan recipes 1


80g vegan margarine, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
120g dark chocolate
½ tsp coffee granules
125g self-raising flour
70g ground almonds
50g cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
250g golden caster sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
70g glacé cherries (rinsed and halved

– Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 31⁄2. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment. Combine the flaxseed with 6 tbsp water and set aside for at least 5 mins.

– In a saucepan, melt the chocolate, coffee and margarine with 60ml water on a low heat. Allow to cool slightly.

– Put the flour, almonds, cocoa, baking powder and 1⁄4 tsp salt in a bowl and stir to remove any lumps. Using a hand whisk, mix the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture, and beat well until smooth and glossy, ensuring all the sugar is well dissolved. Stir in the flaxseed mixture and vanilla extract, the cherries and then the flour mixture. It will now be very thick. Stir until combined and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 35-45 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean with moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the tin completely, then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.

Midweek Meals – Bonfire Night


Jacket Potato & Cheesy Chilli


1 x pouch ilumi Chilli Con Carne
1 medium baking potato (approx 320g)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs

How to make:

– Preheat the oven. Wash the potato and prick with a fork or knife. Rub the skin with the oil and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of dried mixed herbs. Bake for 1 hour, or until the skin is crisp and a knife can easily pierce the centre.

– Once the potato has been in the oven for half an hour, prepare the chilli con carne.

– Cut the top of your ilumi pouch and stick in the microwave for just 2 minutes!

– To serve, cut open the baked potato and spoon the filling into the centre and sprinkle grated cheese on top!

Buy the key ingredient here.

lamb stew

Lamb in Gluten Free Ale Stew


400ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
1 x pouch ilumi Lamb in Gluten Free Ale
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 leeks, thickly sliced
1 tsp dried rosemary
400g cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

2oz (50g) cornflour
2oz (50g) gluten free flour
3 eggs
1/4 pint (140ml) milk

How to make:

– Yorkshire’s: Make the batter in the usual way and bake in a hot oven. They should rise beautifully and be light as a feather!

How to make:

– Stew: Heat the oil in a large casserole tin . Cook onion, carrots and leeks for 5 mins stirring often, until the veg is starting to soften. Pour over the stock, add the rosemary, cover with a lid and cook until the veg is to your preference.

– Grab your ilumi pouch of Lamb and Gluten Free Ale and stick it in the microwave. Once cooked, pour over your Yorkshire puddings and veg.

Buy key ingredient here.

Coq au Vin with Cobblers

Coq Au Vin with Cranberry & Pumpkin Seed Scones


90g rice flour
140g gluten-free flour
40g polenta
3tsp baking powder
2tsp xanthan gum
1tsp salt
80g soya butter
1tsp sugar
85g dried cranberries
45g spring onion
80g dairy-free yoghurt
2 eggs
1tsp chopped fresh rosemary
40g pumpkin seeds
4 x pouches ilumi Coq Au Vin

How to make:

– Pre-heat oven to 180c.

– Mix together the flours, polenta, baking powder, xantham gum, salt and sugar. Rub soya butter into flour with fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in yoghurt and egg to form a dough.

– Stir in cranberries, spring onion, pumpkin seeds and rosemary. Roughly roll the mixture into a round disc (approx 20mm thick) and cut into 12 triangular pieces.

– Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15mins until golden.

– In the meantime heat through ilumi Coq au Vin in a pan on the hob.

– Once everything is ready, serve scones alongside ilumi Coq au Vin.

Buy the key ingredient here.


World Vegan Month

It’s World Vegan Day today and it’s the start of World Vegan Month. The annual event  is celebrated across the month of November by vegans around the world as they encourage non-vegans to abstain from eating animal products to show support and celebrate animal rights.

The Day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of The Vegan Society, to commemorate its 50th anniversary and in 2014 the 70th anniversary of the term ‘vegan’.

The ‘World Vegan Society’ which also celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, asks people to ‘take the pledge’ to investigate and learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet and vegan living.

Taking the 30 day vegan pledge is simple, all you need to do is sign up on the Vegan Society site, and you’ll receive advice on all aspects of a vegan diet – including lots of healthy, easy and unusual vegan recipes to try out, from The Vegan Society.

According to the society, The Vegan Pledge has helped over a thousand people go vegan and stay vegan with its regularly updated tips and support. If you would like to get involved with this great annual celebration of veganism, follow this link.

If you’re planning on going vegan we have a wide range of vegan dishes, sides, sauces, nibbles and banquets available in our online store. Stock up now for World Vegan Month by clicking here.


Free From Halloween Tips

Use Pumpkin


Pumpkin carving wasn’t brought into Halloween tradition until the late 19th century when Irish immigrants brought the custom to North America, but now the fruit has become a symbol of the holiday. More importantly pumpkin is also gluten and dairy free and can be used as the centre piece for many tasty dishes. We’ve put together a Pinterest board of our favourite pumpkin recipes from around the web. Check it out here.

Jelly Shots

jelly shots

Jelly is gluten free (but as you know always read the label!) so why not couple it with a splash of spirit so the adults can get involved in the fun and games. Use different coloured jelly’s and only add the alcohol to a smattering so you can play a ghostly game of shot roulette!

Apple Bobbing 

apple bobbing

The game:

Place apples in a basin of water.

Blindfold contestants.

Their aim is to take as many apples from the basin only using their mouth as possible.

The person with the least amount of apples in their basin at the end of the allotted time wins!

Apples are 100% naturally gluten and milk free meaning you and your friends and family can all take part in this traditional Halloween party game.

Did you know: This game was traditionally played by the Romans to remember the goddess of trees and fruits, Pomona.

Prepare For Trick or Treaters with Allergies

Six children in costumes trick or treating at woman's house

With us lot being more allergy aware than the regular trick or treater, we should take the time to cater for the children knocking on our door on Saturday who, due to allergies,  may not be able to eat any of your sweets. So why not stock up on things like bouncy balls, glow stickers, fangs and sticky spiders so that they can join in on the fun!