in the last three to five years with ‘fad diets’ being a thing of the past and a more discerning effort towards lifestyle changes being the way forward. This shift in our eating habits has brought a number of food movements to the forefront such as gluten free, vegan and other free from followings.

In my opinion a Food Adventurer does two things: identifies key trends and seeks to understand why they’re happening. So I set about trying to understand why these movements have gained so much momentum in recent times.

The first thing to consider is when did we become so conscious of exactly what we put into our bodies? I appreciate that this is nothing new to health fanatics but I’m referring to this occurring on a mass scale. In my opinion a big driver of the change happened in 2013 when the Horse Meat scandal rocked the UK. This incident induced a real distrust of processed foods and made us realise that we really had no idea of what we were putting in our mouths at all. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ suddenly made the UK suffer a bit of an identity crisis.

The sales of processed tinned, chilled and frozen foods nose-dived almost overnight as a direct result of the shocking findings and a new wave of consumption was born. The food industry as a whole was rocked by the event and producers everywhere had to react to the change in demand and provide a good level of provenance and traceability to consumers.

It was from this point that consumers began to really scrutinise the things we ate and weigh up their merits in terms of nutrition, taste and health. In the past fad diets would have waged war on certain aspects of food such as sugar or complex carbohydrates but the idea of clean and natural eating hadn’t really reared its head. Scrutiny of the diet introduced new and alternative foods into the daily repertoire but it also challenged staples that should be left out completely like dairy and gluten. Free-from trends exploded and social media embraced the movement with both arms wide open.

Free-from isn’t a new concept but it has never been adopted by the mainstream populous for one reason: taste. We are now fortunate enough to have a fantastic selection of food alternatives available at the touch of a button.

This post has been inspired by Dinnergise and a fantastic gluten-free recipe that its founder, Nicola, sent through. Nicola’s company has a working partnership with FoodStars which operates a kitchen rental for food delivery which facilitates getting more fantastic gluten free food out to the masses. There are other fantastic free-from food businesses that rent commercial kitchen space from FoodStars so you can check them out online: or

Nicola’s recipe below is fantastic, refreshing free-from food that’s really easy to make and a great perception changer for those that haven’t made the leap of faith with going free-from.


northernmunkeebites.panacotta.jpgCoconut and cashew panna cotta with a mango puree

Ingredients – serves 4

Panna cotta

  • 170g cashew nuts
  • 85g unsweetened coconut milk
  • 85g coconut cream
  • 30g agave syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla paste
  • Pinch of salt

Mango puree

  • 1 mango
  • 100ml water


  1. For the mango puree, remove the skin and chop the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Place the mango and 100ml of water in a pan and cook on a low to medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool before blending in a food processor. Set to one side.
  2. For the panna cotta, place the cashew nuts, coconut milk, agave syrup and vanilla pasta in a food processor and blend for 2 minutes. Scrap down the sides and blend for a further 2 minutes. It should resemble a custard texture. Equally divide the mixture into 4 glasses or bowls and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set.
  3. To serve, top the panna cotta with the mango puree.

Any comments, thoughts or questions? Or are you a fine-food-hunter yourself and you want to offer me some tips? Leave a little comment below because sharing is caring!

Northern Munkee.



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