Gluten-free menu. It’s not the sexiest sounding dinner option, especially if you’re not a coeliac.
But I’m not one to turn down food and fine company — plus I was intrigued by the concept of ilumi, a range of nutritious, allergen-free ready meals that go beyond the call of duty.
In other words, they aim to taste good too!
Here’s the deal: ‘All our ilumi recipes are carefully crafted to be that little bit “more” – more creative, more flavoursome and more like what you’d like to cook yourself (or order in a restaurant!)’
Cook and Dine at La Cucina Caldesi
I was invited to a cooking demo and 3-course dining experience by the passionate team behind ilumi, held at La Cucina Caldesi in the West End.
The ilumi crew spoke about the company ethos, their focus on health and wellbeing and how all their meals are made from scratch in bespoke kitchens, using no nuts, milk, gluten or preservatives (they’re vacuum sealed).
Then we watched two ilumi chefs whip up their dishes before we sat down to sample what they’d cooked.
First up, Tom Kha Gai soup. Or as I like to call it, Yum Kha Gai. Seriously delicious, flavourful, coconut soup with rice and chicken that was so filling it could have been a meal in itself.
We were off to a cracking start, helped along by marketing man Will Young (no, not the crooner) who helpfully plied us with wine.
Next we saw the chefs make what looked and smelled like an amazing vegetarian stir fry with noodles. And now came our dilemma: whether to go for meatballs or the veggie option?
All the carnivores on our table opted for meatballs, and afterwards I wasn’t 100% convinced we’d picked right. The sauce was tasty enough, but I could have done with more seasoning in my meatballs (I’m Nigerian, we like our spice!). It wasn’t helped by the non-ilumi range pasta being undercooked (I’d actually thought the chewiness was something to do with lack of gluten).
Still, I lapped it up and what everyone remarked on was that there was none of that stodgy feeling in your stomach you normally get after stuffing yourself with carbs.
Which left plenty of room for dessert — chocolate brownie (flakier texture from what I’m used to, but yummy all the same) and the star of the night, dairy-free ice cream that was so good, even my chef buddy Rachelle of Love Learn Cook gave it top marks.
It was a brilliant night out, met some lovely food and London bloggers and shared some hilarious (and a few naughty) stories.
Overall, I would recommend ilumi, not just for people who suffer from allergies, but for anyone who wants to supplement their home cooking with some health-conscious ready options.
Somebody said that ilumi meals are popular among campers and festival goers and I reckon they’d be a very welcome addition to our Just So Festival packing list!
Thanks to ilumi for a lovely evening.
Check out www.ilumiworld.com to explore their variety of meals each including a full list of ingredients!