Tesco’s Peanut & Avocado Burgers

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Contains: Wheat, Soya, Nuts

Free from: Palm Oil

Fucking love peanuts. Pretty damn fond of avocado. Mix them together and what do you get? Literally the most inedible thing on this whole planet of Earth. Tesco’s patties have always been underwhelming if I’m honest (WHY do I keep doing this to myself) but I figured 1. I’d risk it for the blog and 2. One of our resident omnivores suggested it (fucking omnivores. What do they know, am I right?).

Do me a favour and look at that patty. Is that something you’d want in your burger? Hell, it’s not even something I’d want by itself. It’s a 2/10 for presentation and to be honest, the texture matches it. It’s dry, mealy and somewhat mashable – sort of like a badly made flapjack. The outside looks crunchy but it’s more like dehydrated mud. All of Tesco’s patties that I’ve had so far in my life have this cakey texture which, if you’ve ever ordered a fucking burger (or you know, if you just have taste buds), you know is not a quality you want in a patty. After drowning it in veganaise and throwing it in a wrap, it’s just about edible but if you eat this thing solo you may as well have just had grit. Not grits like the fun veggies but grit.

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I know having a “vegetable” patty compared to one that looks like meat is sometimes controversial and polarising but I personally like it. I like seeing what veggies are in my burger and you CAN see some avocado in here. Doesn’t mean you can taste it for shit though. Similarly, the peanuts? They literally add nothing to it. The flavours are more or less the same as any other Tesco burger (i.e. bland.) but now with added anaphylaxis for those who are anti-nut. That is to say, there’s nothing really offensive about the taste because it’s non-fuckin’-existent. There’s just nothing there. If cardboard and cornmeal was a taste – Tesco have nailed it… Also, just as a side note to add a turd to a turd mountain, it cooks in 27 minutes. TWENTY SEVEN. WHAT IS THIS, THE GREAT FAMINE?! WHY DOES MY SHIT FOOD TAKE SO LONG TO COOK.

So, now that I feel I’ve made a calm, well though-out and eloquent discussion without any bias to one side or the other, let’s score it. Well, as you can see from the frozen hockey pucks above, it doesn’t resemble any burger I’ve fucking seen. Taste? Bland. Texture? Sahara Desert.

  • My Rating: 1/5
  • Omnivore Score: 0/5
  • Overall: 0.5/5

Find this product at: Tesco’s

 

Wicked Kitchen Hoi Sin Mushroom Wrap

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Contains: Wheat, Soya, Palm Oil

Free from: Nuts

Every single vegan has been here and don’t tell me you haven’t but first, let me set the scene. You’re out and about, maybe headed to somewhere special, maybe not, I dunno it doesn’t matter. You’re kinda hungry and you’re looking for a bite to eat but you’ll be damned if you stop off in some snobby art café that’s gonna charge you £73,000 for bio-organic, locally sourced, reinforced smart water before you’ve even had a look at the food; all you want is a something cheap, quick and easy (don’t we all). All you have to choose from at the Tesco’s aisle is ‘Falafel and Coriander’ or ‘Carrot and Hummus’… WELL HOLD ON because their Wicked selection is stocked! The only problem is it costs 3 .fucking. pounds. when all other sandwiches cost half that. My socialist bones scream (EQUALITY FOR ALL FOODS). [Pro-Tip, going in at like 7pm means they’ll usually still be mostly in stock and reduced to 1.75.]

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Finally a sandwich that won’t taste of dirt, right? Well… almost. Despite the fact I got SHAFTED on the filling (see the bottom wrap), I was so excited to finally try something a little different in the grab&go department. I’m not entirely sure what I expected, maybe something akin to a fucking hoi sin duck wrap but no. It’s that familiar crunch and of someone who’s pushed a carrot through a grater and not bothered to do anything with it. Unseasoned veggies, unappreciated leafy greens and all sorts of crimes against veganity were committed in this wrap. The mushroom taste was only sometimes there (which to all you shroom haters out there is probably a damn blessing) but all I can really taste is dry carrot which also takes over the entire texture of the thing. Crunch Crunch Crunch. Where is the richness, WHERE IS THE FUCKING HOI SIN?!

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Answer? Well… The first wrap I ate was almost bone dry and not a single hint of sauce. I actually nearly stopped halfway because I was already pretty mad. FUCK Wicked for robbing me of this goodness. However in true JFP fashion, I reckoned I had to give the other side an equal shot and guess what? Found the Hoi Sin… I found all of it. Literally smothered in it and if you’ve ever tried this sauce before, you’ll know that too much of it renders something inedible… AGH I had such high hopes for this and I couldn’t even finish it. Not to say that the taste is necessarily bad or offensive, it just doesn’t do what it says on the tin. No smoothness, no richness in taste. Just mushrooms and carrots in one end and a plum mudslide in the other.

Scoring time. As you can probably tell, I’m vexed. Price? If I were King of Bhutan, I still wouldn’t want to waste my money on this. The texture in all fairness wasn’t awful but it wasn’t appealing. I wouldn’t want to make a meal like that for myself. The omnivore score, if I’m to compare this to an actual peking duck wrap is a straight 0.

  • My Rating: 1/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 1/5

Find this product at: Tescos

 

Fabulous Freefrom Factory Dairy Free Fudge

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Contains: soy

Free From: wheat, nuts, palm oil

Try say the title three times fast, I dare ya.

This product has been out in the world for a while now and I will admit I have had these a couple times, but long before Ryan and I became the JFP. I thought it’s about damn time I shared my thoughts on these bite-size, sugar-high-inducing treats.

Now I know my fudge. I’m not from Cornwall so I can’t claim to be an expert on the stuff but when I was an omni I was mad for it. I craved it. The best part of Christmas markets? The fudge stall. Long day at school? Tuck into a pack of Morrison’s own brand vanilla fudge (thanks mum xxx). Point being, I loved dairy fudge enough to be a pretty reliable source of whether or not vegan fudge stands up to the real deal.*

*for all the vegans who will scream at me “IF IT CONTAINS ANIMAL PRODUCTS THEN IT ISN’T FOOD SO IT ISN’T ‘THE REAL DEAL'” can I request you back the fuck off, have a chamomile tea, and ask yourself why you strive to cause no harm to animals and yet are such an asshole to other human beings. Thanks. 

AAAAAAANYWAY. Back to the fudge.

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Look at it. What a beauty.

They’re described on the packaging as “Crumbly, creamy, dreamy, velvety, bites”.

Let’s pick this apart, shall we?

Crumbly? Hell yeah.

Creamy? Fuck no.

Dreamy? Dream bigger, amigo.

Velvety? Oh hell yes.

Bites? Come on now, that’s obvious.

Look, let me be frank. They’re not gonna be creamy because they haven’t been made with cream. Not even non-dairy cream. That said, they do have a really fucking lovely crumbly, velvety texture so they melt in your mouth and are really bloody satisfying – especially with a cuppa.

They are very sugary. Like, a little bit sickly sweet. This is definitely a bit of an exercise in self control. One reviewer on the Sainsbury’s website may have described them as “like eating a cube of sugar” but that is some serious hyperbole; they may be sugary, but unless you have actually shoved a 1.5cm x 1.5cm brown sugar cube into your gob and let it sit and dissolve and slowly rot everything inside of you, then frankly you don’t have a leg to stand on with such grandiose statements. I should know, as I have done that.

If you’re like me (i.e. renowned for consuming an entire packet of any and all snacks at any given time) then definitely don’t shove three in your mouth at once on repeat until you want to be sick from the sugar hangover.

I subject myself to these things so you don’t have to.

Despite the more sugary taste compared to dairy fudge, they are still absolutely delicious and have that classic, subtly vanilla-ry “fudgy” taste about them. They also aren’t that expensive compared to (decent) dairy fudge, and you can find them at supermarkets as well as online so really I’d call this one a win. You could even give these to an omni no problem… unless they’re from the South-West of England and then you better give it a miss lest you insult their entire heritage.

  • My Rating – 4/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and online.

 

Gosh! Sweetcorn & Quinoa Bites

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Contains:

Free from: Nuts, Soya, Palm Oil, Wheat

Gosh! I honestly don’t quite know where to start with these ones. I’m also strangely uncomfortable with anything named “bites”… Bites of what? Sausage? Potato? Heroin? There’s just no telling really. For the purposes of reviews the only food I could think to compare it to is falafel but trust me when I say, it’s definitely fucking different. It’s also £2.50 for around 14 little balls which is pretty damn expensive for some almost falafel. One of the big draws I found with Gosh! though is that they’re “junk food” in a sense but their products are also made of healthy things like lentils, beans and peas (as well as guaranteed nut, soya and wheat free) so there’s definitely a place for them in the fridge if you’re weight watching but still want to eat (and we fucking do love to eat).

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To Gosh’s credit, they don’t beat around the bush. The front of the packaging said “sweetcorn and quinoa bites with harissa and paprika”. What did I taste? Harissa, paprika and fuck all else. I mean, it’s great that they go together and actual flavour-wise it’s all works for that “Moroccan spiced” feel but it’s way too overpowering – like licking the floor of a Marrakech spice vendor. I tried them solo, I tried them in wraps and other foods but it honestly committed mass murder on the rest of my palate. Harissa and damn paprika with every bite, taking the joy out of literally every ingredient I threw at it to tone it down. It could probably work in a salad or something where you can space them out more ‘cause if any dish has more than three of these bastards bites (I definitely didn’t use the whole pack…) then just flush it. These little turds are as unforgiving as they are full of some great nutrition. Like I said earlier, a big plus for Gosh! is they do use some damn fine ingredients that actually do make me feel less shit about sticking a burger in the oven than say, reconstituted mushroom and mystery *cough* Quorn *cough*.

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Texture is where this whole falafel comparison falls down. It’s got the right flavours and the inside doesn’t look so different but my god. They’re flaccid. They’re soft, they’re mushy and if you play with it enough it falls apart. I could probably get over the overpowering tastes to be honest (because it really isn’t that bad…) but the way its textured too makes it hard to have with a dish or by itself. You can’t try and pass them off as meatballs in a Bolognese because you’d suddenly be having a spaghetti and quinoa mash. Sandwich? You’re suddenly eating a strongly spiced pate on bread. Alone? Well… I can’t comment. I’m not that fucking crazy.

Where does that leave scores? Price? Eh, it could be cheaper but I guess if I’m going to be eating junk and knowing there’s some healthy stuff in there means I lay down an extra 50p every now and then, I’m not fussed. Omnivore score? Considering I can’t actually begin to compare it to something in the omni word, that’s not looking good. Would I buy it again? No. I’d still buy from Gosh! without a doubt but that specific product? Pass.

  • My Rating: 3/5
  • Omnivore Score: 0/5
  • Overall: 1.5/5

Find this product at: Tescos, Ocado and Morrisons.

 

 

New Roots Free the Goat Cheeze

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Contains: nuts

Free From: palm oil, wheat, soy

Some of you may have heard the news – New Roots is coming to London!

For those of you who haven’t got a fucking clue what I’m on about, New Roots is a Swiss company that does fan-fucking-tastic nut based artisanal cheeses. They previewed at VegFest 2017 and it was the first stall I dragged my pal Yas to (I had already made it damn clear that my VegFest 2017 mission was to find and eat all of the cheese).

Their camembert has gone down as a bit of an urban legend because it is just that damn good, so for them to bring their stuff to Planet Organic stores is basically a fucking Godsend.

At VegFest I managed to snag one of their ricotta style goat cheeses, and I have had this draft sitting on the blog for basically 5 months now, hiding the cheesy goodness from you all, but back the fuck off, I am busy af.

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Yes my food photography needs work but I was HUNGRY so FUCK OFF.

The “Free-the-Goat Cheeze” is one of the creamiest vegan cheeses you can try without it coming spreadable from a tub. It’s got that tang that is essential when you’re emulating goat cheese , and the texture has a light airiness about it that makes it a dead ringer for ricotta.

I am not even ashamed that I ate the entire thing in one evening, it was fucking phenomenal. If I can get my hands on everything New Roots has to offer then I can die happy.

I wish I hadn’t been such a greedy bitch and wolfed it all down like a cracker-wielding maniac, because one thing I have missed since going vegan is spinach and ricotta cannelloni/ravioli. I have no idea if attempting such a thing with New Roots’ cheese would even be a good idea, so don’t blame me if your dinner goes tits up and you’re left with a gooey carby mess… but I do wish I could’ve exercised at least the restraint of a five year old and attempted to make my long-lost favourite dish with this because it is such a good ricotta clone.

Now I have no idea what their pricing will be when they crash land in Planet Organic stores, but currently their online store sells the Free-the-Goat Cheeze for around £6.50 which, as artisanal vegan cheeses go, is pretty average. Yeah, it’s not your £2.50 Tesco vegan cheddar, but that’s because it is so much better.

My advice: Get your ass to Planet Organic, get ready to max out your credit card, buy one of everything from New Roots’ range, and have the damn best cheese feast of your life. Get swanky and throw it on a cheese board or just fork it straight into your mouth like the trash human you are. Either way, New Roots cheese will blow your mind.

  • My Rating – 5/5
  • Omnivore Score – 5/5
  • Overall – 5/5

Find this product online at http://www.newroots.ch or at Planet Organic stores in London.

 

 

Wicked Kitchen BBQ Butternut Mac

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Contains: wheat, soya

Free From: nuts, palm oil

It’s no secret that I love mac and cheese more than life itself. I’ve already tried Tesco’s Free From Mac and Cheese and I was less than impressed. In fact, it fucking offended me. The bar was pretty damn low when I picked up Wicked Kitchen’s mac from my local Tesco, but literally anything could’ve surpassed the absolute shit show of the free-from monstrosity.

Maybe I’m just a purist when it comes to mac and cheese, but my first impression was that it was just TOO DAMN DRY. WHERE IS THE CHEESY SAUCE? This shit should be dripping, gooey, mouth watering. Instead it was kind of… clumpy? At least the pasta was cooked properly… Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t BAD, it just wasn’t GREAT. It still kicks the absolute ass of Tesco’s Free From mac and cheese, but that’s like trying to brag about beating a toddler in a fist fight.

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The BBQ mushrooms were a bit of a saviour here. They really packed a punch flavour- wise which means the sauce was a bit overpowered. Not a bad thing, just something to consider if you’re expecting an oo-ey gooey cheesy party in your mouth. The BBQ mushrooms are the big flavour here, and even if (like me) you hate the texture of mushrooms, they are tasty enough to make you forget that cooked mushrooms feel like tiny chunky slugs in your mouth.

The red cabbage… I have so many questions. Most of them “why?”. They are peppery and actually quite tasty but why the sweet fuck are they slapped on top of my mac? Save this shit for a quinoa salad or some other healthy crap. I came here to eat pasta and carb the fuck up. Get that veg away from me.

Overall, this was filling, non-greasy, and better than your average ready meal. A non-vegan could eat it no problem, but I totally expect them to have the same cabbage qualms as I did.

It also cost FOUR FUCKING POUNDS. FOUR!!!! FOUR!!!!!!

Excuse me while I actually get off my ass and make my own mac and cheese from scratch because £4 is fucking extortionate.

  • My Rating – 3/5
  • Omnivore Score – 5/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: Selected Tesco Stores

Violife Mediterranean Style Cheese

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Contains: 

Free from: Nuts, Palm Oil, Wheat, Soya

What does cheese say when it looks in the mirror? Hallou-mi. HA, kill me now. Finally we’re trying the vegan alternative to what goes in to so damn many vegetarian dishes but quick disclaimer: it does not taste like halloumi. It’s not bad but we’ll come to that in a minute, first THE PRICE. It’s like £2.50 for two bread-slice sized sheets (or maybe bricks… they’re real sturdy slices of cheese) seems a bit steep but it’s not really something you would want to use in too many meals and to be honest, it’s not that much more expensive than the straight-from-the-cow stuff.

Before we discuss taste, I LOVE halloumi. If anyone’s familiar with its taste and texture, it’s me. This, Violife, is why I’m displeased with your cheese. I mean – 1. it came AS A BRICK 2. Look at it after grilling… now compare that to the real deal. WHAT are you trying to pull here Violife? It also smells a bit lardy when cooking (because who doesn’t love smelling like sizzling fat) but they’ve clearly gone for the squidgy and rubbery texture as it squeeks around your pan like the end of a pencil. Saying that, it doesn’t really translate to mouthfeel. It’s not at all the same as that greek goodness and is more like… congealed cheddar? Some soft, clumpy, gloopy, processed cheese? It’s not necessarily a bad texture but it’s definitely not fucking halloumi.

It also doesn’t taste right. Again, think of a stick of rich, mature (think OAP) cheddar that’s all coagulated and congealy – that’s exactly what you’ve bought. It’s not got that mouth-puckering saltiness to it either. So all in all, it sounds like Violife have done pretty feckin’ bad… except, they haven’t. It’s not necessarily an authentic mirror image of what it claims to be, it might not even be a good replacement in any dish that would require halloumi because it’s just that off but fuck me if it isn’t really moreish.

So, verdict?… Um. Maybe buy if you’re fancying a one-off to throw in a wrap but be warned that it probably would not work in a halloumi dish. Interesting to try but I doubt I’d ever buy again.

  • My Rating: 2/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 1.5/5

Find this product at: Sainsbury’s, Whole Foods, Ocado and other health stores

 

Wicked Kitchen Nana’s Mushroom Bolognese

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Contains: wheat

Free From: nuts, soy, palm oil

Wicked Kitchen is making big waves in the vegansphere and for good reason – It’s a fucking blessing to have so much choice suddenly dropped into our laps. To find a vegan spagbol boxed up and ready to go makes me almost *almost* drop the resting bitch face and crack a smile right there in the ready meal aisle. For context, the last time I did that in Tesco a 55 year old man tried to chat me up, so this is no small thing.

It doesn’t look as impressive as their Muay Thai Curry but it smells incredible fresh out the microwave (just like Nana intended). It’s got a great texture, which I thought was impressive considering mushroom mince has always sounded like something that was destined to be a disappointment.

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Work with me here and ignore the pathetic foliage smushed on top… The sauce is actually fucking awesome. It’s rich and flavoursome, and everything fits together perfectly to be a proper good hearty meal, which is way more than I thought I’d ever say in favour of a ready meal. Sad leaves aside, it ticks all the boxes for a classic bolognese that would only slightly insult everything an Italian grandmother stands for.

As I was tucking in (read: shovelling pasta into my mouth like a crazed woman) I had the shock of my fucking life when suddenly there were CARROT NOODLES IN MY MOUTH. CARROT. NOODLES. COODLES (?).

What. The. Fuck.

Okay I totally did not read the packaging properly… when it said “carrot” I thought it meant ittybitty chunks in the sauce not STEALTH COODLES LURKING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX.

I feel personally attacked. Mostly because the coodles (I’m officially making this a thing) were basically raw. Raw veg is not my jam. We are the junkfood punks for a reason. Coodles are not that reason. On the other hand, the spinach was actually a nice addition. Possibly because it was fully cooked and completely expected. Fuck you, stealth veg.

Let’s wrap this up before the coodle rant gets out of hand (yes, this is me being restrained). Overall, this was filling and tasty and totally passable as an actual meal. Feed it to an omni and there will be minimal bitching, but the mushroom mince is by no means identical to meat mince so they will just have to accept the fact that an actual vegetable has entered their body. (The SHOCK, the HORROR!)

  • My Rating – 4/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: Selected Tesco Stores

Wheaty Chorizo slices

Elephant2Contains: Wheat, Soya

Free from: Nuts, Palm Oil

MORE cold cuts! Chorizo slices this week because 1- I’ve never seen these on the shelves before and 2- apparently seitan is some kinda mega protein and actually real good for vegans. If you were gonna choose this chorizo for your seitanic needs though, just don’t. The fact it’s £2.50 for like 5 THIN bitch slices of what is, at best, a sandwich filler already puts it fairly low down my list.

Every time I’ve tried seitan, it’s always the same damn thing. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or if seitan is just not for me but I’ve always found it’s… soggy. It’s wet, it’s floppy and usually a bit chunky kinda like what damp bread feels like. This is essentially what Wheaty are offering. The slices are a little leathery (think like thin steak slice, not grandma’s purse) which does add a fair bit of texture, but other than that they’re kind of oily and very sloppy to handle… Which isn’t that far off from real chorizo I guess. It doesn’t suffer from feeling plastic like some other companies but it’s very clearly reconstituted bits and closer to dirt cheap abattoir salami than chorizo.

The main thing with chorizo is obviously the spice. It’s got a lil heat, a lil chilli oil a lil flavour, it’s pretty on point. Other than that though, there’s not really much there for flavour. Just a few drops of tobasco on a cheap wheat gluten discs, not worth the money and definitely not worth that “greasy mouth” aftertaste you get from a bad Chinese. 2/10, would not recommend.

Would I buy this again? Um, probably not. The price is one thing, the mouthful of nasty chip fat after is another and then the fact that there’s just not anything special about it all means it’s a no. And to answer the qualifying question, does this pass for real chorizo? Feck no.

  • My Rating: 1.5/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 2/5

Find this product at: Planet Organic, Whole Foods, Ocado and other health stores