Tesco Free-From Mac and Cheese

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Contains: soy

Free From: wheat, palm oil, nuts

I fucking LOVE mac and cheese. Do you know how long I waited for this shit to hit the shelves?! I grew up on Kraft mac, that real fine shit from a cardboard box, so to be able to have nutritionally lacking quick-cook cheesy goodness back in my life got me all kinds of excited.

As with any ready meal, you feel like a goddamn failure at life with every stab of the plastic film before you pop your culinary delight in the microwave. But it’s okay, because Tesco has gotten real fuckin fancy and thrown some parsley on that shit. So, clearly, not everything in your life has gone to crap because your dinner has some foliage tossed upon it.

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My first question is: what the FUCK? Why is it so watery?!

Kraft mac and cheese was so thick and gooey it was basically a heart attack in a bowl. THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE COULDN’T EVEN BRING ON A BIT OF LIGHT CHEST PAIN.

If I’m gonna spend £3 on a mac and cheese ready meal I at least want it to be so cheesy I regret it.

Once I stopped being dramatic, I gave it a good stir and a long, hard stare and then tucked in (the stare was necessary, I didn’t know if I could trust this weak-ass attempt at comfort food).

It’s fine.

Like, that’s it.

It’s fine.

It’s definitely not thick or cheesy enough, the pasta is noticeably gluten free (sorry celiacs, that’s not a good thing), and it’s weirdly peppery. It’s totally edible, but one of those ready meals that makes your soul a little sad.

It was like going on a date with someone who is really attractive on paper, but then when you meet them they’re the kind of person to argue that – while they totally wouldn’t vote for him themselves – there are some merits of wotsit Hitler being President of the United States.

Yeah, sorry, there won’t be a second date.

  • My Rating – 2.5/5
  • Omnivore Score – 2.5/5
  • Overall – 2.5/5

Find this product at: Tesco

Clearspot Organic Tofu & Bean Burgers

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Contains: Wheat, Soya 

Free from: Palm Oil, Nuts

I’ve been vegan for long enough now that I know going off the big brands is a gamble. In this case, I put some money into a poker game only to realise I should’ve been playing blackjack. What I mean is, this burger? Shit burger. However it’s not actually too bad if you judge it as a falafel. After the recommended cooking time of 25 minutes (an eternity in JFP time, I write this now as an incontinent, decrepit old man) I got what might as well have been a dry and crumbly falafel. At £2.29 for two patties, it’s actually not too bad (but not worth it, recommend: do not buy).

Texture is dry. It looks like a Martian landscape, it feels like a Martian landscape and quite frankly it’s the ugly step-sister of any burger I’ve tried before. As soon as you bite into it, it’s dry – the moisture just ripped from your mouth and replaced with sand. It’s mealy and grainy. I realised though that since it is actually quite similar to badly made falafel, throwing this into a pitta with some hummus and spinach? Deal maker. The outer crustiness (in the good way, not the “Hey doc, does this look crusty to you?” way) and crunchiness definitely needs something like a spread or a sauce to even it out, otherwise it’s all trash.

One thing I didn’t expect this to hold up well in (and it didn’t, you absolute disappointment to food) was taste. Everyone who’s had tofu will tell you that if you don’t treat your tofu right, it’s going to taste of nothing. This is exactly what’s happened here. Essentially you’re given a puck of tofu and beans (not a bad place to start) but that’s it. Just the taste of tofu and beans – essentially nothing. With no discernible meat taste and the shittest texture in the world of junk food, this burger is a low scorer.

Without wanting to subject our in-house omnivore experts, let me tell you now that this is bottom of the pile scum. There’s no place for this in any vegan, vegetarian, omni, fruitarian, pescetarian, or other x-tarian cookbooks.

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

Find this product at: Holland & Barrett, Morrison’s and other health food stores.

 

FOOD FOR TOOTHLESS VEGAN

SEND HELP I AM REALLY FUCKING HIGH AND THERE ARE LESS THEETH IN MY SKULL.

WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT????

FUCKING  JELLY AND ICECREAM MOTHERFUCKERS.

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Don’t do drugs, children

STEP ONE: Swedish Glace Vanilla. 2 scoops.

STEP THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BEFORE ONE: Two pots of Hartley’s raspberry jelly, chopped up into a bowl.

Throw that shit together, things are about to get delcisious.

If you, like me, h\ve ever had your wisdom teeth out then you know. Yknow? yes.

Gotta be all the soft. Very cold. MMM ice ice baby.

Jelly? 10/10. So wibbly. So wobbly. So raspberry. No dead cow bones yay thank you.

Ice cream? fucking YEAH. Smooth vanillary vanillaness super smooth and cold. Fuck yo cow milk. just. FUCK IT. WE DON”T NEED YOU. *HUGS TUB OF SWEDISH GLACE AND POSSIBLY ASKS FOR ITS HAND IN MARRIAGE*

  • My Rating: 10/10
  • Omnivore Score: yes
  • Overall: my face hurts

Linda McCartney’s Country Pies

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Contains: Wheat

Free from: Palm Oil, Nuts, Soya

Pies. One of the most British dishes you can have – the essence of homely comfort food and to this day I haven’t tried a vegan alternative. Well, until yesterday. I sat down with our in-house omnivore and pub grub aficionado to have a proper pie-and-mash meal (quick disclaimer: we didn’t have mash. I’m a fucking fraud. It was a baked potato.) £2.00 for two pies (a pound a pie) is a serious bargain especially since one pie is enough for one meal.

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Pies are complex. I’m talking some next level, pan dimensional shit levels of complex. The first layer we have to judge on is the outside –that fine ass pastry crust. It’s flaky, it’s puffy and its buttery (not like eating straight lard, but like well-cooked Jus-Rol), literally hitting all the criteria points for texture. It’s like eating the skin of a well moisturised angel. The inside is piping hot, as it should be. You get that steam pouring out from the watery and meaty insides, just like a regular pie. Second layer we have to judge on is the filling. The saucy inside tends to make the pie wet, but who doesn’t love a soggy chunk in the mouth? It’s meaty and almost identical to real mince. Pour a little gravy on top and you’re on to a winner.

You need to taste Linda’s pie. Linda has the best tasting and sweetest smelling pie I’ve ever put my face in. Sure it’s a bit beefy, but whose pie isn’t? With its perfect pastry layering all around, the inside just overflows with this stew-like mince mix. Throw some roasted veggies and mash on the side and prepare for those hearty dinners because this is a 10/10 winner.

This week, our resident omnivore and pie expert (an ex-vegetarian, the most despicable types) tucked into these pies with me to try and give us a better feel for our rating. The pie was good, a strong contender for a replacement but it lacked the proper depth and range of flavour (but what do they know, darn meat eaters, right?) but it’s made up for by being less stodgy. It was definitely filling but it also didn’t make you feel like sewage afterwards.

  • My Rating: 5/5
  • Omnivore Score: 4/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Find this product at: Tesco’s, Saisnbury’s, Morrison’s and other stores.

 

Goupie Chocolate Boxes

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Contains: most chocolates contain gluten and soya, some contain nuts.

The worst thing about going vegan 2 and a half years ago was not being able to pick up anything better than a ridiculously dark bar of chocolate from a supermarket when those Cadbury cravings hit. Seriously, have you tried some of that shit? It’s fucking rank.

Being able to get seriously fucking good chocolate delivered to your door is basically my version of heaven (which is good, because that is one place I will definitely not be going). Goupie chocolates taste really luxurious; they’re chewy and have rice crispie style pieces and bits of biscuit to give it a bit of crunch too. It’s literally everything I have ever wanted in a little bite-sized chocolate triangle.

At one point, anyone who came into my room must have thought I was stockpiling for some kind of terrible cocoa shortage because on my bedside table alone I had three boxes – each a different flavour – stacked up ready to be demolished on a midnight rampage.

That’s another thing that’s fucking awesome about Goupie chocolates. They aren’t a vegan company, but they make loads of different flavours that are suitable for vegans and the packaging is clearly labelled (though on the website it’s a little bit confusing… sort it out m8).

I have force-fed these chocolates to omnis and they actually enjoyed them. I live in constant fear that my sister is going to diminish my stash while I’m out of the house, that’s how fucking awesome they are.

Price wise you’re looking at £4 for a big box or £2 for a little baby-size box. To put it in perspective: a baby box can be destroyed in one sitting. A big box will keep you going a little longer.

Seriously, fuck all other vegan chocolate. Goupie reigns supreme for range of flavours, taste, texture, and cute as fuck packaging.

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

Find Goupie products using the stockist finder: https://goupie.co.uk/stockists/

Cauldron Vegan Burgers

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Contains: Wheat

Free from: Palm Oil, Nuts, Soya

Special shout out to a couple of JFP fans for giving me this to try out. Now, without sounding horribly offensive to those who gifted them, the orange hockey pucks (see below) were possibly not the worst thing I’ve tried from Cauldron. We’ll get to where they rank on my burger scale (hail Linda) but my first point of contention is the pricing. For £2.50 you’ll receive two small and very cylindrical cakes. Fairly expensive when compared with both the meat and other vegan options.

We all remember what a meat patty felt like. Thick, juicy and chunky – something with a little substance to it. Cauldron clearly don’t.  It has some bite to it (some of us like a little chunkiness, what can I say) but what should’ve been a bite of burger suddenly turned out to be a baby food. I’m not necessarily against mash either – mashed potatoes? Yes. Mashed peas? Oh, most definitely. Mashed beans? Um, maybe not. It’s not terrible but it definitely doesn’t live up as a burger especially as it comes off as a dry paste. It’s as if a trucker had ran over a tin of Heinz’ best and left it to sizzle on the asphalt for a few days. There are a few chunks of beans and other indiscernible vegetables present, but it all amounts to the same soft, mushy texture that leaves you with the mouthfeel equivalent of regurgitated bird food.

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Taste? I would say it’s somewhat acquired but it’s also something I grew to like. Having eaten a dry one (just dry sand) and a saucy one (just wet sand), any sauce helps to disguise its texture and focus more on its flavour which I would recommend. It’s got a strong bean taste, not quite refried beans but more like pinto. Again, not unpleasant but not exactly going to knock Linda off her throne.

Overall? Not bad. I wouldn’t buy them on a regular basis or even on a singular basis after this taste test. Texture gets it a solid 1/5 but the taste is honestly a bit of a saviour (hail Jesus Taste, the saviour of food). It would not, under any circumstances, make an accurate substitute. Nope, no, nein, never.

  • My Rating: 3/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 2/5

Find this product at: Tesco’s, Saisnbury’s, Morrison’s and other stores.

 

VBites Gourmet Beanfeast Pate

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Contains: Wheat

Free from: Palm Oil, Nuts, Soya

WARNING WARNING WARNING. People who are: weak of stomach, pregnant, below the age of 18, above the age of 18 and those with love for themselves, do not read on. This won’t be the last you’ll hear this about VBites but let’s talk more about this “Gourmet” Beanfeast Pate (hint: it’s neither gourmet nor a feast). It’s £1.89 from Holland & Barret, which means it’s not expensive. There’s a reason for that.

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It fucking sucks. If I were to compare its texture to a real pate? Sure, it’s spot on. Grainy, a little bitty yet still smooth and spreadable. That doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s too grainy, it tastes like the way organic sounds. I type this now as I struggle to keep it down with its dry and mealy feel, like a mouthful of dirt. Not good dirt, more like that manure, maggot infested compost that industrial farms use. If you’re ever holding a fancy dinner party or would like an upmarket lunchtime snack, look elsewhere.

Maybe it tastes good? Maybe it’s made up for by it’s delicious “beanfeast” and “gourmet” flavours? Maybe it teases your taste buds and makes its shit texture worthwhile. In true dream-crushing fashion, it doesn’t. It’s none of the above. It does taste of beans, pure beans. Initially it’s almost like it could have been pleasant at one time. Then it struck. The aftertaste is an amalgam of spam (possibly pig anus, who knows) and beans, all blended into some sick, twisted joke of a pate.

I’m not even going to entertain the idea of feeding this to a non-vegan, non-human or non-meat eating soul. It offends me, my family and everything I’ve ever known. Vbites, you fucking suck.

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

Find this product at: Holland & Barret and various health food stores.