Wicked Kitchen Muay Thai Curry Ready Meal

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Contains: wheat

Free From: nuts, palm oil, soya

Let me just start by saying this: Holy shit, Tesco, you absolute babe.

Who would’ve thought we’d be kicking off 2018 with a tsunami of vegan ready meals and on-the-go foods flooding our supermarkets? I sure as shit didn’t, and when I heard about the 20 piece range from Wicked Kitchen that was being introduced in 600 Tesco stores across the nation, I had a teeny tiny orgasm.

Which means before I even tried any of their food, Wicked Kitchen was already doing way better than some previous gentlemen callers.

ANYWAY.

Muay Thai wasn’t the first ready meal I tried from Wicked Kitchen but I figured we should kick things off with hands down the best ready meal I have ever eaten.

I am not even mildly exaggerating. This thing was fucking incredible.

I’m not really a ready meal kinda gal, mostly because I love to cook and my mum always instilled in me the mentality of ready meals being greasy shit masquerading as actual food (I am paraphrasing, my mum is nowhere near as foul-mouthed as I am).

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The first thing you’ll notice with the Muay Thai is that it smells AMAZING. It totally hits you with that lemongrass and lime as soon as you take it out of the microwave. And it tastes just as good as it smells. It is beautifully spiced – mild enough to enjoy buy spicy enough to make a weak-ass white girl like me go “oh my god, this is spicy, get me water, my nose is running”. It’s coconutty, fragrant, filling, and just an all-round beautifully balanced fucking fantastic easy meal.

The fact that it’s vegan wouldn’t even cross the mind of a meat-eater once they took a bite of this glorious feat of quick culinary genius. It doesn’t need meat. It doesn’t need ANYTHING else. It is completely and utterly perfect as it is. If they whinge about a lack of something dead in their little plastic tub it’s because they’re complaining for the sake of complaining and they were brought up to think a meal isn’t complete without a carcass. Fuck off, Dave, and eat your curry quietly, you absolute weapon.

Seriously, feed me this shit forever and I will die happy… Just don’t make me pay for it because £4 a pop hurts my very soul (but if you can afford it, it is SO worth it).

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

Find this product at: select Tesco stores

 

 

Primal Strips Hickory Smoked Vegan Jerky

Contains: Wheat, Soya

Free from: Nuts, Palm Oil

I’m going to throw a spanner in our Christmas line-up because it’s happened. The holy grail of veganism: BEEF FECKIN’ JERKY! (With somewhat less emphasis on the beef). Not that it’s exactly a daily go to for meat eaters, but it’s one of the few things I never expected to see on shelves. You know what stirs my loins even more? They have a selection of flavours. Jack Link’s ain’t got shit on us. There’s a fair few from Teriyaki to Mesquite Lime but I went with Hickory Smoked ‘cause if I’m gonna do this, you bet I’m doing this right (that and I don’t actually know what a mesquite is). It’s also crazy expensive. Not in a “wow, that’s a lot of money in one go” way, but in a “THIS IS AFFORDABLE… but where are they hiding the rest?” way. For one. measly. miserable. strip of jerky, you’re looking at £1.75. That’s right, that’s all you get. Daylight fucking robbery.

First thing I notice taking the jerky out of its sleeve is it’s… wet? Jerky I expect to be a little sticky like honey or thick molasses but this was almost like it was freshly basted and needed to be wiped down before eating and before you ask, I am a solid 80% sure it didn’t need cooking before hand. But the texture? Oh good god the texture. Merry Christmas indeed, Santa, you tricky bastard. It was more or less everything I was looking for. Tough and chewy like leather of an old woman’s handbag – it IS jerky. It was thick and has substance to it that you have to bite and rip like it’s the pin of a hand grenade, what more could you honestly want? Well, maybe it’s not quite as chewy as the real deal but it’s pretty damn close.

It was pretty bang on with taste too. It was s-s-s-mokey with a capital S, a little sweet and v sticky. You know what I mean, that good ol’ combo of honey smoke and bbq that just gets me frothing at the mouth. There’s not exactly much to it, it’s not more-ish or rich – just the bare essentials: hard compacted soy coated in a marinade. It literally could not go wrong.

VERDICT: Meh. It scores pretty damn high for authenticity, it’s just like the real thing (if a bit damp, but I’ve never complained about moisture) and considering jerky/biltong and other preserved meats aren’t exactly strong in flavour, it’s pretty spot on there too. That said, even by those standards it lacks in flavour a little bit and the fact that you get ONE. DAMN. STICK. really brings it down for me.

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

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

 

Freedom Vanilla Marshmallows

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Free from: wheat, soy, nuts, palm oil

Let’s not fuck around – one of the only selling points of living in a country where the air physically hurts your face is the fact that you can come indoors, put the kettle on, and make the most diabetes-inducing hot beverage and no one will question you.

You want a drink that’s chocolaty, milky, piled up with whipped cream and covered in sprinkles? You do that shit. But you would be a damn fool to exclude these marshmallows from your winter warmer.

They melt beautifully, so shove a whole fistful into your hot chocolate and you will get a gooey vanillary (?) topper that takes your drink to the next level of sugar-coma comfort.

If hot chocolate isn’t your thing and you’re one of those rogues that just pops marshmallows into your mouth like a MONSTER then these are perfect for that too (though seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Who raised you? Wolves??? Why did the wolves let you do that?!?!).

They have a sugary outside and are less fluffy than non-vegan marshmallows, but they literally melt in your mouth and before you know it you have eaten through a whole pack in one sitting (totally not speaking from experience here…).

These ‘mallows are perfect, with my only criticism being that they’re a bit small. So while they will definitely do the job as a hot chocolate topper they’re not quite right for shoving in a s’more (sorry, Americans).

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

Find this product at: alternative food stores, online, and some Sainsbury’s.

 

Tesco’s Festive Nut Roast

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Contains: Wheat, Soya, Nuts

Free from: Palm Oil

Even MORE festive foods for you guys because we eat a roast every week so you don’t have to. I’ve never had a nut roast because, to be honest, it sounds dry. It sounds like the driest, mealiest thing you could possibly put in your mouth. HOWEVER, it was £3.50, part of Tesco’s freshly released festive range and I figured it’s Christmas, I’ll go into this with an open mind.

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Forgetting the fact that I already think nut roasts are shit, look at the unhealthily pale puck above. Like your throat after you’ve had a night out and smoked too much. Even the vegetables in it look depressing. Trying to scrape it off the tray just causes it to break and skidmark across and the way it mushes around really isn’t appealing. But when it comes to actually eating it? Everything changed. The texture was soft and moist on the inside, a little crusty on the outside. It was almost a little cakey but also filled with nutty chunks and bits of soft vegetable. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong about something from the get go (and I am wrong a lot). 10/10 points for festive wholesomeness in texture.

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It just tastes homey. It tastes warm and welcoming, even to my cold Grinch heart. It’s stupid to say, yes, but it is nutty. It’s like eating a handful of warm nuts with a few spices in there, which is still really pleasant but not on say, Linda’s level. You can also definitely taste the cranberry though and the soft carrot bits. It just adds a different layer to the texture as well so you’re not sat with a mouthful of nuts all the time.

Is it good? So f*king good I went for seconds. Is it something I’d want at Christmas? No. It’s not really visually appealing and to be honest, there are so many other festive options out there that blow this out the fucking water. It can taste as nice as it wants but I’d rather have nothing but sprouts than look at that on my plate on Christmas day.

  • My Rating: 4/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 2.5/5

Find this product at: Tesco’s

 

Fry’s Family Soy and Quinoa Country Roast

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Contains: soy, wheat

Free from: nuts, palm oil

If I’ve gotta slave over the oven and an actual meal to prove to you fuckers that this roast is the god damn best thing to grace the Christmas vegan scene THEN I FUCKING WILL.

I know that Ryan and I are absolute Linda McCartney sluts, but hear me out: Fry’s Family Food are knocking it out of the park AND they are completely vegan so there’s no risk of picking up one of their products, shovelling it into your mouth, and then later finding out it contains milk/cheese/honey/general non-vegan sadness.

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I even made roast potatoes to prove my fucking point. This. Shit. Is. DELICIOUS.

It’s not supposed to be a mock meat, but the closest thing you can liken it to would be meatloaf. OKAY, OKAY, I KNOW, BUT BEAR WITH  ME HERE.

It is super moist and doesn’t have any weird chewiness or questionable texture, and is very flavoursome on its own which is impressive for what is essentially a brick-sized slab of soy.

It is meaty enough to throw back to the omni days of roast dinners (if you had them) but not too meaty as to be so questionable that it’s off putting. It also goes super fucking well with cranberry sauce and gravy, and rest assured I smothered that shit all over my meal because there is no dignity in how to properly consume a roast dinner. Pile it high, gravy it the fuck up, and eat like it’s your last meal. It is the only way.

The roast costs about £5 and serves three normal humans or two greedy bastards (a.k.a 2 of me) which is pretty fuckin ace considering other vegan roasts such as Tofurky are way more pricey, and the quality alone is a massive payoff.

Would I feed it to my omni pals? I mean, I could. It quite clearly is not meat but it’s nowhere near the realm of being branded as “weird vegan shit”. It’s the kinda thing you could serve them if you’ve gone to effort of cooking them an entire meal and they literally have zero right to be an obnoxious pain in the ass. Eat the roast and shut up, Alan, you fucking prick. (I don’t know an Alan, but I feel like if I did he’d be one of those “where-do-vegans-get-their-protein” assholes)

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

Find this product at: Holland and Barrett, Ocado

Tesco Free-From Cheese with Peppercorns

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Contains: soy

Free from: wheat, palm oil, nuts

Do you want to try a cheese that will punch you square in the fucking face? No? Me either. But I did. Because SCIENCE. And also because it is the latest addition to the free-from coconut alternative cheese range at Tesco, so how could I refuse?

This is a different cheese than the ones we have come to know and love (or hate… the jury seems to be hung on Tesco cheese). It is much softer, creamier, and a little bit wetter than the cheddar or blue block cheeses that Tesco has to offer. It reminds me a hell of a lot of goats cheese, but without the offensive sour tang that I used to fucking despise.

The cheese itself has a nice peppery undertone but HOLY MOTHER OF GOD the peppercorn crust will kick you in the teeth and spit in your bleeding mouth. It is so ridiculously intensely peppery I can only imagine that the food techs of Tesco sat in a room and said “let’s fuck em up”. The worst part is the crust is at the BOTTOM of the packet… hidden… waiting… ready to strike.

I won’t lie to ya, I manhandled my cheese. I grabbed that fucker and scraped off as much of the godforsaken crust as I could. Only then did I actually get to enjoy it without fear of my tongue being turned to ash.

This is one of those things you would buy if you were putting together some fancy-ass cheeseboard at a dinner party you’re hosting to fool yourself and your friends into thinking you’re some sort of upper-class twat.

“Oh Deborah darling do try the peppercorn cheese… it’ll blow your fuckin tits off.”

I think the fuck not. There are peppercorns in my teeth that will be there til I die.

However, I will say that despite the satanic crust the cheese itself is top notch. It would be awesome if Tesco released a range of new cheeses based on this style to add a bit more variety to their already kick-ass free from aisle. It’s one of the few cheeses on their shelves that I would confidently say you could feed an omni with next to no complaints or comments about “real cheese” (seriously, fucking spare me).

So, it’s a bit of a tough one to score this week, so I’m gonna go on the average of how impressive the cheese is and how much peppercorn related regret I have.

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

Find this product at: Tesco

 

 

Fry’s Poloney Slicing Sausage

Contains: Wheat, Soya

Free from: Palm Oil, Nuts

It’s been YEARS since I’ve had any “cold cuts” and they’re rare to see on supermarket shelves but trust in Fry’s family to be the saving grace. Their thick and meaty slicing sausage is an a-fucking grade meat replacement. It’s also pretty expensive for £3.99 but it’s also probably not a good idea to be eating this on the regs. (Note: I got too excited and sliced through half of it before I took a photo, it does come as a full sausage)

This is not quite the bologna you knew before. It comes in the same BDSM-inspired plastic packaging with the clamps at each end and has the same weight and feel as your everyday slicing sausage but underneath the texture is a little bit off. It’s definitely not bad and it’s the same “compacted meat” feel of meat but it’s a little spongier? Cakier? Not the kind of words I’d want associated with my meat. That said, it’s still pretty close to the real thing and being able to eat cold cuts again means I’m not all that fussed about a little stodginess. There’s the chunky bite to it, the way it feels in your mouth – all baloney.

Fry’s have nailed the taste on this. Crucified it. It’s pretty much what I remember bologna tasting like, though a little dry it’s still rich. It’s real salty (what sausage isn’t) but real peppery at the same time and it’s also got that weird salami-like after taste to it as well. I would honestly put this at a solid 8/10 for closeness the real deal.

Using this as a replacement? Yes. All sorts of yes. The texture is a little weird but if you were to use it for just about anything other than those fancy bourgeoisie charcuterie boards, you could slip this in unnoticed. The other slight thing that makes it slightly more distinguishable is, as I said, it’s real salty. For essentially £4, I would say it’s a good one-off buy but the fact it IS hard to find but is still the best cold cut alternative I’ve come across yet.

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

Find this product at: Holland and Barrett and Ocado.