Tesco Meat Free Fishless Fish Cakes

20180518_180535

Contains: wheat

Free from: nuts, palm oil, soy

There was one time back in my omni days at uni when I was so unwell I became a pathetic lump and could not get out of bed, even to feed myself. Yes, you heard that right – not even food could motivate me. Ryan (being the best pal that he is) did my delusional bidding and went down the chippy and got me a fish cake and chips.

It made me feel SO MUCH WORSE. THANKS FOR NOTHING, RYAN.

The point there was supposed to be that I used to love fishcakes so much that I would risk heaving them back up just in case that happened to be my last meal (it was only sinusitis… I was totally not being dramatic…).

I found this brand new box of wonder in the free-from freezer section of Tesco (where I do most of my weekly shop) and I was so excited to try them, expecting great things seeing as Tesco has been well ahead of the game in terms of stocking some top-notch vegan nosh.

20180518_183523

They definitely look that part, and they only take 20 minutes in the oven from frozen which is pretty much the upper limit when it comes to waiting time when you’re a lazy  and impatient bitch like me.

Here’s the thing… while Tesco is often the front runner of supplying us with convenient vegan food, it can also sometimes fall a little flat when it comes to their own-brand stuff.

These fishless fishcakes were perfect… if you were never really a fan of fish.

Instead of fishy, they taste quite starchy. Not in a necessarily unpleasant way… just in a sort of underwhelming “carbs with herbs” kinda way. Texture-wise they’ve hit the bulls-eye because the breadcrumb is really flavourful and doesn’t form a hard shell that conceals a mushy interior. It cooked evenly all the way through and (with enough ketchup) was a fairly inoffensive meal.

20180518_183820

Yeah. The best I can come up with for this is “inoffensive”. God, I should really work in marketing…

Look, it was fine. Not “fine” like how your partner says “fine” when you say you’re going down the pub with your mates and don’t know when you’ll be back. More like “fine” as in “the weather here in England managed to break into the low teens temperature-wise and it isn’t pissing down with rain”. That kind of fine. You aren’t going to put on a garish Hawaiin shirt and party about it, but you’ll take it if it’s there and won’t complain.

In short, there are better fake fish products out there. My omni sister swears that Quorn fishless fingers taste like the real deal, so I’m sure at some point in the future there will be some vegan fishcakes that actually taste like they were at one point somewhat vaguely near the damn ocean…

  • My Rating – 3/5
  • Omnivore Score – 2/5
  • Overall – 3/5

Find this product at: Tesco

Quorn Vegan BBQ Strips

Maker:S,Date:2017-1-29,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Contains: Wheat

Free from: Nuts, Soya, Palm Oil

Venturing outside our world of patties, hotdogs and sausages – I’m trying Quorn BBQ Strips… What is a  strip, you say? Get me enough drink and I’ll show you haaaaaa… (but seriously, I don’t know). Anyway… Quorn have been coming out with vegan things left, right and centre in the past year and this just sounded like something I had to try. You can squeeze out two meals from a single £2.50 bag so it’s not horrendously priced but are you willing to fork that much out for “mystery strips”? Well, you fuckin’ should.

img_20180510_185453.jpg

First off – what’s with every Quorn product looking like it came out of a Play-Doh fun factory? They don’t look great out the pack and I didn’t have high hopes at first… but then, once the pan had heated up a bit, the smell hit. Think McDonald’s BBQ sauce. Now imagine just the smell of that dominating EVERYTHING but in the best kind of way, like Ronald McD’s own brand cologne. They come out actually looking edible and less like Colgate’s newest and least welcome flavoured toothpaste and still smelling 10/10. If at this point you’re worrying they’ve overdone the flavouring, don’t because they haven’t. Even though it smells like heaven-on-fucking-high, the taste isn’t as overpowering. It’s not one of those where you have to spice it before hand or where you wish you were eating cardboard instead, no, it’s just damn spot on. A good mix of BBQ, a good mix of… Quorn flavour? Shit, I don’t even know what Quorn’s made of but that taste.

Maker:S,Date:2017-1-29,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

So what’s wrong with it? Is there anything wrong with it? Is this really God’s gift to man? Well, no. The only thing I have wrong with this product (probably linked to my severe lack of knowledge as to what Quorn actually is) is that the texture is like if Spongebob and talcum powder somehow had the most disfigured and mangled child (has science gone too far?). It just crumbles, falls apart and then mushes a bit in your mouth whilst somehow also sucking all the moisture out of it at once. I know that sounds like the worst thing in the world, but I wouldn’t discount these bad boys just yet. I’m convinced that it’s nothing a little sauce couldn’t fix because the taste is all there, Quorn just need to do something about their weird, compressed ‘shroom… stuff.

I really, really want to be able to answer the omnivore question but I don’t know what the fuck an omni strip is… Chicken? Well… this is definitely not fucking chicken unless it’s that pink goop they use to make nuggets. Steak? We were closer with pink goop. So for my actual rating? I’d give it a solid 4. Real good shit. Omnivore score? It actually has to be a 0 (but honestly it tastes good enough just feed it to them anyway).

  • My Rating: 4/5
  • Omnivore Score: 0/5
  • Overall: 5/5

Find this product at: Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Ocado and ASDA.

 

Gosh! Beetroot, Kale, and Quinoa Burgers

20180327_120208

Free From: soy, nuts, palm oil, gluten

We just had a heatwave here in the UK which obviously meant every fucker and his mother had their tops off, beers cooling, and BBQs out.

We’ve already covered a lot of burgers and sausages since we started JFP, but it seems like 2018 is the Year of the Vegan because you can’t go up the shops without another goddamn veggie burger staring at you from the Free From fridge.

Ryan is a man who likes his burgers busting with veggies and beans. I myself prefer a dirty, greasy, fake-meaty burger that makes my arteries get a little worried. So we really didn’t know which one of us should review this burger from Gosh considering it looks like a meat patty… but it definitely does not claim to be trying to emulate any form of mashed up animal (yum yum).

I stepped up and took the beetroot burger bullet, hoping and praying that it wouldn’t be as shit as most other “healthy” burgers that I’ve subjected myself to.

20180327_122731

Stage one: remove from packaging. So far so good… it looks kinda like a meaty burger because of the pink from the beetroot and the squishy-but-nubbly texture (why don’t I work in marketing? It’s honestly a mystery).

Let’s be fucking clear: that’s where the likeness to a good honest burger ends.

Even before cooking these little pink lumps the smell of mint is over-fucking-powering. It kinda took me back to when my dad would buy “gourmet” burgers from Waitrose (because we are painfully middle-class) that were made with lamb and rammed with spices to make them distinct from your bog-standard poor-people quarter-pounders.

Totally echoing Ryan’s rant in his last post here – but they took TWENTY MINUTES to cook in the oven. TWENTY. And there’s no quick option to fry them or stick them on a BBQ (because you’d be stood there like a goddamn fool watching your burger disintegrate between the grill and into the fucking flames thank to their crap structural integrity). So you have to sit and suffer waiting by the oven, only to be cripplingly disappointed when they aren’t even fucking cooked through after the full time.

20180327_124944

If these burgers were made of meat, they’d be a fucking health hazard. Or, in the eternal words of Gordon Ramsay:

gordon ramsay

This was so gross to eat. It had a bizarre dry shell which barely held together the completely soggy inside. Irritatingly, they actually tasted quite nice. Mint is the dominant flavour so it would be better with some kind of yoghurt dip rather than ketchup, which is just way to bougie for a basic BBQ in my opinion.

It wouldn’t matter if this was the best bizarro mint burger I had ever put in my mouth, because the texture was so disgusting I would struggle to bring myself to get over that for the flavour alone. Honestly, think raw minced meat. Yeah. Not exactly going to appeal to the vegan demographic, is it…

Don’t feed this to your vegan friends. Don’t feed this to your omni friends. If you feed this to anyone, you will not have any friends left.

 

Let’s rate this fucking catastrophe, shall we?

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

Find this product at: most supermarkets (but please do yourself a favour and leave it there)

Tesco’s Peanut & Avocado Burgers

Elephant2

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.

Elephant2

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

Elephant2

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.]

Elephant2

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?!

Elephant2

Elephant2

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

20180323_175526

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.

20180320_152524

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

Elephant2

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).

Elephant2

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*.

Elephant2

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

20171022_184204

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.

20171022_185725
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

20180108_170605.jpg

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.

20180108_170626

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