Vivera Fish Goujons

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Contains: wheat

Free from: palm oil, nuts, soya

Nothing says commitment to your blog like not posting for 2 weeks then getting pissed, trying out some fish goujons, and typing up some drunk nonsense as if that counts as a quality review.

As entertaining as Drunk G can be, I had to get my shit together and actually turn that crap into something I could actually publish.

Ages ago I reviewed Quorn’s Fishless Fingers and BOY WAS I JAZZED. I’ll spare you the reminiscing about fish finger sandwiches (because obviously you read that blog post, duh) but the basic gist was that even my omni sister found them so convincing she’d struggle to tell them apart from the real thing.

Despite a high standard previously set by a fake fishy sandwich filler, Vivera’s Fish Goujons completely blew my mind.

They were very convincingly fishy without going overboard (because no one wants their fake fish to taste like the underside of Brighton Pier), and they nailed the texture inside and out. The breadcrumb is much nicer on these goujons than on Quorn’s as it does crumble when you bite into it, unlike the fishless fingers. Vivera really went all-out to trump Quorn in every possible way, because even cooking the goujons is quicker than sticking the fishless fingers in the oven for god knows how long (okay so it’s still only 15 minutes but that’s AFTER pre-heating and when you’re a hungry bitch like me, every minute is precious before we get to full-blown hanger). The goujons just need light frying for about 4 minutes and they’re cooked through and ready to go.

 

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Look at these beautiful golden bastards. For the sake of science I put them in a fishfinger sandwich, in order to draw a direct comparison with the fishless fingers I know and love. The goujons absolutely smashed it; they were bigger, thicker, juicier, and all-around tastier than the fishless fingers. I ate that sandwich in under 2 minutes then went back and made another (…for science, obviously…).

Honestly, if Vivera keep bringing their A-game I am going to have to buy some bigger jeans because I can’t get enough of their chilled products right now.

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

Find this product at: Tesco

Vivera Veggie Steak

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Contains: soya, wehat

Free from: nuts, palm oil

Unless you’ve been living in the Marianas Trench for the last few weeks, you’ll have heard that Vivera’s Vegan Steaks launched in Tesco, and they’ve been flying off the shelves.  That’s right – VEGAN STEAK! IN THE UK!

When I went vegan, my parents were shocked mostly because in my omni days my favourite meal was steak (done rare, no less…). I was as far from vegan as you could get. If you asked 14 year old Georgia if she’d ever give up cooking slabs of meat on the BBQ in exchange for a soy mock-up… well she would probably write some emo poetry or post a cringe-y Facebook status about how she less-than-threes steak more than life itself.*

Regardless, here I am, aged 23 and possibly breaking speeding laws to get my ass to the nearest Tesco before the Vivera steaks sell out so I can ethically revisit my youth and have something to blog about this week.

Here’s what it looked like fresh out the frying pan. It took less than 5 minutes to cook so pairing it with chips was a terrible idea considering how fucking hungry I was when I set out to cook this meal, but I digress…

 

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THE VERDICT?

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

It’s not perfect, don’t get me wrong. I’m not gonna stand here and wax lyrical about how it’s a bloody marvel and an exact replica of a rump or sirloin. But my god, it is god damn close enough.

The texture is great. It’s meaty, while not being exact like steak as you don’t have to saw through it, so you can put your old steak knives back in their rightful place – lost somewhere in the miscellaneous cutlery drawer.

The taste is amazing. It’s juicy and the right amount of salty, though you can tell there is a distinct soy taste to it. Jazzed up with some peppercorn sauce and this basic dinner would be a fucking winner no matter who you fed it to.

As for cooking? You literally could not fuck this up. I wasn’t kidding when I said it takes less than five minutes in a frying pan. Just don’t get distracted for five fucking minutes and you’ll be golden.

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Let’s be honest here – this steak is not gonna be for everyone. It may be vegan, but there are vegans out there who are so far removed from meat that they do not want or need this steak in their lives and that’s fine (more for me). There are going to be omnis out there with sticks so far up their asses that they would not even deign to try this, and again – that’s fine (because once again, more for me). And of course there will be people who still eat steak or used to eat steak who give this a go and think it falls ever so slightly short and they won’t be having it a second time. Kudos for trying, please give me your leftovers.

I loved this. I honestly fucking loved it. I could not have asked for anything more perfect because it ticks all the right boxes in taste, texture, price, and effort without being an exact replica of steak because frankly, I wouldn’t want that. I’d be too freaked. The Vivera steak toes the line and does it with such precision; I could not commend this any higher.

Oh and for anyone still on the fence about trying it: a pack of 2 Vivera steaks cost about £2.40 (less than a coffee from Costa, I’m just saying…).

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

Find this product at: Tesco

*for anyone confused… that’s how we used to roll with making heart emojis back in the days of MSN. ❤

Tesco Meat Free Fishless Fish Cakes

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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.

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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.

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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

Gosh! Beetroot, Kale, and Quinoa Burgers

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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.

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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.

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

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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)

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.

 

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

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

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