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.

frys family soy roast

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

Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken

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Contains: wheat, soya

Free From: palm oil, nuts

Seeing as Ryan loved Linda’s shredded duck so much I thought fuck it, the chicken must be just as good.

Opening the packet I thought “well, this is some flaky bullshit right here”. I thought they fucked up, that instead of moist and tender chicken shreds I had been sold some frozen fish food. Then I shut the fuck up and got my wok out (cheeky).

Because science and the fact I almost always snack while cooking, I tried a plain piece of chicken once the shreds had started to get hot and were just beginning to get a little bit of a brown crisp going on.

Fuck me for ever doubting Linda McCartney when it comes to pulling vegetarian meat (behave).

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The texture was spot on. This stuff would be perfect for burritos and risottos alike. It carries quite a lot of moisture in itself so don’t be a jackass like me and think it’ll totally work in a Thai green curry. That shit did not end well and looked more like the aftermath of a heavy night of boozing than an appetising Asian meal… but at least it tasted good so it wasn’t too monumental a fuck up.

As far as feeding it to your omni friends, it would be a really good way to introduce them to the concept of eating vegan food and not being a fucking asshole about it. And in classic Linda style, it’s good value for money at £2.50 a pack. So even if your friends are assholes, at least you didn’t break the bank trying to feed them shit that won’t give them heart disease.

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

Find this product at: most supermarkets and Holland and Barrett.

Tesco Free-From Millionaire’s Dessert

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Contains: palm oil, soya 

Free from: nuts, wheat

I SAID I WAS DONE WITH TESCO’S CHILLED DESSERTS. WELL, GUESS WHAT. I FUCKING LIED.

And you know what?

I’M GLAD I DID.

I have pretty much hated all the chilled desserts Tesco have pumped out because they all taste overwhelmingly of coconut and that shit does not fly with me.

THIS, however, is a game changer.

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It doesn’t look like much, but this NON-COCONUTTY coconut-based dessert is rich, smooth, and has the perfect chocolate:biscuit:caramel ratio. The top layer of dark chocolate mousse is dense enough to make you feel like you didn’t pay £1.50 for three unsatisfying spoonfuls of pudding, but light enough that you forget that ONE POT CONTAINS 59% OF YOUR DAILY SATURATES (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). FIFTY FUCKING NINE. I know we’re the Junkfood Punks but WHAT THE HELL, TESCO?!

The biscuit layer is exactly the same as that of Tesco’s Free-From Cheesecake. It is still that weak, crumbly chaos we have come to expect; the difference here is that because it isn’t supposedly a weight-bearing “base” you can look past its structural insufficiencies and just enjoy the flaky shortbread as it is.

At the very bottom of this child-size pot you’ll find the salted caramel sauce. It’s alright.

Seriously the caramel sauce is just kinda… caramel sauce. Like, great, you remembered to put it in AND it doesn’t taste like coconut but I’m not giving you a round of applause for something painfully average. It’s not quite as “luxurious” and “indulgent” as Tesco’s marketing team would have you believe.

All in all, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and actually really enjoyed this dessert. Nice one, Tesco. But still, at £1.50 a pot and with 59% of my daily saturates in one serving, I think I’ll just skip dessert and go straight to the wine instead.

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

Find this product at: Tesco.

Linda McCartney Mini Pork & Apple Sausage Rolls

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Contains: palm oil, wheat, soya

Free From: nuts

My Nana always makes sausage rolls from scratch EVERY YEAR for Christmas. It’s her thing, along with guilting me for being vegan and not eating her sausage rolls that she made from scratch specially for Christmas.

Personally, I don’t believe that sausage rolls should be restricted to being a once-a-year, special occasion snack food. Sausage rolls are pretty much the backbone of British food culture; try and name a single town here that doesn’t have  a Gregg’s trying to flog mashed up pig wrapped in flaky pastry.

These little Linda sausage rolls are bite-sized and beautiful. Easy to cook, easy to eat, less easy to stop yourself eating half the packet…

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Brushing the rolls with a milk alternative is a must to give it a golden, buttery look and taste. I used Alpro Soya Light and it worked like a charm. If you manage to not shove a whole roll in your mouth and you actually take a human sized bite, you’ll notice that good god DAMN this is some flaky pastry. This shit is PERFECTION. What is even the point in eating sausage rolls if you don’t end up with pastry flakes all over you, alerting everyone in the vicinity that:

A) There are sausage rolls near by, and

B) You have no shame.

The filling is good but to be honest I was expecting a little more sweetness from the apple, and that’s where these fall a bit flat for me. The texture of the filling is great and holds its form when you bite into it, and it tastes a hell of a lot like classic pork stuffing which means omnis probably wouldn’t notice a difference between your standard cheap sausage roll bites.

Being an absolute trash human, my solution for any mildly disappointing food is to squeeze a fuck tonne of ketchup all over that shit. It definitely improved my opinion of these sausage rolls seeing as I went on to eat another five, all smothered in tomatoey sugary goodness.

In the name of equality, I also tried them out with HP brown sauce, as my Nana would argue that putting ketchup on a sausage roll is like showing up to Christmas dinner one year having shaved half of your head (i.e. “what the fuck have you done you have RUINED CHRISTMAS”*).

(Sorry Nana)

FYI brown sauce works just fine too…

Overall these mini sausage rolls are the perfect party food as you can guarantee they’ll all be eaten with pretty much no complaining, but they’re also no show-stopper and are kinda forgettable.

  • My Score – 3/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 3.5/5

Find this product at: most supermarkets and some alternative food stores.

*not an exact quote

Tofurky Hickory Smoke Flavour Turkey Style Slices

tofurky

Contains: gluten, soy

Free from: nuts, palm oil

I was so not thrilled about trying these turkey style slices after Ryan’s Tofurky trainwreck a few blog posts ago with their artisan sausages, and I was even less thrilled when I opened the box to find what looked like a vacuum-packed breast implant reject, but good god damn am I glad I took out a small business loan to purchase this pack of vegan witchcraft. Seriously, this pack cost me roughly £3 at Holland and Barrett and it only lasted for two sandwiches.

Disclaimer: Yes I bought a “family pack”. Yes I ate the whole thing in 2 sittings. I did not come here to be judged so just read the damn post and piss off with your calorie counting, Sharon.

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Everybody knows the only way to make a decent sandwich is to load that fucker up with as much filling as is physically possible. If your sandwich is over 60% bread then get the fuck out. To test these deli slices I shoved half a pack of the wafer-thin bastards in between two slices of granary loaf (granary loaf is the tits and I will fight you), slathered on at least two tablespoons of cranberry sauce (festive AF I don’t care that it’s July) and finished it off with a fistful of green leafy shit (because NUTRIENTS).

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Fuck me for being so prejudiced against Tofurky. These turkey style slices are a GAME CHANGER. Honestly, they taste perfect and the fact that Tofurky go the extra mile and actually smoke their vegan meats over hickory chips instead of just using liquid smoke makes a world of difference because the flavour is second to none.

I took a slice aside while making my sandwich to see if it was still as tasty on its own. It tears like meat, which may put some hardcore vegans off… but if that’s the case just don’t tear the slices – it ain’t rocket science. They have a great smokey smell to them which was really unexpected. I was anticipating some rubber-scented bullshit, because too often it seems like not wanting to kill animals means being subjected to Goodyear Tyres’ scraps reformed into a limp slice of sadness.

I feel like I could’ve given an omni a bite of my sandwich and they probably wouldn’t question a damn thing. Obviously these aren’t supposed to emulate big thick cuts of turkey left over from a roast dinner… but as a contender for wafer thin sandwich slices these are seriously giving the meaty alternative a run for its money.

Tofurky, I apologise for previously being a judgemental dick. That was the best damn sandwich I’ve eaten since going vegan.

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

Find this product at: Holland and Barrett, independent alternative food stores, and online.

Taifun Tofu Wiener

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Contains: gluten, soy

Free From: nuts, palm oil

I used to live in New York and let me tell ya, the hot-dogs there and single handedly the most delicious and most disgusting thing you could ever possibly put in your mouth.

There’s just something about stuffing your face with a warm hot-dog smothered in ketchup (Yes, ketchup. All you mustard lovers are freaks.) while walking through central park in the snow… until your brain suddenly kicks in and goes “I bet it’s all ears and assholes and feet in this”. Cue 14 year-old G desperately trying not to throw up in public…. That wasn’t my last experience with the “real deal” but it was definitely the most memorable…

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Enter stage right: TOFU WIENER.

These long-ass frankfurters look, smell, and taste exactly the same as a classic hot-dog with the comfort of knowing there are no added assholes. They are really flavoursome and have that classic smokey taste, and they definitely aren’t the rubbery texture I was expecting.

You can even eat these veggie wieners hot or cold. The cooking instructions are to “heat in hot water for 3-4 minutes”, but me being a lazy student with zero time to wait around for water to boil I just stabbed the sausages with a fork a couple times and put them in the microwave for 40 seconds and that did the job just fine.

You could very easily bring these to a barbecue, whack ’em on the grill, and serve them up to all your pals and they would have no clue that they weren’t chomping on ground up off-cuts. I’d go as far as to say these are my top find for summer. From now on, if anyone tries to hit me up with that big-ass-mushroom-instead-of-a-burger bullshit at a barbecue I will be slapping them across the face with a wiener (oooh dirty) and screaming WE DON’T PUT UP WITH THAT BLAND SHIT ANYMORE.

One pack costs £3.50 which is reasonable given that you get four ENORMOUS wieners (hehehe) and a standard hot-dog bun only requires half a wiener, but they’re definitely more expensive than their meaty counterparts. Ah, the value of animal life.

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

Find this product at: Waitrose and online 

Tesco Free From Garlic Dough Balls

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Contains: palm oil

Free From: nuts, gluten, soy

Everybody likes garlic dough balls. They’re like garlic bread, but without anyone having to punch a family member in the face in a fight to the death over who has to eat the crusty end piece.

SO. You can imagine my excitement when wandering the frozen aisle of Tesco I came across these purple-packaged beauties.

There are 9 dough balls in a pack. One serving size is 3 dough balls. Let’s get one thing cleared up REAL FAST: NO ONE ONLY EATS THREE DOUGH BALLS. I consumed 30% of my daily saturates in one sitting for you bastards, so you better appreciate this.

First things first, the cooking instructions say to bake until golden brown. The dough balls on the packet aren’t even golden brown, and when that oven timer went off I was not gonna piss around – I had eating to do.

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Good god DAMN these things are garlicky and buttery and I think for a brief moment I fell in love. That was until I shoved a whole dough ball in my mouth and came to the disappointing realisation that the actual texture of the garlic butter was like damp herby nooch*.

As for the balls themselves (laugh it up, you filthy minded heathens), some were super soft and fluffy and basically heaven in your mouth… others were kinda chewy. These are not just straight up vegan dough balls by the way, they’re gluten free too. That’s possibly where this hit-and-miss texture comes from.

If I was hosting some kind of get together I would much rather cook some from scratch than serve these up. Yes you could feed them to your omni friends but they will for sure judge your lazy ass and then bang on about “real butter”. Spare me.

Overall, I wasn’t massively impressed with these Pizza Express wannabes. Yeah, they are huge and definitely not stingy with the garlic butter that’s for sure, but the chewiness and the fact that you won’t be able to hold a face to face conversation with anyone for the foreseeable future makes me think I won’t be having these again, even though they only cost £2.

  • My Rating: 2/5
  • Omnivore Score: 3/5
  • Overall: 2.5/5

Find these at: Tesco

 

*nutritional yeast flakes, for all of you who aren’t down with the kids.

Quorn Fishless Fingers

quorn fishless

Contains: gluten

Free From: soy, palm oil, nuts

PRAISE BE TO QUORN FOR FISHLESS FINGERS.

I’m 90% sure that every British kid grew up with fish fingers as a staple part of their diet. A while after I went vegan, someone casually mentioned fish finger sandwiches to me and still a little part of my heart broke. I felt like I’d lost a little bit of my childhood, as some of my best memories are of me and my friend Sam kicking back, playing XBox, eating fish finger sandwiches and drinking tea (we were possibly the most British teenagers alive).

I am not exaggerating when I say these little pieces of breadcrumbed heaven are a near identical match for regular fish fingers. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just over-excited by a mediocre alternative, so I had my omni sister taste test them and even she said they were a damn good replica of the real deal.

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I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THEM.

The inside texture is not as oily as regular fish, but is perfectly moist compared to the breadcrumb crust. You don’t get left with any nasty after taste – which I really expected of a fish replacement – and they are incredible whether you have them as is, smothered in a shit-tonne of ketchup, or in a sandwich. Trust me, I have tried all three.

Can I sell my soul to Quorn in return for a life-time supply of these? I mean they’re only £2.50 for a pack of ten but still…

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

Find these at: various supermarkets, Holland and Barrett, and independent alternative food stores.

Tesco Free-From Blackcurrant Cheese Cakes

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Contains: palm oil

Free From: nuts, soy, gluten

“VEGAN CHEESECAKE?! Sign me the fuck up.” -me, in Tesco

“What in the HELL KIND OF SICK GAME ARE THEY PLAYING?!” -me, after eating this plastic cup of disappointment

This shit is not cheesecake. It is coconut pudding desperately masquerading as something that could maybe be perceived as cheesecake by someone who has never seen or tried cheesecake ever in their life.

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THE BASE. This is not a biscuit base. This is a soft, flaky catastrophe. Theresa May would stay the hell away because this base sure ain’t strong and stable.

THE “CAKE”. What even are you doing, Tesco? Fuck off. Fuck off right now. You have made me SAD. This has in no way got the texture or tang of cheesecake. It was sweet as anything, and tasted of straight up coconut.

THE BLACKCURRANT COMPOTE. Okay yeah actually this bit was alright. Probably the saving grace of this whole monstrosity to be honest. Without the compote I would have abandoned all hope, but this made it bearable because it helped mask the overwhelming taste of coconut.

Look, this thing doesn’t taste bad by any means but it definitely does not taste like cheesecake. Tesco, just give it to us straight. Call it a “coconut dessert with blackcurrant compote” and I wouldn’t complain, because each element actually tastes quite good. Don’t be all deceiving with this “cheesecake” bullshit.

(The following scores are based on the fact that I spent £1.70 on NOT CHEESECAKE. MY HOPES AND DREAMS WERE CRUSHED.)

  • My Rating: 2/5
  • Omnivore Score: nope/5
  • Overall: 2/5

Find this product at: Tesco