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.

 

Raw Food Rosie’s Original Classic Cashew Brie

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Contains: nuts

Free from: palm oil, wheat, soy

I found Raw Food Rosie’s stall at VegFest London 2017 and it was hands down the best find of the whole festival.

I tried EVERY. SINGLE. CHEESE. (because I am a shameless and broke student) and not a single one disappointed. Seriously, the Vampire Slayer spreadable cheese blew my fucking brains out it packed such a punch.

I bought the original cashew brie because I’m a sucker for the good ol’ classics and it is one of my favourite vegan cheeses ever (if not one of my favourite cheeses ever in general).

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JUST LOOK AT IT. LOOK AT THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE. THIS SHIT IS FANTASTIC.

It’s solid, but creamy. Apply a little pressure or let it sit at room temperature and it will spread like butter. It’s thick and rich and filling and literally everything you could want in a cheese. It makes it so diverse – you could eat this on crackers, in sandwiches, in a pasta dish… or you could sink to my level and just hack at it like a mad woman and eat it straight from the wrapping.

Price-wise it’s one of the more reasonably priced ‘artisanal’ vegan cheese at £5.50 a wheel, and it can be frozen which means you have no excuse to not dedicate an entire freezer drawer to fulfilling your cheese needs (just me? alrighty then…).

If you wanna crack this out for your omni friends and family (if you have the willpower to part with it) then it would go down pretty well compared with supermarket takes on vegan cheese. It’s much more flavoursome but in the right way, and the texture is fucking perfect.

My only issue is that I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “brie” because that makes me think of a thick white rind and soft gooey centre, which this cheese definitely does not have. As a generic mild, semi-creamy cheese though you will struggle to find anything better than this and definitely not at a better price.

Overall, it’s fucking ace.

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

Find this product at: http://www.rawfoodrosies.com/shop/

Tesco Free-From Rocky Road Bites

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Contains: palm oil, soy

Free from: nuts, wheat

I bloody love rocky road. I don’t give a fuck about you sultana-hating purists, rocky road is the shit and I will fight you. The worst part about most free-from rocky road bites is that they are sneakily non-vegan. Seriously, why the fuck would you go to all that effort to make something gluten free, egg free, AND dairy free to then be like “LOL they still got gelatin in ’em tho”. It’s a sick and cruel joke.

FORTUNATELY the ever-reliable Tesco decided to not be sick and cruel bastards and bestowed upon us a tiny tub of terrible tarmac goodness (get it? Terrible tarmac… Rocky road… Is this thing on…?).

The downside: it costs £3 for about 12 mini bites. That is like 6 normal human bites and 4 “G is menstruating and determined” bites. Not exactly value for money…

The upside: RICH AND GOOEY CHOCOLATEY GOODNESS INTERSPERSED WITH CRUNCHY BISCUIT, SULTANAS, AND SQUIDGY MARSHMALLOW.

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That’s a pretty big upside if you ask me. So if you have £3 to burn or are in a desperate pit of chocolate-deprived despair, these bite-sized bastards are the tub to tuck into.

Importantly, the chocolate is an easy pass for any omni, so if you feel like 12 tiny bites are just too much for your (weak ass) self to handle you can rest assured that you can share a tub with all your pals.

Or alternatively, get them to try one and realise how fucking good they are… then proceed to eat the rest of the tub in front of them like the rocky road gremlin you are.

Your choice…

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

Find this product at: Tesco

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

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

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/

GranoVita Organic Herb Pâté

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Contains: “sustainable” palm oil, nuts, soy

Free from: wheat

You know shit’s fucked up when shoving a tube down the throat of an animal to fatten up its liver to be blended up and spread on toast is seen as a reasonable means of providing a staple food product to a middle class household.

Yeah, I used to eat that shit. And it took me a while to realise that if you have to stop yourself thinking about what your food really is to be able to put it in your mouth and swallow then MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, you shouldn’t fucking eat it.

So, while it took me a while to get into veggie pâté, I have some strong feelings about why everyone – duck stuffers included – should shut the fuck up and embrace it with open arms (and mouths).

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GranoVita’s pâté is thick without being chunky, packed full of bomb-ass herbs without the feeling of grazing on your front lawn, and it’s got a nice mild but distinct taste that doesn’t punch you in the mouth with garlic.

The downside: the bastard fucking thing is IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the tube. I had to go on Tinder and look back at the wildly inappropriate and sexually aggressive messages I’d received from thirsty fuckboys to fuel myself with enough rage to Hulk-smash the tube into submission. And when you do get it out of the tube, it looks a little bit like bird shit (ah, sweet irony). One tube costs around £2.75 which is pretty reasonable for the amount you get plus the added workout plan…

My advice: ignore the appearance and the fact you broke a sweat trying to access your afternoon snack, grab your crackers, and enjoy feeling like a middle class housewife nibbling on leftover hors d’oeuvres from your most recent dinner party.

Look, this pâté isn’t supposed to pretend to be the blended up organ of a dead bird. It is very obviously a veggie pâté, BUT that doesn’t mean omnis can’t enjoy it. And if they slag it off because it’s “weird vegan shit” just remind them that eating plants is way less fucked up than their weird carnist shit.

Alternatively, punch them in the jaw and don’t invite them round for fancy-ass food ever again.

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

Find this product at: Holland and Barrett, other health/alternative food stores