Sloppy Tortilla Chips

When I had my grocery delivery a couple of weeks ago, the company had to make several substitutions.  It is interesting that both my requested kidney beans, and refried beans were replaced by kid-style spaghetti rings in tomato sauce.  The present shortages brought about by panic buying necessitated me not refusing the proffered replacements. The planned meal was to have either a bean taco salad type meal or a nachos dish with melted cheese.   Now a fortnight on I was in the place of making a meal from them, and it ended up being what I am sure will not be the last Corona-necessitated fusion dish.  I therefore offer you, for your dining pleasure Sloppy Tortilla Chips or probably more accurately Tortilla Slop.  It was actually quite tasty by the way.

It makes 3 servings of about 440 calories each, or two large servings at about 660.


  • Tortilla Chips 200 g bag (I was brought plain ones)
  • Spaghetti Hoops 400 g tin
  • Chili Powder 2 tsp (mild or medium)
  • Jalapenos Approximately 5 sliced
  • Black Olive Slices (optional) 1 Tbs (drained)
  • Salsa 150 g (mild or medium)



Break the tortilla chips up into a large glass or ceramic bowl.  Do not crumble but make pieces so they can easily be eaten by spoon.  In a separate microwaveable bowl mix the spaghetti and chili powder and heat on high in microwave for one minute.  Pour the “spaghetti chili” over the chips and mix lightly.  Place this back in the microwave for an additional minute.  Remove and stir in the remaining items until everything is well mixed.



Oh, from the culinary heights we have fallen.


Simple Baked Potato


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It’s Foodie Friday, and day 11 of my lock-down. Keeping with the wisest course of action in the situation, I have been working my way through my “fresh” stores, before going on to my drieds and tins.  As I had several good sized potatoes at hand I have gone for a simple bake.  One eaten hot, and the others cooked for use in the next day or two (no need to run the oven for one potato).


  • Potatoes  3-4 (Russet works well)
  • Olive Oil (I use garlic infused) splash
  • Sea Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C.  Wash the potatoes and pat dry.  Then make a cut with a sharp knife lengthwise on the top of each potato.  Place each potato in the centre of a square of foil large enough to wrap the entire potato.  Splash a small amount of oil onto each potato and gently work it onto the skin.  Wrap the potatoes thoroughly and place in the oven for 60 to 75 minutes.  Potatoes are done when a skewer or sharp knife can is able to pierce the potato meeting little or no resistance. Remove and let stand five minutes before serving with butter, or your favourite toppings.





Cran-Ban Muffins (Cranberry Banana)


Cran Ban.jpg


It has been a while since I last posted a recipe.  With the lock down however, and bananas getting a bit past their prime, I decided to do a little baking.  I also discovered that I had an unopened jar of cranberry sauce in the cupboard with a use by March 20 stamp, so thought it might make a nice complement.  It did.


  • Bananas 2-3 over ripe
  • Sugar 3/4 cup/approx 100 g
  • Eggs 2
  • Milk 150ml (or as needed, you may need less if using 3 bananas)
  • Cranberry Sauce 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable Oil 1 Tbs (I used coconut oil for the sweetness)
  • Flour (self-rising) 2 cups/approx 250 g
  • Baking Soda (Bicarb) 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Powder 1 tsp
  • Salt pinch



Preheat the oven to 190C (170 C fan)/ 375F.  Place a dozen paper cases into a 12 whole muffin pan, and set aside.  Sift flour, sugar, bicarb, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. In a separate bowl mash the bananas, cranberry sauce, oil.  Beat the eggs and mix into the moist mixture.  Make a depression in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the moist ingredients.  Mix together with a fork, and slowly add the milk as needed to make a thick but not runny batter.  Spoon mixture into the prepared muffin cases and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.  Cool on rack.

Each muffin approximately 190 – 200 calories.






KFC Original Recipe Vegan Burger: Review


Vegan Burger: Coventry Services

It’s Foodie Friday once again, and this week I am reviewing KFC’s “Original Recipe” Vegan Burger.  The original “original recipe” from the 1950s has morphed some over the years, but it is still tasty.  It has been years since I had it, but with the new move to plant based menus I thought I would give the vegan KFC offering a try.

First of all the down side.  I purchased my meal at a motorway services, so presentation and care are not at the forefront.  That said the coating of the vegan fillet (a Quorn product) was similar to what I remembered the chicken fillet’s as having.  The combo with Quorn was not as nice as I would have hoped, however.  I am actually a fan of the “chicken” offerings which Quorn makes, but this was not one of the best.  It may be that the KFC 11 herbs and spices diminished the “chicken” illusion that Quorn usually has, or it may be that I just expected too much.

Any way the sandwich was okay.  The bun a little dry, though the spiced fillet compensated for that a little.  The iceberg lettuce was – well iceberg lettuce and offered little to the overall sandwich.

Nutritionally, the sandwich has 450 calories and 18.99 grams of fat.  Of these 1.9 are saturates.  The sandwich has nearly 53 grams of carb (5.69 are sugars), and 19.4 grams of protein.

This is a above average veggie option is on the go, but it does lack a bit if you are looking for a vegan/vegetarian nostalgia fix of the KFC of old.


A Tale of Two Veggie Options

It’s Veganuary and vegetarian and vegan options seem to be everywhere in the UK.  This is a tale of how to, and not to go about entering the veggie market.

Gregg’s bakers made a major breakthrough last year with the introduction of their vegan sausage roll.  They therefore entered 2020 with a much publicised launch of a vegan steak bake.  Queues formed hours before the shops opened, as many people wanted to be one of the first to try this product.  Gregg’s had their fingers on the pulse.

I personally have a mixed take on the vegan steak bake.  Let me explain.  I bought one a couple of days after the launch.  It was early in the day, and the bake was hot and the aroma mouth watering.  The pastry lived up to Gregg’s traditional “96 layers of light and crisp puff pastry” standards, and the Quorn “steak” really did have a meaty flavour.  The gravy was thick and really complimented the other ingredients.  I really enjoyed it.

The bakes have 380 calories each.  There is 24 grams of fat (12 g saturated),  30 grams of carb (1 g sugars), and 9.5 grams of protein.  This is 28 calories fewer than the meat version,  though the fat is roughly equivalent.

The first one was so good, that I stopped in again a few days later, but one my way home from work.  Here I found that the “shelf life” of the product is not great.   The second bake was only moderately warm, and the gravy had become almost gelatinous.  The flavour of the “steak” as well had become more Quorn and less “beef.”  It was not bad, but it was far from being as luscious as its cousin earlier in the week.

All in all, this is a good product, and another feather in Gregg’s cap, but be sure you get it when it is fresh and hot.

The second tale is that of Burger King who have released the Rebel Whopper.  This plant based product is to be avoided by vegans and vegetarians (and even we pescatarians).  The veggie patty is cooked on the same equipment (and even alongside) the beef burgers.  Add to this that it is topped with egg based mayonnaise.  Meat eaters who have tried them find them surprisingly meat-like, but they are not for non-meat eaters.  One would think that the Burger King corporate bosses would have learned from the USA’s Impossible Whopper, where the cooking method even led to court cases by vegans.  But no, here in the UK the company has followed the same path.

So is you want to keep your Veganuary going, then Gregg’s is the place to head, not Burger King.  Unless you are in Barton Mills, Suffolk where the two shops are under the same roof.


Subway Meatless Meatball Marinara Melt: Review


image: Padre’s Ramblings

As Veganuary continues more and more eateries are getting into the act.  I recently went and tried Subway’s new Meatless Meatball sub.  It looked very much like the chains traditional Meatball Marinara, but with a vegan twist.  Subway notes that you can have you choice of their breads then have your “selection filled with our plant based Meatless Meatballs smothered in a rich marinara sauce and topped with vegan cheese.”

The “meatballs” are very much the flavour of Quorn brand meatballs and have a firm texture.  The sauce is very tasty; and the vegan cheese didn’t melt as readily as dairy cheese and has an acceptable taste but lacks some richness.  I had mine on the wheat bread along with black olives, onions, mixed peppers, and tomatoes.

The companies website states that a typical six inch sub has 498 calories.  This is comprised of 54.1 grams of carb (10.3 g from sugars), 17.4 grams of fat, and 26 grams of protein.   The sandwich is filling, and offer a “meal feel” rather than seeming like empty calories.

I regularly have the vegan patty from Subway, and this saucy option does round out the menu choices nicely.   It ranks well in my Veganuary trials, and it is worth giving a try (8.5/10).


Vegan Ice “Cream” Review: Ben and Jerry’s


Cookies on Cookie Dough Pint

image: Ben and Jerry’s

It’s Veganuary and Foodie Friday.  That being the case I decided to go to my local supermarket and pick up one of my wife’s “go to” treats – Halo brand non-dairy frozen dessert.  As I went to the freezer compartment Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Non-Dairy Ice Cream caught my attention, so I picked it up instead.

This frozen treat does have a fairly decent “ice cream” feel to it.  Though the way it softens has a slightly different texture to it than softening real cream.  It does have a nice flavour though, and once one allows for the dough and chocolate chunks it does compare favourably to “the real thing.”

The blend has three different plant based oils in it (rapeseed, coconut, and soy), and it also is fairly high in the sugars with 28 grams of carb (19 g of it sugar) for every two scoops.  This works out at 230 calories for every 2 scoop serving, which is considerably higher than in Halo (which I will review soon).   It is however a yummy treat, and being kosher, vegetarian, and vegan certified does open up a lot of options to those limited in the dessert department.

The dough balls, and chocolate chunks are fairly large, and the portions of them fairly generous.   All in all, this is a very nice “occasional” treat, and I may soon test out some other Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy options.



It’s Veganuary, a time for vegg’es [*pronounce Vedges]

December’s indulgences replaced by healthy pledges

A meat-free time to slim and recoup

With tasty meals and chunky soup

Perhaps for some the new regime

Will lead to changes in their life-long scheme

Eschewing milk, eggs, and flesh

Eating things that are garden fresh

For some it may be a struggle

Pastrami past their wives they’ll smuggle

But for those who stick to the course

The lifestyle they will in time endorse



The Veganuary website notes: “Since 2014, Veganuary has inspired and supported more than half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan for January – and beyond. We have worked with businesses to drive up vegan food provision in shops and restaurants, and have made veganism more visible and accessible through our work with national and international media.”

This year has really seen some changes in the marketplace.  Subway and Gregg’s have both added to their vegan lines, and smaller chains have mage new offerings as well.  I will review a few of these on Foodie Fridays, but so far I have been impressed.

To make for full disclosure, I have not taken the vegan pledge, but I have as a pescatarian cut out most (though not all) of my fish and eggs for the month.





Tesco Plant Chef Battered Fish Free Fillets : Review


Tesco Plant Chef Battered Fish Free Fillets 250G

Image: Tesco own site

I am a Pescetarian, and as such I have no dietary or ideological reasons to seek fish-free products.  But when I saw Tesco’s Plant Chef Fish-Free Fillets, I decided to give them a try.

I found the product to be of good quality, and filling.   As I said I do eat fish, so when comparing the fillets to actual seafood it comes in with a mixed review.  The texture and flavour are very akin to that of supermarket own brand fish fingers (fish sticks).   So the product does pass the minimum taste test, but it fails to meet the flavour of even “simply fish” oven products, and is a far cry from fish shop battered cod.   So for a meat eater or pesco-vegetarian it is not a “go to” first choice.  For veggies and vegans, however, it might well have something to offer.

The fillets are composed of a blend of soy, pea, corn, and rice flours, and has wheat and tapioca starch as well.  Each fillet has 274 calories, and 8.7 grams of fat.  Carbohydrate figures were not given on the product, but they do contain 1.1 grams of sugars.

I had the fillets prepared in the oven, and served on a bun with tartar sauce.  It made for a good main course for a dinner, but as I have noted it was much like a fish finger sandwich, with the only gain being its form as a single paddy rather than separate fingers.




Linda McCartney Vegetarian Mozzarella: Review

Linda McCartney Site

The Linda McCartney quarter pound vegetarian mozzarella burgers are hefty, and have a meaty feel to them.  They have a flavour which to me is reminiscent of the school cafeteria Salisbury steak that was served in high school, and a bit of an oniony aftertaste.

The burger itself is primarily soya which is backed up with chickpea flour.  There is a fair amount of barley and onion flavouring as well as yeast extract, and the who mix works fairly well.  The cheese content is enough to make it stringy when first cooked but it quickly set again as I ate.

Each burger has 238 calories with 17.8 grams of protein and 13.5 grams of fat.  The carb measures at 10.1 grams of which 1.3 grams is sugars.

It ranks well for me in the “fill you up” category,  without breaking the bank on the calories front.  I had the burgers on a plate, as a “steak-like” main,along with mash potato and corn on the cob;  but they would be ideal in a bun with some salad was well.

While I think I think I still prefer Quorn burgers for flavour and relative aftertaste, Linda McCartney’s is a more filling option with a better texture.