It was a taste indulgent

Rich and calorie-bound

The ingredients expensive

The best that could be found

It was not for the waistline conscious

Or those with palate’s plain

For this was a culinary masterpiece

A flavour sensation insane

The chef has outdone himself

That is clear to see

Oh, I’d eat this dish every day

If it were only sugar free


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.



Supermarket, Fridge, Produce, Food


Down freezer-lined aisles,  we did tread

In search of a feast for festivities ahead

Frozen turkey, sprouts, and even corn

All to be thawed by Christmas morn

We stock up on Yorkshires

And blanketed pigs – to eat

And a chocolate gateau – our meal to complete

It’s convenient – with storage-time extensive

We’ve even prepared for New Year’s

It wasn’t expensive




Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge December 10, 2019: Frozen





Greggs’ Vegan Sausage Roll: A Review

Image result for greggs vegan sausage roll

image: Metro

It’s Foodie Friday, and time for another vegetarian food review.  The “fast-food” bakery chain Greggs has started making a vegan sausage roll.  Their website states it is in response to petitions from vegan and animal rights groups.  As for me, the fact that it gives a veggie option is good enough.

It has been decades since I last ate a “real” sausage roll, but my memory of them is that they are a bit on the greasy side, with a acidy after burn from cheap cuts of meat.  So it was pleasant to find that Greggs’ vegan offering lacked the acid, and actually tastes better than the pork “original.”

Its filling is made from a Quorn product, and the pastry is light and has a nice texture.  The size is excellent too, and fits the mouth well without showering you with flake pastry crumbs.  A typical roll is 101 grams, of which 19 grams are fats (9 g saturates).  It’s not Keto friendly though with 21 grams of carb.  Calorie-wise it has 312 calories per typical roll.

I found this to be a nice snack, lunch, and on at least one recent morning – breakfast. One additional caveat however is that each roll does have 1.9 grams of salt.


A Culinary “Pub Crawl”

It’s Travel Tuesday, and while I considered posting this for a Foodie Friday, it applies to both equally well.  The Market Town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk (England) has a redeveloped cattle market and this in turn links in with the main shopping precincts.  There are a cluster of eateries on Auction Street, and their are several more across Parkway.   This led me to come up with a frivolous but fun exercise of a “food crawl.”

My journey began with a starter/appetizer at the Japanese themed Wagamama.  It is typical of the chain in its seating setup with bench type seating, but a few table and chair seatings along the windows.   The service was attentive, and the order was prepared quickly. I had the vegetable tempura which was lightly battered, and had a great balance of types of veg – sweet potato, broccoli, and red bell pepper.  So far a good start on my food journey.

Mains came from the Portuguese/Peri Peri themed Nando’s.   The ordering system is of the pay at the till, and they will deliver to the table type.  Fountain drinks are self-service.  There were several good vegetarian options, and on this occasion I opted for a medium spiced “Beanie” burger with a side of garlic bread and peri peri chips. The veggie paddy was well made, and prepared, and the sides were tasty. There was also a good assortment of sauces to add to the burger.  The server was polite, and helpful, and the decoration was minimalist, though Latin music in the background gave it some atmosphere.  Toilets are up stairs so that should be taken into consideration if you have limited mobility.  The food was good, however and it was time for dessert.

The “afters” came from Carluccio’s Italian eatery.  This is a great restaurant with a lot to offer. There are breakfast menus, and a large selection of Italian dishes, but I  there for the “pud.”   I had tiramisu and a scoop of cherry ice cream.  The ice cream is above average, which was disappointing from an “Italian.”  But the tiramisu was really outstanding. It is made more traditionally with “lady fingers” rather than soggy cake. It was creamy, and not overly sweet, as some store-bought tiramisus are. It was a great finisher after a spicy burger from Nando’s.  A note to those with disability.  Carluccio’s has a clearly marked disabled access toilet on the ground floor, and it is right next door to Nando’s

Then it was coffee time.  This was from Costa Coffee. The shop is huge as compared to many Costa outlets, and it is well laid out and clean as well. The quality of the drink was good and had the smooth Costa blend that I prefer over harsher coffees. It was unfortunately very busy there, so was some wait for it to be prepared. Since the shop is large, there was ample seating both in and outside, and I was able in the end to just sit and sip my drink, and reflect on my culinary journey.

Overall, it may have been slightly more expensive than eating in a single venue.  It did however allow me to stretch my legs, and to have each course settle before moving on.  If Peri Peri is not your thing, there is a Byron Burger outlet making “real burgers” directly opposite Nando’s.  In the end, it was a fun time.


War of the Rings: The Doughnut Challenge – Round One (Puns Intended)


My wife had diabetes and near the end of her life had moved to a Keto diet.  She expressed at one point the desire to have a “good doughnut,” a desire that was never filled.   As such I have undertaken a search for a “good doughnut” in her memory.  I will over several weeks try to work out the best supermarket, and best “premium” doughnut.  Here are my findings thus far.

Original Glazed®

Krispy Kreme own site

Stop one – Krispy Kreme, Peterborough

I tried a limited edition Reece’s Peanut Butter doughnut as a treat. The Reece’s was a bit on the sweet side, and at 400 calories a bit excessive, but nice for a treat.  The “cake” was light and not oily and the chocolate topping was glossy and very rich.   If not a fan of peanut butter give it a miss, as it is very peanut-ty.    I also had an apple pie flavoured doughnut.  This again had the light Krispy Kreme dough and the apple filling was lightly spiced and pleasantly sweet.  The amount of filling was ample, without overflowing at each bite.  The sprinkling of sugar on the surface in a pie crust lattice shape was light and didn’t coat the lips. The doughnut dough recipe is one of my favourites, and the other contenders will have a fight on their hands.

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Stop Two: Greggs’, Thetford, Norfolk
The new Greggs’ outlet in Thetford is still fresh and clean and seemed a good place for that franchise to show its stuff.  I had a caramel topped custard filled doughnut and in the absence of a plain glazed ring, I went with a milk chocolate topped ring.  The “cake” of both was moist but not incredibly fluffy.  The flavour of the dough was average, and in the case of the iced ring it was good that it was topped as it gave the doughnut something it was otherwise missing.  The filled doughnut was heavily filled with commercial custard.  In fact, it was filled sufficiently to ooze from the cake with the first bite.  If a custard fan, then a plus, if you are on the way to a meeting be warned as it might well leave you with a little more than you were expecting.  The flavour was good though, and at only about 2/3 the price of Krispy Kreme an okay deal.  A word on the coffee – strong and slightly bitter, okay for something warm, but not a “go to” pick-me-up.
Stop Three: Sainsbury’s “Patisserie” (In-store bakery) – Mildenhall, Suffolk
The baker’s counter at Sainsbury often has some delicious looking treats, so I made it stop three of the War of the Rings.  There were no filled doughnuts on offer, not were their standard glazed rings, so a salted caramel yum yum and an iced chocolate ring were given the test.  Price-wise the iced ring was the cheapest so far at 4 doughnuts for £1.30.  The cake texture was firm and,  owing to some (very little indeed) chocolate cream in the centre of the ring,  fairly moist.  The filling was runny and offered more in moisture than it did in flavour.  The icing was glossy and sweet without being overpowering.   The yum yum was rather dry.  The salted caramel was nicely balanced in its sweetness, and the pecan pieces enhanced the taste.  The cake itself was rather average however.

Melt in Your Mouth

Baklava With Pistachios, Oriental Pastries

Image by Baklava7_de from Pixabay

The d’Verse Poetics prompt: Food, was perfectly timed.  Some very dear friends of mine have just returned from holiday in Greece and brought me some of my all-time favourite indulgent desserts: Baklava.  These diamond-shaped gastronomic delicacies melt on the tongue as the dozens of layers of gossamer-thin pastry, butter, sugar syrup, and ground nuts combine their already magical tastes to create a sensation which is exponentially greater than the mere sum of the individual elements.  Please find words, all too inadequate, to praise these diamonds of delight below.


Filo Pastry
Pistachio Dream
The Baklava Delicate
On My Tongue As It Melts
A Flavour Explosion
Syrup and Butter
In Harmony



Thank you Gary and Suzie for the exquisite gift.

Eating Up to the Nines


image: Nine’s own site

My step-daughter and I went to Nines International Buffet in Cambridge for lunch.  We have been eating irregular meals since my wife’s passing, and a good filling hot meal seemed a sensible thing to do.  So off we went to Nines.

The restaurant is on the upper level of the Cambridge Leisure Complex and easily accessible by escalator, and I believe there is a lift, though I did not spot it.

On arrival, payment is made at a desk at reception. There are also some soft chairs in a small waiting area for those expecting more members of their party. Once the buffet is paid for, you find a table in the main dining area. Shortly after sitting, a member of staff will come and offer drinks which are paid for separately from the buffet itself. There is an option for unlimited refill on Pepsi products.

The layout is a series of steam-tray stations along one wall and a long counter running to form a L shape which has “fresher” options, such a skewers and pizza. As we were there for lunch the sushi, skewers, and seafood were not operating, but the pizza, Chinese, and general buffet were.

The firm advertises Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Seafood as main stations, and even on the general buffet there were some of each. I had crab claws which were a little more potato blend than I find at most places and they tasted more of general fishcake than of crab but they were still enjoyable. My daughter started with duck/pork pancake rolls which were self-serve. The starter area had many standard UK bits such as chips, onion rings, samosas, and the aforementioned crab claws. Sweet potato fries and cocktail sausages also were in this area. There were four pizzas laid out: pepperoni, chicken, Veggie, and a plain tomato cheese combo. The quality of the cheese was surprisingly good. Several of the Chinese and Thai dishes were very spiced, and a fish stew option left my lips tingling for quite some time. Desserts were a small assortment of rather basic quality cake, tinned fruit, and a soft serve ice cream machine.

There was an abundance of clean plates, and dirty plates were quickly bused from tables to give a pleasant eating atmosphere.

The food as a whole was tasty, and abundant. Quality was average to good, quantity outstanding, thus making the price a good value for money. As an eatery this is a four star (out of TripAdvisor five – not to be confused with Michelin [cue cheeky grin]) affair, but in like for like buffet places nearly a five.

There is a second Nines in Swansea, Wales as well.



Nines International Buffet site

Spicing Up Your Healthy Snack: Foodie Tip

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I appreciate that fresh fruit is good for us, and plays an important role in our “five a day.”   It can, however, become “same old, same old.”  You can spice up your daily fruit to make a change to the ordinary.


  • Apple(s) [Pink Lady or other sweet dessert variety] 1-2
  • Ground Cinnamon 1/8 tsp


Chill the whole fruit in the fridge for 2 hours.  Peel if desired, but I don’t.  Then using a corer or wedge cutter remove the seed core.  If merely cored, cut into rings, and if in wedges just proceed.  Then place the apple pieces into a bowl and lightly sprinkle each piece with the cinnamon.  There is no need for sweetener as the apples’ own juice will act with the cinnamon.  That’s all there is to it.  Enjoy.

Oh, by the way it works with pears as well.