A Veggie Review of Burger King’s Try Number Two

Comida, Burger King, Hamburguesa

It was before the Covid lockdowns that I wrote about Burger King’s move into plant based options (see A Tale of Two Veggie Options). At the time their plant based “Rebel Whopper” was avoided by vegans and vegetarians (and even we pescatarians).  The veggie patty was cooked on the same equipment (and even alongside) the beef burgers.  It was also topped with egg based mayonnaise.  Meat eaters who had tried them found them surprisingly meat-like, but they were not for us non-meat eaters.  Burger King UK corporate bosses should have learned from the USA’s Impossible Whopper, where the cooking method even led to court cases by vegans. 

Well then Covid hit hard, and with reduced menus, Burger King pulled the item. Now with Covid restrictions being lifted, Burger King is trying again. They have recently introduced some new fully vegan options to the UK market. These are the “Vegan Royale” and Rebel Whopper, which has been rebranded the “Plant-Based Whopper.” This time they are trying to fix past mistakes. The sandwiches are being “cooked completely separate from meat, dairy and egg products to avoid cross-contamination, and has been certified by the Vegan Society.” They are also topped with the usual BK salad but with a vegan mayo.

I gave the Royale a try the other day, and the breaded plant based paddy was above average for “fake chicken” and it had a pleasing texture. The mayonnaise and iceberg didn’t add a whole lot, but did balance the sandwich. As a whole I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Now with that said, individual franchises need to think a bit more about their product. On the occasion of my purchase the employee asked in a friendly tone, “Would you like bacon on that?” Well, somethings just take time to change.


Rounding Up The Once Crimson Crispina


Teresa Grabs has challenged us this week to: “shine the spotlight on another blogger. Sometimes people have difficulty seeing their own talent, and this is a way to boost the WP community. Write a post that spotlights another blogger.”

It was not difficult for me to immediately come up with my fellow East Anglian, Crispina Kemp to write about.  Crispina hails from the East Norfolk coast, and her photography and writing often capture the uniqueness of the coast and Broads near her Great Yarmouth home.

Her blog, Crispina Kemp the blog: Myths, legends, history, poems, photos… a creative miscellany, does all that it says on the tin and more.  Within her posts you will find samples of her own imaginative fiction, insightful poems, and features such as Sunday Fungi – quality photos of mushrooms, and kindred species.  Her photography really is impressive.  Within her posts you will also find creative writing prompts based on photos of her travels.

In addition to her blog-work, Crispina is a novelist, with a passion for fantasy writing.  Her Spinner’s series is now being published (Crispina Kemp on Amazon), and I look forward to the full series release.

Do pay her blog a visit, I am sure you won’t regret it.



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.


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.


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.


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

Foodie Friday: Vegan Pasty Review

image: Gingsters.co.uk

When it comes to ready-made, high street and supermarket pies and pastries vegetarians generally and vegans in particular are generally an overlooked market.  Okay for vegetarians there are several cheese and onion options available, but not much else.  So Gingters’ launch of a Moroccan Vegetable Pasty which is also vegan-friendly was something to check out.

I found that the filling was tasty, and a nice change.  Gingters lists the ingredients as:

Wheat Flour (Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin) , Potato , Vegetable Oil (Palm, Rapeseed) , Butternut Squash (10%) , Onion , Tomato , Water , Piquanté Pepper (5%) , Chickpeas (4.5%) , Spring Onion , Apricot (2.5%) , Dates , Moroccan Chermoula (Water, Sunflower Oil, Yeast Extract, Spices, Lemon Juice Powder, Salt, Ground Cumin Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Herbs) , Cornflour , Salt , Red Harissa Paste (Glucose Syrup, Ground Spices, Tomato Purée, Water, Salt, Ground Mint) , Herbs , Apple , Garlic Purée , Rice Flour , Sugar , Pea Protein , Cider , White Wine Vinegar , Apple Purée , Ground Mustard Seeds , Pepper , Dried Apple Flakes , Dextrose , Spirit Vinegar .

I did find the texture a little inconsistent, however.  Some ingredients (potato?, squash?) were firm while the other was mushy.  I can’t honestly say I took the time to work out which was which. But the overall filling “worked.”

I did find the pastry, as I generally do with this company, a little too flaky and rather bland.

At 180g the pasty makes for a good lunch size, and at 480 calories it fits in as a lunch mainstay as well.  It does have 22.4g of fat however, about a third of a daily allowance, and with 10.9 g of these as saturates (55% of daily recommended), it doesn’t seem to be an every day option.

So, the pluses:  It is vegan-friendly.  It has a nice blend of spices and avoids the run of the mill flavours.  It is filling.

On the negative side: The crust is unspectacular.  It is fatty.  It is better hot than cold, so limits it as a “on the run” food.

Overall 3.75 of five.  Nice lunch every once in a while.




What Are You Made Of?: A Review

Image result for russian doll traditional wiki

image: Wikipedia

I don’t usually make it a habit to read Christian devotional literature.  The scriptures?Yes.  Theological tomes? Those too.  But not much in the devotional genre.  I generally find them too formulaic and often shallow.

That said, I have recently read Amba Keeble’s What Are You Made Of?, which I found neither shallow nor formulaic.  This devotional work is based on Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, and provides both thoughtful commentary and sincere personal sentiment.

Keeble’s book is rich in analogy and metaphor, and it is written in a very approachable and conversational style.  Her focus question: What are we made of? is a great lens to examine Paul’s letter from.  She humanises this approach to the modern reader by drawing a parallel to reality TV competitions, and the same question as put forward to contestants when they are on the verge of giving up.  What a great Christian parallel!  What are we made of when life is about to “defeat” us?

Sister Amba uses other illustrations which are wonderfully picked as well, such as Russian Stacking Dolls.  She examines these, and how they are constructed from a solid core outwards.  This analogy of a Christ-centred life (a solid core) runs throughout the book.

Popular cultural references as diverse as How the Grinch  Stole Christmas and misaligned shopping trolley wheels engage the reader with familiar modern parables to illustrate the apostle’s timeless words.

Keeble draws her key question together wonderfully in challenging us to live boldly,  live freely,  and to shine forth that which is at our “Russian Doll” cores, in our Christian walk.  I may not be a great fan of devotionals, but this work is one worth reading.

Amba and her husband, Rich are associate pastors at The Abundant Life (AOG) Church in Suffolk.