Quorn Pulled Pork Burgers

Cooked pulled pork

I don’t even know where to begin with these new pulled pork burgers from Quorn. I honestly don’t.

Quorn pulled pork
Quorn pulled pork

So we picked these up in the supermarket, innocently enough. I’m always game to try a new product, especially if it’s in burger form. These looked pretty interesting, too, because I’ve obviously never eaten pulled pork. J has, and that’s an important thing to remember in a minute. So we grabbed them, put them in the oven, and waited to see how they would come out.

The answer to that is amazingly. First off, they were very juicy, leaving juice behind on the paper after cooking them. They also ooze a little when you cut into them, but not so much that it gets too messy. This makes them really super-succulent, much better than the dry, dusty Quorn of old.

Cooked pulled pork
Cooked pulled pork

The texture is also pretty amazing. They’ve been gradually developing some really interesting textures with products like the beef strips, and these are magical. They really do feel like strips of chewy meat all compressed together for that burger shape, and it’s pretty convincing. 

As for the taste, I don’t even know how to describe it. I literally have no reference point for this. J tells me that they taste almost exactly like pulled pork, which is really impressive. Since he should know. 

Pulled pork frozen burgers
Pulled pork frozen burgers

I’m trying to decide how I feel about that. On one hand, it’s pretty exciting for me to find out what pulled pork tastes like. That’s something I never would have known by myself, and it’s great to have a reference point when people describe a meal now. On the other hand, I’m a little bit disappointed. Yes, they are delicious and I will definitely have them again. But when people say they can’t give up meat because it tastes so good, it makes you think the flavour must be something spectacular. I probably wouldn’t be too upset if I never ate these again. I definitely wouldn’t kill an animal just to be able to taste them. If this is what all the fuss has been about, then colour me unimpressed. 

Pulled pork with rice and beans
Pulled pork with rice and beans

Also, if we’re getting that good at replicating flavours, it seems like carnivores aren’t going to have that excuse for much longer. Which is most definitely a good thing.

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…

TASTE – 10/10

PRICE – 7/10

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 8/10

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Vine Post: Banoffee Pie Jars

Beautiful banoffee pie

This week we have a sinfully good Vine to share with you. These banoffee pie jars were based on a Deliciously Ella recipe (that I won’t be reposting here), and they are SO GOOD. It’s hard to believe that such a small handful of ingredients can create this amazing taste, with a structure more akin to a cheesecake than a pie, all presented beautifully in a jar for good measure.

I couldn’t get enough of this recipe, although the quantity we made here was far too much to eat in one sitting. The flavours are so rich that by about halfway through the pot we both started to feel a bit sick – and that’s with some leftovers that didn’t fit in the jars too.

Beautiful banoffee pie
Beautiful banoffee pie

If I make this again, which I probably will, I’m going to make one key adjustment. I’m going to skip the base. I could hardly believe my eyes when I worked out how many calories were in each jar as a whole, and the base is the main culprit. Honestly, you could probably crumble up shortbread and still have a lower calorie option. It was ridiculous. Just be very cautious of that if you are trying to eat healthy.

Here’s our Vine so you can see these delicious banoffee pie jars in action!

Where to Eat Veggie in Bournemouth

Mince pie ice cream

This post is a bit overdue – we stayed in Bournemouth for a weekend way, way back, and I’ve already shared a couple of posts from that short break. This Veggie Living post is here to let you know about the whole experience, however, and how easy it is to find veggie food in this great coastal town!

Harry Ramsden's Halloumi Burger
Harry Ramsden’s Halloumi Burger

First off, I spent a bit of time before we went scouting out places where we could get great veggie food. I found a ton of them, and we actually only went to one of them – the rest of the time, we just ate at places we walked by that looked great. There is so much choice available here that you will feel properly spoilt! 

Royal Bath Hotel Bournemouth
Royal Bath Hotel Bournemouth

We stayed at the Royal Bath Hotel Bournemouth, and while we didn’t eat much here, we did opt for afternoon tea. This was all part of a Wowcher deal which had amazingly good value, so keep your eye out for deals here. It’s the oldest hotel in Bournemouth and is quite charming, with lots of little twists and turns in the corridors and odd little rooms. It does feel its age, but out in a new extension to the building is a small spa area which more than makes up for it.

Afternoon tea for two!
Afternoon tea for two!

The afternoon tea was wonderful. You can specify vegetarian food only and they will cater for you! Our sandwiches were cheese and tomato, egg and cress, and cucumber. We had a couple of lovely scones with jam and cream, and of course a huge pot of tea (mostly drunk by J – I did try, but I’m just not a tea fan). To top it off there were mini eclairs, chocolate brownies, carrot cake, and Victoria sponge. Delicious. I love afternoon tea and this was a lovely setting too, so I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Cream on top of jam - the correct way to do scones
Jam on top of cream – the correct way to do scones

We also had some notable veggie burgers here – a delicious halloumi burger at Harry Ramsden’s, a surf-themed dish at Hot Rocks, and shelter from the rain at Smokey’s. Check out the reviews of all of those to find out which we loved the most! There were a good few other burgers in the area to try, but sadly we only had so much time to visit as many as we could.

Mince pie ice cream
Mince pie ice cream

On our last day, after checking out of the hotel, we took the time to stroll along Bournemouth Beach and enjoy the hot, sunny weather. We also had to pick up the obligatory ice cream, of course! Mine was particularly exciting: it was mince pie flavour. MINCE PIE FLAVOUR. This is possibly the best food item ever invented. On a hot day next to the sea, as far away from Christmas as possible, it’s pretty much perfect.

It doesn’t get much better than this, and we’re looking forward to going back to Bournemouth sometime soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my ill-gotten gains (ie lollies from the 2p machines in the arcade which cost us about £3 to get and are worth probably 10p). Next time we’ll bring you a new round-up of the other veggie options in the area!

Vine Post: Baked Apples with Coconut Cream

Baked apple goodness

So lately I’ve been trying to make more desserts, and these baked apples from the Deliciously Ella book caught our eye. As they’re from the book I won’t repost the recipe here, but you can read it elsewhere if you wish. 

Baked apples
Baked apples

What I will tell you is what I changed: instead of raisins and pecans, I used a dried fruit mix (like you would have in a mince pie) and skipped the nuts altogether. I also used normal sugar instead of coconut palm sugar.

Baked apple goodness
Baked apple goodness

These were reasonably easy to make, although I think they could have done with a tiny bit less time in the oven as some of the raisins were a little cremated! The apples themselves were delicious and I loved the cream – I reckon that could be served simply as a drink! It reminded me of that creamy, refreshing taste of horchata and is definitely in the same vein, although perhaps not the healthiest thing you could drink.

Here’s the Vine so you can see how we made them!

Recipe Review: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Burgers

Radishes for extra crunch

It’s time to review a burger recipe again, and these sweet potato and chickpea burgers definitely caught my eye. I found them over on The Kitchn a while back and have been meaning to try them ever since, so it was time to get down to it. I love sweet potato and I love chickpeas, and I was even feeling adventurous enough to try the spicy dip. What could do go wrong?

Sweet potato and chickpea burgers
Sweet potato and chickpea burgers

Well, a lot, as it turns out. Like most veggie burger recipes I seem to find online, this one absolutely and stubbornly failed to bind together, meaning that we were left with a mess of crumbly ingredients instead of anything remotely resembling patties. This was after a lot of work grating vegetables and mashing chickpeas, so it felt like a bit of a letdown. We used a red onion instead of a white one, but left the rest of the burger recipe as-is.

Not the best of starts
Not the best of starts

We try adding a few tablespoons of oats to help the mixture out, then gave up and stuck them in the oven instead of frying them. This at least did help, leaving them reasonably solid – or at least enough to get them onto a plate. For the dressing I opted for a fruity habanero instead of a sriracha, simply because I prefer the taste; I added double the amount and then a bit of honey as well because it still just tasted like Greek yoghurt with cumin.

Mmm, cumin. *cough, choke*
Mmm, cumin. *cough, choke*

Finally we served them up – I’m on a low-calorie kick right now so opted for thins instead of bread buns, and roasted carrots instead of chips. There was far too much of the dip – perhaps half as much would have been too much – and the burgers were uninspiring at best. They really need a stronger flavour in there; the chickpeas are bland and the sweet potatoes don’t have anything to draw out their taste. All in all it was pretty disappointing, to be honest.

Radishes for extra crunch
Radishes for extra crunch

If you’ve got a veggie burger recipe you think I should try, let me know in the comments! Here’s a bonus Vine of us making these burgers:

 

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…

TASTE – 4/10

PRICE – 6/10

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 3/10

Vine Post: Aubergine Bake

This recipe may not be the prettiest, but I can assure you that this aubergine bake tastes AMAZING. What’s more, it’s so low in calories you could eat it all day long and barely see the difference. 

I’m not always an aubergine fan, but there’s something about chopped tomatoes and cheese that makes everything better. Here’s the Vine so you can see how we made it, and be sure to scroll down for the recipe!

Here’s that recipe:

Aubergine Bake
Serves 4
This delicious and filling bake is very low in calories, so feel free to load up.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 red onion, chopped
  2. 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  3. 1 frozen garlic cube (or 3-4 crushed cloves)
  4. 2 medium-sized aubergines
  5. 1 small block of cheese - we mixed red Leicester and goat's cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C..
  2. Fry the red onion and garlic over a medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic when onion is ready if using fresh cloves, then cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Season with a pinch of sugar and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the tomato sauce is thickened up nicely.
  5. Slice the aubergines lengthways or into circles, into slices 5mm/¼in thick.
  6. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and salt on both sides.
  7. Put under the grill for around 5 minutes on each side, or until all the slices are golden brown.
  8. Add a spoonful of tomato sauce to the bottom of a medium sized ovenproof baking dish and spread evenly. Top with a layer of the aubergine slices.
  9. Follow with more tomato sauce and top with a layer of thinly sliced cheese. Repeat the process for as many layers as you can, finishing with tomato sauce and the mozzarella.
  10. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling and the cheese melted and golden-brown on top.
  11. Serve immediately or reheat in the oven for 5 minutes after cooling.
Adapted from BBC Food
Adapted from BBC Food
VegBurge http://vegburge.com/

The Barn Halloumi Burger

The Barn Halloumi Burger

The Barn is a pub and restaurant in Tunbridge Wells, and until recently there wasn’t much to speak of on the bar menu (there’s only so many nachos you can eat). But the recent addition of a halloumi burger to the menu meant we absolutely had to go and check out the changes. Here’s what the menu has to say about this item:

Halloumi (v) 7.95
Deep fried and served with a chilli sauce and chips

The Barn Halloumi Burger
The Barn Halloumi Burger

I had curly fries instead of the normal chips, because I’m just awkward like that. They were delicious, to a standard as expected from a pub. But we’re not here to talk about curly fries.

Halloumi burger
Halloumi burger

The burger was actually AMAZING. It was so much more than I was expecting. The halloumi was super salty and matched up perfectly with the sweet chilli sauce, which just brought out the flavours so well. There was some salad in the bun but to be honest I couldn’t really tell it was there – there were such large chunks of halloumi with so much sauce I could only distinguish those flavours. Same with the onion rings, which were gone in a couple of bites and couldn’t compete with the saltiness. The bun was a sticky-style brioche, and actually kept coming apart where my fingers stuck to it, but it was pretty taste. It was hugely filling, and so satisfying. I wasn’t expecting much, but this burger totally blew me away. I’m definitely going to be heading back to try it again sometime soon.

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…

TASTE – 9/10

PRICE – 7/10

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 8/10

Vine Post: Baked Bananas

This recipe for baked bananas is so simple, I’m not even including a recipe card. Take a look at our Vine and you will see just about everything you need to know for this delicious after-dinner treat!

First off, make sure that your bananas are nice and ripe. The riper the better, in fact! Don’t slice them all the way through, but just enough to cut through the flesh – you want the skin to hold together. The quantity isn’t so important but I used one date per banana and three squares of chocolate.

Oh, and by the way – this is actually vegan. The “chocolate” is really something called chocolate-flavoured cake covering. It doesn’t taste amazing if you eat it on its own, but melted like this, you’d never know the difference. I put the bananas in at 200 degrees (fan) for 15 minutes – it might take as little as 10, so be sure to check on them. If they whole of the skin isn’t black yet and the chocolate hasn’t melted, they could go for a bit longer. 

Serve them up in the foil or in bowls, and use a spoon to dig through. It tastes amazing – you will be surprised at how good. 

Here’s our baked bananas in Vine form!

Quorn Vegan Hot & Spicy Burgers

Quorn hot and spicy burgers

Anyone who reads this blog and hates spicy food, look away now. I know you’re out there because I’ve spoken to some of you, and this burger is just not for you. Even I, made almost immune by J’s insistence on adding a bit of spice to everything, found these burgers to be too hot. Way too hot. So hot it was actually pretty uncomfortable.

Quorn hot and spicy vegan burgers
Quorn hot and spicy vegan burgers

The good thing is that these are part of the new Quorn vegan range, so if you love spice and want a burger but don’t want any egg in it, this is fantastic. It is essentially your average Quorn burger, with that same texture and taste that you would find in, say, the chicken fillets. All of that is eclipsed, however, by the spicy outer coating.

I honestly can’t say I tasted anything other than “wow that’s hot”. I do like the fact that the Quorn vegan range has some diverse options, but this one is not for me. I served it up in a pitta with some roasted veggies, but even sour cream wasn’t enough to take the heat away. In my opinion, more attention to the flavour and less to the spice level would have done this burger some good. J loves it though, so in spite of myself, I guess I’ll be getting these again.

Hot and spicy wrap
Hot and spicy wrap

 

ON THE VEGBURGE SCALE, I GIVE THIS…

TASTE – 2/10

PRICE – 6/10

REST OF EXPERIENCE – 5/10

Veggie Living: Silverstone British Grand Prix

This week past, I was living the field life at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone has been my home for five days out of the year for a decade now, as I have been volunteering as a crowd safety (and now track safety) marshal for all of that time. You might think it’s pretty tricky to eat veggie food at a place like that, where all of the food stalls are focused mostly around burgers – but actually, it’s not so bad, and this year there were more choices than ever.

So how does a veggie – or even a vegan – fare at the UK’s biggest racing circuit on its busiest weekend? The great news is that there are options for both, but of course the vegan ones are more limited than the veggies. We always try to take as much food with us as possible – Quorn BBQs and meals cooked on the caravan hob are so much cheaper than shopping at the stalls – but it’s certainly possible to survive either way.

Moony's Halloumi wrap
Moony’s Halloumi wrap

My highlight this year was a stall called Moony’s Halloumi. For £7, you could get a halloumi wrap in the Luna Italia style, which included sundried tomato pesto, spinach, olives, red onion, tomatoes, and a tasty dressing. This was good enough for us to get it twice, so that definitely tells you a lot about the quality! It was so succulent and juicy, with the flavours combined perfectly. The only criticism had to be that there was far too much sauce – by the time you got to the end of the wrap, it was running out in streams and you had to lean forward to avoid getting it down yourself.

Moony's Halloumi Luna Italia
Moony’s Halloumi Luna Italia

We also accompanied these wraps with some sweet potato fries, made fresh to order for £5 from a gyro stall. These were exceptionally good too, especially given how fresh they were. 

Sweet potato fries
Sweet potato fries

We also had cheese and onion pasties as well as veggie burritos from other stalls, and a Margherita pizza. You could find those around the Entertainment Zone, while Moony’s was on our side of the circuit behind Becketts grandstand. 

Other options were available too – I saw a vegan chilli, Indian curries with veggie options, gyros with veggie options, a vegetable pizza, and just about as many chips as you could shake a stick at. 

Halloumi wrap
Halloumi wrap