While visiting the BLFW event a little while ago, we were so thrilled to find a brand there which was actively creating healthy, vegan and veggie friendly puddings. Pudology make some delicious little pots which are easy to serve and eat, contain no meat or animal derived products, and are also gluten free.
They certainly don’t look like much on the packaging, and I would not have thought to try them at home. Like many of the newer Quorn products, they seem to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. They just remind me of the bland and stodgy Quorn I used to eat, and which I have vowed to avoid as much as possible. Who would have guessed that there would be something worth eating hiding away inside?
Recently we tried the so-called Mexican sweetcorn fritters from Sainsbury’s, which comes as part of a range that we’ve been enjoying (particularly their nacho cheese parcels). They are rated as spicy on the packaging, but in spite of my dislike of spicy food, that didn’t put me off. You see, I’ve always been a fan of sweetcorn based fried goods. Sweetcorn fingers and similar items took the place of fish fingers when I was a kid, and generally speaking, I love the taste of sweetcorn no matter how it comes. Basically, I just had to know what these tasted like.
When you read the name ‘Southern Fried Bean Burgers’, you expect something a bit obvious. A bit boring, even. Or at least I do. Just a simple burger is what I infer from that name – nothing very exciting at all. That’s why the team behind this product have really made a big mistake: because there is something really quite interesting about these burgers, that you would never guess at all from the name.
I always like to try the new veggie burgers I see cropping up in the supermarket, and as this one has an Indian style flavour, I snapped it up immediately. J loves spicy food while I’m not as much of a fan, so we’re always trying to find something that has a nice balance. These burgers look interesting at least, with lots of seeds and different vegetables visible in the mix. I decided they would be perfect for an Indian-style wholemeal burger wrap, so that’s how I served them.
The Tesco Indian Potato Cakes sounded interesting enough to take a stab at. Not only that, but they were on offer with most of the frozen vegetarian section, so it seemed obvious to give them a try. We quite enjoy a curry in our house, especially as J has Indian heritage, so combining curry spices with a burger sounded like quite a good idea. We decided to cook them up one day to make burger wraps, one of my favourite lazy meals from university. There’s not much to them – you need a burger, a wrap, some lettuce or other leaf, and mayonnaise. Sweet chilli dressing, sweetcorn, roast vegetables, and etc are optional.
This week I’m taking a look at the Iceland Spicy Bean Burgers, which are available in the vegetarian freezer section and can be cooked either in the microwave or the oven. For the purposes of this review, I put them in the oven, although a favourite snack when I was a student with no money was to put them in the microwave. I would then cut them into strips, lay them inside a tortilla, and wrap them up with some salad vegetables. They are fine if done like this, but can be a bit soggy underneath if they get too damp.
It is perhaps debatable whether or not a bake qualifies as a burger, but based on the shape and the consistency, on this occasion I’m counting it. Particularly when it comes to being a vegetarian option, I think this one just fits the bill. The mushroom and spinach bake is available from Sainsbury’s, where you can buy a pack of four at once. They cook in the oven – I could say that they would probably do fine if microwaved, but I have never tried it, and I’m sure the breadcrumbs would suffer for it. They are quite “tall” compared to the average burger, and have a tendency to get a bit droopy in the middle once cooked – beware of them accidentally spilling out their insides before you even get them on the plate.
One of the staples of the frozen section for vegetarians is Quorn, and although I’ve got a real love/hate relationship with it, I can’t deny that it comes in handy. Living with a meat-eater means that we can compromise by having something that is at least intended to be a bit like meat – and it’s an interesting exercise to see just how closely it hits the mark with someone who knows what it should taste like. For this review I’m looking at their Southern Fried Chicken Burgers, available frozen, which are the kind of thing you’d pick up for a proper burger in a bun or just to eat on the side with fries. The cooking time is around 16 minutes, which is a little better than some burgers from the frozen section, and could make them quite a convenient choice when you’re in a rush. Here’s what the burgers look like frozen, before going into the oven: