Tag Archives: product review

Mock Meat: Vegetarian Hot Dogs

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Good food shouldn’t just be about the gourmet cordon bleu stuff. You should be able to relax and have fun with food. Hot dogs are about the best for that. If you’re a vegetarian, that pinkish-brown tube of hot pig products with dubious smokey flavour is off the menu. Unless you go for the veggie version that is!

There are two version up for tasting here – Tofu Weiner by Taifun and Quorn hotdogs. The Taifun product is vegan, whereas the Quorn product isn’t.

Hotdog packaging

I cooked both of them the same way, boiling as per the packet instructions.

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The tofu-weiner is on the left, the Quorn hotdog is on the right.

The tofu weiner has a good smokey flavour, but little other taste otherwise. The texture, once past the skin, is very soft, which isn’t a good substitute for the real thing, but there is something to chew there.

The Quorn hotdog doesn’t have as strong a smokey flavour, but does have a good savoury flavour in addition to the smokiness. It also has a firmer texture, much closer to the real thing.

As with most mock meats, I wouldn’t put either on my regular shopping list, but if I really wanted a hotdog, either would be acceptable in a finger bun with ketchup and mustard. If you want hotdogs on cocktail sticks stuck in a foil-wrapped potato for a 70’s party – I’d go with the Quorn ones, they stand up better on their own.

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Product Review: Quorn Chef’s Selection Sausages

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I first came across Quorn sausages before I was a vegetarian. Quorn features heavily in the Slimming World diet because it is so low in fat. I would eat Quorn mince, Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces and Quorn sausages as a way to lose weight.

As with most vegetarian meat substitutes texture is everything, the appeal is not just the taste, but the mouthfeel to replace the meat you’re missing. The sausages tasted savoury enough but had a very solid, smooth texture. They felt as processed as the cheapest banger or the little sausages in tins of sausage and beans. And that’s how I usually ate my Quorn sausages – cut into pieces and microwaved with a tin of baked of beans – a safe and filling food.

I was intrigued to find a couple of new varieties in the chiller cabinet recently. Quorn Chef’s Selection sausages. They come in two flavours: Wild Garlic and Parsley, and Best of British.

Packs

I’ll pass over the marketing genius who came up with ‘Best of British’ as a flavour with a quick eye-roll.

Raw

The wild garlic and parsley sausages are on the left. Raw, they have the same solidity as the ordinary quorn sausages, but it looks like they’ve tried to give some texture to the body of the sausage.

Cooked

I gave them their best shot and fried them, and I have to say they do fry to a nice golden colour. There’s a very fine ‘skin’ which crisped up to give slightly more of a normal sausage feel. However, the texture inside was as homogenous as before, although slightly looser in feel. In terms of flavour, Best of British appears to mean pork sausage of the cheaper end of the market, savoury but very bland. The Wild Garlic and Parsley sausage had a garlicky-oniony flavour, but there was no hint of parsley, and I wouldn’t use this sausage as a means to introduce anyone to the delights of wild garlic.

In summary, they’re OK. They’d be fine as part of a cooked breakfast. I’d be careful about cooking with them though. I’ve already had a problem with them turning to mush in a cassoulet and I think the softer texture might be their downfall in stews or anything that requires long cooking.

Product Review: Sheese

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A student friend of mine hated cheese. It all just tasted like milk that had gone off to him. I’ve always loved cheese from processed triangles, through decent cheddar and stilton to an unpasteurised camembert bought in France, that asserted its presence every time the bag was opened. So when I heard about Sheese on various vegetarian/vegan websites and magazines I thought I’d give it a go as soon as I got the chance.

I found some of their Strong Cheddar in my local healthfood shop this morning.

Sheese1

It comes in a solid, cylindrical block.
Sheese2

It looks the same colour as putty. It might have the same mouthfeel as putty, but I can’t say because once it was in my mouth all I could concentrate on was getting it out again as fast as possible.

Dear Guh that stuff tastes vile. It is properly, properly nasty. There’s actually a hint of blue cheese there, a whiff of stilton, but it doesn’t stand a chance against the main flavour which is sick. Vomit. This stuff tastes of vomit.

And that’s all I can really say about it, other than to wonder who they got to taste test this when they were developing it. If it’s a real cheese-lover I wonder what happened to their tastebuds. And yet, I must be in a minority like my friend of student days, because this stuff wins awards. I read delighted reviews on websites and forums. It just goes to show, there is no accounting for taste.

Well I won’t be tasting it again. If you don’t mind. Thank you very much.