Friday, 29 July 2011

Reviewing Cauldron Cumberland Vegetarian Sausages

I know. Sausages again. But I was hankering after some bangers and mash comfort food and have been curious to try the Cauldron range as it's a brand I seem to only be vaguely aware of even though they've been about for 25 years!

Cauldron Cumberland Vegetarian Sausages come in packs of six standard sized sausages and usual price is £2.10.

Oven cooking is recommended for best results though you can grill or fry them. Following the instructions I brushed them with oil and slung them in the oven on to a preheated baking tray.

In the twenty minutes they took to cook I boiled and mashed up some potatoes with a smidgen of butter and a splash of soya milk. I boiled runner beans, pan fried mushrooms and then used the water from the beans to make a gravy.

I used Sainsbury's own brand vegetarian gravy. It's made like normal gravy and tastes scrummy!

The sausages were very tasty. Full of flavour and the texture was perfect, just moist enough and pretty convincing as a sausage. They were quite peppery as would be expected from a cumberland sausage however I found it was not as overpowering as some tend to be and the whole meal was delicious.

 At 80 calories a sausage they are definitely a winner. Cauldron's website suggest trying these sausages in a casserole which I think would work wonderfully. Cauldron also make a Lincolnshire sausage variety which I'm hoping to try but will be buying these again. Happy taste buds! 5/5

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Reviewing Quorn Frankfurters

Exploring the options for vegetarian meals and meat substitutes I have decided to document my findings for future reference thus bringing about my first review!

Quorn Frankfurters come in vacuum sealed packs of four and cost about £2.10. Allegedly, they are "ideal for hot dogs". I was excited to try these as a quick lunch option thinking they would be well received by my twin ten year old boys.

The heating guidelines recommend boiling the pack in water for 10-12 minutes or piercing the plastic several times and microwaving for 2 minutes.

This wasn't a difficult choice. As they hummed away in the microwave I quickly made some fried onions. Heating up a pan with a dollop of olive oil and a blob of butter, I sliced up some particularly juicy red onions and scrunched them, half-blind with tears, into the pan then stirred continuously until they were soft and sticky. Then served in a bun with the frankfurter and obligatory ketchup and mustard.



They smelled and looked great. However, the texture was disappointing. The frankfurter was quite firm and a lot drier than expected since a hot dog is usually a bit squishy. Having lots of fried onions and sauce helped. Quorn can do pretty convincing chicken substitutes but this is more of a hot dog alternative.

It did have a lovely smoky flavour though, and I think the texture could be something you get used to when you know what to expect. They were quick to make and would be handy to have in the fridge for when you need to feed a family on the go as they keep for about a month or they can be frozen for three months. They are also a much healthier alternative to a hot dog and the boys gave a thumbs up verdict and asked if we could have them again.

I would buy again for the convenience of a quick and filling meal and I am tempted to try them cut into small pieces on a pizza or with pasta and tomatoes where the sauce may counteract the dryness. Overall 3/5.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A pesky diet and why ignorance is not bliss

I'm the type of person who worries about what I can't see. I stretch my sleeve over my hand to avoid touching buttons at crossings and door handles. I get squeamish about public transport, hotel beds and sharing toilets with strangers. I don't have OCD. I just can't stand dirty people.

It was easy when I could disassociate. I think most people do this. You go to a restaurant or even just a cheap take-away. It doesn't cross your mind who handled all your food before it was given to you. It crosses my mind through and crosses back and loops and ties my mind in knots. Sure they have their food hygiene licence hanging proudly in a poundland frame behind the bar and they're nice to your face. Is the chef in perfect health or did he come in with a bit of cold because he needs the money? Does he think it's okay to use the five second rule if no one is looking?

Putting my shopping away I wonder how many people have touched these things. I prefer to pour my drink into a glass than worry about what fingers have possibly groped the top of my beer cans. At least you can wash fruit and vegetables and remove any trace of picker, packer, stacker and curious shopper.

Meat is a whole different story. It's interesting how vegetables stay vegetables but animals become meat. There's that disassociation again. You don't have to connect what you're putting in your mouth with anything alive. Unless you're standing in the supermarket and realise that what you have just put in your trolley is the dead body of a chicken that had been crammed in a shed with hundreds of other chickens awaiting their ultimate fate in the slaughterhouse just to become somebody's dinner. Maybe you're still able to disassociate or you just can't get sentimental about chickens.

But all animals can feel pain and fear. Your heart may soften at a charity advert showing a dog cowering and hopeless after being abused and neglected. It's easy to forget the same happens behind closed factory doors to animals bred purely to be sold as meat. I may not be able to stop it from happening but I feel happier knowing I'm not part of the cause.