grub, green issues and gays

Author: lezzingofftheland

Slow cooker butternut squash dhal

Slow cooker butternut squash dhal

Dhal, daal, dal – however you want to spell it, it’s one of my favourite veggie options when I order a takeaway. Creamy lentils, garlic, sweetness – it’s proper comfort food. I decided to whip one up to use up a butternut squash I’d had […]

The ultimate veggie lasagne

The ultimate veggie lasagne

Veggie lasagne is one of those dishes I’ve struggled to get right. Which really bothered me, as it’s one of my favourite things to eat – the combination of tomatoey bolognese, white sauce, pasta and cheesy topping… I could eat it every day. My own […]

Vegetarian bacon: ranked from best to worst

Vegetarian bacon: ranked from best to worst

Back in the mists of time (4 years ago?) when I decided to become veggie, people couldn’t stop telling me that I was mad, because I wouldn’t be able to eat bacon any more. Oh but what about bacon, they’d wail, as if it was the greatest foodstuff known to man (hint: it’s not). The obsession with bacon that seems to have started in the US and been adopted by people over here in the UK always seemed like a bit of a mystery to me – it’s just bacon. Most of the time, it wasn’t cooked the way I liked it, and the rest of the time, sausages were the far superior breakfast protein.

However, veggie and vegan food manufacturers have caught on to this frenzied “BUTWHATABOUTTHEBACON” madness and produced multiple kinds of substitute bacon – from soy, seitan or miscellaneous plant proteins. So here is a list, from worst to best, of all the veggie bacon products I’ve tried. It will be updated as more of the weird stuff makes its way onto my plate…

WORST: QUORN BACON

Quorn Bacon Box

You’d think, being one of the longest-running veggie protein brands, Quorn would sometimes get things right. However, they seem to be happy with churning out bland, boring mycoprotein meals, one after the other. Quorn’s bacon offering is no different – whether chilled or frozen, it has the texture and appearance of a shoe insole, and the taste of watered-down Frazzles. I’ve tried multiple ways of cooking it, too – straight frying, microwaving for a few seconds then frying, steaming… nothing. Always crap, all the time.

PRETTY GOOD FOR A CARBONARA: VIVERA VEGGIE BACON PIECES

Vivera Bacon Pieces

A spaghetti carbonara is one of life’s simple joys. I shared my recipe here, which includes vegetarian hard cheese (can be difficult to find, most hard cheese contains rennet), and the essential bacony pieces are provided by Vivera. Vivera is a Dutch company, who make a variety of good veggie substitutes, including their plant steaks, which are fantastic as a meat substitute in fajitas. These bacon pieces are a bit too small for a breakfast – you could maybe put them in scrambled egg, or as part of some kind of hash – but for other cooking purposes, they’re pretty good. They’re soy-based, and have a decent, strong bacon flavour. The pack is also pretty big, and lasts us for 4 meals usually.

BEST BUT SADLY MISSING IN ACTION: UPTON’S SEITAN BACON

Uptons Bacon Seitan

They say that the good die young – sadly, for the best veggie bacon we’ve ever tried, this is certainly true. Spotted first in Sainsbury’s, Upton’s Seitan Bacon was the bomb – it came in thin slices, but fried up well, was chewy, full of flavour, and if unopened, lasted forever in the fridge. However, I’ve not seen it in shops for over 6 months, so have been forced to accept that I may never taste it again. It was perfect for breakfast, if you peeled off a thicker slab; perfect in a BLT if slightly thinner, and chopped-up it was good in anything. RIP, Upton’s Seitan Bacon – may we meet (meat) again someday.

HONOURABLE MENTION FOR A BREAKFAST PROTEIN: MOVING MOUNTAINS SAUSAGE BURGER

Moving Mountains Sausage Burgers

If, like me, you are essentially a trash person trying to keep your mortal shell going for as long as possible, but you still enjoy a grubby, delicious McDonalds breakfast, then I have the solution: the Moving Mountains Sausage Burger. It’s a beast of a thing, larger and thicker than Maccy D’s own offering, and a glorious addition to any breakfast, or lunch. We’ve even had it as an accompaniment to a roast dinner. It’s made of mostly mushrooms, with a bit of soy, and since Upton’s has disappeared, is the main protein in our fry-ups. 10/10 can recommend.

This bacon-ranking list is a work in progress – send me a message here or on Twitter if you want to recommend a bacon substitute, and I will gladly eat it, then rank it!

Green alternatives for “that time of the month” (surprise, it’s not more Mooncups)

Green alternatives for “that time of the month” (surprise, it’s not more Mooncups)

Hello lovelies – it’s been a long old time since I last wrote on this little green blog. What with The Situation going on at the moment, I’m flip-flopping between being paralysed with fear about everything, and sitting in an idiotic state of Zen. Today, […]

Meat-free spaghetti carbonara

Meat-free spaghetti carbonara

Lardons. There, I said it. One of the most difficult-to-replicate meat products is bacon, specifically meat in a chunky, smoked format. Quorn does a mediocre job with their frozen bacon strips (they look like insoles and taste like them too), and most supermarket own-brand offerings […]

Bristol Veg Boxes – delicious food to your doorstep

Bristol Veg Boxes – delicious food to your doorstep

Reducing the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives has become a bit of a crusade for me. I’ve reduced most of our cosmetics (shampoo, soap etc) to bar form, went to the zero-waste shop, and I try to take a re-useable coffee cup with me when I go out. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to buy vegetables from the supermarket without having them wrapped in plastic. You’d think it would be easy to buy veggies in paper bags, but all my local shops wanted to shrinkwrap them!

Enter: veg boxes! There are a few nationwide options, like Abel and Cole or Riverford, but I wanted something a bit more local than that. Food miles are also something to think about when trying to be green, so I decided on Bristol Veg Boxes. For nine months of the year, they source their food from farms local to Bristol, and during the “hungry gap”, they may go further afield, but always try to use produce from as close as possible.

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My veg box this week

I chose a medium box, delivered every 2 weeks – this week, I got an aubergine, a head of broccoli, some carrots, parsnips, celeriac, two huge beetroots, a bag of mushrooms, and a few potatoes. I also opted to have 6 eggs (local eggs!) and a fancy bread (this week it was focaccia) – all of this costs £19, delivered to our door!

The veg selection varies from week to week, according to what’s in season – it’s also possible to have milk and cheese delivered, too. Everything is organic, and it’s always fresh and delicious – no wonky veg or tiny, old produce here.

Even with our veggie diets, we’ve found a box lasts for two weeks with minimal topping-up (I usually only buy things that aren’t in season if I need it, such as tomatoes or bags of salad, but come summer, these should be arriving in our boxes too!), and it’s nice to be presented with food I wouldn’t usually buy. This week, for example – I have no idea what I’m going to do with the beetroot, so I’ll look up some recipes and try something new!

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Phwoar-ccacia

Bristol Veg Boxes take payment via direct debit, and always deliver on the same day, dependent on area. They do have a catchment area for deliveries, but it covers most of Bristol.

They also have a refer-a-friend scheme, where on your third box, you receive a free one, and so does your friend! I’d really recommend them to anyone looking for a local veg box company – and just so you know, I haven’t been paid to promote them, just think they have a great service!

Do you have any recommendations for local services that help you live a greener, more low-impact life? Drop them in the comments! x

BVBG: Buttermilk & Maple, Welsh Back

BVBG: Buttermilk & Maple, Welsh Back

Hello friends! Today’s veggie breakfast was an unexpected treat – having originally planned to eat at Ironworks around the corner, we were disappointed when, after waiting an hour, we were told the kitchen had lost our order! We weren’t happy, so left in search of […]

BVBG: Eat Your Greens, Totterdown

BVBG: Eat Your Greens, Totterdown

Things have been a bit quiet on the Bristol Veggie Breakfast Guide front recently (moving house again, illnesses and life getting in the way) but I’m happy to report we’re back on track! On a slightly hungover Saturday morning, we took a trip over to […]

No packaging, no problem

No packaging, no problem

I’ve been trying to reduce my use of plastic over the past few months, after reading all the news stories about plastic floating in the ocean. This summer, Zero Green opened in Bristol, a zero-waste shop where you can buy all kinds of everyday bits and pieces, from beans, rice and cereal, to shampoo, oat milk and bamboo toothbrushes.

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Humanity’s devastating effect on wildlife, and what you can do

Humanity’s devastating effect on wildlife, and what you can do

This week we’ve seen figures suggesting that 60% of the Earth’s wildlife has been wiped out by humans since 1970. SIXTY PERCENT. If you originally had 10 tigers, you now only have four. If you originally had 100 birds, you now only have 40. I […]