Food Editor Caitlin Dickinson visited Cappadocia in the Jewellery Quarter, to try some Turkish cuisine for Valentine’s Day.Written by Caitlin Dickinson on 14th March 2018
Meat Alternative Products
Amber Allcock outlines some meat-alternatives that will keep your protein levels up
Winter is approaching; casseroles, curries and hearty pasta dishes are already on our minds. When all you are craving is some wholesome good food, meat often seems a staple ingredient. But whether you are new to vegetarianism or just generally looking to cut down your meat intake, meat-alternative products are a great way to get in your protein. With an ever growing, extensive and imaginative range, any meaty cravings you may have will be covered – from spicy chicken burgers to turkey slices and fish fingers, they’ve got an alternative to just about everything. And what the official Quorn range lacks, you can find elsewhere in other great meat-alternative brands. Having been a veggie for as long as I can remember - and therefore having tried pretty much every meat- alternative going - I have devised a list of products which are not to miss, and, which, alternatively, should definitely be avoided…
Chicken pieces: I find the Quorn range has the best chicken pieces. These are absolutely perfect for adding to dishes like fajitas. I’m a big believer in not needing a meat alternative for most dishes, but there are some that just aren’t the same without a substantial meaty alternative. Like most of Quorn’s un-breaded chicken products, you’ll need plenty of flavouring to make these taste delicious - but who has unseasoned chicken anyway? If you’re on a tighter budget, Tesco also offers a cheaper, good quality version of chicken pieces for just £1.75 a bag, or you can mix and match on their meat-alternative range and get 3 for £4 (bargain).
Mincemeat: Again, Quorn has got to be the winner on this front. Vegetarian mincemeat seems to be the most popular meat-alternative product, which is often mutually appreciated by many meat eaters too following the 2013 horse meat scandal. A great option for tacos (I’m clearly a big Mexican food lover), this can be cooked and added as normal to just about any dish where mincemeat would traditionally be used. Plus, the texture of these is so like- for-like that I’ve actually had my dad do a taste test to compare - and he could barely tell the difference. That’s some definitive proof right there.
Veggie sausages: My personal favs are Linda McCartney’s ‘original’ sausages. I’d probably say to avoid the Quorn’s version until you’ve tried these, although they have recently updated their recipe which I am yet to taste. These are often on offer for half price at Sainsbury’s, but you can also pick up a pack at the permanent price of £1 in Iceland. For when, like me, you’ve exhausted the original flavour, they also offer a red pepper and chorizo version (which are admittedly slightly more greasy but still have a great taste), or the red onion and rosemary flavour.
For the chicken lovers:
Chicken nuggets: Hallelujah, if you used to be a meat eater and struggled at the thought of parting with your beloved chicken nugget obsession, then you’ve got to try these. Yes, they’re never going to beat the real deal (and I’m perfectly happy with that), but they’re still great if you are having an extremely lazy day and just fancy pigging out on some comfort food. Better still, the official Quorn range’s version are high in protein, low in saturated fat and high in fibre (like the majority of their products). Chicken nuggets without the guilt? It’s a win win situation.
Chicken Kievs: Ever since I discovered Tesco’s version of these they easily made it to my top three meat-alternative list. Heavenly, garlicky goodness - just go get a pack.
The more obscure options:
Bacon: Among many of the questions which I am consistently asked when people find out that I am vegetarian (though of course nowhere near as popular as the general classic ‘BUT WHAT DO YOU EAT?!’) is how on earth I live without bacon. I promise, it’s easily possible, but if you really want to get experimental you can try out the Quorn version (although Sainsburys and Tesco also offer a meat-free alternative too.) I have to say it’s definitely an acquired taste (and texture) but it’s such a marmite option that it can’t harm giving them a go.
Quorn pepperoni: Another marmite option – it’s worth trying if you are world’s biggest pizza lover (I’ll fight you for the title).
Sausage patties: I’ve never tried these, and in all honesty they don’t appeal to me. If you used to be into your red meats, this more substantially meatier taste may appeal to you, and can be found in the Quorn range.
Quorn Fishless Fingers: I’ve got to say in my opinion these are a categorical no. The texture is odd, and the concept of creating an alternative for fish fingers just seems a whole other kettle of fish for me (sorry). If you’re looking to wean yourself away from pescetarianism, I can see these working for you though.
Another completely random yet classic question I’m often asked as a vegetarian is, but ‘what do you eat on Christmas day?!’ Low and behold, I’ve survived many Christmas’ without meat and am eating a more obscure twist on a Christmas dinner every year. The options are unsurprisingly getting evermore extensive, but Linda McCartney’s vegetarian beef roast with red wine and shallot glaze might just make it to my Christmas table this year. And, for the classic annual buffet, I recommend Linda McCartney’s or Quorn’s cocktail sausages.