Burger King vegan whopper

Confession time…I have never had a Burger King burger before. This January is actually the first time I think I have ever had a Burger King ever in my life. So I am really branching out now and having what is most likely the first fast-food burger I have had in at least 12 years. I have had McDonald’s burgers before…but again I think the last time I had one was when I was about 12/13? Because I then went vegetarian shortly afterwards.

I have always heard that out of the fast-food places, Burger King was the elite: The fries were the best, the burgers were the size of a baby’s head and the price was a really good value for money. They also tasted ‘not like fast-food’. So we finally decided to test whether that was still true and to see if the burgers lived up to the same level as they had done before going vegetarian.

I decided to go with the vegan whopper, as I think that is the most staple of the Burger King meal. I decided to go for the Whooper over the Royale as the Royale genuinely looked HUGE in comparison and I didn’t trust that I would actually be able to finish it all. I was a little bit nervous of the Whopper as it was indeed….whopper.

The vegan burger patty is a soya based patty, and there had been some controversy around it when first released in 2020 as it was still cooked on the same grill as the meat products were. From reading Burger King’s FAQs and the information available on their website though, they say that they now have separate grill for each type of product, so there is very little risk of cross-contamination. Make of that what you will. I decided to chance it and trust that they were doing all that can to keep vegan products separate from meat products, because let’s be fair – it’s not really that hard. Especially for a multi-billion dollar company that could easily afford the equipment/space/resources.

But I digress…

So right off the bat, this is the perfect meal to justify ‘vegan for the animals’. The burger alone was around 320 calories. Which I suppose on it’s own isn’t the worst meal you would choose but if you include the chips – which are around 385 calories!! – it’s a pretty big meal. Which isn’t bad because 700 calories for a meal is probably considered quite small. BUT – and this was the big issue I had – even after 700 calories of food, I was still STARVING. I could have eaten at least three of these burgers and even then I don’t think I would have felt satisfied.If you were to eat 700 calories of any other food, you’d notice it. But these felt like eating air because I was hungry maybe 5 minutes after finishing.

It also didn’t taste that great. I mean it tasted like a fast food burger. It was exactly how I remembered it tasting: slightly fake while still being quite sweet. Aside from the fact that it looked quite sad and squashed when I took it out of he wrapper, it tasted the exact same. I would like to say that you could really notice the vegan patty, but honestly I didn’t. If you have ever had a fast-food burger, then you have tasted what this whopper tasted like. Pretty basic and nothing special, but exactly what you were expecting.

Price wise it is on the more expensive end for a fast-food meal. Especially when you factor in how it tastes (i.e exactly like every other fast food product). That aside though it is still pretty cheap, at £7.50 for a whole whopper meal, with fries and drink. That is also the price if you pick the large size of everything, otherwise it is slightly less the smaller the meal. But even with the price, you could make a way better burger yourself at home for maybe £5: Meatless farm burgers (for example) are around £3, a 4 pack of vegan brioche rolls from Aldi is £1 and the toppings and sauces maybe work out to be about another £1. This also gives you more than one meal so most likely works out even cheaper in the whole. SO while the whopper scratched a curiosity itch to see what fast-food was like, but I really don’t see what the benefit is to having this over a home made burger? Aside from the time it takes to cook it.

Overall: 4/10. Fine if you’re really stuck but definitely not worth it when you can make far better options at home for a fraction of the price.

T xxx

Krispee Kreme apple custard pie doughnut

As promised, I have now tried all three of the new Krispee Kreme Veganuary offerings. Don’t say I don’t ever do anything for you guys…

I have to say I think this one is the winner. It really did taste like an apple pie! The doughnut itself was the light and fluffy sponge that we know Kirspee Kreme for, and the topping was a nice crunchy crumble that gave a nice extra texture of the doughnut as a whole.

The inside filing was also really nice. There was the perfect combination of apple and custard, and both complimented each other very well. It wasn’t overly sweet either so didn’t leave me feeling sick or bloated. It also didn’t seem too ‘stuffed’ in that when I bit into the middle I didn’t have filing trying to escape from both sides of the doughnut as can happen with these big doughnuts.

Price wise it is the same as the other two: £2.65. Which in comparison to some offers out there is a bit expensive, but as a special edition, ‘luxury’ flavour it is pretty cheap. It was also very refreshing to see a vegan dessert option on sale from a big company that actually felt quite creative: it wasn’t just simply chocolate or salted caramel as so many options out there are, and it was really nice being able to taste an ‘apple crumble pie’ that I hadn’t had to cook myself.

Now for the real big question though: How do these compare to Doughnut Time? Personally, I still think Doughnut Time is way ahead of the other doughnut companies purely for the creativity of the flavours on offer. However, I would expect their doughnuts to cost double the price when they are a) double the size and b) so niche in their flavourings. I don’t think Doughnut Time will ever be a place you go to for ‘just a doughnut’. It’s somewhere you go to for a decadent and over the top experience. But I am very impressed with Krispee Kreme, it must be said. All of their doughnuts have been pretty high level (we won’t include the caramel review in this), and it is good to see that such a large, worldwide company such as Krispee Kreme is finally stepping up their game to keep up with the vegan demand. Hopefully in the years to come they will also branch out even more and start offering flavours of doughnuts that will be able to give Doughnut Time a real run for their money.

Either way I am excited to see where the next step in vegan doughnuts will take us.

Overall: 9/10. A very good start to the year, and I am excited for what is to come in the next few years.

T xxx

Whats plants are poisonous to cats?

With the Winter Solstice now passed, it is the time of the year where we start to look towards the spring and the summer. For many people, this may include planting new seeds, both figuratively speaking and literally speaking. January through to March is normally the best time to plant many flowers and vegetables so that by summer they are ready to bloom, turning your currently drab and lifeless garden into an oasis of colour and fragrance.

But what if you have a cat? Aside from the concern that they may try and dig up your seedlings or trample over the shoots as they begin to rise, there are a number of common household flowers and plants that are actually very dangerous for your pet to even be around, let alone eat. In many cases the pollen from some of these plants can cause a wide array of respiratory, skin and eye issues that may be quite hard to treat. I have therefore made a list of the most common plants that are poisonous to our feline friends, in the hope that moving forward you will either omit these plants from your gardens this year, or at least move them to an area where your cat cannot get to.

As with all things to do with pets, if you think your cat may have ingested something they shouldn’t have ALWAYS take them to the vet as soon as you can to ensure that they get immediate attention.

Outside flowers

Now I feel this is the most important issue, as with a garden you do not know what wildlife will be coming and going on a daily basis. Not only do you have your own cats to worry about, you also have neighbourhood cats, strays, feral cats and natural wildlife such as foxes, badgers and hedgehogs (in the UK anyway).

The most common types of flowers/plants that are poisonous to cats include:

  • lilies of any kind – the majority of lilies are poisonous to almost every type of animal and people too. As pretty as they are, I would again advocate that you do not have any type of lily in your home or garden just to be on the safe side.
  • foxglove
  • dogbane
  • water hemlock
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Plu...
Dogbane flowers

There are also a number of flowers and plants that you should be cautious about putting into your garden, unless they can be planted somewhere where you know your cat (or any other wildlife) could get to easily. These include:

  • bluebells
  • clematis
  • daffodils
  • wisteria
  • tomato plants
  • Rhododendron
  • dahlias
  • hyacinths
  • peonies
Paeoniaceae | Description, Taxonomy, & Examples | Britannica
Peonies

There are however a wide variety of flowers and plants that are completely safe for your cat to be around, and the Cats Protection have a full list which I shall leave here.

Inside plants

According to Cats Protection, there is only one family of indoor plants that is toxic to cats and those are cycads. This family of plants look similar to ferns and are often confused with types of palm trees. From looking at these types of plants they appear to grow quite tall, so the chance of you having one inside your house are quite low.

There are also a number of plants that can be dangerous for cats to ingest, although they are not necessarily toxic to them. If ingested, it is likely that your cat will experience nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems, but they will not be poisoned. The most common of these include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Poinsettia
  • English Ivy
  • Peace lily
  • snake plant
Indoor Peace Lily Plants: Growing A Peace Lily Plant
Peace lily

Please see the list here from Cats Protection for a full list.

Cut flowers in the home

Aside from the ones outside, you must also be cautious of the flowers that you bring into the home. Again the pollen alone can be enough to cause serious skin irritations or respiratory issues to your feline companion so it is best to double check any flowers in your home to make sure that they have not been nibbled on, or that no pollen has fallen onto the ground where your cat may be able to sniff/lick/touch it.

This list also applies to any flowers that you may grow in your own garden (as above) and so if you do wish to bring those flowers inside, you must make sure that they do not come into contact with your cat in any way. I for one will always advocate that if there is even a slight risk to the well-being of your pet, then simply remove it entirely from your home and garden and simply go for cat friendly options.

The most common toxic type of flower are lilies as discussed above, so again I would say to just completely avoid lilies in your home or garden.

Other types of flowers that you should be careful with are:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Chrysanthemum
  • lavender (quite a surprising one)
  • peonies
  • poppies
  • Tulips
  • sweet pea flowers

Some of these are quite surprising as they are probably some of the most popular flowers for people to have in their home. I for one am surprised that peonies are toxic, as they are my favourite flower! But now I know that they are potentially bad for my cat’s health, I now make sure to only ever have fake flowers. Again a full list of flowers can be found here from Cats Protection.

Final thoughts

As I have mentioned above, I always air on the side of caution. I will always put the welfare of my pets above the aesthetic nature of my house and/or garden. If you are ever worried, consult your vet or the Cats Protection website for full details on what plants and flowers should be avoided.

The other alternative is to do what I do: buy fake flowers! Not only do many fake flowers look IDENTICAL to the real thing, there is ZERO chance that I can kill it, meaning i don’t feel bad about any flower or plant dying as soon as I bring it home. As someone who has never had (nor is ever likely to develop) a green thumb, this option works perfectly for me to fill my house with beautiful flowers while ensuring that they cause no harm to my pets.

I hope you have found this article informative and I hope that it will inspire you to try new and varying flowers and plants for this coming year. If there are any others that you think should be added to the list, then please do let me know in the comments. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing pictures of all your wonderfully colourful – and now cat friendly! – gardens come summer!

T xxx

Burger King vegan nuggets

A Veganuary Newbie! BurgerKing have actually had a vegan burger for the last year or so, however there was a lot of controversy around it as it when it came to light that the vegan burger was cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers. I – along with a vast majority of other vegans – were therefore not keen on that offer, and so to this day I have still not tried the vegan burger from BurgerKing. But when they announced their new nuggets, I had to try these.

*While writing this I actually had the panic of whether or not the vegan nuggets were cooked in the same oil/fryer/grill as the meat ones. After some internet sleuthing, it appears that Burgerking have now changed their system so that they have allocated fryers/grills etc for each product. This appears to be more for allergy reasons (still very good though!) but it appears as though all of the vegan products have their own separate fryer. If anyone can find information that is different though, please let me know!

So these nuggets were really good. I would say they were very similar (if not identical to) the Birds Eye chicken nuggets that you can buy in the shops. So if you like the Birds Eye version then you will enjoy these Burgerking versions. They were crispy and fluffy and just exactly what you want a nugget to be.

Price wise, you can get packs of 3, 6 and 20 – quite the jump. They start from £3.99, £4.99 to £6.99. £7 for 20 nuggets!! That to me is Bargain of the Year. Although not sure if I could really eat 20 of these by myself…

Overall: 7/10. A really good addition to fast food, but no different to what you could already buy in a supermarket.

T xxx

Veganuary additions at Starbucks

I am not a coffee drinker, so I don’t tend to frequent coffee shops unless they a) have really big cups of tea or b) they have new vegan options on sale that I have to try. Starbucks would be one of those places. They tend to have quite a good vegan range, and also recently announced that they would no longer charge extra for vegan milk alternatives (about time!!). They also tend to do quite a lot of seasonal treats so I do find myself stopping in every season or so if something takes me fancy.

Until now, I had only ever had soya milk in my coffees because that was usually the only milk alternative that places do not charge extra for (and I include Starbucks, Costa and Cafe Nero in this, although there may be others) so when I saw that Starbucks were doing a whole new oat latte line for their festive new year drinks, I was quite excited! I have heard that oat milk is best in coffees, as it thickens up and froths up the nicest out of all of the non-milk milks.

On offer they have chocolate and orange oat latte and strawberry and vanilla oat lattes. They are also offering a honey and hazelnut oat latte but since I do not consider honey to be vegan friendly (more on this topic to come later!) I don’t include this in their vegan menu. I therefore went with the chocolate and orange latte, as it sounded the nicest option. Plus who doesn’t love chocolate orange??

It was actually quite disappointing. It had the tiniest hint of chocolate, but tasted more like a standard mocha than it did chocolate orange. I will admit the oat milk did seem a lot frothier and fluffy than my usual soya latte, but it didn’t add any flavour to it. Maybe coconut milk would add a little bit of sweetness? I tend to find coffee a bit too bitter to have in large amounts, so anything to sweeten it up is all good in my books. I got zero orange flavouring from this latte, so overall it was just a nice mocha. It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t anything to get too excited about.

I also tried the vegan carrot cake that looked way better than it tasted. Carrot cake is probably my favourite type of cake (true vegan choice right there!) and I have still not yet mastered the perfect home baked carrot cake. So I therefore have to make do with what is on offer when out shopping. Surprisingly (to me anyway) carrot cake is not a very popular flavour (???) so I think I have only had carrot cake maybe twice in the 6 years I have been vegan. They also had on offer for Veganuary a chocolate and caramel muffin (groundbreaking), a cherry crown pasty (this did look pretty nice to be fair to them), a pecan and caramel brownie and a caramel and date cookie. So out of those offering, only the cherry crown pastry is even remotely exciting. Unless again you like caramel everything.

This carrot cake was so dry and it was THICK. It was almost like a bread it was so thick. It is actually quite small by snack standards but I was more or less full by about half way through it. You definitely needed a drink with this though as the cake itself managed to find every bit of moisture in my mouth and suck it away, meaning I had to really work to chew and swallow each bite. Combined with the coffee, it wasn’t the worst, but it definitely was not the soft and light spongy cake that I had been expecting.

Now I know that Starbucks are not the best business – they have routinely been outed for paying little to no taxes in the UK and they are also one of the big companies that took a covid bail out payment, despite being a multi-million dollar company. In my high street alone there are 3 Starbucks stores – and all 3 are pretty big with quite a number of staff – so it is not like they are struggling for money as much as they claim to be. That side of the ethics aside, they are one of the more expensive coffee shops out there: I had only a tall latte (the smallest size) and the cake and that alone was around £6. Which personally I could get a way better snack and a way better drink at literally any other store for less money than that. I do feel glad that I am not a fan of coffee because the idea of drinking Starbucks every day would genuinely bankrupt me – £4 every day for a tiny coffee?? What do people have to earn to be able to afford such spending!?

Now I am quite a forgiving person though so I may still go back and try some of their other options. I am also a big believer in supply and demand, so if it takes me trying multiple vegan options in their stores to convince them to create more exciting and readily available vegan coffee and cake options, then so be it. Again though, I will not expect anything special….but hopefully something at least passable.

Overall: 4/10. It’s fine. Definitely not the best option out there but good in a pinch.

T xxx

Krispee Kreme caramel doughnut

I feel it is my duty to try all of the Krispee Doughnuts so here we are! This time I went for the Salted Caramel doughnut. I still believe that salted caramel is a really lazy option for vegan treats, as there are so many other combinations that would be far tastier and far more exciting. I think every single brand out there has salted caramel as their vegan option and honestly it gets old quick. Especially if you’re like me and don’t like caramel all that much anyway. But I had been very impressed by the other new vegan options that were release so I thought it only right to give this one a go too.

Now this was not good. I missed the part of description that told me it had a salted caramel filling, so I went into this just expecting a simple caramel topped doughnut. I like caramel in small doses, so was quite looking forward to this. It was the lovely soft and fluffy dough that you’d expect and the chocolate and caramel on top was a nice combinations of flavours without feeling too sickly.

But then I bit into the middle and got at least 90% of the caramel filling in one bite. I nearly gagged. I have never had my mouth welded shut before but this was very similar – there was so much caramel that I truly struggled to even open my mouth. It was so sickly too that my immediate reaction was to just spit it out, but it was so gummy and sticky that I couldn’t open my mouth to do so. After about ten seconds of my inwardly panicking that this was how my life ended, I finally managed to spit it out and now I think I have a fear of these doughnuts.

I’ve said before that I am not the biggest fan of caramel as I find it so overpoweringly sweet, and I always find that salted caramel tastes burnt to me. But I thought that if this had just been a standard doughnut, with the caramel top and nothing in the middle, that it may actually be alright – there would be no overpowering flavours and I wouldn’t feel like I was going into sugar shock afterwards. This is therefore your warning to read food descriptions FULLY and CAREFULLY, so you don’t have the experience I had.

Again, this is a speciality doughnut so it was £2.65. So for a near death experience, pretty cheap. But I would say that unless you absolutely LOVE caramel (as in, would happily bathe in the syrup if it was allowed) then do not try this. You have read above how I found it, but then my partner tried it and (being a big caramel lover) gave it a full 10/10. ‘Best doughnut ever’ he said as I hid away from him for fear the doughnut may try to finish me off for good.

Overall: 0/10. Only good for those who live for the caramel. Which if you do, then this will probably be your Holy Grail of vegan food.

T xxx

Krispee Kreme chocolate fudge brownie

So these were actually available before the New Year actually began, so thankfully I was able to try the vegan options before my healthy kickstart started! I decided to start with the one I thought I would most enjoy, and it was the chocolate fudge brownie.

This was no where near as sickly as I thought it would be. It also wasn’t as…gross as I thought it might be? As in I thought I would eat it and need to lie down from the amount of sugar coursing through my veins. But it was actually quite mild. The dough was soft and spongey and the icing wasn’t overpowering at all like icing can tend to be. There was some chocolate in the middle of it but I think this must be mostly dark chocolate as it was almost bitter. Which when combined with the sponge and icing was actually a really nice combination, as the sweet and tart mellowed each other out a bit.

I actually felt quite satisfied after it too. I didn’t feel sick, but I also didn’t still feel hungry. I also didn’t feel bloated and gross like some sweet treats sometimes can make you feel and I honestly expected that when I saw just how sweet the doughnuts looked on display.

Now the main question – did it beat Doughnut Time? Now those who have read through my posts will know that Doughnut Time is one hell of a guilty pleasure. The doughnuts on sale there are extravagant and extra and are a once in a while treat (and not just because of the fact that they are exclusive to London) that I do not have on any regular basis. This Krispee Kreme doughnut however, I probably would have more often. It isn’t as sweet and sickly, and are quite a reasonable size too. They aren’t anything spectacular (the Doughnut Time options are works of art on their own right) but are definitely an easily available and affordable option.

Price wise this doughnut was £2.35. Which isn’t that expensive, especially when you can get a pack of 6 for £10. They are however slightly more expensive than the non-vegan options, possibly due to the fact that they are considered ‘limited’ or ‘special’. There are one or two ‘special’ non-vegan doughnuts which are the same price so I guess there isn’t too much of a vegan tax on them. Unfortunately though, it seems as though you still cannot get just a plain glazed doughnut from Krispee Kreme unless you order it directly from their website, and even then you have to order a 12 pack of them (at least near me anyway, it may be different world-wide) which just seems odd to me. As it stands, the only places you can buy just a plain and simple glazed doughnut is Gregg’s, and a plain sugar ring is available at Wenzel’s. But it’s nice that we vegans can now have an option that is a little bit special.

Overall: 8/10. Surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. Definitely a good contender, especially for something a bit more special than just a glaze or a sugar ring.

T xxx

Garden Gourmet burgers

I think I may have found the best burger…

I had not seen these on sale before, but had heard good things about the range as a whole. So I gave them a try, wanting something different to my usual Meatless Farm burger. Oh boy were these a treat and a half!

I found these to be the perfect medium between the Meatless Farm burger and the Beyond Meat burger. Personally, I found the Beyond Meat burger TOO meat-like. It was very juicy and the texture was almost too close to actual meat for my liking. So while I can attest that the Beyond Meat are indeed very good burgers, as someone who doesn’t like the texture or look of actual meat they were a bit too realistic for my liking. The Meatless Farm burgers are also very yummy, but do run the risk sometimes of being a little too dry – they definitely need cheese or a sauce in order to make them an elite burger.

But the Garden Gourmet were amazing! They were just the right amount of juicy, so you didn’t end up making a massive mess down yourself when taking a bite, but not so juicy that they almost ‘bled’ when they cooked the way the Beyond Meat burgers do. The texture was also perfect – slightly chewier than the Meatless Farm Burgers but not so chewy that you actually question if it is real meat you are eating. As I say, for my own personal preference, this is exactly what I want in a burger, so I would highly recommend you try these if you enjoy the Beyond Meat but don’t want to pay the Beyond Meat price tag for hem.

I bought this pack for £3 so it is on the slightly pricier side of meat-free burgers out there, but when compared to the £5 price tag of the Beyond Meat option this actually seems like a true bargain! You also get two burgers in a pack, so if it is just you you’re cooking for, that’s two very tasty meals sorted. I also feel that this would be the right type of protein that you could have just on it’s own – similar to how you may have eaten steak I guess? – with just some veg and chips or something like that. It really doesn’t need much added to it for it to be tasty so anything you do add just amplifies it up another level. I had it with some This Isn’t bacon strips and some Violife mozzarella squares and – OH MY – words cannot express how good these are.

Overall: 10/10 so far as I am concerned, but 9/10 for those who like their meat-alternatives to be as close as possible to the original meat version.

T xxx

Cadbury’s smooth chocolate plant bar

This is proof that veganism is truly taking off. Cadbury’s – possibly the biggest chocolate maker in the world has released not one but TWO vegan chocolate bars. It is made with almond milk instead of dairy, and I believe the flavours are smooth chocolate and salted caramel. I naturally went with the plain chocolate first to see how the chocolate actually tastes as just a base product.

I could not tell the difference. It tasted EXACTLY how I remember Cadbury bars tasting. It is creamy and smooth and really does just melt away in your mouth. I find that with some vegan chocolate bars they can have that slightly powdery texture to them, but this stuff is super smooth. There really isn’t that much to say about them because they are almost an identical replication of your regular dairy Cadbury bar.

The one downside is that it is a bit thin…I always though Cadbury bars were the thicker of the bars and that’s what made them so good. But this is a lot thinner. Not sure if that is to improve the taste or if it’s just the route they’ve gone with these, but for me I think it would work really well as a proper chunky chocolate.

Here is also hoping that they bring out their full range: popping candy, nuts and…my absolute favourite…fruit and nut! I feel like the chocolate game is about to get serious.

Overall: 9/10. Thicken them up and this is a clear winner!

T xxx