Frankie & Benny’s vegan mac ‘n’ cheese

I haven’t been to a Frankie & Benny’s in years. There used to be one round the corner from where I lived but since moving there isn’t one within a reasonable distance. However we took a trip into Wembley (London) the other day and decided to see what new options they had added to their menu. I have seen people rave about their pizzas so I wanted to see what else they offered, if anything at all.

They actually have a surprising amount of vegan options and I did take my time deciding which one I fancied the most. In the end I went with a good comfort meal, of mac and cheese. I also decided to try their vegan milkshake as I don’t think I have had a milkshake in years either and I got too excited.

The mac and cheese was…pretty average. It was very creamy but didn’t have any real ‘cheese’ taste to it. It did have some tomatoes in it which did add a nice bit of acidity to the meal and stopped any of the cheese from being too thick or overpowering. I also appreciated that the portion size was smaller than I was expecting and I felt like it was the perfect amount of mac and cheese. Many times places give you such a large portion that the meal just starts to feel stodgy and heavy with every additional mouthful, but this portion of mac and cheese was the right amount that left you feeling comfortably satisfied without feeling bloated or overstuffed.

The milkshake was a letdown, I hate to say. It was basically vegan vanilla ice cream with some chocolate flakes in it. It was advertised as being ‘chocolate chip’ but there were so few chips it may as well have just been called a vanilla milkshake. I am not the biggest fan of vanilla so I only managed about half of it before I started to feel a bit sickly, and it wasn’t even a big glass. As I say the chocolate chips weren’t even chips, they were more like chocolate shavings – those really thin flakes that are mostly used for decoration in cake making. Barely any chocolate flavour to any of it. Very disappointed.

Overall: 7/10, Mac and Cheese is a good option, but nothing overly special or new. The milkshake is a total skip – unless you just want a vanilla milkshake.

T xxx

Itsu veggie sushi collection

Another joy of going into London is that I can finally go back to Itsu. If you’ve had a look through my blog you know that I am a big fan of sushi – it is simple and filling while being a light meal. I have tried a lot of sushi in my time but my favourite is always Itsu – it is roughly the same price as the other options out there but their meals just seem to be of a higher quality: The sushi is always light and fluffy and their hot meals are consistently tasty regardless of which option you pick.

My go to meal at Itsu is always the veggie sushi collection because you get a lot of sushi options for a decent price. Also if you have never had sushi before I feel this gives you a good introduction into what options are out there, so if you do not like one option you know not to buy that moving forward. I, however, love all of these and the sushi box is definitely cheaper than buying each plate of sushi by itself.

Me and my partner did actually share this box because you get a lot of sushi. You get:

  • 4 veggie maki (with the carrots and green beans)
  • 6 baby avocado rolls, ginger
  • fresh avocado on a carrot salad
  • 5 veggie dragon rolls
  • some ginger slices, wasabi packet and a little bottle of soya sauce.

My favourite is hands down the veggie dragon rolls – the sauce and the crispy mushrooms flakes just add something special to these rolls that you don’t get with the maki or the baby rolls. Although I do also love the baby rolls because they are just so tasty and so light, and the avocado always refreshes me.

Now this whole tray was £6.50 (although I am not sure if this varies depending on where you are) which to me is really good value for money. The trays of each individual type of sushi are around £4 each, so it is definitely cheaper to buy the sushi tray than to buy them all individually. Now sushi is always more expensive than the other options out there on the high street, so it will never be the cheapest option if that is what you are after. But if you wanted to try sushi, or wanted to splash out a little bit on your lunch break, then I would highly recommend trying Itsu over the other sushi places. As I say the quality of the food is always consistently good and always tasty, and it always seems to be worth the higher price tag for me.

Overall: 10/10. Anything you order will be great and this tray is always super tasty.

T xxx

Doughnut Time: Lil’ Dough Peep

It was Easter weekend here in England which means a 4 day weekend! The weather has also been surprisingly wonderful (20 degrees?! In April?!) so was the perfect time to take a trip into London. Which means we had to take a trip to Doughnut Time.

Now when I go into London I do walk everywhere: Started at Baker Street, and from there we walked down Regents Street to Leicester Square, wandered around that area for a while and then around Soho, back up to Oxford street and then back to Baker Street to head home. Overall I walked around 27,500 steps so needless to say I was in need of a little sugar kick by the time we got to Soho.

This was actually the store in China Town which has a really good selection of the doughnuts. They are also have the fan favourites, such as Liam Hemsworthy (red velvet based)and the David Biscoff (lotus biscoff spread based) as well as their seasonal specials. Now these doughnuts, as I have said before, are HUGE and we finally decided to share a doughnut rather than have one each.

I chose the Lil’ Dough Peep because it looked the least sickly. It looked like a nice, basic doughnut that would give me just the right amount of sugar and Easter spirit without sending me into sugar shock. It was also the only seasonal vegan option on sale so I thought it best to try a new one.

This was actually very nice indeed. It tasted like parma violets! For those who do not live in England and have therefore never experienced a parma violet, they are little sugar disc candies that taste like…well…violet. It sounds odd when I type it, but trust me they are just refreshing and sweet without being super sugary or over the top. It was also nice to have a doughnut time that didn’t make me feel sick after a few bites. I think I could have actually eaten this whole doughnut myself, as it wasn’t overpowering and was just a lovely little springtime treat. Compared to some of the others on sale it also appeared to be the lightest and most understated, which is just what I wanted.

Price wise they are very expensive. Each doughnut is around £5, with the most extravagant ones nearing £6 and the plainer ones being around £4.50. I do however stand by the fact that these are definitely worth it as a once in a while treat. The doughnuts are always something special and for me are worth the high price tag for the very limited treat. Even though I live about a 30 minute train from London, I still only manage to go into the city maybe two or three times a year for leisure. I would always recommend visiting a Doughnut Time if you are ever in London.

Overall: 9/10. Definitely one of the best one I have had so far. Shame it is for such a limited time!

T xxx

Milkybar chocolate

I was very excited when the main chocolate brands said that they would be making vegan versions of their favourites: Milkyway, Bounty Bars (don’t hate me, I loved bounty bars back in the non-vegan days!), Galaxy. But they truly lied to us with this, because all they really did was bring out chocolate bars with a slight flavour to it.

Case and point…the MilkyWay bar. Now I know a MilkyWay bar as being the nougat filling covered in chocolate. Now these were never my favourites as I am not the biggest fan of nougat, but every now and again they were a nice change. Which I was excited to see how a vegan version would work because nougat should be pretty easy to replicate: It is mostly nuts and sugar with egg whites, but you could remove the egg whites pretty easily I would have thought. But no…we got a chocolate bar.

Now I know that this is meant to be based more on their MilkyWay stars, which are like chocolate chips but shaped like stars. But they added a little extra to the chocolate with the popping candy element. I defy anyone to not love popping candy, because it really is so much fun, so adding it to anything makes the base product ten times more enjoyable. But that being said this chocolate felt so lazy. The chocolate itself tastes no different to every other vegan chocolate out there. It definitely doesn’t melt very well in your mouth, so it made the popping candy element a bit short lived because you couldn’t sit there and let the chocolate melt as the popping candy started to pop off. The chocolate tasted slightly powdery, which some lower quality vegan chocolate can tend to do.

Also this is supposedly the recommended serving size….

Now if this bar was the same price as the lower quality options then I wouldn’t mind so much, but this bar was £2.50. £2.50!!?? For 85g of product. Now you can get a Galaxy bar (granted it contains dairy) for £1 and get 110g of chocolate. So not only is the MilkyWay bar horrifically overpriced, it is absolutely tiny and is also very thin – there is barely anything in this bar and yet the vegan tax is added. It would be cheaper to just buy a big bar of the Nomo chocolate and a packet of popping candy and combine the two manually as you’re eating. At least then you’d get some really good chocolate to justify the horrific vegan tax.

Overall: 2/10. The popping candy makes it, but the chocolate is laughable. Worth a try just for the popping candy, otherwise feel free to skip this.

T xxx

Vemondo chocolate brownie ice cream

It may have taken me a while but I finally managed to get my hands on Lidl’s vegan ice cream range. I’ve seen articles that it is a cheap man’s Ben and Jerry’s, so I was very keen to try it. Unfortunately the Lidl near me is not fantastic, and their vegan offerings can be very hit or miss: Either they have nothing, or they have every single product imaginable. But a few weeks ago I got lucky and managed to grab one of the last tubs of the chocolate brownie flavour.

The articles were not wrong: This really is like a Ben and Jerry’s fudge brownie ice cream. The ice cream is creamy and there are little chunks of brownie scattered throughout. There is also the nice added flavor of a chocolate sauce that is also scattered throughout the ice cream, so that adds a really nice extra flavour to it all. Now the brownie pieces are more like chocolate chip size, rather than the genuine chunks that Ben and Jerry’s uses, but I think I actually prefer them for being small little bites.

The chocolate is also VERY rich. I normally try to limit myself to only one or two spoonfuls of ice cream when I do choose to have it, and I think that even two spoonfuls is a bit much for this ice cream because it really is that rich. Any chocolate craving you have will definitely be satisfied after one bite of this. Even though it is rich though it is absolutely delicious, and tastes like quite a decadent ice cream.

Which is surprising because the tub (500ml I believe) was only £1.99. Lidl you need to contain yourself! For a dessert that will easily last me a good few months, that also tastes like very expensive chocolate, £2 a tub is unheard of. I really don’t think I can justify buying any other type of ice cream now since this matches (if not exceeds) most of the brands out there and is nearly half the price of them all too. Lidl yet again coming in hot!

Overall: 10/10. I don’t think I’ll really buy any other ice cream but this moving forward.

T xxx

Are cat cafes vegan?

As a quick disclaimer, I will not be discussing pet cafes as a whole, only cat cafes. I simply do not agree that all pets can be used for pet cafes Rabbit cafes for example are terrible ideas simply due to the very delicate nature of rabbits, and I imagine a dog cafe could get very out of control very quickly because of how excited dogs can get. This little article will only look at cat cafes, although I may look at other types of pet cafes in the future.

What is a cat cafe?

Exactly what it sounds like. It is a coffee shop, where you can enjoy numerous hot beverages and tasty pastries and cakes, while also cuddling the cats that live in the cafe. Many cat cafes also work closely with re-homing centres (or act as a re-homing centre themselves) so that the cats you see in the cafe with you can be adopted out into the community.

Now anyone who loves cats would obviously want to attend one because is there anything better in this world than a hot mug of coffee and a purring cat asleep on your lap? Absolutely not. However I have seen a lot of conflicting articles and comments about whether or not a cat cafe is humane, ethical and by default, vegan. Are the cats being exploited so the owner can sell more coffee? Is the welfare of the cats really the paramount importance?

My experience

I grew up with cats. I have photos of me as a two year old literally climbing into the cat bed so I could snuggle with my childhood tabby and black cat, Mog and Dale. When they both crossed the rainbow bridge, we then got Jinx. In fact the only time I lived in a home without a cat was when I moved into my own property – and even then we filled our home with the gerbils and our bunnies. Having spent at least 25 years of my life living with cats, I feel an overwhelming sense of comfort when I am around cats – they really are like home to me – so naturally cat cafes are absolutely my cup of tea!

I have been to a few cat cafes, and in my experience they have always been very cat centred. Each place has had very strict rules about how you act while in the cafe, to make sure that the cats are never disturbed or scared by the people around them. All of them also had rules about how many people were allowed in the shop at any one time, and as well as limiting how many can come in per group and not allowing any children under the age of 12 into them. The cafes that do allow younger children in though also make it a strict rule that the children should be supervised at all times and should not be allowed to approach the cats without adult supervision with them.

That being said I have also looked at other cat cafes which I didn’t feel were cat focused: I have looked into the window of them and seen young children running around the cafe floor, barely any hidey holes for the cats to shelter in and even from the outside could tell it was far too noisy inside. You also know it probably isn’t cat focused when you can’t even see the cats when you look inside.

As to whether or not the cafe itself is ‘vegan friendly’ regarding the food, every place I went to had a decent selection of vegan foods and drinks. So in that sense I think you’d be hard pushed to find a cat cafe that doesn’t cater towards vegans: if it doesn’t have even one plant based milk to offer or even a basic vegan cookie, then it’s probably just a bad coffee shop anyway.

The pros of a cat cafe

It is common knowledge now that spending time with animals is good for us: It lowers our blood pressure, slows our breathing and decreases our feelings of loneliness. As with most medical treatments though,animal therapy is very rarely something that can be offered to everyone and if you live in rented property or a house share or in a busy city, you may not even be able to have pets of your own. Places like cat cafes allow people to come and go as they please and spend as much time as they wish with their kitty companions.

I also believe that cat cafes are frequented by people who already love cats, so will already be doing their utmost to make sure that cats in the cafe are happy. They are people who won’t care about getting cat fur all over their trousers, or mind having a cat sit next to them while they eat and drink. Therefore while each cat cafe will have it’s own set of rules, I imagine the majority (if not all) of the patrons would adhere to the rules even if they weren’t told to.

I also believe that this method of re-homing is far more beneficial for the cats than being in a shelter. While shelters do amazing work (and I will always advocate and support my local shelters) they can be very sad places. I’m sure we have all seen the videos of cats in small little bunkers as they watch person after person walk past their window and not even stop to say hello. It’s heartbreaking to see and I can’t even think what must be going through the cats’ mind when this is all they see everyday until someone decides to take them home. But with the cat cafes, the cats have far more freedom to wander around the people and to actually show off their personalities. They can run and play and sleep wherever and however they like, and are also socialised to be used to being around people: they become used to the noise and the bustle of people coming and going and getting multiple cuddles a day in the process. Now I for one, would injure myself in a rescue shelter – I would take a look at the very first cat and I would end up trying to take the entire shelter home with me. At least in a cat cafe I know that the cats have a warm and safe home until their forever family comes along. Not that I wouldn’t take them all home with me if I had half the chance….

I have always found the staff in these cafes to be amazing: They are always professional and attentive, and you can tell immediately that they love each and every one of their kitty cohorts. They have always been very knowledgeable about the cats and about their needs and personalities. I have also seen the staff politely showing guests how to correctly play with the cats, from which toys work best with which cat and the best way to use the toy to bring out their natural hunter instincts. For example, if you have a rug or a blanket, use a stick underneath it to play with your cat – something about it being ‘underground’ drives cats wild and they absolutely love trying to catch it. The thinner the stick too the more likely it is to slip through their little toe beans, which just makes them even more determined to catch this evil stick!

The cons of cat cafes

It is common knowledge that cats are very territorial creatures and are also very high maintenance. If they are not happy with something, they will definitely tell you about it!

One of the main issues with cat cafes is the concern that large numbers of cats should not b e kept together. Both Cats Protection and the RSPCA have stated that cat cafes are not the most suitable environment for cats to live in, especially when they have to deal with multiple groups of people coming and going contunously throughout the day. They also have to deal with a lot of petting and playing, and since cats mostly sleep for between 12-16 hours a day they are not the most social of creatures.

The RSPCA also raised concerns around the stability of the cats’ environment. As with most animals, routine is key. They can be sensitive to smells and temperature changes which may be an issue in a cafe. Cat cafes are very popular and see a lot of traffic so I can see why having too much change could potential cause stress to the cats who live in the cafe. Cats also require a lot of space and opportunity to exercise and climb, which is why many charities recommend having at least some sort of garden available if you wish to adopt a cat. Naturally though this is very unlikely in cat cafes, as most are in very built up and urban areas, with no more than a small concrete foyer around the back and a busy main high street out front.

Despite how cats may appear, they can be scared very easily by loud noises. As such it is also recommended to have lots of hidey-holes for cats so that they can get away and hide from any situation which they deem to be scary. This could range from fireworks outside, to children to simply too many people in a room.

There is also the issue of cat personalities. Every single cat is different and not every cat is suited to life in a cat cafe. Territorial, overly skittish or short tempered cats are more likely to get easily stressed in a busy and changing environment, and when cats are scared, annoyed or threatened that is when the claws come out. Which would be terrible for all involved: As someone who has been around cats my whole life, I know that if my cat takes a swipe at my hand it’s because I have annoyed them in some way, however if you have never spent time with cats or you’re a young child, you may think this is a mean kitty and get very upset. To combat this, I have seen some cat cafes who have a ‘revolving door’ system with their cats, where the cat can come and go from the main floor as much as they please to a completely private area that is shut off from guests. Most cafes also seem to make a point of only hosting cats that do meet the personality requirements to ensure that they can live with other cats and also won’t find the constant traffic stressful or annoying.

The other concern I see raised most often is the issue of regulation. Yes cat cafes are held to the same health and safety and food standards of other cafes, but the issue is that cat cafes are not like regular cafes. The cats welfare is largely left up to the cafe owners and with so much going on at any one time during a busy day, it is no doubt hard for the staff to ensure every single customer is adhering to the rules when it comes to interacting with the cats. There are talks that stricter policies and standards will be needed as the popularity of cat cafes grows, but again this itself is a slow process.

Final thoughts?

In short ALWAYS do your research. I personally would be very hesitant to visit a cat cafe if they allowed large groups or young children to visit them. I also always check their house rules, and if I cannot find them easily on their website I am even less inclined to visit them. I also like to look at the interior of the cafe to see how many climbing shelves there are, how many hidey-holes I can see, how many sleeping spots are available and to see what other enrichment they have for the cats. I believe there is one in London which has a giant cat wheel where the cats can run (like a hamster wheel, but cat sized) as well as lots of interconnecting tunnels around the cafe so that the cats can move about freely without needing to interact with people if they do not wish to.

Have you guys been to cat cafes? What are your thoughts on them?

T xxx

Pancake Day 2022

Here in England we have what is known as Pancake Day. It is actually Shove Tuesday and is the last day before Lent starts on the Ash Wednesday. Lent is the 40 day period which leads us up to Easter and is meant to be the time where you give up bad habits for 40 days. Somehow, the religious holiday turned into everybody making pancakes. Traditionally Lent is meant to be a period of fasting, so you needed to use up all perishable goods prior to Lent. This usually meant using up products such as flour, eggs and milk. So naturally pancakes are probably the easiest thing you can make to use those ingredients up.

Now I am not religious in any way, so for me Pancake Day is just a perfect excuse to have pancakes for dinner and nobody can judge you. In many years I may have even had pancakes for multiple meals in a day. What is not to love!?

So in order for you all to also enjoy some wonderful vegan pancakes, I am sharing my two ingredient pancake recipe that I swear by. Now please bear in mind that when I think of pancakes I think of the thick, fluffy American style pancakes. The very thin and big pancakes I always think of as crepes – like the french delicacy. This recipe will work for both but I mainly use this to make the thick fluffy kind rather than the thin crispy kind.

You can add whatever you want to these pancakes too. The batter itself is very plain, in the hope that you can then add fruit, chocolate or anything else you fancy to it without the pancake batter being overpowering at all. My favourite go to is lotus biscoff spread and bananas because…well nothing ever beats banana and biscoff!

I hope you all have a lovely meal and if you are religious and participating in Lent, then I hope your fasting and meditation brings you new clarity and contentment. If you are not celebrating, then enjoy the yummy pancakes and if you come up with any fantastic combinations please let me know so I can too try them!

T xxx

Superdrug sugar and oil body scrub

One of my goals for this year is to take my skincare a bit more seriously. I am inching ever closer to thirty and while I do feel like my skin is pretty good, I know I don’t give it the attention it really deserves. I have been doing a lot of research and over the years I have worked out that my skin is quite sensitive, but living in England also means that my skin is pretty dry.

I have used the Vitamin E range from Superdrug before and got on pretty well with it. The night cream I use every night and it really does help hydrate my skin without being really heavy or oily. It also doesn’t make my skin break out or leave my face bright red because of heavy fragrances or chemicals in it. So I decided to try some more of their range, starting with the body scrub.

In the past, most body scrubs I used would just leave my skin bright red. Plus I think they all contained the microplastic balls in them (which is what made up the ‘scrub’ part of the product) so they are obviously no good now. I have seen people can make their own body scrub using sugar or ground coffee to act as the scrub element, so I tried to look for these more natural products moving forward.

I have found this body scrub to be brilliant. The sugar works as an exfoliant without it being very rough and harsh on my skin, and as it is sugar it does dissolve as you scrub. The oil also makes the whole scrub feel very soft and gentle, and when I get out of the shower after rinsing off, my skin feels so moisturised and soft. It means I also do not need to then also apply my body moisturiser as I am already done.

I use this maybe once or twice a week – definitely not every day – and find that it is more than enough to give my skin that little extra moisture boost while not being too harsh with the exfoliating. It has been exceptionally good during this winter season: It has been so cold these past three months – more so than usual I would say – and this scrub has really helped stop my skin from getting too dry. There is also something so comforting and relaxing about coming in from -3 degree (Celsius I add) weather, to a hot shower and soft scrub to literally wash the day off of you and leave you feeling so much nicer.

The tub was £6 and as you can see from the picture it is a huge tub (300ml according to the label on the tub anyway) and I bought it beginning of December and it is only now half empty in February. A small handful of product goes a long way so you can be slightly more sparing with the product than you think you can. As I say, it will most likely last me until about April based on my current usage, and for £6 that is a bargain. Granted it doesn’t do anything special – it smells nice, but isn’t heavily fragranced – as it really just does what it says on the tin. It is quite basic but it does that really well. You could easily find a more luxurious product, but as an affordable option this stuff does all that it needs to.

Overall: 8/10. Nothing special but does exactly what it needs to and still feels lovely.

T xxx

Wagamama’s vegan fish and chips

So I am super late to this party. The vegan fish and chips was a special Veganuary exclusive meal released by Wagamama’s and is due to come off of their menu in the beginning of February. I have been trying to go for the entire month of January, but the nearest Wagamama’s to me seems to be heaving with people every single day regardless of when I go. There is always a queue down the street and no doubt at least an hour or two wait. Luckily though, we walked past it on the way home from work and decided to jump in while it still looked somewhat empty.

Oh boy was this worth the wait. To me, Wagamama’s is the level that all other restaurants need to work towards and aim for. They have committed to making 50% of their menu plant based and they do all of the favourites as a vegan version too. It baffles me that in today’s age there are restaurants still saying that the only vegan food they have on offer i a Beyond Meat burger and some sort of salad or spicy pasta dish as if that is supposed to impress us. Then you look at the like’s of Wagamama’s who not only have 50% of the menu vegan friendly, they also have some exciting and delicious meals: The Vegatsu is still my all-time favourite dish of any restaurant and in one of their ramens you can actually get a vegan egg made out of aquafaba and sriracha. Take note every other restaurant!

The fish and chips were lovely. I believe the ‘fish’ part is tofu, with a soft and crispy batter. It was served with sweet potato chunks (rather than chips) which were covered in a bang-bang red onion sauce. They also did a mushy peas type side which was tofu, rice and peas and you got the two sides of ‘tartar’ sauce and some vegatsu sauce too. The fish itself was very light and did flake the same way actual fish does. It didn’t overly taste of anything except, well, batter…but when mixed with the mushy peas or the sauces it was just the right balance of flavours. Which is really all fish and chips ever tasted of anyway.

The sweet potato chunks and the bang-bang sauce really did pack a punch – I was VERY grateful for the tartar sauce as it did manage to calm the sauce down a lot and helped stop my mouth from setting on fire two bites in. I also believe that sweet potato is the best of all potatoes so that was an easy win in my books.

The full vegan menu!

I would say that Wagamam’s is pretty mid-level in terms of pricing: Two mains, a side and two drinks for the two of us cost around £35. You could obviously find somewhere far cheaper but you could also find somewhere far more expensive for no where near as much food. The meals itself was a really good size – I could easily finish the meal and not still feel hungry afterwards, but not so full that I felt like I couldn’t move or that there was too much food on my plate to handle. Also every meal in Wagamama’s is delicious – their standards are high and their food is consistently amazing no matter what you are getting. Pick anything off of their very large menu and you will be in for a very enjoyable meal. It is a shame that the fish and chips isn’t a permanent addition, but they do have such a wide menu perhaps they don’t need any new additions. Maybe they may bring it back later in the year, but for now we shall have to wait and see.

Overall: 9/10. Vegatsu still wins overall, but this was a really fun and exciting addition that I hope we see again!

T xxx

Subway TLS

A new addition to Veganaury that actually seemed somewhat disappointing was the Subway Taste Like Steak (TLS). Now I love Subway – their business model is simple but they do what they do well. They make tasty sandwiches (even if their bread cannot legally be called bread in some places!) that feel like a fast food meal without being greasy or heavy. So far as being vegan friendly, they are probably one of the best fast-food chains out there, because their sandwiches by default are vegan and they offer a variety of vegan products like the veggie patty, the Taste Like Chicken and the Meatless Meatballs.

I was sort of hoping that they would therefore come out with something quite new for Veganuary, but we just got steak pieces. Now as someone who has eaten maybe three bites of a steak in their lifetime – I don’t see the hype around steak. It has never looked appealing, it doesn’t taste nice and it just seems like the most basic and boring meal you could ever cook. But for reasons I will never understand, people go nuts for steak. Even going so far as putting steak into a sandwich. Hence the TLS addition.

To give it credit, I feel like I didn’t really prepare the right sandwich in order to really appreciate the steak. I am a big fan of the TLC pieces so thought that these may be very much the same? The TLS pieces were actually quite nice, as they did add an almost smokey flavour to the sandwich and were a bit tougher in texture than the TLC pieces. But as to their overall taste, I feel I had too many vegetables and sauces on top of it to really get the full affect. So perhaps next time I will try it with just the steak, some cheese and maybe some lettuce – keep it simple and plain and see how the steak really performs.

The other downside is that it appears that the TLS has now replaced the TLC – at least in any shop that I have been to near me. So does it really count as a new addition if it is technically replacing an already existing option? Strictly speaking the number of vegan options has not actually changed. I am also unclear whether the TLS will stay past Veganuary as I cannot find a clear answer online. If anyone knows, please let me know!

Overall: 3/10. Although this may need to be amended the next time I try it…

T xxx