• is there any English in you? no? want some?

    October 21st, 2009mr meanerproducts


    What do Fish Fingers, Mushy Peas, Bisto gravy and Smash all have in common? They are all staple foods of English family cooking. Growing up in the UK I would have had one, or all, of these foodstuffs weekly. Clearly, now, as a vegan living in Los Angeles, not only is it difficult to buy these things, but Fish Fingers are clearly off limits, not least because they are made of fish’s fingers. Or so our schoolboy jokes implied all those years ago.

    When we paid a visit to the excellent VBites restaurant just outside Brighton on our last UK trip I happened to notice Breaded Style Fish Fingers as we were leaving. A new product from Redwood Foods/VBites (the company that makes Cheezly), these are entirely vegan and looked very tasty indeed. Sadly, we had a long walk ahead and were staying in a hotel for a few more days so we couldn’t buy them on the spot.

    HOWEVER, on our last day we visited the mecca (not Macca) of Whole Foods restaurants in Kensington to stock up on some hard-to-find vegan stuff. Lo and behold, as we were browsing around, we happened upon the exact same “Breaded Style Fish Fingers”, and I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of packets, which were very reasonably priced. So, with one ingredient down and three to go I set about combing the store for the other essential ingredients. Canned Mushy Peas were an easy find, as was a packet of Smash instant mashed potatoes:

    We had to search a bit to find the Bisto vegetarian gravy granules, but once we had them, our evil plan to smuggle the ingredients back to Los Angeles to cook a traditional English meal — but vegan — was complete!


    Back Stateside, preparing the food took about 5 minutes – pour hot water on the potatoes and gravy, heat the peas in a saucepan and pop the fish fingers under the broiler. The food was so easy to cook that I realized for the first time why my culinary-challenged mother made it for me so much while I was growing up.


    While the gravy, mashed potatoes and mushy peas were excellent and reminded me of home, the best thing about the meal was the “Fish Fingers”, often called “Fish Sticks” in America. They were crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside and with a distinct texture that wasn’t pretending to be real fish. I could have eaten the entire package, but had to restrain myself so I’d have room for a traditional English veganized after-dinner treat. But that’s an entirely different story.

    I hope that Redwood Foods/VBites bring their entire line of vegan food to the USA, and that this will give omnivores and vegetarians more reason to make the switch to being vegan.

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16 responses to “is there any English in you? no? want some?” RSS icon

  • oh my god this looks so good. why can’t they have this here in the US. not fair. mushy peas!

  • How cool that you were able to recreate a little bit of home! I don’t know for how long it will be available, but Shojin recently had a special featuring their version of a vegan battered fish dish and it was AMAZING. I bet you’d really like it… though it doesn’t come served with mushy peas.

  • mecca (not Macca)

    Well, it’s also kind of thanks to his money that allowed Heather Mills to buy Redwood Foods.

  • @foodeater: will check that out for sure! I love battered stuff.

    @rachel: you should check out VBites some time. whomever owns it, the place is amazing, and Redwood are pioneering some really interesting vegan food.

    now, I’m home-sick…. 🙁

  • yummy yummy…brings back memories!

    btw those fish fingers have actually been around for a couple of years. unfortunately i’ve never had anything like em in the states but i too was hoping that perhaps heather mills would bring them over!!

    oh and p.s. they sell them all over london in most of the holland & barrett stores

    and amazing that you managed to bring them back with you! ive never tried that haha

  • 1) i need one of those robots

    2) i’m so jealous about the fish sticks! i haven’t even thought about fish sticks since i was a kid, but now i want to have some because they’re not available.

  • p.s. The Bisto ‘beef’ gravy (the red one) is vegan too now and the brown onion one. Hurray! And also for future trips to the UK those fish fingers are available in Waitrose too 🙂

  • Amazing, I love that meal! It makes me happy that I can get all the ingredients in my corner store – even the fishless fingers!

  • Even though I wasn’t a fish sticks fan growing up, your meal looks like pure, delicious comfort food. I’m so glad you were able to bring all the components back to LA w/ you.

  • on another note, has anyone tried the fish sticks at vinh loi? look really good but haven’t had them. :/

  • @miss alix: i didn’t know vinh loi had fish sticks! WANT!

  • FISH FINGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  • Is it bad form to have those fish fingers with Veganaise-based tartar sauce?

  • @biliji: total acceptable!

  • Damn1 Looks good to me!

  • Hey, they sell those canned mushy peas at Monsieur Marcel’s at the Farmer’s Market (by the Grove).

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