Thursday, 19 April 2012

Look What We Found Meals: Review

Recently, I was asked to try out some of the meals from the Look What We Found range of ready meals. You'll find them on the supermarket shelf, rather than in the freezer or chiller cabinet and, unlike more commercial instant meals, they're made with ingredients grown from British farmers. You can read more about the farmers on the pack and on their website. The meals also don't contain any artificial ingredients, stating on the pack that they're made just like you would make them at home.

Now, I love to cook but there are certainly times when I am so pushed for time that it's a wonder I get anything on the table. And although it's easy enough to toss some pasta with some herbs and cheese or knock together a quick stir fry, there are times when having emergency food in the cupboards is a good thing. I haven't had a great success with 'ready meals' before, so I was interested to see how these would fare.

I was sent three different varieties of the meals: Staffordshire Chicken Tikka, Tees Valley Spaghetti Bolognese and Spicy Tomato and Chickpea Tagine. The first one we tried was the chicken tikka. It's quick: you just tear the pouch where shown and microwave for 2 minutes. Leave to stand for one minute and you're done. We found the chicken tikka to be a bit spicier than we've usually had, and the chicken definitely was tender but had that dryer texture, as you would get when making chicken in a slow cooker. But overall, I would have it again.

The second one was the bolognese. This one was good. A rich, thick sauce with little pieces of beef mince (generously) stirred throughout the sauce. There were veggies in there too. We really liked this one, and couldn't really find fault with it all. 

The last pouch was the chickpea and tomato tagine. This was quite spicy and also very fragrant. Lots of chickpeas, potato chunks, raisins and apricots. Fruity. Good with some plain, boiled rice although the packet suggests filling a pitta with it and some houmous and coriander. I know how people can be about fruit in their dinner, but if you like fragrant, fruity dishes with a bit of spice you will love this one.

 Out of all of these, we all liked the bolognese the best. And a while ago I had tried the chilli con carne variety and that was very good too. And while I still don't think any ready meal is a real substitute for home-cooked food, these do come pretty close. They don't contain any of the nasties you associate with ready meals (artificial colours, flavours, stabilisers, preservatives) and I think they're a great emergency option for the cupboard.

Find out more about the Look What We Found meals and the other varieties available by visiting their website.