You gotta give it to Ainsley – he keeps developing new products and trying to go one better each time. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll be familiar with the theme of dried powdery products that require water to make your dinner. There’s cup soups, cous cous, rice, pasta bakes and more; each and every one of them has been a disappointment. If it wasn’t for these I would have given up on Ainsley a long time ago.
Historically Ainsley has provided sachets of stuff that are either a quick snack or a side dish, but now he’s gone all out to provide a whole meal, with these thrilling new dinner kits. I opened up the box and wasn’t surprised to find four white sachets of powder, each one had a tantalising name like “sachet 1″ or even “sachet 3″, my mouth was watering at the descriptions.
The first job was to mix yoghurt and powder and refrigerate. Next job was to mix minced lamb and powder before rolling into koftas or as Ainsley describes them “sausage shapes”. Next up mix water and powder to make falafel that gets rolled into “6 walnut sized balls” they were more like hazelnuts but we’ll let that pass. Next get your sausage shapes under the grill. Finally mix more water and powder to make that Ainsley fave cous cous. and after about 20 mins of powder mixing and grilling, my meal was ready.
Given my past history with Ainsley I was feeling oddly optimistic about this meal. The smell was good as the fat dribbled through the meat powder and out of the kofta and even though the idea of powdery yoghurt made me feel a bit sick it looked quite appealing in the dish. The cous cous looked like cous cous and the falafel looked OK even if they were miniscule. The dinner kit was meant for two people but my girlfriend, fearing what lay in store, refused to eat it, so I made the whole lot for myself when she was out one night. All things considered it looked like an appealing assiette of brown things and I was ready to eat.
Why oh why oh why was I optimistic? What could possibly have gone right with this meal? All the signs were there for failure and yet I convinced myself this was going to be an OK one. It was not. Nothing tasted really horrid, but then nothing really tasted of much. The kofta tasted of lamb (because I bought decent lamb) and a little bit of paprika but it lacked any seasoning and became a bland, mulchy sausage shape. The yoghurt had a hint of mint and luckily didn’t taste powdery but it did nothing really to improve the yoghurt. The tiny balls of falafel were nothing like falafel and I’ve no idea how close they ever were to a chickpea, again they were under seasoned and bland, bland, bland, with the texture of sofa stuffing. Then there was the cous cous, another massive disappointment that had roughly the same flavour profile as water. Cous cous is a dull, boring food stuff to begin with and you need to work really hard to get any flavour into it - Ainsley had not worked hard and consequently it was like eating polystyrene.
And so it is that another Ainsley initiative fails. Keep on trying Ainsley, you might as well as someone must be buying your stuff, but for me I think our relationship is over.
Ainsley Harriott Lebanese Kofta with Falafel Dinner Kit – Not sure of the cost it was bought ages ago and I kept putting off eating it so now I don’t know anymore.