I read once that if you read a blog and you find a few entries that start with “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while….” then you know it is the beginning of the end. I have fallen into that category of late and until now I haven’t posted for about four months, by anyones standards that is a poor show. I hope that this is the end of the drought and I will start to post regularly again as I don’t believe Michelin Microwave’s death is here just yet. The truth is over the past four months I have bought, decorated and moved into a new flat and had a weird time of internal restructuring at work that could have ended in redundancy but actually ended up OK. So all in all it’s been a tense few months and I haven’t found the time to pen my thoughts about banal food stuffs created by celebs. I have however kept on eating them and taking pics of them so that when the day came that I did manage to blog I’d be able to play catch up and so here we are.
I could attempt to write individual blogs about each product that I’ve eaten in that time but as I’ve referenced before here my memory is so bad that any details or nuance would be lost so here are the headlines on the things I’ve tried…
Heston Pork and Piccalilli Pie
This one was a winner, it had good crumbly pastry filled with a generous helping of pork and hidden inside that was a sharp delightfully luminous piccalilli. There was a small layer of jelly which was fine by me. I’m not one of those people who gets squeamish about pork pie jelly, but nor am I a huge fan that loves the stuff. The jelly in Heston’s had a salty kick that complemented the meat but it didn’t overwhelm everything and it didn’t feel like I was swallowing some misplaced frogspawn. The piccallili hiding in the centre was the perfect foil for the rich pastry, fatty meat and salty jelly and provided an acidic twang that cut through everything else.
I’ve just checked the Waitrose website and apparently this sells for £2.69 which seems to be pretty good value to me.
Heston Lasagne for one
This was another success story for Heston and one of the best high street lasagnes I’ve tried. The last time I tried a ready meal lasagne it was a Carluccio’s one and you can read that here if you like. The Heston version was much better, the ragu had good complexity and depth of flavour the pasta had a decent bite to it. If I had one complaint it’s that it could have been a bit cheesier, but then you could say that about most meals as melted cheese improves everything it touches. As an aside and whilst I’m on the topic of melted cheese this place is opening soon which is great news.
Anyway Heston’s lasagne is better than the version you’d find in a Bella Pasta which isn’t saying much, but when Bella Pasta have the balls to charge £9.75 and Heston’s is about £4 you may as well stay in for the night and eat something that actually tastes good.
At this point I would normally post a pic of the cooked product so you could see the deliciousness for yourself, but after checking the photos I took I’d be doing Heston a disservice as it looks like someone vomited a McDonald’s milkshake on top of a kebab so I’m going to save you that pain.
Heston Sticky Toffee and Apple Sponge Pudding
In the time I’ve had away from the blog I have been eating a lot of Heston things and also enjoying them – but don’t worry it all changes here. After Heston’s crazy success with the hidden orange Christmas Pudding a few years ago he now tries to come up with a new festive dessert treat each year. This time he came up with a couple; the delicious looking Chocolate Bar which I didn’t try, but In Search of Heston did so that’s covered here and the one I did try the Sticky Toffee and Apple Sponge Pudding. In theory it sounds delicious but in reality I wouldn’t wish it on the Grinch.
The sponge element of the pudding didn’t have a massive amount of flavour other than sugar, it did however have the texture of a moist loofer. Not content with the oversweet sponge Heston had the inspired idea to top it with candied apple to ensure we got that extra sugary hit. The apple was chopped into small pieces and looked like something that you would struggle to scrape off the floor when you plucked up the courage to do the bi-annual under fridge clean. Added to all those elements was a “butter caramel sauce” which I think was there to make sure we had enough sugar, it tasted like liquid candy floss.
In hindsight the description on the box should have been a warning sign it reads “Nothing hidden about this warm, dark, rich sponge pudding with caramel fudge. Finish with brown butter caramel sauce with candied apple for the ultimate combination of Christmas flavours”. It doesn’t really sound like a low sugar dish. I do however think there is a case for it breaching the trade descriptions act with it’s bold claim on “Christmas flavours” when it doesn’t even mention cinnamon, dried fruits or orange but we’ll let that slide.
In short this was a Christmas disaster! I hope Heston does not bring this one back next year as it has no place in modern society unless you wanted to kill a diabetic.
About £10 I think, but ours was about £3 presumably because everyone else had the sense not to buy it.
Jamie Oliver Moroccan Salad Bulgar Wheat
And so finally I turn to my old friend Jamie Oliver who at the latter end of last year came out with a range of pouches filled with flavoured pulses. There are some quinoa ones and some bulgar wheat ones and I plumped for a Moroccan Salad Bulgar Wheat pouch because it was on special offer.
I had this pouch sitting in the cupboard for a while whilst trying to find the right moment to eat it. That moment came when we were mid house move, there was very little in the cupboard and very little money in the bank so I put the pouch in my bag and took it to work for my lunch. To be fair to Jamie I think these pouches are best served as an accompaniment to a main meal rather than a lunch in their own right, but needs must so I got stuck in.
The bulgar wheat was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of bite to it. I’m not sure exactly how they do that with factory made things but whenever I try to cook stuff like this it ends up all stuck together in a fibre laden clump or I catch it a bit before that stage and it has an unwelcome crunch so it was nice to eat it with the correct texture. That is where the positives end. The flavours tasted more like something you would find in a science lab than in the heart of the Atlas mountains, with an insipid, bitter, oily aftertaste. Sorry Jamie but you’ve missed the mark on this one.
So there we have it I’m now just about upto date and will be back soon with more thrilling food adventures. As ever please do drop me a line if you see anything interesting and worth a review.