If you are a regular reader of this blog or you can be bothered to scroll through all the posts, you’ll see I don’t really do food product reviews. That’s because there’s so much… mediocrity out there. I should do more though, because on the occasion that I *do* come across some, they really deserve credit.
Firstly, lets start with dinner. I have rarely found anything in a packet that I couldn’t cook better. It’s not that I have tickets on myself-it’s elementary. Stuff in a packet is usually made with an eye on maximum profit which means cheap produce, fillers etc. Then I was given some samples of Jocleyn’s new range of meals. The partner was away, so it seemed like the perfect time to taste test with one of the fiercest critics I know; one who boasts both a surprisingly sophisticated palate and the ability to articulate what he doesn’t like about something. (He’s far less articulate when he has his mouth full of something he likes).-My 13 year old.
We started with Cinnamon Scented Lamb & Parsley. It’s cryovaced and you just gently simmer it. I served it with some quinoa and it was falling apart tender (obviously cooked long and slow) and packed with flavour, the cinnamon just a gentle background note. It was better than something I would make at home and surprisingly good value ($19.50?)-enough for the two of us with an extra portion for lunch the next day. We also road tested an excellent coq au vin and a mac n cheese (which sells as a side). These meals are cheaper than a takeaway for three and free from the junk food ‘hangover’. For less than $20 well worth it.
Now onto dessert. I’ve been a fan of Pepe Saya butter for a long time, so when Michael Dalton of Fino Foods mentioned in a conversation about something else entirely that ‘Pepe Saya’ had started with desserts with Merena Taouk, who is still the driving force behind Homemade Fine Foods, I was intrigued. And look at this ingredients list. How often do you see something as pure as that on a packet product
They come frozen in tin foil containers you just stick in the oven and I can say hand on heart that the sticky date pud was the best version I’ve ever had. (And partner now has it on his rather repetitive food wish list) Sticky date pudding is not something I’d order out nor really cook at home, it’s too sweet and sickly and leaves me feeling a bit queasy usually but this one was light, chunky with dates and with a perfectly balanced ratio of sweet, not at all cloying.
We also tried the crumbles; an apple and a berry which were equally good, with a crumble top I can never manage to do that well. I was too scared to look at any calorific content, but with Pepe Saya butter in all of them, I expect they’re far from low-cal.
There’s also a bread and butter pudding using Pepe’s butter and cream that I haven’t tried yet.
It’s nice to have the opportunity sometimes to have something bought in, but I do it so rarely because I pick up a packet, read the back (thickeners and e numbers and preservatives etc) and can’t bring myself to buy them. But all of these I’d be happy to serve up to dinner guests and claim as my own.
The Jocelyn’s meals can be bought at Jocelyn’s in James Street, while the Homemade Fine foods desserts are on sale at Clayfield Fruit Market, IGA New Farm
and IGA Greenslopes.
So what about you dear readers? Have you come across any quick and easy buy-in meals that you would recommend?