Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie

So I decided it was time to stop sponging off my parents and actually do a shop of my own recently, for the purposes of Wheelie Good Meals of course (not because there was nothing nice to eat in the house honestly your honour)! I bought these two ready meals – now before this review goes any further ssshhh don’t comment on them, wait 😀

Time-Saving Tuesdays – 2 Ready Meals From Annabel Karmel

Time-Saving Tuesdays – 2 Ready Meals From Annabel Karmel

Now while flicking through the ready meal section of the Tesco website I stumbled across these on offer from Annabel Karmel. I didn’t think anything of it, when the delivery arrived my mother commented on how small they were. Well she was right, they were for babies over the age of one! Now wait, you’d think I’d feel like a right plank now and give them to either Gemma or Stacey who have little ones… nah, I hadn’t realised until I was taking pictures of the packet after eating it… doh 😳 !

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie

After reflecting on the humongous mistake I’d made I thought the packaging was very clear. Quite clever in fact it wasn’t geared especially towards children in a way that made them kick, scream and shout until they had it. It was clear, concise and informative and had a pretty little picture of a cow on it. I noticed on the box it said it included “two of your five a day” which when catering for children is impressive.

We eat with our eyes and I didn’t think it looked particularly appetising, that being said if you’re a one year old I suppose looks isn’t important. That being said, I wasn’t disappointed with the flavour of it, you’ll notice from the picture above (and below) there were carrots in the mash, ingenious!

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Carrots in the Mashed Potato

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Carrots in the Mashed Potato

I don’t have children but have been around enough family members’ children and watched enough television to know sometimes the best way to get vegetables into their diet is to hide them. My grandmother Mam Shep tried to convince me for years parsnips were potatoes…. I think that’s why I don’t like them now!

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Nutritional Information

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Nutritional Information

Now when it comes to children’s nutrition I have no club… scratch that, when it comes to any form of nutrition I have no clue! So I asked an expert, a mother, and who better than Melanie from Melanie’s Food Adventures!  Mel  thought the Nutritional information was fine. She felt that the levels of Salt and Sugar were low enough and there was a good level of Protein.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Ingredients

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Ingredients

I thought the ingredients list was very large, there were some excellent ingredients in there, especially introducing them to children but there were some that I was unsure of like acetic acid…. do you know what that is, if so help me out because I’m clueless – it doesn’t sound healthy though! This a quote from Annabel Karmel on the side of the box:

As a mum i understand how important it is to give our children the best, even on those days. That’s why I’ve created a range of easy meals inspired by my trusty homemade recipes. They are full of flavour and fun to eat – just like my cookbook favourites. Toddlers and children will love them.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Cooking Instructions

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Cooking Instructions

You’d have thought if I’d have read that I’d have realised! The cooking instructions were clear, the only issue… yes… as always is there was only instructions for 800W. The packaging also gave cooking instructions for oven cooking which is a good idea as not everyone likes to use a microwave. The description on the package is:

Minced British beef gravy, cooked with carrots and peppers, topped with a carrot and cheese mashed potato

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie - Ready to Eat

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Annabel Karmel Delicious Beef Cottage Pie – Ready to Eat

I think that’s a fair assessment of the dish, I’m not sure about the Minced Brittish Beef Gravy…. was there any mince in it, that doesn’t imply so! There was a) because I read the ingredients and b) because I saw it.

3 and 6 Stars

3 and 6 Stars

What would I score this out of ten, well as an adult (not taking it’s size into consideration) maybe it would get a 3, personally I thought it was very tomatoey and very carroty. With that in mind, it’s not an adult meal and I can understand why there was carrots in the mashed potato and why it may have been so tomatoey as children like the taste of tomatoes so I’d give it a six as a children’s meal. If your child(ren) has tried this then let me know what they thought.Comforting Classics - Shepherd's PieI never put tomatoes in my Cottage Shepherd’s pie, click on the picture above to see my recipe. On the whole, would I feed this to my children if I had any, yes I probably would – would I eat it myself, yea if it was in the freezer 😆 but I probably wouldn’t knowingly buy it again – wouldn’t want to spoil my street cred J. Later on in the week we have the rest of my 2nd Dinner Party number 2 menu including Scallops and Chorizo with Greg’s Pea and Mint Purée and Ginge’s Lamb Kofta Curry with Greg’s Saffron Rice 😀

The Box for Bisto Cottage PieIf you want a quick and easy adult Cottage Pie try Bisto’s Cottage Pie, you can click on the image above to take you to my review.  Come back soon and together we’ll make more Wheelie Good Meals

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Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash - In It's Box

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash

There’s a new craze sweeping the food scene and that’s pulled meat… ok, ok I know it’s not new but it’s new to me, I’ve never tried anything that’s been pulled. The only pulled thing I’ve had anything to do with is a pulled muscle 😆 !

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash - In It's Box

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash – In It’s Box

I bought this because I wanted to jump on the pulled pork bandwagon and see what all the fuss was about. My friend Gemma (who you’ve been introduced to in my post about Ainsley Harriet’s Couscous) cooks pulled pork on a regular basis but I’ve been introduced to it.

If I’m honest it all sounds a bit of a fad to me, I mean if you slow cook meat in most cases it should just pull apart anyway where’s the fun in that, surely meat is meant to be carved neatly not shredded to bits like it’s been attacked by a wild chipmunk 😛 !

Well I was right to give it a try, this dish was excellent, the beef was sticky and rich with a great tasting sauce. It was smoky and had a real BBQ taste to it, flavours I associate with the deep south of America. I’ve never tasted bourbon before so wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. You can see the ingredient list below:

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash - Ingredients and Nutritional Information

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash – Ingredients and Nutritional Information

The list of ingredients all seemed fairly straight forward and, honestly, I think I could re-create this dish from the list. You can also see the nutritional information in the picture above. The ready meal had good packaging and the information was clear and concise, it was easily distinguishable, may not be easy for everyone to read but the black and white colours did provide a reasonable contrast. The product was split into two sections, as you can see in the image below. I like this because it gives you plating options when you are serving up, as opposed to it all being in one tray.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash - Before It Was Cooked

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash – Before It Was Cooked

Writing this review and looking at the photographs again it does make me think of airline food, but it really didn’t taste like that. The cooking instructions (below) were clear and concise although, again don’t offer any instructions for someone with a prehistoric 700W microwave like mine.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash - Cooking Instructions

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash – Cooking Instructions

I realise that manufacturers only have a small amount of space to work with when creating these packages but the frustration that there is no cooking instruction for my microwave is growing 😡 . I shall battle on regardless. The manufacturers describe the meal in the following way

Beef slow cooked for four hours so it’s perfectly tender, then pulled & covered in a rich, smoky barbecue & bourbon sauce with creamy British King Edward potato & onion mash.

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash - Plated Up Ready

Time-Saving Tuesdays – Tesco Bourbon Pulled Beef with Sweet Onion Mash – Plated Up Ready

Despite how it may look in the photograph it was a fantastic ready meal and II thoroughly enjoyed it. The mashed potato was fluffy with red onion and cheese running through it, it was comforting and tasty. The pulled beef had a deep rich soothing feeling and was thoroughly enjoyable I’d give this a whopping eight out of ten and would definitely buy it again.

8 starsI’m sorry I missed uploading a recipe last week, the week ran away with me and before we know it – well it’s Tuesday! I am pleased to say that the lovely Melanie from Melanie’s Food Adventures will be guest blogging for us this week. You all know that sweets and desserts are not my strong point…. well ok I have got a couple up my sleeve like my tiramisu but Melanie is a baking guru and she will be giving us a flavour of her baking prowess very soon. Check her blog out, it’s a great read. Remember to get involved, let me know what you want me to cook or review, visit us on our social networking pages.
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