Posts tagged instant
This is a review written by my father, David Radford, who was very happy to give Bounce Coffee a test on my behalf.
With the explosion of varieties available these days, coffee lovers I fear are heading for confused overload and will eventually crave ultimate relief in a simple cup of instant! Not only do we need to cope with a dictionary of semi-technical words for the way coffee is prepared and served, but we need to handle the new vocabulary that is growing up around the coffee bean and the way it is roasted, ground and blended. Traditional suppliers compete for our attention with multi-national café brands and coffee machine makers all hoping to condition our taste-buds and commercialise our aroma detecting noses.
So trying another variation of the humble bean as something ‘new’ was perhaps asking too much from me. The brand name ‘Bounce’, the pouting, in your face female and the wide eyed, wide mouth monkey with big ears on the packet, did give it a different look but my advert-scepticism was not moved. Although its easy resealable packaging (that actually worked) did give me a fun moment. At least the packaging, I thought gave the brand a slight edge over other premium espresso coffee suitable for all coffee makers.
But in a sense of fair-play, and because I am naturally inquisitive, the tasting process commenced. Whatever variety used, the art of making a proper cup of coffee should only really be surpassed by the ritual of tea making. And so Latte and Cappuccino and, of course Espresso, were duly created. The results were surprisingly good: not bitter, not mild, and no strong after taste yet with enough punch to separate it out from the froth and steamed milk. Overall a good ground coffee that I would pick out from the supermarket shelf, even if I still don’t get its name. Why Bounce? Can such a word ever be part of the international language of coffee? I still think of ‘Bounce’ as a fabric softener, no disrespect intended.
I love hot chocolate. But I am totally fussy. It has to be proper hot chocolate, made with hot milk.
Weight Watchers sent me some of their instant hot chocolate to see what I thought. Instant hot chocolate like this is a great way to warm up and get a sweet chocolate fix without many calories – about 40 in each mug full. Made with boiling water it’s easy to grab quickly when only chocolate will do.
I was given three flavours to try. The usual hot chocolate, a caramel one and a mint one. The sachets are really easy to take to work, and are made using water from the kettle.
Unfortunately Weight Watchers have been unable to change my mind. Instant hot chocolate still tastes horrid to me. It certainly smells of chocolate, but it doesn’t taste like it. It’s watery. It’s disappointing. I should add it’s not just Weight Watchers… they have only failed where all other instant brands have failed before. Sorry.
Hot chocolate will remain a high calorie treat made with hot milk for me. I would rather drink it much less often than have an inferior instant product.
For me Hot Chocolate has to be of the highest quality. And it has to be made with milk. I don’t really care for instant hot chocolate at all, I do drink it because it’s a good way to get a low calorie chocolate fix (and warm up!), but I always find it disappointing in flavour and texture when it’s made with water.
My most favouritist (yea, that’s a word, ok!) hot chocolate drink is this one by Whittards…
…the tagline “white magic, deliciously creamy, as soft as velvet” is so very true. It’s like a pot of powdered chocolate you mix with milk to create a mug of actual chocolate. Divine.
I always make mine on the hob in a milk pan – the microwave gives me all sorts of problems like the one second difference between not warm enough and boiled over everywhere. Simply heat the milk in the pan until you have it hot but not boiling, then add three (or four) spoons of the powdered chocolaty goodness and mix in. I use a whisk to make it all fluffy (if a drink can be fluffy, I’ll assume you know what I mean by that!).
Pouring from the milk pan to a mug is always fun – even with that lip designed for easy pouring I always get some over the worktop. Ah well, nothing a cloth can’t fix. No need for marshmallows or chocolate shavings or cream on this one – it’s already sweet, creamy and really chocolaty.
Then of course comes the best bit. Sitting down in a comfy chair, both hands clasped around the warm mug, sipping the chocolaty goodness little by little. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Are there any better hot chocolates out there? Actually we got given some Fudge Kitchen Drinking Fudge for Christmas so it will be very interesting to see how that compares. What other recommendations do you have?
As winter sets in what we eat during the day becomes even more important than in the summer. Those of us who eat at work might find that a sandwich or salad just doesn’t give us what we need – we need something warm, something filling, something that isn’t chips from the local pub! And without proper fitted kitchens in the office we rely on the kettle as our only source of heating up our food.
The Food Doctor have just released these new “Wholesome Pots”. Much like the Pot Noodle “instant hot food” idea, these pots are full of dehydrated food that you simply add boiling water to before tucking in.
The pots contain all natural dehydrated pulses, grains, herbs, spices and vegetables meaning they are a healthy and nutritious snack. They are full of fibre and protein, and provide slow-release energy to keep you going.
But if the thought of “bulgar wheat” doesn’t inspire you, The Food Doctor sent me one of each of the three pots to try on your behalf. And I have to admit I was a little apprehensive. I mean, I have been known to enjoy the odd Pot Noodle, but not for years now. These just seem like a posh version of that – but would they be any good?
There are three flavours which I tried last week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:
Wednesday: Couscous and Lentil Pot with Tomatoes, Red Peppers and Cumin
This cous cous based pot took just five minutes to rehydrate, and smelt really good. As you can see below this was a cous cous dish with bits of veg in. It was – well – ok. I didn’t dislike it but it wasn’t anything special – it lacked a bit of oomph or something, needed to have a stronger flavour. I didn’t finish the pot, but what I did eat filled me up nicely until tea time - I didn’t need to snack in the afternoon to keep me going (although it was also the day my bike was stolen, so I don’t know how hungry I’d have been anyway).
Thursday: Bulgar Wheat and Quinoa Pot with Tomato, Black Olive and Basil
What is bulgar wheat? Absolutely no idea. I should probably find out.
I wasn’t sure about this pot – I was worried that it would lack flavour like the couscous one. But I was wrong – this was really tasty. The tomato and basil is nice and strong, and the bulgar wheat and quonia (despite not knowing what they actually are), were filling and gave the dish some texture. For the second day in a row I had no hunger during the afternoon (this really isn’t like me!), and this time I had enjoyed my lunch more too.
Friday: Bulgar Wheat and Quinoa Pot with Asparagus, Leek and Mint
Still unsure what bulgar wheat is, I was less concerned about what this might taste like. Of the three this was the one I was looking forward to trying the most anyway (they say “save the best til last”) – I liked the idea of this one with mint and leek and asparagus.
And it was indeed the nicest one of the three. There were lots of veges alongside the bulk and carbohydrate of the bulgar wheat/quinoa (I’m assuming it’s carbs!). As soon as I put the water in I could smell mint, and the herb really came through in the taste. This one is absolutely the best in my opinion, and is the one I will choose in future.
A couple of things in general about these. The fill line is on the outside of the pot (as you would expect!) but as it’s a thick card cup it’s impossible to see the line through to the inside – so one day my food was slightly wetter than another. Also, the two bulgar wheat pots take 10 minutes once you’ve put the boiling water in, still fast for what is essentially a hot meal in a pot, but not totally instant like cuppa soup – make sure you bear this in mind when you’re working out what time to eat!
I’ll definitely be keeping a couple of these in my desk drawer for days when I really need some hot food at lunch time. But these aren’t just good for lunch at your desk, they are great when you’re away from home (you always have a kettle in a hotel room) or if you just fancy something quick and easy in the evening.
Each pot costs £1.39 or £4.99 for four from The Food Doctor website, or for the same price (singles only) from Tesco.