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I lived in England from age 6-10, prime semolina years. As an American adult, I rediscovered these little sachets at a local import shop. I bought a whole bunch, and eat one every once in a while (topped with a bit of blackberry jam, of course), and memories of England come flooding back. We were served this amazing comfort food at school in England, and it was one of my all-time favorite British foods; still is. Bird's, please don't ever discontinue this product; you will kill a beloved part of my childhood...thanks.
Oh the days of stodgy semolina served at school dinner times are a thing of the past! I have always liked semolina - despite my early school experiences! - my mum used to make it for me sometimes as I don't really have a sweet tooth so it was always perfect for me.
So when I was browsing in my local supermarket and came across a sachet of instant semolina I thought I'd try to re-create those memories of comfort and innocence!
The sachet of Birds Semolina looks very much like their custard sachets with the usual Birds colours. The packet says it makes up to three servings but I can happily eat half the packet myself!
The semolina is a fine white powder which you add boiling water to and whilsk. It's as easy as that. Whisk it and it becomes thicker and plumps up absorbing all the water. You have an instant desert in under 2 minutes.
The semolina is not as creamy as that from a tin, but the upside is that it is fewer calories. I find it to be just sweet enough for me but add some jam if you want that extra sugar kick, I add a little to give it a bit of a different edge but I don't like things over-sweet.
I keep a packet in my cupboard now in case I need some good old-fashioned comfort food that is quick and easy to make. Costs around 44p a sachet in my Tesco.
Nutritional information for those watching their calories like me:
Each 174g serving contains
Calories 142 7%, Sugars 12.2g 14%, Fat 4.3g 6%, Saturates 3.3g 17%, Salt 0.2g 3% of an adult's guideline daily amount.
Allergens: Contains Wheat, Gluten and Milk
So many of the puddings that we have been making for years are now considered a bit past their sell by date, especially some of the dreaded milk puddings that were once a big part of our diet.
Home-made rice pudding, tapioca pudding ( which I once overdosed on and made myself feel sick Ughhh, and creamy semolina pudding.
The Other Half just loves semolina pudding, a man of simple tastes he may be but when it comes to semolina pudding he suddenly changes into another Heston Blumenthal.
We will move onto the Birds semolina in a moment....
The cans of Ambrosia semolina are way beyond his wildest dreams, the rich and creamy semolina pudding is simply the best but try as I might I have never yet found any good offers on this product.
One can costs well over 70p and this makes it an expensive venture, he may be my nearest and dearest but there are only certain lengths that I am willing to go to !
Bird's products have a good reputation, the firm has been on the go for years and we have been enjoying their custard for more years that I care to remember. So, the packet of Bird's semolina was another option to try, one packet costs around the same as a can of Ambrosia semolina but could it possibly be more economical ?
On the packet it says that the contents will produce around three helpings - great, three warming desserts in one sachet, that is good value.
The semolina is really easy to make, you just put the contents of the sachet into a bowl and then add the required amount of boiling water.
The sachet is filled with the fine semolina powder ( semolina powder is a form of Durum wheat ), once you have tipped the powder into a bowl it really doesn't look as though you are ever going to be able to make this stretch to three helpings.
Add the boiling water and all of a sudden the Bird's semolina starts to beef up, whisk away and before you know it you have a considerable amount of semolina pudding.
Bird's have already sweetened the pudding and I thought it was plenty sweet enough but if you have a sweet tooth then you could always add a little more sugar or sweetener.
The Bird's semolina pudding works on the same basis as the sachets of instant custard powder, one minute it is in the packet and the next minute it is ready to serve.
The Bird's semolina does not have that creamy look that is so appealing with the Ambrosia canned semolina but don't kick a dog when it is down, after all it is the taste that is so very important.
Although Bird's have ensured that it tastes `milky` the product still fails to capture that lush creaminess. The one sachet of semolina powder has produced a handsome amount of milk pudding but I would say that it equalled two servings.
The texture of the Bird's semolina is fine though it is far coarser than the Ambrosia canned semolina.
I suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the Other Half devoured one bowlful ( with prunes sat on top ) decided the whole thing was so delicious that he could just manage to finish the rest off ( to save it going to waste !) .
That goes to prove my theory couldn't be more wrong. I buy a can of Ambrosia semolina ( which I consider is expensive ) and it is eaten in one sitting, I buy a packet of Bird's semolina which should go further and it is still woofed up in one sitting.
Before someone suggests that I stop being so idle and buy a packet of semolina powder and make the milk pudding myself I will tell you that I have tried that and it met with disapproval, it is far removed from the Bird's and Ambrosia's of this world.
The Bird's semolina can be made in seconds, it was eaten in seconds and I suppose that I can ask for nothing more.
This is real comfort food from my childhood, reminds me of the best bits of school dinners.
Easy to make just add boiling water and stir until thick just like making instant custard only a bit thicker. It has a slightly grainy texture and is not completely smooth like custard. The flavour is subtle and tastes of ... semolina I guess. I find it needs a big blob of strawberry jam to make it extra yummy. I also remember chocolate semolina as a child so I guess you could stir in some cocoa or a couple of chunks of chocolate.
One packet serves 3 although have to admit that one packet only serves two in my house (maybe we are just greedy). Not the cheapest way to make semolina but much quicker than traditional semolina. Excellent store cupboard stand by for a hot quick yummy desert.
The packet I have doesn't contain too many strange additives however it does contain hydrogenated vegetable oil but it is quite an old packet so they may have taken this out now.
I've never found a supermarket own brand of instant semolina.