“ Brand: Batchelors / Type: Pasta „
As someone who loves to cook, I don't normally buy/enjoy things like ready meals, instant meals, or indeed this, a Pasta N Sauce from Bachelors. However this particular product is one of my exceptions as it's quick, easy, and actually tastes nice.
The Pasta N Sauce which I prefer (and am reviewing here) is the Cheese, Leek & Ham variety. The Dooyoo picture shows the packaging, which is like a paper sachet about the size of a a5 piece of paper. The sachet contains flavoured powder and dried pasta pieces.
To prepare the dish you put the contents of the pack in a pan with 300ml of boiling water and 125ml of milk. You can also put some butter in which I never do. I sometimes don't even put the milk in as I don't really like milk. It still works out fine-I just replace the milk with extra water. Once the pan has come to the boil I leave it to simmer for around 20 minutes-basically until the sauce is thick and the pasta is cooked. If the sauce still looks a little runny it does thicken a bit on standing.
One sachet makes a decent sized bowl of pasta, and it can also be used to share between two as a side dish.
The sauce it makes is quite nice and creamy and doesn't necessarily taste of cheese, leek & ham, but it does taste nice! It tastes to me like a smoked cheese sauce, that is probably the best description I can think of. It's really filling and does sometimes makes me feel a little bit sick so I prefer to share it as a side dish with someone else.
A 120g packet of Bachelor's Pasta N Sauce costs about £0.95 from most supermarkets, and they are often on some kind of offer too, such as three for £2. I think it is worth that price, most other brands cost less but don't seem to taste as nice.
Half a pack contains 259 kcal & 4.3g fat and if anyone is interested in the ingredients they are:
Pasta Whirls (81%) (Durum Wheat), Cheese Powder (4.5%), Wheat Flour, Creamer (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Glucose Syrup Solids, Milk Proteins, Acidity Regulator (E340), Emulsifier (E471)), Yeast Extract, Flavourings, Salt, Flavour Enhancer (E621, E635), Dried Leek (0.5%), Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Stabiliser (Pentasodium Triphosphate), Emulsifier (E339), Dried Garlic, Skimmed Milk Powder, Whey Powder, Vegetable Oil, Black Pepper Extract, Colour (Sulphite Ammonia Caramel).
When doing my weekly grocery shop I like to buy an array of foods, some that are quick and convenient for those days when your too busy to stand over the stove for hours(or just can't really be that bothered) and some that I can make fresh that make me think I'm being relatively healthy. Either way Batchelor's pasta N sauce packets usually end up in my basket/trolley as they are ideal for a quick snack or side dish to go with a larger meal. These pasta packets with sauce are pretty much a cupboard staple in my house as their easy to whip up.
Batchelor's have been creating food for Britain for over 100 years, in a short space of time it became one of the most successful canning companies in the UK. Batchelor's produce products such as the well known cup a soup, super noodles, savoury rice, pasta n sauce, mushy peas and more recently soupfulls.
~ Product and availability ~
Batchelor's pasta N sauce is available to buy at most major supermarkets such as Tesco's, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrison's as well as well-stocked convenience stores. They are available to buy around the 95p mark which is pretty reasonable considering you can get two side dish servings out of it or one main meal. You can nearly always find them on some sort of multi-buy offer though such as 3 for £2.50 (Tesco's deal at the minute) which is a saving of around 35p which isn't that major but I guess any saving is a good saving. They are only available to buy in individual 1-2 serving packets, however I think a 3-4 serving packet should be available. You can buy Batchelor's pasta N sauce in various different flavours including, mild cheese and broccoli, tomato onion and herb, chicken and mushroom, cheese leek and ham (the one I'm reviewing), tomato and basil and macaroni cheese.
~ Packaging ~
Batchelor's cheese, leek and ham pasta now comes in a different packet to the one Dooyoo is showing. It's still a blue based packet but instead of a bowl of the pasta there is a steaming saucepan filled with the pasta and a fork with a piece of the pasta on it. There is also a chunk of cheese and some leeks. The bottom half of the packet is an attractive lime green. The Batchelor's red logo can be found in the right hand corner, but it is quite small so you wouldn't know this was a batchelor's product on the shelf until you took a closer look. The words 'Pasta n sauce' are printed across the middle of the packet in big, bold white writing with the flavour stated underneath. Also on the front at the bottom there is a handy little bit of basic nutritional information. The packet is lined with foil to keep the pasta fresh. The back of the pack is laid out quite clearly giving you the nutritional information in more detail, along with a list of ingredients, a customer quality guarantee and cooking instructions.
~ Cooking and taste ~
Tearing open the packet I was hit with a very pleasing smokey meaty smell. Not many cheesy or leeky smells but at least the 'ham' smell was quite prominent which made it promising that this product was going to taste just as strongly of ham as it smelt. Reading the back of the packet I was told to heat 300ml of water and 125ml of milk in a saucepan (I chose to cook it on the hob, however a microwave instructions are also given). You also are given the option to add butter or margarine to the milky watery mix, however I don't feel this is necessary and I don't fancy adding anymore calories to the dish but for anybody who isn't bothered by this then apparently butter makes it tastier, but I think it's tasty enough already. Once the water and milk had been brought to the boil I was instructed to stir in the packs contents. Pouring out the pack you will find pasta 'swirls' and a powdery substance which turns into the sauce. At this point you will realise that even though you could smell the ham so much there are no actual pieces of ham; it's all flavouring in the sauce. Which in my opinion is disappointed as some slices of ham would have given it some extra bite. The leeks are supposedly the little bits of green herby looking things in the powder. Next I was told to boil gently and occasionally stir for about ten minutes. However every time I have cooked this pasta it has taken more than ten minutes to get an al dente pasta and a thick-ish sauce, so for anybody who likes soft pasta and a very thick sauce may want to give it longer in the pan. After about ten minutes the pasta has softened only slightly and you should notice the milk and water you added at the beginning has started to get a yellow tinge from the sauce. I have to say the pasta looks very appetising happily bubbling away and I usually can't wait to tuck in. After I've waited a little while longer and stirred it enough to stop any bits of pasta sticking to the pan the sauce has usually thickened to a nice consistency. Not too runny that it's like soup but not so thick that it almost dries out the pasta. If however the pasta sauce is too thick for your liking or dries up in the cooking process (happens from time to time) just add a bit more water or milk to the pan and stir.
Now most important of course, putting these pasta swirls onto my plate and tucking in you can definitely taste the cheeseyness without it being to overpowering considering I couldn't smell it and you get a nice hint of leek and ham (ham slices would still be a nice addition though). So it seems that the most prominent smell isn't the most prominent taste with this pasta. The pasta sauce is nice and creamy and the pasta has a nice edgey bite to it - I can't stand mushy pasta. The sauce compliments the pasta perfectly, a perfect combination in my opinion.
~ Other information ~
Each ½ packet prepared as instructed contains 259 calories, 4.4g of sugar, 4.3g of fat, 2.3g of saturates and 0.96g of salt. Each full packet weighs 120g.
Batchelor's pasta n sauce contains no artificial colours or preservatives. Mentions nothing about flavours though...
The main ingredients are pasta, cheese powder, wheat flour and creamer along with a lot of scary looking things. There is no mention of ham or leek...just flavour enhancers. (kind of wishing I hadn't read the back of the packet now....the things I do for you Dooyoo readers!)
Allergy advice: contains wheat, gluten, milk and soya.
There is no mention of it being vegetarian friendly so eat at your own risk.
~ Overall verdict ~
I really enjoy this pasta N sauce. The sauce is plentiful and I find it as a whole quite filling. The ingredients put me off slightly but at the end of the day I guess it's what you expect for a packet of pasta. I wouldn't recommend this pasta to anybody who likes 'sophisticated' food or is a food snob as I doubt this would be your thing, but anybody else go for it! This is a popular dish for the children in my household too, but I only give it them occasionally as it's not that good for them but I will always make sure it's served with veggies!
4/5 stars from me! Love the taste and it's very simple to prepare. Ideal for busy families! Lost one star for their being no actual prominent pieces of ham..only the smell of it. Are they trying to tease us?
The packaging for this is exactly the same as the picture above, it has the brand, food and the flavour in big writing a picture of what the meal looks like with some ingredients next to it. in the bottom left hand corner is the main nutrition table. This is measured per half a packet (192g) In half a packet there is
5g of sugars
4.4g of fat
The inside of the packet in lined with foil, this keeps the contents fresh so it can be kept for a long time. On the back shows how to cook it, a nutritional table and a list of ingredients. There are two ways to cook this either on the hob on in the microwave. I'm not one for using the microwave much so I do it on the hob. The ingredients you need to add are water milk and butter, I do not add the water I add extra milk because I find it tastes more creamy and less soup like with more milk. All the measurements and times are on the back.The contents are in powder form so the milk and butter help form the sauce with the powder.
I hate leek. It's just a foul tasting thing however you cannot taste this at all and because I don't eat vegetables and things I always choose the pasta's with one in like leak or broccoli because at least I'm getting something then. You also can only taste an undertone of ham. The cheese flavour overpowers everything but that is fine otherwise I wouldn't buy a cheese flavour. I love this type of pasta as well I'm not to sure what it's actually called but the texture of it feels really nice too. When I make this up with extra milk this is really smooth and creamy and thick so it sticks to the pasta making it a delicious meal. I'm not to concerned about not being able to taste the other ingredients.
You can get this from any supermarket and a few local shops such as spar and cost cutter, it's annoying that my corner shop doesn't sell these so we usually get about 4 because they're on offer 4 for so much in Asda, and we will probably still have one left when we next go shopping so we always have some. I always try to have a small dinner and I usually have something like this or similar for a mid day meal just because it's small enough to fill you up but not big enough so you don't eat your dinner later on. Although I think you are supposed to half this and have it with a meal because if you have this as a full packet that is 444 calories and if you are trying to keep the calories to a minimum then I'd suggest only eating half of this at once although it won't be enough to fill you up.
Overall the creamy cheese taste and the texture of the pasta work well together to create a delicious mid day meal it has good nutritional value and has several food groups in it which we need daily. The instructions on how to many are very clear and precise, because it is foil lined you don't have to worry about this going off any time soon so it can stored if you don't use it up right away.
I love pasta, I could eat it every day, many different versions are available of this product, however I think that this product is the best of its kind.
** The Product **
Pasta whirls in a tasty cheese and ham flavour sauce with leek.
** The Packaging **
The packet is blue, on the front there is a picture of the product when cooked and some fresh ingredients along with the logo and flavour. The back contains loads of information such as nutritional information, ingredients, customer quality guarantee, cooking instructions and a Batchelors cooking tip. The packaging is very appealing and the picture looks appetising and realistic.
** The Taste **
This is a lovely product, and is definitely one of the best tasting pasta and sauces I have ever tried. I personally prefer it to fresh pasta and sauce. It has a lovely creamy texture, the cheese is mild at complimentary and the leek gives the product a unique taste.
** How to cook **
This is so simple and easy to make you simply place ½ pint of water, 125ml of milk and a dollop of butter (optional) into a medium sized pan along with the packets contents. Boil gently and stir continuously, the product will be cooked in approximately 10 minutes. I like to add extra ham and pepper, but you could add anything you wanted such as mushrooms etc.
** Nutritional Information per serving ( ½ pack) **
Energy 937 kj
Salt equivalent 2.40g
** Availability and Price **
This product is sold in every major supermarket and most other grocery retailers, they usually retail for approximately 80p however I picked them up on offer in Morrisons 2 for £1.00. I see these on offer quite a lot in places such as Morrisons, Tesco and Asda.
** Overall Opinion **
I really cant fault this product, its very tasty and goes well with lots of things. I would say that 1 pack per person is needed if this is all you are going to cook however if you are making this to go with something such as lattices, chicken etc then I would say only half a pack is needed per person. This product provides great value for money and is a easy, quick meal that all the family can enjoy. The product comes in a variety of flavours although this is one of my personal favourites.