“ Brand: Ainsley Harriott / Type: Other Ready Meals „
For the time being I have been cutting out potatoes and bread from my diet. This is because I'm bulimic and feel very wary of these foods so like I say just for the time being they're off my menu and I'm sticking with things I am comfortable eating.
Ainsley Harriot food stuffs are something I'm rather fond of. I've tried quite a few things from his range including the gorgeous cup a soups to cous cous and enjoyed them all so when I spotted this risotto at 39p a pack in my local B & M store I actually picked up rather a few of them. They only had the wild mushroom risotto option to buy but I am aware since trying this that there are a few varieties about of it.
Well I bought a packet of it and that packet is mainly black on the outside and then silver foil on the inside. On the front of the pack there is a photograph of the made up risotto on there and a pic of the smiling man himself and we are told that it is indeed Ainsley Harriott Wild Mushroom Risotto 'Rich, flavourome risotto - perfect with steak or roast parsnips' and that it is suitable for Vegetarians and weighs 120g (dried weight). On the back of the pack other information listed includes ingredients and allergy advice being given as well as cooking instructions and a nutritional chart and contact details for the manufacturer are listed. Nice, easy to tear open packet this is and the instructions given are thankfully easy to follow!
The Risotto itself:
Open the pack up and you are greeted with a dry mix or little pieces of risotto rice and plenty of them, some dried mushrooms and some green herbs and some brown powder. All you do with a packet of this is add the mix to 400ml of cold water, add butter if desired and heat it through for about 12 minutes and you can if preferred do this in the microwave. I did mine on my hob and didn't add butter for fat adding reasons.
This gave me a huge portion of mushroom fragranced risotto. Brown in colour and moist.... this tasted quite simply terrific. The rice was soft, the mushroom flavouring was really there along with a subtle hint of garlic and parsley and it was very filling. Because of the calorie and fat content of this I divided the risotto with my friend as a side dish as one pack makes up 345g of risotto which gives a whopping 566 calories, 15.9g of total fat and a huge 9.3g of saturated fat. Yes its tasty, yes its easy to make up and looks appertising but no way I'm sticking all that on my poor hips!
I couldn't be bothered to go to the effort to make a dish up from scratch like this and this for me is simply gorgeous but it is a treat. Although I paid 39p a packet for mine I have since seen this in Asda at £1.29 a packet and if I couldn't get it cheap in B & M again I would pay that for it...its that good!
I love pasta, rice and risotto dishes, but have to confess I am a bit of a snob when it comes to these as my partner is half Italian and we eat a lot of Italian dishes and eat Italian out a lot, there is nothing worse than an awful pasta or rice dish...soggy pasta or overcooked rice has to be the worst thing ever! I am very cautious when buying new or different products as I find a lot of them are quite vile to be honest.
I love to make homemade risotto....you cant beat cooking it yourself as you can get the perfect consistancy and obviously any delicious flavours you like. Of all the packet or pre made risotto's that I have tried Ainsley Harriots Risotto is the closest to homemade risotto that you can get, it has the perfect consistancy at the end of cooking and a lovely bite still left to it, the flavours are gorgeous too, there is Wild Mushroom, Asparagus and Leek, Pea and Mint, Blue Cheese and Broccoli and Tomato and Mascarpone.....Blue Cheese and Broccoli is my favourite and goes gorgeous with salad and garlic bread!
These little packets of yummyness are really full of flavour and will not be a disapointment if you are a fan of Italian food, they are great for a light lunch or shared as a side to go with a main meal and with the flavours that are available are easy to combine with different foods....you could even spice them up by adding ingredients too for an easy yet fancy dinner like adding Porcini in the Wild Mushroom etc...
The Ainsley Harriott Risottos are extremely easy and quick to cook so no worries if you are terrible in the kitchen! All you need to do is add water and butter and cook! It only takes about 10 minutes once it has been brought to the boil... no standing around for 20 minutes or more continuously stiring!
All the flavours are suitable for vegetarians and there are no added colours, flavours or preservatives. They are a single serving of 120g which I think is just a perfect amount.
Nutrition as per sachet (cooked).
Energy 555 kcal (2338 kJ)
Carbohydrate 92.5g (of which sugars 2.8g)
Fat 15.9g (of which saturates 9.3g)
Give tham a try and see for yourself......99p for a decent Risotto is a bargain!
I eat a lot of rice as I have trouble with eating pasta and so rice is a great alternative. I usually live on the microwavable rice and so when I saw this risotto I wanted to give it a try. I usually make my own risotto for the family, but when i'm on my own I don't really want to put all the effort in.
I'm not a fan of Ainsley Harriot, his personality annoys me but I thought what the hell.. There are a few flavours to choose from..
- Rice and wild mushroom
- Broccoli and Blue Cheese
- tomato and Mascarpone
- Asparagus and Leek
- Pea and Mint
Today I tried Asparagus and Leek, but have tried the mushroom one in the past. Each pack costs around 99p which isn't too bad! It serves one person, or 2 if you have it as a side dish. Calories per pack vary between 160-180kcal per 100g and 4-6g of fat, but it all depends on what flavour you go for. I think Morrisons has the best choice of flavours.
It's simple to cook, you just need to add cold water and a small bit of butter/marg and pop it in a saucepan and cook for 12 mins stirring occasionally. It looks thick and creamy when it is cooked.
I wasn't sure if i'd like the taste of this, but I did! it taste really creamy and has a great texture and quite gooey- like risotto should be. We served ours with sausages and salad, but you can eat it all to yourself if you want to!
I was happily suprised by the flavour of this and would recommend it to people who want something quick and tasty
UPDATE: 2013. Not seen these in the shops for a while so not sure if still available.
I'm going to have to change my name to the Rice-Queen, aren't I.
As stated elsewhere, we eat a LOT of rice, around three or four nights a week, as Mr T-o-T is obsessed with the stuff. This is fine by me, but I do need to find new ways of serving it to stop myself getting bored. I also don't want to spend too much time cooking dinner after a long day at work.
I do love a good risotto. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to make them myself very well. Probably comes from not having half the right ingredients and just bunging in what I do have to hand in the kitchen. Very nice too, but not really risotto, never mind that I'm using risotto rice.
So when I saw these on the shelf, I knew I had to give it a go. I'm not a huge fan of Mr Harriott myself, he has one of those faces you just want to slap as far as I'm concerned, too grinny, and I don't know how much actual input he had into his new food range. But hey ho, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
There are several flavours available but this review is on the Cheese, onion and wine pack. Each pack serves one person as a main course, or two people as a side dish. The calorie and nutrition information varies from flavour to flavour.
I was a little taken aback when I first opened one - very powdery looking and you could hardly even spot the rice. When dry, it does have a strong cheesy smell.
You add to cold water (you'll need a measuring jug for the correct amount) and a little blob of butter (which I don't bother to measure). At this point you might get worried as the stuff doesn't dissolve, but once you start heating it, it all mixes in just fine and it starts to look like a rice dish. You cook for 12 minutes according to the pack, but I find it takes longer than that, even stirring like crazy. I usually have to go for it for around 20 minutes to get that lovely creamy risotto texture, but it's a gentle 20 minutes, I'll keep popping in and out or stand there with an eye on the newspaper at the same time.
This is a really delicious risotto - certainly better than I can make myself. It has a great texture (eventually) with creamy soft rice that stays the right side of soggy. There is a strong cheesy taste with a hint of wine and onion.
I will either serve on the side of some meat (say, a chop) or sometimes I add cubed chicken/turkey or pork to the mix. I pre-fry the meat till it is cooked, then add halfway through cooking the risotto. Sometimes I throw in a few veg as well. Asparagus goes really well and you can add it just 5 minutes before the end.
However, that's just because we are greedy guts and it would make a good meal on its own.
Advantages: Simple to prepare for a great result.
Disadvantages: None really.
When shopping, I like to take my time especially when it comes to food shopping as I don't like to get stuck into routine of buying the same old things and then boring myself of them. This is why I look at offers as they tend to give me an idea of what is new which is how I came across these Ainsley Harriott Risotto's. I was aware he did a selection but I think these are new flavours he has added, I wanted to give them a try as I have loved his Cous Cous in the past and he does Rice as well which I have not yet gotten round to testing out.
The packets are 120g sachet's they can come in a bigger box of more sachets depending on how you buy them. I bought separate ones and chose the Cheese & Broccoli flavour and the Tomato & Mascarpone ones as they seemed most appealing. The packaging of the Tomato one is done by colour so this one has red hints to it and on the top has a picture of the man himself and what the product looks like cooked which is a big selling point.
The rest of the packet has information on what the product is and what is included and a picture of the ingredients and that it is ready in 12 minutes with recommendations of having it with sea bass and pancetta. It is also vegetarian suitable and on the back are all the nutritional details. Per packet there are 553 calories which I was shocked to see as it's quite a lot, 18.7g of fat and 5.5g of fibre so not the healthiest addition to a meal ever but it is worth it I think.
So the risotto is described as being authentic Italian rice with tomato and a blend of cheeses including mascarpone and mixed herbs. The risotto includes no artificial colours, preservatives or flavours and should be stored in a cool, dry place.
I always cook things like this on the hob for best results as in the microwave I just feel they never get that true taste out. To cook in the microwave doesn't seem any easier with this product anyway. To cook on the hob you empty the sachet contents into a saucepan and then add 400ml of cold water and 15g of butter but I don't buy butter much so didn't use this anyway. It is then a case of bringing to the boil and simmering with occasional stirring so it doesn't stick to the pan.
I usually leave it for a good five minutes to simmer as standing over it can be a bit tedious as it takes a while at first for it to really start to heat up and evaporate. Once it gets going the sauce starts bubbling and the smell sifts through the house of the creamy tomato hints in the risotto. After about 12 minutes like it states the rice should be ready, the sauce will be thicket and it won't all have gone but empty the pan when it has a slight sauce left around as it thickens when put on a plate in true risotto consistency.
You can eat this with anything, either on its own for a snack; you can have it with fish, meat or whatever you choose. They recommend scattering crispy pancetta, parmesan shavings or fresh basil leaves on top for a true authentic Italian taste but it is nice even without. I found the Broccoli & Cheese one nicer as it really got a creamy sauce and was so tasty.
The pan always has a lot of rice stuck to it afterwards but just leave it to soak and it will come off. The risotto will be very hot at first but just get a small forkful to get a taste and you will taste the rich tomato, the rice cooks well also as sometimes rice doesn't soften on these types of things. It is a great recipe and a good way to fool people that you are an impressive cook.
On the official website http://www.ainsley-harriott.co.uk he shows the risotto range but the flavours are completely different being Wild Mushroom, Mediterranean Style Tomato & Pepper and lastly Cheese, Onion & Wine which I haven't come across. As I said before I think the flavours I tried are the new ones out which is why they were on offer. I got them at the bigger Tesco store near me for 99p a sachet. Another flavour in the Risotto range is Asparagus & Leek if you fancy it too.
The website has the full Ainsley Harriott range on it if you want information on the other things he does and contact information and so on.