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On A recent shopping trip I noticed on a trip down one of the aisles that Ainsley Harriott had a range of Cous Cous perched there on the shelf in a variety of different flavours. I'm a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to food and I tend to go for flavours that match my taste buds, and one of the flavours that stuck out for me was the wickedly wild mushroom flavour. I'd had Cous Cous a few times before but normally just prepared it plain and added my own array of flavours, so I was delighted that these flavoured sachets were available and thought they would come in handy for lunches at work.
***What is Cous Cous?***
Cous Cous is a staple food originating from North Africa and is basically little granules of Semolina made from Durum Wheat, which is precooked and then dried. Often used as a substitute for pasta and rice, Cous Cous is now widely available in the western supermarkets, pre-prepared and almost ready to eat. Probably one of the more quick and convenient foods available, which can be eaten on its own or added to certain dishes such as soups for added thickness and flavour.
***Ainsley Harriott Cous Cous***
As indicated before, this particular Cous Cous comes in a variety of flavours, this one in particular being the wickedly wild mushroom flavour, presented in a 100g sachet which is said to contain less than 2% fat and enough for 2 servings each at 130g prepared weight and 186 calories per serving. This Ainsley Harriott Cous Cous is another one of those products that has no artificial flavours or preservatives which I like and it is also suitable for vegetarians.
Opening the packet, this Cous Cous smells rich and seasoned....can't really say there's any notable mushroomy smell but it certainly smells good enough to eat and you can see the little bits of mushroom falling into the plate as you pour the Cous Cous into your bowl.
This cous cous couldn't be easier to prepare, simply pour the desired serving size (in this case half of the packet) into a bowl and soak in boiling water or alternatively any type of prepared stock if you want to add a little extra flavour, until it has been absorbed by the tiny granules, a process which takes around 5 minutes and hey presto you're ready to eat it. I normally separate the granules by mixing it up with my fork a couple of times before eating to ensure the cous cous is nice and fluffy. You can also eat Cous Cous cold....not something I've ever tried, but just as tasty I'd imagine. The instructions on the sachet claim that adding a knob of butter or drizzling a little olive oil adds an extra richness to the flavour, again not something I've tried as I find this quite flavoursome without any additives
This cous cous is certainly not bland. The wild mushrooms and seasonings make this very flavoursome indeed. I wouldn't say that this product tastes overly like mushroom but there's certainly a hint of it in there. The granules are light and fluffy on my tongue and they don't really feel like granules as I munch this up. Half of a sachet doesn't really look like much when it's in the bowl, but with a couple of Ryvita crackers I find this a very satisfying and filling lunch and will certainly be popping more of this product into my basket along with the rest of my shopping.
It doesn't last long in the bowl :o). As a general rule Cous Cous can be stored in a cool dry place for up to a year, so no need to rush home and prepare it straight away.
I do most of my shopping in either Asda or Tesco, and this Ainsley Harriott Cous Cous is currently on promotion in Asda at a price of 4 for 2 pounds or 0.68p if you just want to try a single packet. One packet does me for 2 lunches as each packet contains 2 servings as previously indicated.
A good alternative to your pasta and rice, and packed full of flavour I do recommend that you give this one a try. I didn't notice any other flavoured Cous Cous products on the shelves at asda, only the plain variety so good for Ainsley for bringing out a little variety to spice up my life. Lunch for a whole week and more for only 2 pounds - you can't go wrong.
I've always liked cous cous ever since I discovered it years ago. I don't however like to have to flavour my own cous cous so I tend to buy the various brands of flavoured cous cous available from the supermarket. One such brand is Ainsley Harriott's and I've tried a few of the available flavours and liked most of them. The most recent one I tried was the "wickedly wild mushroom" flavour.
Now I'm not going to go into who Ainsley Harriott is because that's not really relevant but like a lot of T.V personalities he has lent his name to a variety of products. (Kerching!) Personally I only buy this particular brand because it's the only one they sell in our supermarket and not because of Ainsley's smiling face on the front.
For those interested cous cous is actually made from semolina and is shaped into grains. It has little flavour until we add herbs, spices and ingredients to it but is high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat. It's a perfect food for those watching their weight and for people like me who suffer from low blood sugar if they don't get enough in the way of complex carbohydrates. This particular packet has no artificial colours, preservatives or flavours and is suitable for vegetarians. It does however contain cow's milk, wheat and gluten.
As for flavour this is described as "wild mushroom and garlic" flavour. If I look through the ingredients list (I'm not going to type it out and bore us all rigid) I can see it doesn't contain much apart from herbs, garlic and mushroom for flavour. No other bits sneaked in, this is just kept simple and I like that fact.
Nutritional statistics are: prepared with just water 130g provides 186 calories, 7.8g protein, 35.9g carbohydrates of which 0.7g sugars, 1.3g fat of which 0.4g saturates, 2.2g fibre and 0.40g sodium. As you can see it isn't bad for us at all! The pack is supposed to serve 2 but as my partner doesn't like this I tend to eat probably three quarters of the pack in one sitting. It really depends what you eat it with as to how much you'll need.
To prepare just boil the kettle, pour 160ml of boiling water into a jug then tip in the cous cous. Leave it for a few minutes to absorb the water then use a fork to mix it up. Serve immediately if you want it hot or wait a while if you want it cold. Simple. You can add a knob of butter at the same time as pouring the cous cous into the water if you wish but I don't bother. Cous cous can be eaten with meat, salad, added to soups or on its own. I personally like it cold with salad and a blob of crème fraiche.
So how does it taste? Very nice actually. I'm impressed that they haven't overdone the flavours in this and the delicate mushroom flavour is still detectable. The garlic is just enough to taste but not enough to overpower anything else and the whole mix is very flavoursome. There are small chunks of mushroom to be seen in the cous cous and bits of parsley so it looks attractive too. The grains are soft and moist as they should be and it's a very satisfying and filling meal. Not to mention good for me!
I bought this pack when there was an offer on but normally they are about 60p per 100g pack. Obviously the 100g is before water is added. So cheap as well! Overall this is tasty, good for you, cheap and easy to make. Seriously what more could you ask for? Thoroughly recommended.
I'm currently munching my way through a tub of Ainsley Harriott cous cous for lunch so I thought why not write a review as I decide whether I like it or not?
I first heard of this product during my weekly Slimming World class last week, the group leader mentioned they were on offer at the moment and I thought it would make a nice change from the pasta and baked potatoes I keep having each day.
I forgot about it till I did my weekly shop in Asda yesterday, I spotted these on sale at 2 packs for £1, they usually cost 65p each so this is a great deal.
I bought one pack of the wild mushroom flavour and one of the spicy one (I've already forgotten the full name of it but will post a review once I've tried it later in the week)
The cous cous is sold in packets which state they serve 2 but I thought I would have a whole packet for my lunch and add a few salad ingredients as I do have a large appetite when I'm at work during the week.
I like the fact these are so easy to make up, you simply add the contents of the sachet to a bowl and add 150ml of boiling water then wait for 5 minutes for the liquid to be completely absorbed. I did this morning before getting dressed.
On returning to the bowl I was met with the strong pungent flavour of mushrooms laced with herbs and garlic, it smelt delicious and looked a lot more appetising that I expected.
You can eat the cous cous hot or cold, I chose to have my mine cold today for lunch and am really enjoying it. The cous cous has a slight bite to it but isnt mushy at all, the mushroom and garlic flavours are strong but dont leave a bitter taste in the mouth or linger for ages.
I find this cous cous very filling, I've only eaten half the packet I made up and am already full. Therefore I can conclude you can stretch this stuff by only using half a packet at a time to save money.
I'm very pleased with this and wish I had tried it sooner. I would recommend it to anyone as a nice change from rice or pasta, it's full of fibre so good for you too.