“ Brand: Ainsley Harriott / Type: Other Ready Meals „
As a vegetarian I am always on the look out for interesting food products that can provide a great taste without being too difficult to cook. This Ainsley Harriott Bulgar Wheat appealled to me for a couple of reasons. The first was I'd tried Ainsley's instant soup range and loved it so trusted the chef! The second reason was I tried Ebley Wheat a while ago and liked it but had been unable to find it in shops since, so this seemed like a good alternative.
Ainsley's Bulgar Wheat is available in two flavours: Wild Mushroom and Mediterranean Fusion. I chose the Mushroom flavour on which this review is based. The product comes in a well-designed cardboard pouch. There is an abundance of information about the product printed on the packet. The front of the pack says the wheat is a perfect served with steak, pork or turkey. There is also a vegetarian stamp mark though, so you can eat this on it's own or with vegetables should you choose.
Ainsley describes the wheat as a "fluffy grain" and says it's a great alternative to potatoes. There is a recipe idea on the back fo a Turkey Schnitzel, which I think is a great idea for wannabe cooks!
Full nutritional information is listed too. Per 100 grams of cooked product there is 126 calories and 0.8 grams of fat. Per serving of 265 calories there is 1.7 grams of fat and 1.58 grams of salt. I should point out that this packet serves two people. If you are alone though, simply half the amounts of wheat and flavouring.
Inside the pack is two foil packets of dried wheat and another of flavouring. Cooking instructions state these neeed to be mixed with 425ml of water and go onto a cooker to boil, then be reduced to a simmer for 12-15 minutes until the water is absorbed. After removing from the heat the dish should be left for five minutes off the heat with the lid on the pan. This helps the wheat to swell. I don't find that the heat of the food is impaired too much after leaving it.
The flavouring has a strong, tempting aroma of creamy mushrooms, garlic and parsley. The actual appearance of the flavouring is slivers of dried fawn coloured mushrooms combined with finely chopped parsley shreds and a peppery powder which dissolves in the water. There is a slight ochre colouration to the wheat after cooking with the flavouring.
The taste is very nice - quite garlicky but not over the top. The mushrooms add a rubbery texture. The wheat is somewhat fluffy like cous-cous but also has a slight coarseness when chewing that makes the texture more interesting and more of a challenge. I do find that adding a knob of butter helps to enhance the flavours and coat the wheat in a shiny glow which looks attractive. Ainsley also says you can add chopped fresh parsley for an extra kick. The wheat is really filling and takes a while to eat as it needs a good chew. I always feel satisfied and full after eating.
I really like this and find that it provides a great tasting meal without my having to slave over the stove! I do, however, find the meal a little too boring and bland sometimes and find that adding other things like crusty buttered bread or a quorn product such as an escalope really makes this a hearty meal. A wider range of textures and flavours really compliments this bulgar wheat.
The product is available at supermarkets and more information can be found at Ainsley Harriott's website: