“ Brand: Asda / Type: Other Ready Meals „
Whenever my girlfriend is working late, she often asks me to make the tea, this is something I hate doing! I was asked/told to make a shepherds pie so she could eat it when she got in later. I had to go into Asda anyway to buy some minced beef. As I was browsing the chilled section I came across some ready made mashed potato, I thought what a brilliant idea, I could make shepherds pie without even peeling one potato, and my girlfriend would never know!
To make sure I didn't get found out, I opted for the extra special version, I guessed this would taste most like home made. The packaging consisted of a blue cardboard cover, housing a hard plastic bowl full of the mash potato. The sleeve had a picture of a bowl of mash on the front which looked very nice. It said on the front that it was creamy mashed potato, made with double cream, butter and a little sea salt. Sounded fantastic and very appealing as it meant no potatoes to peel! On the underside of the packaging was the nutritional information, ingredients and cooking instructions.
I bought two of these packs, each pack costs £1.38 and weighs in at 430grams. One pack would easily do a meal for two people, but as I was doing shepherds pie I didn't want to get caught out by not having enough. When you open the pack, the bowl is sealed with a clear plastic lid, the mash looked a bit like smash, very smooth and not much colour going on.
To cook, you are only given instruction for microwave cooking, which suited me just fine, all you have to do is pierce the film lid and cook for four minutes, stirring half way through. After cooking you have to let it stand for one minute. After I had cooked the mash, I had to give it a little try before spooning it on to the cooked mince meat, it did taste very good, was nice and creamy and did taste like real mash, there were no lumps at all and it was nice and fluffy - I was impressed. I spooned it onto the mincemeat and there you have it, it looked just like a home made shepherds pie. Just to ensure I didn't get caught, I covered it in cheese too.
Around half an hour later when my girlfriend arrived home and we ate it, she never mentioned a thing, she even said that she enjoyed it, which doesn't happen often, the ready made mash had done the trick!
I really think this product is worth the money, it saves so much hassle peeling potatoes and boiling them etc, the addition of double cream really helps give it a lovely rich taste, nothing like any pre made mash I have tried before.
Half a pack contains 252calories and 15.5grams of fat, these sound pretty high but remember it does contain double cream and butter. The product must be kept refigerated, it is also suitable for freezing but must be defrosted before cooking.
The price tag makes the product fairly expensive, but as a one off it is worth paying the extra. I would recommend this to anyone, who like me, hates peeling and mashing potatoes.
5 stars, an excellent extra special!
School dinners, don't they bring back memories? Sadly for me, they were not always happy ones, and I was put off mashed potato. Up until five or so years ago, I just couldn't eat it. Just looking at it on my Mum's plate would bring back memories of the bad experience I had at primary school. I had a tummy ache and wasn't very hungry, I told the dinner lady but she made me eat my dinner which included a revolting pile of earthy lumpy mash, and I ended up having to be sent home as a result of being ill, from what I remember, and went home for lunch after that.
I eat potatoes in other forms such as baked in their jackets, roasties, chips and so on, I also eat rice, other grains and pasta dishes to ensure I eat carbohydrates. In the 25 years I couldn't eat mash (unless it was duchesse potatoes or on a cottage pie or similar), I did make several attempts to try it but to no avail, but it wasn't until I tried a ready made version that I could eat it again. I am still extremely sensitive to manky potato; if I get one mouthful of it, that is it for me, I can't eat it. That said, I struggle to make my own lump free mash, so that's why I tend to stick to ready made ones like the product I am reviewing today which is Asda Extra Special Creamy Mash.
If you're not familiar with the Extra Special range of products, this is Asda's premium quality brand. I think most supermarkets do similar ranges for example Tesco Finest and Sainsburys' Taste The Difference to name a couple of examples.
You'll find Asda Extra Special Creamy Mash in in the chilled foods section with the rest of the ready meals. I wanted some mashed potato to have with my dinner one evening, and spotted the product on special offer for £1, and having been impressed with the Extra Special potato dauphinoise, I thought this was worth a try. The normal price is £1.40 so it is quite expensive to have on a regular basis.
Even now I have to be in the right mood to eat mash, so I would rather pay good money for a product that will be eaten rather than feeding the food waste bin. The 430g pack provides two servings, which is ideal for a two person household. The product is suitable for freezing, so you could freeze half of it (or in portions) if you wanted a meal for one at any time, providing the mash is frozen on the day of purchase and the product is eaten within one month. Unfortunately, you can't cook it from frozen which is a shame as you can buy ready made frozen mashed potato.
This product is suitable for vegetarians, but not for vegans or anyone who doesn't eat dairy products.
The cardboard sleeve looks exactly like the one in the product photo. The potato is presented in a round container made of what I can only describe as clear frosted plastic, as it is not totally transparent - but you can see the product inside. The container has a film lid, which keeps the contents safely inside. The packaging states that the cardboard sleeve is easily recycled, but the film lid isn't, some recycling places will take the container but you'll need to check first.
You'll also find the usual things you can expect on packaging such as the cooking instructions ingredients list, nutritional details and contact details. The use by date is located on the front, and mentions that the mash doesn't contain artificial colours, flavours or hydrogenated fats.
The packaging only gives instructions for heating the mash in the microwave, this will vary depending on the wattage of your microwave. Asda provides instructions for 650, 750 and 850 watt machines. The instructions say to remove the cardboard sleeve, before piercing the film several times before heating it in the microwave. I must admit it always makes me laugh when I read such obvious instructions 'remove the outer packaging' as I don't fancy eating roast or microwaved cardboard, or whatever the outer packaging is. I cooked my potato for two minutes before removing the film lid and giving it a stir, before replacing the lid and microwaving for a further two minutes. I found the lid easy to peel off, and didn't have to resort to using scissors. I then allowed the container to stand for a minute to allow the container to firm up before giving the mash another stir prior to dishing up. You should also ensure the product is piping hot and be careful in removing the film lid to ensure you do not get a face full of hot steam.
This potato is delicious, and that is saying something considering my history with mash. It is very creamy, fluffy and smooth and it's the first time I have enjoyed mash without having to disguise it with thick gravy or baked beans. I think the major difference is this mash contains double cream which adds a richness, sometimes ready made products can be on the watery side or too peppery for my tastes. This also tastes like it has been made with real potato as opposed to the rehydrated instant mash type versions. The packaging doesn't state what variety of potato is used to make the product, but I imagine it is a floury one like Maris Piper or King Edward, which I mostly use for roasting.
I was also impressed with the size of the portions, they are a generous size especially when it is compared to Asda own brand frozen mashed potato, and I didn't need to add any more butter or milk as I think Asda has got the seasoning levels just right - well they are for my tastes. Being ready made, it is also very quick and convenient.
While the instructions are only for microwaving, it is still a ready made mashed potato and I have used similar products to provide the potato topping on cottage pies and so on so I don't see this product would be an exception providing its for two people. This mash is suitable for vegetarians and so could be used to top cottage pie style dishes made with Quorn or soya mince. There are a few things to bear in mind, there is no need to microwave the potato first since it will be heated through as the cottage pie cooks. As with any cottage pie type dish, it is also a good idea to let the mince cool before adding the potato topping. I would also say that if you are intending to make ready meals for freezing that you should not use previously frozen mash, it should be used from fresh so it's only frozen once.
In addition as it is a plain mash, you could also add flavourings such as horseradish sauce, herbs, cheese and mustard and so on if you wanted to add a twist to your meals. It is sometimes cheaper to buy the plain version and add your own flavours if you want to.
With the addition of double cream, it has a moderate fat content, with 15.5g of fat with 10g of it being saturated fats. Personally, I would rather have something that tastes nice and have things like this in moderation. It would have helped if the nutritional information contained percentages of the Guideline Daily Allowances. The nutritional values would also change if you added your own flavourings.
This product is versatile and tastes good, and I therefore award it five stars. The only criticism if you like is you cannot cook it from frozen meaning it's not something you can stock up on to use at a moments notice, or if you've forgotten to take something out of the freezer. The shelf life is pretty good for a chilled product, the last container had a use by date seven days after the date I purchased it which is pretty good. It's worth keeping your eyes open for 'rollback' offers, and also when it's reduced near the use by date. In terms of flavour and texture I really cannot fault this and I highly recommend trying this even if you are not a mashed potato lover.
Potato (81%) , Double Cream (11%) , Butter (7.0%) [contains Salt] , Sea Salt
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION PER HALF PACK SERVING
(of which sugars 3.0g)
(of which saturates 10.1g)
(equivalent as salt 1.1g)
I was keen to have a bit of mashed potato the other evening with my tea but, somehow managed to ruin my spuds whilst trying to do other things. Realising I would not have time to do more potatoes in time for when the meat would be done I nipped to Asda to get some instant mash as it is literally only a few minutes away. Whilst looking at different types available I came across this particular one which to me seemed a better alternative to smash! Since it was a microwavable option I decided to bite the bullet and try it.
The packaging I have to admit was what attracted me to it in the first place as it looked a bit better than a simple bag of smash does! A purple cardboard sleeve easily slides off to reveal a plastic tub filled with the mash. The sleeve shows a picture of the mash once heated in a bowl and I have to say it certainly does look exactly as the picture once I had heated it!
The sleeve also has the cooking time listed on the back and also tells us that it is suitable for freezing and for vegetarians. The extra special logo is printed on the front of the sleeve also.
Heating the mash:
The heating times are fairly quick as you would expect as this product is already cooked. The instructions simply tell me I need to remove the cardboard sleeve, pierce the film lid and for either 2-3 minutes depending on the microwave power. The mash needs to be left to regain it's rigidity after heating for a few moments and then it is good to go!
What I liked about the description on the packet was that it stated it was a 'creamy mash made with double cream, butter and a little sea salt' - it sounded like it should taste nice but, of course not everything always lives up to expectations does it?
Well this for me was perfect - I love my mash to be creamy and soft and it didn't have any artificial kind of taste to it either which of course is a big bonus. The mash didn't actually look like there was enough in the tub to serve two as it suggests but, once emptied out there was a fair amount actually there however I was having this on my own anyway and I finished the whole lot, the greedy sod I am! I didn't add anything to the mash except a small hint of pepper and I thought the mash for really nice overall so I have no complaints there at all.
This cost me £1.40 for the tub - considerably more than smash but, in my opinion it is much better tasting and therefore I would definitely buy this again if the occasion arose for it.
This is an ideal product to have if you need something quick to add to a meal - the portion size is not huge but, it is enough for two really if you do want a normal sized portion of mash with your meal. It is tasty, quick to heat up and isn't too overly expensive that it break the bank so overall I do recommend it.