“ Brand: Birdseye / Type: Frozen Food „
Guess what my son had for dinner tonight? Good guess, These Birds eye seaside shapes that I picked up as had not noticed them before.
They are really a glorified fish finger reshaped with bits added.
My son liked naming the shapes as I was putting them onto his plate. They were a fish shaped one, A star fish and an anchor one. My son couldn't remember the word for anchor so instead it became a thing off a boat shape.
They come in a box of 8 which I think should be 9 so you get 3 of each shape then.
Each shape is covered in Captain Birdeye golden breadcrumbs leaving them an orangey colour like fishfingers are.
Instead of these just being plain fish though they have peas and sweetcorn mixed into the fish, giving some extra goodness to the meal. If a child is a fussy eater or doesn't like veggies this could be a good way of getting them to eat some.
We ate ours with waffles and beans. I had just 2 as had normal fish too.
They tasted pleasantly nice. A slight crunch on the outside and not too fishy on the inside. My son was surprised to come across the hidden vegetables which he loves anyhow.
I must admit that after I'd eaten and checked the box these are actually made from not Cod as I'd originally thought but Pollock. i honestly did not notice a difference.
These take 15 minutes to cook under the grill or in the oven.
Every 2 shapes gives 200 calories so approx 100 calories each really.
These are available to buy in Tesco at £1.00 or Asda at £1.02 at current prices.
I should set the scene on this opinion by stating that I'm not really into children's novelty food. Don't get me wrong. My son will still have fish-fingers and sausages and I'm more than happy to turn those fish-fingers into snails and the sausages into hedgehogs, but, as a rule, heavily processed foods are a no-no. There are always exceptions though.
Following a particularly nasty bout of something that meant my son hadn't eaten for days I was desperate to tempt him back to food. Fish, I always think, is quite good for that as it's light but I knew that plain fish wasn't going to have sufficient interest to tempt back this two year old. Then I spotted BirdsEye "Seaside Shapes". Scanning the ingredients to check that there was nothing too nasty in them I decided that they were worth a go.
The Seaside Shapes are, in fact, glorified fish fingers with added peas and sweetcorn, but, as I discovered, regular fish fingers might have been a better bet. The fish is breadcrumb-coated and, as shown on the packet, is shaped into fish, anchor and starfish shapes. Least that's the theory.
I'm not normally one to talk about packaging but BirdsEye have clearly fallen into that "make the punter think they're getting a lot when they're not" trap. The cardboard box is probably twice the size it needs to be and, as a result, the shapes shake about in the box, losing some of their coating. I'm guessing the box size has something to do with the fact that fish, anchors and starfish don't tessellate and so, in the interests of time making sure the box is big enough to accommodate them as they fall from the machines pays dividends. However, as a consumer I feel a bit diddled.
Deciding on first use to get my son involved I showed him what I was going to cook for lunch. He took an immediate interest and declared that he was going to have a fish, anchor and a starfish. Great, thinks mum.
Problem Number One - no starfish.
After a bit of convincing son agrees that he'll have two fish to make up for the lack of a starfish.
The shapes are slightly thicker than a premium fish finger and, I'd guess slightly larger in terms of volume. Three therefore sounded like the right sort of quantity. I opted to use the oven to cook the shapes as it means I don't really have to pay that much attention. I found that my oven cooked the shapes well at the temperature and for the time indicated on the packet. A good start.
Having been cooked the crumb looked crisp. Unfortunately, for me, the joy ended here as son refused to eat the shapes. He was happy to play with them but that was it. Oh well, guess what I had for lunch!
Problem Number 2 - where's the fish?
The shapes are advertised as fish, sweetcorn and peas in golden breadcrumbs. I could identify the peas and sweetcorn (around 8 bits in each shape so not a veg portion by any means) but the fish....
I'm not sure whether you can get mechanically reclaimed fish but the texture of the fish in these shapes was not dissimilar to poor quality chicken nuggets. It lacked that usual flaky texture of fish fingers but wasn't like a fishcake either. It was quite strange. I also thought that the crispy breadcrumb was rather too heavy for the size of the shapes. Thankfully it wasn't that greasy.
The taste was definitely processed. The crumb is slightly spiced (paprika) and the underlying batter (yes, there is both batter and crumb here) is seasoned with salt and pepper. The whole is not overly spiced but neither is it bland. The fish taste (pollock not cod) is not clean and, rather than a fresh taste, the taste is rather cheesy. A look at the back of the pack reveals that there is, indeed, cheese (albeit well down the list of ingredients) in the shapes. After eating one continued to taste the shapes and, for me, it wasn't pleasant.
A couple of days later my son actually asked for "fish, anchors but no starfish" for lunch. Aha, he had been paying attention. My son seemed to find them more palatable than me and declared that they were "nice" - praise indeed from my son! He refused to cut them up, preferring to stab them whole and then bite bits off. This was OK for the first couple of bites but we then found the shape fell off the fork as the coating gave way. Again, this caused a bit of an issue as the remains looked nothing like a fish or an anchor and were therefore deemed "used". That's toddlers for you!
Problem Number 3 - Pack Size
In terms of portion size I'd have said that 2 shapes would have been insufficient for your average toddler but 3 probably slightly too much. Of course, I was serving with mash and vegetables.
Having said that the ideal portion for my son was somewhere between 2 and 3 shapes I found that the pack size was completely wrong. The pack contains 8 shapes. Now, I guess I could short-change one meal and waste a bit on 2 others but for me it's far from ideal. Coupled with the fact that I think these are over-processed I'd plump for regular fish fingers any day.
Well, yes, I think there are. I'm not sure that I could recreate anchors but I could certainly do fish and starfish using a standard fishcake recipe. Flaked fish, potato, seasoning (peas and sweetcorn if you must) and coated in real breadcrumbs is, to my mind, a better option as you know the source of the fish and, although the Seaside Shapes claim not to have any nasties in them, I still think homemade better.
Any redeeming features?
I'm afraid to say that I can't think of any. This is not a food that you could argue hides vegetables and gets them into fussy children as the peas and corn are both obvious and insufficient to constitute a portion.
Priced around the price of a regular pack of branded fish fingers I think these offer little advantage.
As you may have heard me mention in previous reviews my children are a little on the finicky side in regards to eating, my son being the worst of the two!
Imagine how pleased I was to find him finally eating something that was not crisp shaped or covered in chocolate!
With him now being a fully fledged member of the fish finger eaters society, I thought I would once again try and push the boundaries, hence the product I will now review.
The product I will now review are "8 seaside shapes, fish. sweet corn and peas".
~~~~~~ THE PACKAGING ~~~~~~
I will start by saying how ridiculous the box is, it is three times the size of the inner bag of contents, and with me not actually being an environmental activist, still annoyed me due to the sheer waste!
Ok, rant over with...... the box has a seaside theme to it, the base colour being sky blue, with actual clouds pictured at the top, to add effect there is also a picture of a deck chair featured to the right hand side surrounded by bucket and spades.
As this is a Birdseye product there is of course the obligatory picture of "Captain Birdseye", holding the Birdseye logo through which you can see a beach with a variety of sea shells.
Finally there is a picture of the three different shaped items held within, the shapes being a fish, an anchor and a starfish, all golden and crunchy with the fish having the end missing revealing the fish, sweet corn and pea centre....... Ok so now I'm not sure I can pull this one of, the vegetables are apparent to me, god only knows how I will explain them away to a three year old!
~~~~~~ THE CONTENTS ~~~~~~
Upon opening the extraordinarily large box you will find a plastic inner bag containing the shapes.
As I opened the bag, just before putting some in the oven ready for my kids dinner I noticed there was a shape missing, I can honestly say we never had a starfish in the box I purchased, ok so I'm not really bothered, but my daughter was adamant she was having one of each shape, not fun having to explain that one I can tell you!
As you take each one out to place on a baking tray you will notice the thickness of them, I was, I have to be truthful, expecting a shape of a fish finger thickness, not sure why either!
The shapes are three times the thickness as the afore mention "finger", they are of course also golden in colour, with the crunchy breadcrumb coating visible, even when frozen.
The only problem I will mention about the shapes is the fact that either they shed there outer layer extremely easily, or, the company that makes them find the urge to tip a fair amount of loose golden crumb in afterwards, either way there was a substantial amount left when all the shapes had been removed.
~~~~~~ COOKING INSTRUCTIONS ~~~~~~
As per instructed I decided to oven bake mine, rather than grill, as my grill tends to cremate everything placed underneath it, apart from cheese on toast for some bizarre reason!
I placed the baking tray holding the shapes into the oven at gas mark7, fan 200c or my chosen mode of cooking 220c, for the recommended time of 15mins, I'm sorry they were no where near cooked through properly after this time, and actually took another 15 minutes further until I was satisfied.
~~~~~~ TASTE ~~~~~~
Well I have to say they were a complete hit with both of my children...... YAY!!!!
I of course tried some for the sake of this review, and because I,m a greedy cow! The outside was crunchy and flavoursome, with the inside being just a fish finger with sweet corn and peas... but delicious none the less.
You also feel suitable satisfied and full after eating only a couple of the shapes due the density of them.
~~~~~~ NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION ~~~~~~
Per two seaside shapes, (80g), baked - 200 kcal
1.1g of which sugars
1.6g of which saturates
These also contain 110% of your daily recommended vitamin B12.
That makes these 3.5 weight watchers points, not bad at all!!
~~~~~~ INGREDIENTS ~~~~~~
I don't normally go in for ingredient list writing, as most of the time I don't have a bloody clue what they are, I would like to point out however, there is not one ingredient listed that I don't know, from the Alaskan Pollock that is now used in many of these products to replace the ever depleting cod, but is in my own personal opinion nicer tasting and meatier in texture than cod, through to the cheese, potato flake and paprika used for flavouring.
~~~~~~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~~~~~~
I actually saw these advertised on the telly not too long ago, so was on the lookout for them anyway, I was lucky to find them in the freezer section of my local Asda for the rather pricey sum of £1.82, although if it encourages my kids, especially my son to eat a little better it's money well spent!
~~~~~~ CONCLUSION ~~~~~~
I would seriously recommend these, especially to those who have picky eaters in their midst, they are delicious and cleverly aimed at the children and quite appealing to the adults too!
For more information on this and other products available in this range visit - www.birdseye.co.uk
Thanks for reading x
8 shapes made of fish, sweetcorn and peas