“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Frozen Food „
Worst cottage pie I've ever had. Claims to be lean mince beef but it's full of large chunks of chewy fat. Stay well clear.
I've recently stocked up on a few Tesco ready meals, after a quick trip to the store turned into a big shop as everything was reduced to ridiculous prices. Although I did pick up a lot of meals, one of the first ones I decided to try was a Tesco Finest Aberdeen Angus Cottage Pie. There are two sizes of pie available a single portion of 430g for £2.40 or an 800g portion for 2 which will set you back £3.93, not cheap! However, arriving at Tesco at about twenty to eight at night the reduction guns were out and I picked up three cottage pies (they can be frozen) for a tiny 67p each!
Everything about the product plays along with the 'Finest' logo, the foil container which the pie comes in is a strong, rectangular tray with a foil top lid so you can see what you're buying. There is also a cardboard sleeve which shows the cottage pie with a spoonful taken out so you can see what the meat to potato ratio is like. The pie is also shown in a ceramic baking bowl which gives a greater sense of the product being homely and home cooked.
Although the cottage pie can be cooked in the microwave in a matter of a few minutes, I prefer to cook things like this in the oven as the top goes nice and crispy and it gives a more homemade feel. To cook you just pre- heat the oven to 190 degrees or gas mark 5 and cook for 30- 35 minutes or 55-60 minutes when cooking from frozen. I do keep an eye on the pie though as sometimes it browns a little bit quicker and sometimes it needs a little longer, I'm a little pedantic about getting the topping perfect!
When serving up I was pleased with the decent size of the portion, we shared this and both got plenty, especially when served up with carrots and peas. The 800g portion is particularly large, but my Dad has eaten one to himself as it really is delicious and he does have a large appetite.
The cottage pie looks and smells delicious, it's about two thirds meat filling and one third potato which is perfect. There's plenty of meat mixed with carrots, onion, leeks and celery and the mash on top look lovely and creamy.
Tucking in, I was pleased to first be greeted by lovely tasty Aberdeen Angus beef mince; the meat is very lean and very high quality with no bits of fat or gristle. The small bits of vegetable are also very tasty, they retain a little bit of crunch which contrasts nicely with the beef which seems to melt in the mouth. The best bit of the meaty filling though is by far the gravy, it's meaty and rich, which is down to the red wine in it, it's delicious!
The topping is just as impressive, it's nice and thick but not at all lumpy or gloopy. To taste it's very creamy and buttery and really tastes like a luxury product. The top is slightly bumpy so all these bits go lovely and crispy which contrasts nicely with the creamy underneath of the mash.
Nutritionally, it's about average, it is for a main meal and it is very filling, it feels like a real indulgence so I don't mind treating myself, however there is a lot of salt!
Per Half Pack (400g):
Sat Fat: 7g
Although I'm unlikely to pay full price for this ready meal as it's very expensive, I would definitely buy it again on offer. It's so tasty, and is such good quality there really is nothing much to complain about, apart from all the salt, a whopping 48% of your daily intake.
I didn't know what to eat for my dinner tonight. I had originally got myself a nice chicken dish. However, yesterday i foolishly accidentally switched my fridge/freezer off!!! I got home basically to a freezer full of half defrosted food. I was not amused about that. Anyway, after going out today i decided to pop into my local Tesco Express. They have a reasonable selection of foods in there. I spotted various things that I thought might be nice and then i saw this Tesco finest Aberdeen Angus Cottage Pie.
It looked very tasty on the cover. What really struck me was how lovely the minced beef looked. Mind you, i am sure we have all experienced thinking something will look just as does in the pictures, only to find out, it isnt anything like it! However, as this is Tesco finest, i felt sure it would be good.
I was certainly correct in my thinking! It was absolutely delicious. I decided to have it with some green beans with a little bit of added gravy to go the green beans. There was also loads of it! The minced beef really is of a good quality, there is alot of it. It is in a rich, thick, meaty gravy with i guess what i would call a decent layer of mashed potato on the top. There wasn't anything spectacular about the mashed potato topping; it was the main minced beef part that really was special. You could taste little onions in it and the overall flavour was very beefy, just a great meal in fact. You can actually also taste the red wine that is in this dish. To be honest, if you are a small eater (which unfortunately i am not!) this could possibly be enough for two people. Or i would suggest it really is enough for an adult and a younger child. Greedy me of course, ate the lot!! Im supposed to be on a diet! (a gradual diet; losing only half a pound per week) but i let it slip a little today.
Anyway, back to the pie! What is also great about this cottage pie is that you can cook it either in the oven or in the microwave. I cooked it in the microwave as per the instructions and altogether it only took about 7 minutes to cook. In the oven it will take about 30 minutes.
The pie is 430g in weight and has 440 kcal in it
British beef (32%)
Red wine (3.5%)
Mashed potato contains potato, cream, butter, salt & pepper
Beef stock contains beef stock, cornflour, sugar, salt, onion, tomato
Gravy browning contains caramelised sugar.
There are no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives or hydrogenated fats in this product.
*Contains wheat, gluten, celery*
*It cannot be guaranteed nut free*.
The pie costs £2.40; well worth it for what it is.
I must highly recommend this pie for its sheer quality, great taste and flavour.
Tesco Finest Classics Aberdeen Angus Cottage Pie
With the weather being so atrocious (in a fabulous snowy way) of late we have been eating warming, hearty comfort food in the evenings to fill our cold hungry bellies. On Christmas Eve we normally have a takeaway curry but this year did not really fancy it. Instead, I popped along to Tesco on Christmas Eve for a few last bits an pieces and I came across this Cottage Pie and thought it was just the job, with a description of "lean minced beef in a rich meaty gravy topped with creamy seasoned mash". It sounded perfect.
An 800g pie, contains two servings and is priced at £4.00. I got my pie in the reduced chiller, down from £4.00 to just 80p - what a bargain. It had a date of 26th Dec on but as the store was closed for two days they obviously wanted rid! I actually bought two, one for the freezer! A smaller portion for one is also available priced at £2.00.
The pie is packaged in a strong foil tray, inside of a cardboard box with the typical finest colours of silver and black. There is also a 'peep-hole' on the top to see that the pie does indeed look very special.
The oven cook from chilled at 190/GM 5 takes 30 -35 minutes; Oven cook from frozen for 55 - 60 minutes.
I served our pie with carrots, peas and broccoli. There was enough pie to serve two adults with a small portion for our 1 year old. (Very small I might add - for the alcohol content!!)
Breaking the mash away with a serving spoon it is noticeable that the mince appears to be of high quality, with little to no fat or gristle. The gravy is thick and rich with small pieces of onion visible. There is no other veg apparent in the mixture so I was pleased that I had prepared the carrots.
**The Taste Test**
The mashed potato is thick, smooth and creamy, peppery and buttery. It is delicious. The meat and gravy is very tasty with a wonderful flavour of red wine (which makes up 4.5% of the dish). The beef is of obvious quality on taste, with no gristle or fat.
A 400g serving (half the pack) contains 425 calories and 16.4g of fat. The recipe contains milk, wheat, gluten and celeriac - so some allergy sufferers may not be able to enjoy this dish.
Overall this is a very tasty and enjoyable dish. I would even go as far as to say that it would have been worth paying full price at £4.00 for the two servings, but I was particularly pleased with my bargain buy. I would buy this again, but for a special meal, rather than as a regular addition to my shopping list.
I just told you about the worst Shepherd's Pie I've ever had, it was a nasty salty Weight Watchers one so I thought I'd now let you know about one of the best. It's not actually a Shepherd's Pie, this is a Tesco Finest Aberdeen Angus Cottage Pie and it's yummy!
The meat filling is made of lean minced Aberdeen Angus beef and that makes up 32% of the pie, that isn't as low as it sounds either because the mashed potato on the top is about 50% of the pie and that's how it should be when you've got the mash just right like Tesco have.
There is loads of mince at the bottom of the pie and it's in a delish thick gravy. The gravy goes proper nice with the mince and you can tell that the meat is very good quality, there's no gristle and the beef is in nice fat lumps. The gravy has a meaty and peppery flavour, the only vegetables in this cottage pie are onions and there are some large pieces which are always cooked very nicely but you can also tell some of the onions have gone into the gravy because there's quite a strong onion aftertaste. This is proper nice though because the flavour of beef also lingers and the 2 remind you of your yummy dinner.
The mash is gorgeous, it's so nice that it tastes homemade and not like the horrible fake potato that was on the Weight Watchers pie. It's creamy and butter with a lovely soft texture, it goes so good with the beefy mince and gravy and I think it makes the cottage pie taste like it's been made at home.
This Finest Cottage Pie is £2.00 for an individual pie, that's not bad because a lot of the Finest meals are a lot more expensive than that. The bad news is that one of these pies contains 490 calories and 17.6g fat, and that's mega high even though it's a meal in itself and quite filling. I don't care about things like that though so will deffo carry on eating these, they're the business!
You may notice a strange pattern on my reivews. First of all I am reviewing the cheapest of the cheap food (Some of it pretty nice though!), and next I am at the expensive end reviewing expensive food. What can I say, I like my grub, and am always happy when I get a bargain on the food as well.
The tesco Finest range is meant to be the luxurious range of tesco food. it is more expensive than normal Tesco, and sometimes more expensive than a brand named alternative. I have to say most of the food in the Finest Range has been lovely.
Although this is a Ready meal, it tastes a bit better than the normal chiller ones. This is 430g and is found in the ready meals Chiller section. The price for this is £2.89, which seems pricey for me. There is a family version of this, which is 800g and that costs £4.19, so you could feed a couple of people with this and serve with some sides for a nice meal.
Packaging was alright. The food was in a plastic container with a lid over it. There was a cardboard sleeve over the container and this gave a yummy looking picture of a slice of the Pie and you seem fluffy potato, veg, meat and a hint of gravy. The packaging looked quite expensive for what it is, since it is only a ready meal, but the colourings made this stand out on the shelf.
You can cook this in the Microwave for 8 minutes on an 800watt, or oven cook on 220o for approx 25 minutes. Different cooking times are on the back for other wattages.
Each 430g pack contains 455 calories and 22g of fat. I think that this is an alright amount for what it is, as although there is good in the meat and veg, then I expected a bit of calories in the potato anyway.
So how did this taste? Well I made this in the oven, as I liked the Potato to be slightly crisp. I just ate it out of the tub, as I was sitting in front of the tv anyway, and couldn't be bothered scraping this all out - I may have lost valuable Gravy, and also at least I saved washing the plate that I would have put this on! There was a generous layer of Potato, and it tasted light and creamy. There was cheddar cheese and cream in the potato as well, so this gave a lovely creamy taste. The Angus Meat in here was tender, cubed into good sized chunks and nice and dry. there wasn't any grizzly bits in it either. The Carrots, Peas and Swedes were chunky, and the meaty gravy was mixed through well.
All in all a lovely meal. yes, it was a bit expensive, but if you buy the larger one, you can use half of it, and freeze the rest ad that way it works out a little cheaper.
A great recipe here which is partly take form the Sainsbury's quick meals cookbook, but re-developed into something special by my Dad, can be enjoyed by all and everyone! The ingredients are cheap, the meal is pretty healthy and it is also relatively easy to make! It's not my favourite meal, as I'm not a potato person, but it can be enjoyed by a wide range of people!
500g minced beef
2 onions, chopped
2 cooking apples
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
4 tablespoons beef stock
Mashed Potato to put on top
50g Cheddar Cheese, grated
Mix together the beef, onions, sultanas and apples in a casserole.
Blend the tomato puree with the stock and add to the beef mixture.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover with foil and cook in a preheated oven, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas mark 4, for 30 minutes.
Spoon the mashed potato over the top of the pie.
Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for 15 minutes or so until the cheese is melted and browned.
As some of you know I am a full time carer to my mother who has Vascular Dementia and I have to spend the majority of my time keeping her company. She has virtually no short term memory so I end up answering the same questions over and over. Sometimes I cope quite well with this but sometimes I get really fed up and just cant be bothered with stuff including cooking our lunch.
Enter Tescos Finest range.
This range is made using the best ingredients and no preservatives, colours or flavourings. This is great for me as what I need is a ready meal which will be at least almost as nutritious as if I had made it myself.
I have tried quite a few different products in this range and this particular review is about the Aberdeen Angus Cottage Pie.
** The size and cost **
The current price in Tesco is £2.59 for the 430g size or 2 for £5 until 4th December 2007. They also do an 800g size at £3.99. So to be fair even at full price this is exceptional value.
** The packaging **
The cottage pie is packed in a plastic container with a plastic film over the top and then covered with an outer cardboard sleeve. This is immediately good for me as I try and recycle as much as possible and as we can recycle both plastic and cardboard nothing will be thrown in the dustbin!
The cardboard wrapper has the Tesco Finest logo on the top left and the main colours are grey and black apart from the colour picture of the cottage pie which stands out against the plainer background making the whole thing look classy and inviting.
As I mentioned earlier one of the main things that attracted me to this product and others in the same range is the promise that it contains no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours.
The other information on the front of the sleeve consists of the description of the product as follows:
Aberdeen Angus minced beef in a rich gravy. Mashed potato with cheddar cheese and cream
As with other Tesco foods there is also information about the calorie, sugar, salt, fat and saturates content in grams per pack and as a percentage of an average adult daily allowance.
On the reverse of the sleeve is all the usual information about how to cook the meal either by conventional oven or using the microwave and either from chilled or frozen. It is great that this can be cooked straight from the freezer as it means I can keep some meals in the freezer and dont have to remember to defrost them the night before I am going to use them.
There is also a list of ingredients (as it says on the front of the pack nothing artificial), nutrition, allergy advice and the Tesco promise of satisfaction or a full refund.
Each meal contains 455 calories so it is quite high calorie but having said that it is filling so you dont feel hungry for some time afterwards.
As I said earlier this product was found in the chiller section at Tescos but it suitable for home freezing which is what I did.
** How does it look? **
Before I purchased the cottage pie I slid back the cardboard sleeve in order to see the size of the portion inside. How many times have you bought something in a generous sized pack only to find that the product inside is considerably smaller than the outer packaging? This was not the case here the portion was easily big enough for a single adult meal.
I chose not to buy the meal for two even though it would have been better value because it is easier to serve individual meals as you will see late in the review.
So all this information is great the packaging is all recycleable, there are no artificial ingredients in the cottage pie and the portion size looks just right BUT how does it taste?
** The cooking **
I thought that it would be better to cook ours in the conventional oven as there were two of us eating so that the two meals were ready together rather than cooking one after the other in the microwave. That way the meals would be ready together rather than us eating one after the other.
In order to prepare it for conventional cooking I just had to remove the cardboard sleeve and then remove the plastic film across the top. This was easier said than done as it is very well stuck around the edges, but I got there in the end.
It would have taken 25 30 minutes in the oven on 190 degrees had it been chilled but, as I said earlier, I had frozen ours so it took 40- 45 minutes to cook. Obviously you need to check that it is hot all the way through before serving. Incidentally it would only take about of 6 minutes in the microwave so it would be great for someone living alone and / or in a hurry!
By the time it was cooked the smell coming from the kitchen was lovely.
** The meal **
To serve the cottage pie I just put each of the containers on a separate plate rather than trying to get the product out of the tray as I am sure that I would have made a right mess of it! As I said earlier I think had I bought the larger version I think it would have made it more difficult to serve and would not have looked so appetising.
Of course the other advantage of cooking and serving in this way is the lack of washing up great stuff! We just had to rinse the plastic containers and pop them in the recycling bag!
The cottage pie looked lovely. The cheese topping had gone a nice shade of golden brown and it looked very natural thus fitting in with the fact that there were no artificial ingredients.
The taste was great as well! The meat had no gristly bits, was very tender and was not greasy at all, which can sometimes be a problem with mince as you probably know. The mashed potato was smooth with just the right amount of cheese to enhance the flavour.
There was enough to make a filling meal for one, which isnt always the case when you buy ready meals!
All in all I would recommend this product to anyone! As I said before even at the full price of £2.59 per portion it is still excellent value considering how good the product tastes, how easy it is to cook and the fact that it contains no artificial stuff.
We have tried a few more of the meals in this range so expect more reviews when I have the time to write them!