“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Other Ready Meals „
You know when you have left a packet of mixed peppers in the vegetable drawer of the fridge for so long that the peppers begin to disintegrate - or if there's a forgotten courgette at the back of the fridge which has passed through the loose and slightly bendy stage and now has squishy darkened pitted areas developing in patches all over its surface.
Think of the texture of one of those red or green or yellow peppers that's started turning to liquid on the inside, and is held together only by patches of the thicker outer skin. Or of what it feels like when you put your thumb through one of the softened patches on the elderly courgette.
I would say that these are exactly the unfortunate vegetable textures that Tesco has achieved with the filling of their 'Finest' range roasted vegetable tart. 450g costs just over £2, so this isn't an individual little tartlet-thingy, it's like a proper two or three person sit-down-and-eat-it-at-the-table small dinner-plate-diameter-sized pie.
Who would be the intended market for such a pie? It's not nearly substantial enough for a person to have a segment of for their dinner. It's barely sufficient even for a light lunch. Is it - perish the thought - intended to be something you'd buy and heat up as a convenient entree for a dinner party you've laid on for your friends? Surely not.
The tart tastes of the constituent roasted vegetables, certainly - which, in addition to courgette and pepper include onions as well, all bound together with a light tomato-based sauce. It all comes in a pastry case that crisps up quite nicely (at the edges, at least) in the oven eventually - it's an odd format for a cook-chill dish admittedly, in that you're instructed to remove the pasty tart from the disposable aluminium foil pie-dish that's holding it all together before you cook it - but as I've said, the pastry comes out all right.
It's those vegetables that are, in my opinion, the problem. Who on earth ever came up with the idea of putting roasted vegetables in as a cook-chill pie filling? If it wasn't for the heating instructions given on the back of the box, I would swear that this is a dish intended to be served cold. The filling doesn't in any way work as being suitable for a cook-chill dish because once pre-roasted (at the manufacturing plant) and then stored in the fridge (at Tesco) and the heated up AGAIN (in the oven belonging to the person who's purchased the tart) the vegetables, understandably, lose any of the texture they might once have had and basically turn into horrible (if nice roast-vegetable-flavoured) mush.
Pastry - appearance, taste and texture OK. Vegetables - look and taste all right too. Packaging of the tart - nicely illustrated and designed (mostly) cardboard box, and aluminium pie tin, both recyclable, so that's all right. But in terms of texture - that filling! - it's something like I imagine eating stuff from the bottom of a compost caddy that's been kept in a warm kitchen for a fortnight would be.
I mean I though it was ghastly.