I'm not a huge fan of processed sauce mixes but I have to say when I do buy them I opt for Colmans as they do a good range (for shepherd's pie, sausage casseroles etc) & I've never been disappointed. I usually pay around 50p for a pack but they were on offer at our local convenience store - 3 for £1 - so I grabbed them because they're always useful to have in stock.
It's easy enough to make cheese sauce from scratch but there's the grating of the cheese, measuring of butter, flour & milk plus the washing up which is why I'll reach for a packet if I'm short of time.
The sachets I bought are as shown in the picture & the information on the packets tell me there are no artificial colours, msg or preservatives but there are egg traces (for those with allergies).
A portion (85ml) has only 77 calories & 2.7g of fat but a surprising 4.6g of sugar. I'm not sure why the sugar content is so high as the ingredients seem to consist of assorted flours (inc. cheese, mustard) plus skimmed milk powder, yeast extract & (rather vague) 'colourings'.
Although I use just half a pint of skimmed milk to make up all the contents I rather spoil the healthy intentions by adding some Parmesan cheese (for a really cheesy flavour) & add grated cheese on the top of whatever I'm making (usually cauliflower cheese).
I like the texture of this sauce mix & I've never found any lumps when using it. Although you can make it up in the microwave I prefer doing it on the ho(full directions given) & it takes very little effort. When I first used it I was worried it wasn't going to thicken up but I needn't have worried as it 'behaves' like a home-made sauce.
Although true lasagne has a bechamel sauce I believe, I've used this cheese sauce & I also use it in moussaka, on top of steamed vegetables & in baked potatoes. I'm sure there are loads more ways you could use it too.
- good value compared to others.
- reliable sauce which has never let me down (touch wood!).
- nice texture - not too thick/thin.
- very versatile.
My review today is going to be about Colman's Cheddar Cheese Sauce mix
I very often use Colman's sauce mixes, Cheese sauce has to be one of my favourites and I always have a pack in the cupboard, it works great with brocolli or cauliflower but my favourite way to enjoy this sauce is with cooked slices of potato, leeks and bacon layered into a bowl pour over the cheese sauce, grate a little cheddar cheese on top and bung under the grill till golden brown. This is a meal on it's own or you could even add a few veggies if you have a large appetite.
~~ History of Colman's ~~
Colman's was founded in Norwich over 180 years ago, most famous for their mustard they now offer a wide range of mustards, condiments and packet sauces such as mint sauce, chilli mixes, parsley sauce, beef bourguignon sauce mix, tartare sauce, and even English mustard in a squeezy tube.
~~ What's in the packet ~~
The Cheese sauce comes in a blue packet with the famous red Colman's logo at the top.
The packet contains the dry cheesey powder and there is enough to make 300ml of creamy cheese sauce. The packets also have quite a long shelf life so they are ideal for keeping in the storecupboard.
~~ Cooking Instructions ~~
I only recently noticed they had removed the microwave instructions from the back because the packet did used to have them and depending on how many pans I have on the stove I still do cook it like that, I add 1/2 pint of milk to a 2pt microwavable jug whisk in the packet contents nuke it for 1 minute then stir nuke for 1 minute and stir up until it's thick in consistency, takes about 4 minutes in an 800w microwave. Or the conventional and recommended by Colman's method is empty the contents of the packet into a pan pour a little of the 1/2 pint of milk onto it and mix to make a paste, slowly pour in the remaining milk and bring to the boil.
~~ Ingredients ~~
Wheat Flour , Cheddar Cheese Powder (16%) , Cornflour , Cheese Powder (16%) , Skimmed Milk Powder , Salt , Mustard Flour , Flavourings , Yeast Extract , Colours (Paprika Extract, Curcumin) .
~~ Nutritional Information ~~
Each 85ml serving of this cheese sauce contains
4.6g of sugar
2.7g of fat
1.7g of saturates
0.74g of salt
~~ Price and Availability ~~
Colman's packet sauces are currently on offer in Asda 5 packets cost just £2.00 and you can mix and match accross the whole range, which is great value for money. The normal retain price is about £0.45 and the cheese sauce mix is widely available from all the main supermarkets.
~~ My Overall Opinion ~~
Great if you don't have time to make cheese sauce from scratch but I wouldn't recommend this sauce on a regular basis purely because of the high salt, sugar and saturates content in such a small amount, but lets face it cheese sauce is never going to be healthy so overall this is a great alternative to homemade. It's easy to cook, smells delicious and can be used for a variety of things.
In my home occasionally my Mother (who can't normally cook!) will make one of her terrific home made lasagnas. I don't know how she does it but it's the absolute bomb and I can't believe she can make it as it's so amazing but everything else she attempts can usually be so bad lol.
Of course in a lasagna you have to have some cheese sauce in there of some description and her sauce of choice is always this one. Due to us all loving it in her lasagna we now use this sauce for other things too, mostly on potatoes as a bake or on cauliflower to make a cauliflower cheese! I'm sure you can also think of other ways to use this sauce too!
Blue coloured, square packet with a photograph of baked cauliflower cheese on the front and I'm told it is Coleman's 'Norwich' Cheddar Cheese Sauce Mix and there is an at a glance nutritional chart on there. On the back of the packet other information given tells me it contains no artificial colours, msg or preservatives, I'm told how to mix the sauce up, I'm given a recipe for cauliflower cheese, ingredients and allergy advice is listed (Contains: Traces of egg), a full nutritional chart is shown, size is stated (which is 40g) and contact details for Coleman's are given. Nice enough, easy to open packet this is.
Using The Sauce:
The fundamentals are all the same no matter where you wish to put this sauce. You mix the light yellow, cheese smelling powder with 1/2 pint semi-skimmed milk (we use skimmed milk so I'm sure any type would be fine) and mix it all together and warm it through for about 2-3 minutes and/or until it thickens up). Mixing this up is not rocket science either and all you need is a fork or a spoon and to swish it about for a few seconds so the powder disperses and it does that with ease so don't worry if you don't have muscles like Popeye!
You start off with a runny liquid and then over time it thickens somewhat of course through being heated up.
The sauce when cooked through is a light yellow colour. It's well seasoned and although made from cheddar cheese isn't too strong but don't get me wrong here it really is cheesy and in a wet way not a stringy one. It is a wet sauce and not too thick and to me I think it is once of the best cheese sauce offerings on the market as if it is used with other ingredients, flavour wise it doesn't take over or melt top badly either. It's seasoned and rich, a little creamy and simply very versatile indeed! A great product, mix it and add to many dishes for an easy twist on things!
Nutritional information Per 85ml serving made up with semi-skimmed milk:
Can be found in all good supermarkets etc priced at about 47p a sachet. (Bargain!)