“ Brand: New Covent Garden / Type: Soups „
Heinz soups in a tin, so eighties don't you think? Covent Garden sound infinitely more posh and it comes in a cardboard container with fancy art decor on the cover. Actually, the packaging is a big selling point with these soups. The classy imagery is attempting to tap into the sophisticated upper end of the soup market. I am no soup expert, but I do know a good one when I stumble upon it. If you are growing bored of the same old tinned soups, then this one might just please you.
Particularly good for cold weather, the thick soup is a winter warmer and is also substantial enough to pass for a meal in itself. A container will cost up to one pound fifty, though often on offer and you could easily feed two from a carton.
Heat in the microwave or as I did on the hob. Hob always tastes better somehow. I guess it's because you can see it bubbling as you stir it. There is a good thick viscosity to this soup with generous enough chunks of vegetables. So what is in it exactly. The bulk of the soup is made up of potatoes, onions, lentils, carrots and chickpeas. So this is not your conventional vegetable soup. I like the fact that they have gone for slightly different vegetables like chickpeas and lentils. More fun than cabbage and peas! There is a hint of spice, which is brought out with the ground coriander and turmeric. This sits delicately on the outskirts of the soup, arriving in the aftertaste with a mellow aplomb.
It is filling, it is warming and it is expensive for what it is, but I did like the flavours and it had just enough oomph in it to excite my lunchtime snack.
New Covent Garden Bengal Lancers Soup
Description: Manufacturer: New Covent Garden / Type: Soups
Anyone reading any of my earlier reviews will know by now that I am trying to lose a few pounds (well 5 to be exact) which I put on over the festive season. Because I work shifts, I often find myself snacking on the wrong things at the wrong times, so am trying to avoid this by eating sensible meals which fill me up and help me prevent snacking.
I love to make my own soups, but often just don't have the time and so resort to buying ready made ones instead. The quality of these varies considerably, and I have always found that buying these New Covent Garden fresh soups is probably the best way to go. You can really taste the difference between these and tinned soups, making them feel more like a home made meal.
I really like the New Covent Garden soup range and have tried lots of different varieties, though unfortunately, they are a little expensive at around £1.80 for a 600g carton. Supermarkets often have them on offer though and I managed to pick up a few recently for just £1 each. They usually have a decent shelf life (check carton for dates) and can usually be frozen so they are worth stocking up on while you can.
The soups come in cardboard cartons which are designed so they can stand up in the fridge and can be heated on a hob or warmed in the microwave for around two minutes (stir halfway through heating)
The first thing that you will notice about this soup is how thick it is. I actually added a little bit of milk the second time that I ate it because it was extremely thick and substantial. The soup has a slightly creamy consistency and is gently spiced. In my opinion, the spices are actually a little too subtle and I would have liked this soup to have a bit more of a kick to it.
The soup is packed with vegatables and there are plenty of lentils and chickpeas in each mouthful and half a carton is very filling, especially when served with a nice piece of crusty bread. It is also worth noting that this soup is suitable for vegetarians.
Overall this is a nice enough soup which is filling and healthy but for me, it lacks something. I would have preferred it to have a slightly spicier taste and found that after a few mouthfuls, this soup began to taste a little bit boring. This was a shame because with some extra spice, the soup could have been fantastic - must try harder next time!
Ingredients are as follows;
Water, potatoes, onions, red split lentils (7%), carrots, Canadian green lentils (4.5%), cooked chickpeas (4.5%), coconut, ginger, vegetable oil, garlic, salt, ground coriander, cumin (0.1%), turmeric (0.1%), black pepper.
BENGAL LANCERS SOUP BY COVENT GARDEN SOUPS
WHERE CAN I BUY THIS SOUP?
The Bengal Lancers soup is a fresh soup in the refrigerator section sold in a cardboard tetra type box with a picture of Indian lentils and chick peas on the front I bought mine in Tesco of course but you can buy these soups from most supermarkets now. In this cardboard carton you can scrape out a solid lump of 600ml of soup which gives a good portion to each of two people. The soup was the colour of extremely thick green pea soup with a few dark lentils dotted about. Personally I found it hard to get the soup out of the box and had to scrape with a spoon then I added a bit of milk and closed the top, gave it a good shake to get the rest out. It is not nearly as easy to get this soup out as it is to get them from Tesco finest plastic pots that I reviewed previously.
WHY BUY THIS WHEN YOU COULD MAKE YOUR OWN?
I do make my own soups regularly as they are cheap, easy to make and are really healthy and good for you however there are times when I need to have a meal more quickly than I can produce from scratch. One of those times is when we have been out all morning or even all day travelling back from visiting relatives and we return and want something warm for a meal very quickly so I buy a different soup from the fresh soup section regularly. I have been buying these a bit more often of late as they are on special for the price of £3 for two soups which I find very good value. They are normally £1.99 which I would think twice about but I suppose is a lot cheaper than in a restaurant even at that price.
These fresh soups provide the next best thing to home - made soup and taste far more natural than tinned or packet soups as they have not been processed to the same extent. They seem to have a fairly long shelf life; far longer than I would keep my own fresh soup in the fridge. However it states categorically on the front of the carton ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS POT IN ORDER TO ENJOY?
As I said earlier these cardboard cartons are not as good as the plastic pots for getting into easily or getting the soup out of. I always find these cardboard tetra packs impossible to open then I had to use a spoon and scrape several times to get the very solid lump of soup out into the saucepan and then use milk to swish out the last remnants into the pan.
It is essential that the soup is heated to piping hot rather than just warmed as this will ensure that the food is heated to the heat to kill any dangerous bacteria that may be lurking. Personally I prefer to use a saucepan and heat thoroughly while stirring towards the end as I want to really ensure that my food is properly heated through.
Once heated then serve in bowls with bread, toast or bread rolls as preferred for a tasty, filling and healthy meal. As it was heating up I noticed I had to keep stirring as it was very thick and needed breaking down and also stop it sticking to the saucepan. The smell was slightly spicy like a mild curry sort of smell which got my taste bids going as I was quite hungry.
HOW DOES IT TASTE?
While pouring the soup from the pot in to the saucepan I noticed that is was very thick, with a few chick peas and dark lentils in the mix. It tasted creamy and mildly spicy again, coriander turmeric and cumin came through but it was not hot at all. Not surprising as when I looked at the ingredients list there was no chilli so it had curry spices without chilli which I think would have improved the flavor but I do like spicy food. I felt pleasantly full after my bowlful and so did my husband which is what you want really. We did not have any bread or other extras with this soup as we ate quite late and knew our evening meal was not too many hours away.
The soup actually consists of Water, potatoes, onions, red split lentils , carrots, Canadian green lentils, cooked chickpeas , coconut, ginger, vegetable oil, garlic, salt, ground coriander, cumin , turmeric , black pepper.. There is not a single ingredient included in this list that I would not put in a home -made soup myself.
IS THERE ANYTHING I NEED TO BE AWARE OF?
There is an allergy warning about the fact there are no nuts in the recipe but they cannot guarantee that it is nut free as the equipment in the factory had previously been used to manufacture something with nuts.
You can freeze this soup and you need to use it within a month, although it does have a very long shelf life when it is kept in the fridge which it must be of course. Also if you freeze it then you must defrost it for a minimum of 12 hours in the refrigerator.
IMPORTANT: If food has thawed, do not refreeze
A bonus is that half a pot of this soup is one of your 5 a day fruit and vegetables so that is a tasty and easy way of enjoying one. The calorie content for a portion which is half the pot is 281 calories which is not bad for a satisfying meal in my book.
COVENT GARDEN COMPANY:
On the website the Covent Garden Company have designed their site to enable you to choose a soup suitable for vegetarians/ main meals etc and this is one of the soups from the vegetarian section. They also note that it contains garlic for some reason, maybe some people have to avoid garlic but I don't know. This soup is a new flavor in their range and is one of the better ones. Some of the others I have tried have been a bit tasteless so I chose carefully a soup I thought might have a bit of flavor out of their range.
My husband and I both enjoyed this filling, warming and tasty soup for our lunch today. I would certainly buy this again. This is an aromatic, flavourful soup using ingredients native to India's West Bengal region and I found it quite an authentic taste but personally would have liked a bit more of a chilli kick to the taste. If I have to honest I think I prefer the Tesco finest range to the Covent Garden range as they are tastier and also have more bits for added interest in them. This is one that probably should come with a flatulence warning due to the amount of lentils and pulses in it - I would not give it to my sons before a long car journey!
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Summary: A tasty fresh soup not full of artificial additives and reasonable price