“ Type: Snacks „
I'm quite adventurous when it comes to food and will try almost anything yet I'm quite lazy and docile when it comes to actually cooking it so I tend to stick to the easy option of just taking something out of the freezer and bunging it in the oven. I'm also one for what seems like 'cheap' food in the supermarkets.
Browsing in Asda the other week I noticed a few of their freezer products were just £1 and one of these many products were boxes of Maggi's Hot Pockets. Each box contained 2 Crispy Pastries, and each had different fillings these including bacon and egg, ham and cheese and Bolognese. It was the Bolognese I chose as I love bolognese and in a pastry to was just a bonus.
Maggi Hot Pockets come in quite an eyecatching box being a deep red and bright yellow, all the writing is big and bold, yet white and clear. There is a picture of a steaming hot Bolognese hot pocket on the front which looks mouthwatering, a bolognese pasty, perfect! We are told on the front of the box that they take just 2mins and 30 seconds to cook in the microwave, so a quick and convenient snack or meal.
Each 125g hot pocket contains;
Being so high in calories and fat I just knew this was going to taste good but it couldnt be a regular thing to eat.
Taking the pocket out of it's celofane wrapper I placed it in it's cardboard sleeve provided and placed it in the microwave to cook. As it cooked the smell of the bolognese took over my kitchen a powerful pungent aroma but it didnt half smell tasty.
Be warned before tucking into one of these the filling is HOT but the whole pocket is scrummy. The pastry is crispy, tasty not too dry yet not moist either and it provides a satisfying crunch but you soon sink your teeth into a deep, red bolognese sauce that's quite thick and tasty yet if you are expecting a rich flavoured REAL bolognese this isn't it. I did enjoy it and found it tasted good but it lacked the deep flavour that a proper bolognese provides, it was more a fake, spiced up bit of minced meat and some smelly yet enjoyable sauce. It didn't have alot of mince meat to be honest and it seemed quite tomatoey to. When cooking in the microwave I also noticed that one side would turn out golden and easy to cut into or bite into whereas the other would burn, no matter how much I kept an eye on it. You can cook these in the oven, without placing them in the cardboard sleeve and cook for 25minutes instead though. I find these tasty, convenient but only as a quick snack if on the go or in a rush to get out, they are not filled with quality ingredients but they are 'nice' and I don't think they are that bad for just £1, if they did go up in price mind you I don't think I'd buy them and I wouldn't reccomend rushing out to buy them either but if you do happen to see them I'd say they are worth a try.
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Looking in Tesco for something different for when I get the midnight munchies, I spotted a display of Hot Pockets on Buy One Get One Free promotion. I grabbed a couple of boxes
tonight I have the munchies.
A Hot Pocket is basically a pie, granted its a pie marketed as having a very crispy crust - but its still a pie. Its a filling wrapped in pastry, its a pie. The beauty of Hot Pockets is they can be cooked crisp from the microwave thanks to Maggis special crisping sleeve. Quotes over, let me tell you what *I* think about Hot Pockets.
Cooked from frozen, you can either stick them in the oven for 25 minutes or simply microwave for a couple of minutes They actually cook equally well whichever method you go for. The crisping sleeve is a jacket which you slide the Hot Pocket into before bunging it in the microwave to promote a crispy pastry, similar to those little silver discs you use to cook Chicago Town microwave pizza.
The smell isnt great. Naively I was expecting the kitchen to be full of the aroma of Bolognese, obviously it wasnt. Only by lifting the Hot Pocket to within an inch of my nose and inhaling sharply could I get even the smallest hint of oregano or any other smell reminiscent of Italys best known dish.
The pie itself looks good with a golden brown crust, although when cooking Hot Pockets in the microwave I found I didnt get such a deep and even colouring. They still browned (surprisingly) well in my 1000 watt microwave but I found the centre of the pies looked undercooked.
But the most important thing for me about my food is the taste, so how do these frozen lovelies measure up? They are surprisingly tasty. Hot Pockets shouldnt be so nice, theyre frozen junk! They should taste nasty and synthetic, a la Turkey Drummers and Weight Watchers meals.
The pastry is crisp and crunchy, not too crunchy that it leaves a burned sensation in your mouth but crunchy enough to make me forget Im eating (in essence) a pie. This is something completely different as far as pastry goes; its a kind of puff pastry only denser in consistency. Image a combination between puff pastry used on the top of desserts with that thin folded texture, and sausage roll pastry from Greggs. This is the best way I can describe the uniqueness of this pastry. Its lovely.
The filling itself is also excellent in my opinion. I stress this is IN MY OPINION as we all ate a Hot Pocket tonight and the verdicts from the family as a whole ranged from disgusting (from the 6 year old), would be nice if it tasted of Bolognese (from the 9 year old) and f***ing disgusting (from the 36 year old male). I kind of agree with the comment about the lack of Bolognese flavour as the filling tastes bland, which is fine with me but dont be rushing out buying Hot Pockets hoping for a traditional full flavoured Bolognese.
Maggi have scrimped a bit with the meat, there is mince in the Hot Pocket but not much of it. Theyve opted to follow the make the sauce thick enough and the silly consumer will think its meat route again, this is actually how I prefer my pies but my partner complained non-stop about giving him vegetarian food. The sauce itself is lovely, of a semi solid consistency and tasting like a herby tomato pasta sauce. The herbs could have been used a little more and I think this would have taken away some of the blandness I mentioned earlier, but in all a pretty tasty filling. Complimenting the sauce is a delicious strip of mozzarella cheese which runs along the top of the filling. This is a pretty thick slab of cheese which melts beautifully while cooking, and retains its stringiness well as its sandwiched between the hot filling and the pastry keeping it at a good melting temperature.
Each Hot Pocket contains 375 calories and a whopping 21.6g fat, and a quick blimp at the ingredients list tells me that I could taste very little mince because there is very little mince included. Just 6% of the filling is Beef Meat (a little too all encompassing, that one!), while 14% is tomato or tomato concentrate which explains why the taste of tomato was so evident in the Hot Pockets.
All the supermarkets sell Hot Pockets by now, with prices Ive seen ranging from 99p for a box of two in Tesco to £1.49 for the same box in Morrisons. Also available are Tomato and Mozzarella (which I think is basically what I had tonight with the lack of meatiness to the Bolognese Hot Pocket!) and Ham and Cheese which Ill be sampling tomorrow.
A crispy baked pastry parcel.