“ Brand: Aunt Bessie's / Type: Other Vegetables „
One of the downsides for me of my current living arrangements is that I am so rarely home in an evening to cook a meal that I simply cannot remember what food I have in my freezer without going home to check, so when I realised this week that I had run out of potato 'things' to go with my planned meal I had to make an emergency run to the shop. My local store is luckily a Sainsbury Local which does tend to have a good range of items but for some reason has a pathetically small freezer section so I was pleased to see that on this visit it was fully stocked with items on offer in the larger stores including these Croquettes. Croquettes for anyone unsure are basically cylinders of mashed potato covered in bread crumbs and frozen ready for you to pop in the oven. So Aunt Bessie's are they any good? These are big for croquettes being a decent size, their taste is as you might expect relatively bland - after all white potatos aren't exactly the most flavourful of items, but you can tell that these are lightly seasoned with a little salt and pepper. When cooked the crumb coating goes a lovely golden colour and is light and crisp, though if over cooked they do become rather unpleasant. Cooking is easy, I'm from the school of thought where everything goes in the oven at arouns 180c for 20 mins then I decide if I need to turn the heat up/leave it longer/take them out, and I've only ever managed to burn these once after leaving them in for over 40 minutes - the pack suggests to cook them for 25 mintues at 210c in a fan assisted oven so prehaps I like mine slightly undercooked! As an accompaniment these are a good choice but in common with other branded items these are not the cheapest around, a bag usually costs around £1.70, but they are often on offer at £1 a bag which is reasonable value. In my experience a bag usually contains 12 or 13 croquettes, so for me a bag generally lasts me 4 meals which for £1 I feel is fair but I would not choose to buy these at their usual higher price.
With the cold weather drawing in and winter approaching, I'm starting to prepare more "comfort food" meals that are warming and filling. Freezer foods come in handy here and I love potato croquettes. I usually buy Tesco's own version but the mysteriously disappeared from our local store for a few weeks and I had to find an alternative. This is where Aunt Bessie comes to my rescue! Her Homestyle Chunky Potato Croquettes were there instead and usually cost £1.63 but I bought them on special offer for just £1.00. Aunt Bessie says: "Fluffy mashed potato in a crunchy crumb coating. Aunt Bessie's Homestyle Chunky Croquettes have a fluffy centre of mashed potato, covered in a crunchy coating of golden breadcrumbs for a crunchy bite every time." The Chunky Potato Croquettes are ready to put straight in the oven, and come frozen so I stored them away in my freezer at home until the time came round that I needed to use them. You cook straight from frozen which is convenient and can be really handy for saving time when preparing meals in the evening. The croquettes come in a plastic bag wrapper with cooking instructions etc on the back. Upon opening the bag I was a bit disappointed, there were only 12 croquettes in a 550g bag! This worked out as three servings as we usually have four potato croquettes each when having them to accompany a meal. I was also a bit shocked by how much saturated fat there is contained in these potatoes. 100g works out as 2.9g of saturates, so each of our servings would have had almost double that amount which is very unhealthy. The croquettes were incredibly easy to cook, simply put them on an oven tray and leave in the oven for around 20 minutes until they are crisped up. You are practically guaranteed good results when cooking with Aunt Bessie's products, and I have no complaints there, it's fool-proof! The coating takes on a nice pale golden colour and they look very nice indeed. The taste test was variable, I really enjoyed them and thought they were lovely, but my other half thought that our usual own brand version were nicer. The coating is very crisp and crunchy and that complemented the smooth pureed potato mash inside to give a nice contrast of textures. The taste is plain enough to be a bit on the bland side, but this is what they're supposed to be like. I thought they tasted good as they were but my other half covered his with cracked black pepper to add more flavour to them. I would possibly buy these again if they remain on special offer, but I don't think they'll be replacing my usual Tesco's potato croquettes. They go well with all sorts of dishes from fish to roast meat, to BBQ food, whatever you fancy really. In my opinion they had a very nice texture and flavour but I was a bit put off by the high fat content and disappointed by the small amount in the bag. I'll give a generous 4 stars but really think they fall around 3.5. Nutritional values per 100g when oven baked: Energy 741kJ 177kcal Protein 1.8g Carbohydrate 26.7g -of which sugars 0.1g Fat 6.4g -of which saturates 2.9g Fibre 2.2g Sodium 0.3g Ingredients: Potato (78%), Breadcrumbs (7% contains: Wheat Flour; Salt), Vegetable Oil, Batter (contains: Wheat Flour; Wheat Starch; Salt; Pepper Extract), Potato Granules, Wheat Flour, Salt, Potato Starch, Stabiliser (E464), White Pepper.
I was surprised to find there wasn't a review of these, as these are fabulous and go so well with a number of things. We're a big fan of the homestyle potatoes and chips- you could say they've won over our freezer! They are sold in most major supermarkets in the freezer section and normally cost about £1.63, although them being on offer for just £1 is common too. They come in a blue packet with the distinctive Aunt Bessie logo on it, you definitely can't miss it! Their nutritional information is as follows: (As cooked product) Energy: 170kCal/713kJ Protein: 3.3g Carbohydrates: 23.1g Sugar: 1.8g Fat: 7.4g (Saturated fat: 3.4g) Fibre: 2.2g Sodium: 0.3g These take 18-22 minutes to cook in the oven at 200-400ºf or gas mark 7. They should come out golden brown and fluffy and they smell delicious. They aren't too greasy either. They do come out of the oven very very hot though, so make sure they've cooled a bit before giving to children or biting in yourself! Now the best part of the review- the taste! They are light and fluffy and have a middle that's very comparable to mashed potato. They are great to pick up and eat and have a lovely breaded like texture to the outside. They go well with all sorts of meals, from chicken to fish to sausages! Everyone in our family loves them and they're a freezer essential- we often pick up another pack of them when doing our weekly shop, even if we haven't run out yet! In conclusion, I recommend these greatly, as well as other potato products from Aunt Bessie's, as they are all excellent!