When I was asked whether I'd be interested in receiving a selection of these new products, it didn't take me long to say "yes please!".
So, I've been sent the following to try out :
- Porcini Mushroom Paste;
- Harissa Paste;
- Tom Yum Paste, and
- Chipotle Chilli Paste.
These products all range from around £1.18 to £2.99 and aren't so desperately expensive as you might imagine. In fact, I'd say they are well worth the money to be able to "play" with them and find out whether a) you like the flavours and b) whether you like what you can do with the ingredients. All this goes towards whether you'd be prepared to go one step further and create the same thing from scratch at home, or whether you'd be happy to let Sainsbury's do that bit for you!
At the moment, we're still considering what to do with the Harissa, Porcini and Chipotle pastes - so watch this space. Where the Mirrin is concerned, that has a certain future as we often use it and I was just running out in my current bottle - so fortuitous timing, Sainsbury's!
The one I was exceptionally keen to try, was the Tom Yum Soup Paste.
Now I'm continually looking for a low calorie lunch option. I have discovered in later life that I do, contrary to popular belief, love soup (who knew?) and I am happy to drink broth type soups, or eat thick hearty soups - and anything in between.
I went through a phase of eating Ramen noodles - the pre-packaged, just-add-water-and-your-own-ingredients version. However, I had to back off on those because the degree of salt was just too much for my blood pressure and the degree of chilli was too much for my ... well, you know, "digestion", let's call it.
So I could see a happy future for this Tom Yum Paste, so long as it wasn't too chilli hot and equally, wasn't flavoured with lemongrass and that's it. Today, being shopping day, I laid in the requirements for an acceptable soup i.e. some fresh beansprouts, a few mushrooms and a cheapo bag of prawns.
The instructions on the label are simple to follow and gave me an opportunity to try out some of the Essential Cuisine Fish Stock that I had also been sent to try. I have to apologise to Essential Cuisine, for it has taken me an unfeasibly long time to try any of their stocks (they sent me six - beef, veal, vegetable, fish, chicken and pork), but summer intervened and I stopped using stock!).
I was jolly impressed by how the plain old water changed as soon as I sprinkled in less than a teaspoonful of the Essential Cuisine stock powder and a wonderful aroma immediately rose from the pot. There was no stirring and stirring, waiting for the powder to dissolve - it was gone as soon as it hit the water. Excellent, when you're whipping up a quick lunch! I had a quick taste before I added anything else and the flavour was really lovely. Now bear in mind that this is fish stock - you would be forgiven for thinking "yeuk!" at the idea of supping a spoonful. However, the flavour is really lovely - rounded and full flavoured, reminiscent of creamy shellfish and meaty cod.
Next to be added was supposed to be a tablespoonful of the paste, but as I was cautious of the chilli heat - it IS very red! - I used a little less.
Immediately, the kitchen filled with those lovely Thai aromas of lemongrass, coriander and chilli. The paste seemed to separate a bit, in that the oil floated to the top of the stock and stayed there - but I could forgive it that if the flavour was good!
|End result - first try-out! Mmmn, nice!|
I chose to add the prescribed prawns and mushrooms, but opted to include an additional handful of beansprouts. I was glad I did, as they made for an interesting crunch which gave what was basically a broth-type soup, some welcome texture.
Plus, I was agreeably surprised at the flavour. Immediately I realised that the chilli heat wasn't oppressive but in fact is well balanced against the other spices involved. The paste isn't salty and in fact is absolutely perfect for my favoured low calorie lunch.
It is very possible to ring the changes with this soup, as it all depends what flavour stock you use - and the additional ingredients you include - as to how the final bowlful tastes.
As the first of Sainsbury's Speciality Ingredients, I'd say this one is a big hit! I shall have to investigate what else is in the range, next time I'm in the shop.