Charlie Bighams – A Noms Review

So, last week we were lucky enough to be sent a load of stuff by the lovely folk over at Charlie Bighams. These meals are ready-meals, with a difference. You get all of the ingredients and the sauces you need, but there is still some actual cooking involved. Convenience food for foodies, if you will. If you aren’t in the know, Charlie Bigham is a cheffy type who decided to put the romance back into food (all together now…awww!), by creating a range of meals designed for two people to share, thus giving couples a bit of quality time together. Nice idea, but what do they taste like? Well, we were sent four dishes, and here is our verdict:

Thai Green Curry

I have to admit, I’m very fussy when it comes to Thai Green Curry, as I’ve had a couple of really dodgy ones over the years. Mr. Bigham has achieved the impossible and made a Thai Green curry that I absolutely loved! The flavours were really delicate, as a Thai curry should be, yet had real depth and you could tell that the ingredients were of a good standard. My husband loved this one too, and we were really pleasantly surprised with the amount of chicken in the dish, as so often, companies seem to scrimp on the expensive meat part of the meal. The portion sizes were great when split between two and it was genuinely better than any other cook-yourself type ready meal that I’ve ever had. It was so simple to cook too, as everything you need is in the box, and you basically just need to sling it in a pan at the right times!

Salmon and Haddock Fishcakes

There was a bit of a division at Casa Crammond with this one, as Hubs is resolutely not a fan of haddock, so I was on my own. These were not like any other fishcake I have ever eaten, which usually just have the consistency of mashed potato on the inside, with a vaguely fishy flavour. No, these fishcakes were made up of huge chunks of salmon, haddock, potato and other loveliness. The cooking part called for them to be browned in a pan before being oven cooked, and the browning was well worth it as they came out crisp and tasty. They also came with a lemon mayonnaise, which to me tasted like a very delicate horseradish with a hint of lemon, and it complimented the dish perfectly. Plus, each fishcake was huge, a really decent portion!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

At the risk of repeating myself, sweet and sour chicken is another thing that I’m quite fussy about. I hate the way that some of the cook-at-home sauces are day-glow orange, have a weird gelatinous quality and taste terribly artificial. I need not have feared, Charlie Bigham’s sweet and sour was delicious! The chicken was really tender and juicy, the sauce was rich and sweet and the yellow peppers added an extra dimension of flavour and texture. Again, there was plenty of food for two and with the addition of rice, the meal was perfect. Simple to cook, with really pleasing results at the end of it. It’s weird, it feels like you’re cooking from scratch, but it’s actually all done for you already!

Fish Pie

Another one with haddock as an ingredient, Hubs wasn’t so keen on the idea of trying this one, so I valiantly stepped up and ate it myself *ahem…*! I’m a fan of fish pie, I have to admit. I’m a fan of fish in general actually, and topping huge chunks of fish with a deliciously creamy sauce and mashed potato was always going to be a winner with me! The top crisped up really nicely, and the fish was melt-in-the-mouth tender. This was the only meal where I thought there could have been more, but that’s only down to me being greedy! For me, this is perfect comfort food and is absolutely delicious with green beans or broccoli (I know veg is usually considered comfort food, but I could honestly eat broccoli with EVERYTHING!)

All in all, I was really impressed with all of the Charlie Bighams range, and I’ll definitely be trying more of them (I have my eye on the Lasagne, particularly!). If you’d like to try their dishes, you can buy them at your nearest Waitrose, or online at Ocado. You can also follow them on Twitter @charliebighams, or like their Facebook page.

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