I wrote this, read it, thought about it, read it again – and thought “Am I being too hard on this dish?”
On balance, I don’t believe so.
As I said in this post, I decided to switch to ready meals because cooking is becoming more of a challenge and, as I have very little appetite these days, barely worth the effort as a lot of food is wasted, thrown away uneaten. There seem to be two major players in the ready-meal delivery field who deliver nationally, WFF and Oakhouse foods. I decided to try WFF first.
They do standard meals, along with mini and hearty versions, so I got a week’s worth of a mixed bag of standard and hearty and, tonight, I had the Hearty Cumberland Pinwheel Sausage (£3.95).
First impression was that the picture is misleading. I got far less sausage for a start, and the wholegrain mustard mash had not the slightest suggestion of wholegrain or mustard.
The plump, golden-skinned sausage pictured was, in reality, a pallid, skinny thing, with a pallid, skinny taste to match and no discernible texture. God knows what the casing was made of, but it was nothing I’ve ever encountered. Allegedly it’s a sheep’s gut casing. It was uncooked if that’s true.
Now I confess, I can be a bit hard on sausages, which, inevitably get compared to my own, a comparison this one failed miserably. Frankly, it was an insult to Cumberland, or would be if it still existed. The genuine Cumberland sausage is all meat, just coarsely-minced pork, up to 98% meat, plus spices and seasoning (sometimes made with rusk if the maker isn’t claiming PGI status). What I ate was a mere 67% pork plus rusk, pork rind, rusk, and soya protein in unspecified amounts.
I’ve just noticed that the website actually lists ingredients, which I’d missed earlier as I hadn’t scrolled down far enough – it’s below the reviews so I didn’t think to go past them. I will in future.
The mash, to its credit, appeared to be made from real potato,** though a little butter wouldn’t have hurt*** (I spooned most of the onion gravy – which was pretty good – over the mash to lubricate it.
**Though seeing it contained modified potato starch rather changed that view.
***Not the palm fat it actually got! I mean, WTF – palm fat?
The peas were wizened, overcooked, little things, not the large, plump, specimens in the pic. This is a situation that calls for Marrowfat peas, more robust than garden peas.
I think the extraordinarily long microwave time – 14 minutes – was to cook the sausage. Did the peas and mash no favours – sausage should have been fried first and just reheated.
It occurs to me that I should have taken a photograph – I’ll bear that in mind next time.
So, OK, not as depicted or described, but tasty enough and was polished off in short order. Frankly, I could have polished off two of them, it being decidedly on the small side. God knows what the normal meals are like if this was “hearty”. The catalogue claims it weighed 520g, which I seriously doubt. The one pictured might well, but not the one I ate.
Interestingly, one of the few reviews – and the only comprehensible one – also complained about the size, and the sausage.