When we used to go on camping trips in the folding camper all of our dinners were prepared and cooked in the one pot slow cooker. Over the years we accumulated loads of tasty and delicious one pot recipes that we used to cook whilst on vacation.
When the decision was made to sell the folding camper and buy our Eldiss Accordo 120 the one thing we wanted to keep, and not sell with the folding camper was the slow cooker. The slow cooker was given to us by my sister who obviously bought it and then decided it was not big enough for what she needed. The slow cooker was small, compact and the perfect size for the wife and I. I have to admit that the slow cooker is now looking rather second hand (it is well used) and we often look for a replacement but all the slow cookers now are huge and far too big, and even the smallest one we found (which happened to be a Tesco’s own) is too big to fit in our unit.
When we used the slow cooker in the folding camper we used it out in the awning. Using a slow cooker is a pungent affair, and since we didn’t want the inside of the folding camper smelling like the inside of a curry house (we used to eat loads of slow cooked curries among many of other dishes) the slow cooker was always out in the awning and never inside the camper itself.
If our Kampa Travel Pod Air awning actually fitted the Accordo 120 properly, and the tunnel actually worked as it should) we would have continued to use the slow cooker. The problem is the Travel Pod Air awning doesn’t fit the Accordo 120 - despite us trying a few times and using a few different methods, therefore we have not got an awning to put the slow cooker in. I suppose we could leave the slow cooker on a table outside, but this would only be suitable in dry conditions. When the weather is like it was during our week away in the Lake District there is no way we could use a slow cooker.
If we were to keep the slow cooker the only option we would have would be to use the slow cooker in the Accordo 120, but Just like the folding camper before I don’t want the motor home to smell like a curry house or of any other type of cooking food therefore the slow cooker will not be used and is surplus to requirements.
It is a shame, because we have got loads of delicious one pot meals we only ever ate whilst away on our camping trips. One pot cooking is also easy and produces little washing up, so it’s perfect for camping trips. Oh well, all good things have to come to an end and it is the end of the road for our slow cooker. It has done well, it has done us proud and it has kept us full. RIP.
"SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE CAN - QUICK, EASY & DELICIOUS"
Spaghetti and meatballs is a great dish and one that always goes down a treat. If you are fortunate enough to have a fridge when you go camping it is possible to make spaghetti and meatballs like you would at home, i.e. with proper meatballs (ready-made ones rather than made from scratch) and dried (or even fresh if you prefer) spaghetti.
If you don’t have a fridge when you go camping or want super quick and easy spaghetti and meatballs it is possible to make a delicious spaghetti and meatball dish using tinned foods only. Even though I have a fridge in the motor home and my wife will prepare “proper” spaghetti and meatballs when we are on vacation I make sure I can make the tinned dinner when I just want a tasty meal in a few minutes rather than having to wait around for ages.
The quickest, easiest and most fool proof way of making spaghetti and meatballs is to buy a tin of spaghetti and a tin of meatballs, mix the two together and warm through on the hob. How simple is that?
I only ever used to buy premium branded spaghetti, however that all changed when I moved in with a mate a few years back. My new housemate had a low paid job and he struggled with money so he made every penny count buying budget brands from a budget supermarket. Long story short I tried some of his budget tinned foods and I was stunned by not only how tasty they were but also how little they cost. Since living with that bloke I make sure I try budget products before buying premium brands, and I have found a super cheap budget brand tinned spaghetti that is delicious.
Tinned meatballs are available in tomato sauce and gravy, and when buying meatballs to mix with tinned spaghetti, which is obviously in tomato sauce, you need to make sure you buy meatballs in tomato sauce as well. I have bought meatballs in gravy before, rinsed them under the tap to remove the gravy sauce and taste and added them to spaghetti in tomato sauce, and the result was awful. The meatballs had soaked up and absorbed the taste of the gravy and when mixed with the tomato tasting spaghetti it was terrible. Even though I thoroughly rinsed the meatballs I could still taste gravy. The moral of the story is to use meatballs in tomato sauce at all times.
Even though this dish is basically adding tinned spaghetti to tinned meatballs in tomato sauce you need to do more than just throw the contents of both tins in to a pan. If you do this the dish will be very saucy, and in my experience the two types of tomato sauce seldom work well together. Also cooking the meat balls and the spaghetti together will result in warm spaghetti and meatballs that are cold in the middle, or meatballs that are warm all the way through and spaghetti that overcooked and often stuck to the pan.
Whenever I make this dish I cook the meatballs in once pan and the spaghetti in another to ensure that both elements are perfectly cooked. Once the meat balls are properly cooked I remove them from their tomato sauce, rinse under hot water, add them to the spaghetti, lower the heat and gently warm until the meatballs are piping hot once more. There is a lot of tomato sauce in tinned spaghetti therefore I drain the tomato sauce from the spaghetti and meatballs before plating up. If I don’t do this the dish is too saucy and not right.
If you only have one pan I suggest removing the meatballs from the tin, rinsing off all the tomato sauce and putting them in the pan. I would then suggest opening the tin of spaghetti and spooning out some of the sauce in which to warm the meatballs. Once the meat balls are warm through you then need to add the rest of the tinned spaghetti and gently cook until hot all the way through. Before serving, drain the tomato sauce and voila! The job’s a good ‘un.
"Hard to believe but this really did come out of a tin"
If you have read any of my “Camping cuisine” blog you will be aware that I am currently in the process of trying several canned dishes and reviewing/writing my thoughts about them. Tinned foods are a staple part of all camping vacations, so checking out different tinned foods makes sense doesn’t it? Well, it does to me……… Anyway back to it, and next on my list of tinned foods is Hunters tinned steak, which I bought from my local budget supermarket, Aldi.
Tinned steak is versatile and there are loads of different dinners and meals you can make with it. Tinned steak works great with canned vegetables such peas, carrots, potatoes, sweetcorn, mixed vegetables…… or a combination, and tinned steak goes great with rice or pasta. My favorite tinned steak dish is a steak cottage pie, which is little more than tinned steak topped with mash potato (I use instant powdered mash potato when I go camping because it is quick, easy to prepare and delicious too). Without further ado here’s my Hunters’ tinned steak review…………………….
Opening the can the first thing that hit me was the smell, which whilst it wasn’t unpleasant it wasn’t appetizing either. The contents definitely had the aroma of a ready-made food but it was a smell I couldn’t put my finger on. Not to be deterred by the smell I pulled the rest of the lid back to see what the tinned steak looked like.
At first glance I was disappointed because it didn’t look that great. Inside the tin was a kind of sludgy brown looking substance with what looked like a few lumps in it. Maybe it was the light (it was heading toward dusk and I didn’t have any lights on) I don’t know, but I wasn’t impressed by the look of the meat.
Emptying the can of steak in to the saucepan was a bit of a faff and the can required a fair amount of vigorous shaking, followed by digging out with a spoon. The contents of the can was thick and there were loads of big meaty chunks inside, which surprised me a bit since at first glance (when the contents were still in the can) it looked more sauce/gravy with a few chunks - it was now confirmed the meat was at the bottom of the can and the small amount of gravy was sat on top of it. I have bought tinned steak before (courtesy of Mr Sainsbury, Mr Waitrose and a couple of premium brands) but this Hunter’s version had the highest meat content of them all, and perhaps a little too much meat for the amount of gravy.
I was tempted to add a little water to the steak to make it go a little further, but because I intended on making a “cottage pie” alternative with the meat I stopped myself. There is nothing worse than having the meat too wet and sloppy that the mash potato sinks in and doesn’t sit on top of it, so I left everything well alone and simply warmed it through on the hob.
Whilst the meat was cooking the gravy thinned out to the perfect consistency. Once the tinned steak had heated through I was glad I stopped myself adding water as if I had it would have been too runny and the mash potato would have sunk in to the meat, which is not good. With the meat at the perfect consistency it was time to smear over the instant mash potato to finish off the dish.
Camping food has to be not only quick and easy to prepare but also delicious too, and the tinned steak delivers on both accounts. Right then, this tinned steak doesn’t taste like “mum’s own recipe stewing steak” but then it never would, would it. Stewing steak, the way your mum used to cook it, is a long, slow and laborious task – which isn’t possible on camping trips.
The only thing I can liken the taste to this tinned steak to is the taste of steak pies fresh from the deli counter of a supermarket. I typically shop at Sainsburys (although this is an Aldi special) and the steak in this tin smells, and tastes just like the fresh steak pies from the deli counter. Yep, the Hunters tinned steak really is that tasty.
If you like stewing steak Hunters tinned steak is a tin you should take with you on your camping vacations and outdoor pursuits. Since discovering the delights of the Hunters tinned steak I make sure I have at least one can in my Elddis Accordo 120 at all times – yep, it really is that good. Give it a go and you won’t be disappointed, trust me.
"Doesn't look too bad" "Meat in saucepan" "Finished cottage pie almost gone"
Baked beans are a staple camping food, and whilst they may be a bit “old skool” baked beans are a must have tin you should always have in your motor home cupboard. Baked beans are tasty straight out of the tin, and I will happily eat them as they are, however there are times when it is nice to do something a little different and ‘liven’ the beans up a bit.
There is a school of thought that the only thing you need to do to liven up a tin of baked beans to season them, i.e. add some salt and/or pepper. I agree that a bit of black pepper sprinkled over beans on toast is nice, but it doesn’t liven the beans up in my opinion. Sure, it adds some flavor but not a great deal. As for salt, I never add salt to baked beans because they are salty enough straight out of the tin.
There are several different things you can add to baked beans to enhance the taste, make them a little different and liven them up a little, and my favorites include:-
Indian spices and flavorings
I am an Indian food fanatic and love all Indian spices, so curry flavored beans are often my first choice. Making curry beans simply requires adding a favorite Indian spice whilst warming the beans in a saucepan on the hob.
The Indian spices I carry in the motor home are cumin, madras curry powder, tikka curry powder and garam masala. In the past I tried mixing cumin and madras spice together however the taste was totally wrong, and because of that I only use one spice at any one time in the beans.
The spice I use when I am camping depends entirely on the mood I am in at the time. For example, if I want a really spicy dish I will use the madras powder, whereas if I want a more subtle dish I will just add some cumin powder.
Chili spices and flavorings
Making chili beans involves, as I am sure you’ve probably guessed, adding some chili to the beans when warming them through. I used to use chili powder, however I found it turned the sauce really thick and gloopy. There are times when I want a thick sauce and when this is the case, I use chili powder. Rather than using a lot of mild chili powder, which tends to congeal in to lumps, I use a lesser amount of extra hot chili powder.
When I don’t want a thick sauce but still want a chili kick I use chili flakes, which work very well. I have tried using chopped dried chilies in a tin of baked beans, however these were too hot and spicy for me.
Smoky/BBQ spices and flavorings
You can make BBQ beans by simply squirting in some BBQ sauce in to the beans whilst warming them through. I use ready made shop bought BBQ sauce however you can make your own from scratch and use that if you want. I use ready made BBQ sauce because it is quick, easy, cheap and the taste is always spot on. I have made my own BBQ sauce in the past, all with inconsistent results. Making BBQ beans this way adds more sauce, which tends to get quite runny.
If you like a thinner sauce, this method is perfect for you however you prefer a thicker sauce you may want to check out method number two below.
My second method of making BBQ beans is to use paprika. When using paprika the beans take on a lightly smoked flavor, which is more subtle than using BBQ sauce and since paprika is a powdered spice the sauce won’t thin out at all. In fact, the sauce will thicken up, which is always good.
To make herb beans simply sprinkle in your favorite Italian herbs whilst warming the beans through. I typically use mixed herbs, however you can use any dried herbs you want.
I find herb flavored beans great mixed in with pasta, with a little grated cheese on top. I have tried herb beans on toast, but this simply didn’t work for me. Herb beans are an acquired taste, and they may seem a bit weird however I highly recommend giving them a try as they are very tasty.
There are other spices and flavorings you can use to liven up a tin of baked beans in addition to my favorites, as above. Over the years I have experimented with many others, some of which have worked very well and some of which were a total disaster. Even though I have found many other great spices and flavorings I find that I tend to keep going back to my favorites time and time again.
I have to admit that I am not normally a fan of tinned ready made foods, however when I am out and about in my Eldiss Accordo 120 motor home I find tinned ready meals come in to their own. I like nothing more than to create my own meals from scratch, especially curries and other Indian type meals but when I am in the motor home I don’t have the ingredients (I have limited space and have to keep an eye on the weight of the vehicle), I don’t carry all the utensils, cooking implements or the pots and pans I need (for the same space/weight reasons) and I can’t be bothered to spend hours slaving over a hot stove when there are other things I prefer to do whilst on holiday. Yep, when I am out and about in the motor home tinned curries are great for a quick and easy dinner that is tasty and fills me up.
One thing that amazes me about tinned curries is that the premium brand companies don’t sell any. Yep, I am stunned that neither Patak nor Sharwoods, which are the two most popular brands of jar curry sauce and other Indian jars, breads and accompaniments don’t have their own range of tinned curries. Patak does sell a range of tinned curry sauces, but they don’t include ant meat so they are not a great solution for a quick and easy curry.
If I want a tinned curry I have to head over to the supermarket own brand versions. I have been through quite a few of the supermarket own brand tinned curries and Indian food (to find the ones I like best and the “must haves” I need to keep in the motor home’s food cupboard) and I have to admit that a couple of them are very good (and quite authentic), a few of them are nice and are a ‘take it or leave it’ for me, and the rest are absolutely foul.
The best ready-made tinned curries and Indian meals are tasty and flavoursome (that I can’t deny) but they don’t have the same full rich flavour found in both the Patak and Sharwoods readymade curry sauces. Yep, the Patak and Sharwood sauces are delicious, and I do use them for those times I am at home and don’t have the time to cook a curry from scratch, have any of my own base curry sauce in the freezer or can’t be bothered to cook a curry from scratch. In these situations I simply fry some onion and garlic, pour in a can of chopped tomatoes, add a jar of Patak or Sharwoods curry sauce, throw in the meat and put in the oven for an hour or so.
Being the sad type of person I am I have emailed Patak and Sharwood customer services and suggested they expand their range to include a range of tinned curries (that are suitable for camping, hiking and eating during other outdoor pursuits) however I have yet to hear back, or see any such products on Patak’s and Sharwood’s websites or even on the supermarket shelves. In a bid to push the point a little I’ll probably tweet this post to Patak and Sharwoods too, although I fear it’ll be falling on deaf ears. Oh well…………….
Till such a time Patak or Sharwoods produce a range of ready made tinned curries I have no choice but to continue to buy the supermarket own brands. In case you’re wondering the Bombay potatoes are exceptionally good (although I appreciate they aren’t really a curry) and the beef madras is also very good, however the chicken tikka masala is not good at all.
First off I have to admit I am a proper carnivore (we have canine teeth to eat meat right?) however there are times when I just don’t feel like meat and want a veggie dish, and a vegetable curry is a good solution. I am currently on the hunt for the best camping foods that are quick, easy to cook and delicious and this Sainsburys‘ vegetable curry is next on the list of tinned curries to sample.
When I first opened the tin the first thing that hit me was the smell, yep the vegetable curry smelled really good and I couldn’t wait to dive in and try it. Whilst the vegetable curry smelled really good it didn’t look very appetising and was very thin looking. Gently shaking the tin the contents sloshed around confirming my initial thought that this vegetable curry was thin and watery.
Pouring the vegetable curry in to a pan to warm through on the hob I was tempted to try and thicken the sauce with some corn flour, however since this experiment is to try the canned curries straight out of the tin I refrained and just warmed the curry on the hob.
Whilst the vegetable curry was warming through on the hob I was hoping that the sauce would evaporate a little and thicken up but it didn’t, and deep down I knew it wasn’t – but it didn’t stop me hoping. One thing I did notice whilst the vegetable curry was cooking was the smell intensified and got better and better. Smelling the vegetable curry got my taste buds tingling and I was ready to forgive the thin sauce if the vegetable curry tasted as good as it smelled.
During cooking I tried to identify the vegetables used in the curry (I didn’t read the ingredients as I wanted to see if I could tell what I was eating, or about to eat) and I have to admit was a bit of a challenge. I could easily identify green beans and lentils but that was about it. There were some orange colored chunks that I thought was potato however it was orange colored (is that because of the sauce?), really mushy and had a strange taste. Perhaps it was sweet potato? Perhaps it was swede? Whatever it was, I couldn’t tell what it was. There were other vegetables in the curry, but I’ll be damned if I could identify them. Perhaps I should have had a look at the ingredients on the side of the tine before I threw it away and started writing this review.
"Open tin" "Close up" "Curry and rice"
Unfortunately, the smell is the best thing about this vegetable curry and the taste nowhere near matches up. The vegetable curry didn’t taste horrible but neither did it blow me away, and I can only describe it as “meh”. The taste is weird and if I had to liken it to something I would say a tin of Heinz vegetable soup with a gentle hint of Indian spices. The spices used, or the quantity of spices used was too subtle for a curry as there was just no spicy kick. I don’t like really hot curries (you know the ones that obliterate your taste buds) but I do like a bit of heat, and this tinned vegetable curry didn’t give me that “slap in the chops”. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed.
I think the vegetable curry could definitely do with some extra spices and I think that a bit of cumin, garam masala and chilli powder would really liven up this vegetable curry. I was tempted to add a few spices however I refrained. As previously mentioned, the idea of this exercise was to eat the curries straight out of the tin, how Mr Sainsbury wanted.
Overall I have to say that I am disappointed with the vegetable curry and it is not going to be a staple tin in my Accordo 120 when I go away. Okay, the curry smelled really good however the bland taste does nothing for me. Sure, I could enhance the flavor and liven it up by adding a few more spices (chili powder, garam masala and cumin for example) but this obviously requires me to have the right dried spices with in the motor home when I go camping. The other thing is, there are other tinned curries I have tried that are full of flavor and do pack a punch, and I would much prefer to take these camping with me instead. As I am sure you have already guessed this tinned vegetable curry is not one I would recommend.
If you have read any of my other “camping cuisine” blog posts you will know that I am true carnivore, so I find it strange that dahl is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite Indian dishes. I stumbled across a dhal solely by accident – my wife somehow managed to order one when we had an Indian take out, and with the Indian being a fifteen minute drive away it wasn’t worth taking it back so I ate it, and boy am I glad I did since it opened up an entire new menu to me.
Since sampling the dahl from the Indian I have since developed my own recipe (made up of several different parts of other recipes I have found on the internet) that I cook for my weekday work lunches. This dahl recipe is easy enough but it is a faff and having to boil red lentils for fifteen minutes and then simmering them for a further twenty minutes isn’t ideal when on a camping trip. Using the gas cooker in the Accordo 120 it’s fine, although it does steam the place up a bit and also gives a funky smell for several hours afterwards but if I only had one of those ‘proper’ camping gas stove this dhal would not be suitable because it takes too long and would use up too much gas.
This quick and easy dahl recipe is a meal you can prepare and cook within five minutes, and it is delicious as well. Since this dhal recipe requires just a few minutes to cook, and not a lot of heat either (it only needs warming up) it is perfect for any type of camping stove, even the little single burner portable camping stoves – you know the ones that are low powered and use camping gaz for power.
My quick and easy dhal recipe requires the following ingredients:
To make the dhal you simply open the tin of green lentils and pour in to a saucepan. Don’t drain the water since this is needed to cook the dhal and stop the contents sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Don’t worry about the lentils having a “waxy” texture – they won’t, and there really is no need to rinse the lentils before cooking either.
Mix the curry powder (I use hot madras because I like a spicy kick but you can use whatever curry powder you want), chilli powder (once again a I use a hot chilli powder but you can use whatever strength chilli powder you want), cumin, black pepper and salt in to a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Start warming the lentils on the hob, and as they start to steam add the spice mix and stir. You need to stir the lentils and spice thoroughly but also gently so not to “mash” the lentils. It is important that the spice mix is totally stirred in with the lentils otherwise the final dish will have a ‘gritty’ texture, which is not nice.
Once the spice mix is fully stirred in continue to warm the contents of the sauce pan for a further two minutes and add the lime juice. I find three table spoons of lime juice gives just enough acidity for my taste buds, although you may wish to add more (or less) accordingly. Continue to warm the contents for a further three to five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything sticking to the pan. Once the contents are hot all the way through it is then time to devour. No how easy is that?!?
I usually have my dhal with basmati rice (it is a great combination) however this doesn’t mean my dhal can’t be served with anything else. My better half likes basmati rice, although not as much as I do so she will often have some type of bread, such as naan, crusty French loaf, pitta, a panini, tiger bread…… any bread will work so pick what you fancy at the time.
As well as serving with different breads the dhal is also a great accompaniment to a jacket potato. I appreciate that cooking jacket potatoes is impossible using a camping stove but for all you motor home owners and caravan owners who have the luxury of an oven this is possible and it works very well.
Another use for my quick and easy dhal is to pour it over cooked chicken, where it really bulks it up and adds some flavour to it. All you need to do is put the chicken on the BBQ (and who doesn’t have at least one BBQ on a camping trip?) and whilst it is cooking get making the dahl. Once the chicken is cooked (and make sure it is thoroughly cooked before serving) pour over the dhal and devour. Delicious.
The dahl is also great with a green salad, and whilst you can serve a hot dahl with a cold salad, I think it works better letting the dhal go cold first. Trust me, the dhal is just as delicious cold as it is hot.
As you can see my quick and easy dhal is versatile and can be served with loads of different things.
If you have read any of my other posts you may be aware that I am in the process of trying Sainsburys’ own range of tinned Indian dishes and critically analyzing each one in order to find the best canned Indian food, and a go-to canned Indian food for camping trips.
On opening the tin the first thing I noticed was a thick looking chicken tikka masala that looked appetizing, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Wanting to dive straight in to the tin was short lived because within a few seconds the smell of the chicken tikka masala hit me, and I was instantly put off. The smell was awful and nothing like I had smelled before, although I would say there was a definite hint of tinned cat food about it. Not a good start…….. At that time I was hoping the putrid smell would disappear whilst the chicken tikka masala was cooking. Many tinned foods I have tried in the past have smelled less than pleasant at first and then totally changed during cooking, and I was hoping this would be the same with this chicken tikka masala.
Fortunately, the smell did dissipate and lose its edge, however it wasn’t replaced with a nice smell that got my taste buds tingling. Oh no, the smell kind of disappeared to nothing and is nothing to write home about.
Out of all the tinned Indian meals I have tied to date this chicken tikka masala has the highest meat content of them all. Yep, this chicken tikka masala is packed full of chicken, and whilst some people may prefer this I actually thought the meat to sauce ratio was all wrong. Personally, I would have preferred less meat (or more sauce, i.e. bigger tin) because some of the chicken was dry in the middle and I needed sauce to swallow it. The smaller pieces of chicken were fine, and went down no problem but the larger pieces of chicken is a totally different story. The large pieces of chicken were too stringy and dry, and I have to admit that I struggled somewhat.
With too much chicken the consistency of the chicken tikka masala was too thick and gloopy. I thought it looked too thick when I first opened the tin however I thought the sauce would thin out whilst I was cooking the dish on the hob, just like the beef madras did. Whilst the beef madras thinned out whilst cooking the chicken tikka masala didn’t and it stayed gloopy. I like a sauce with a bit of body (because they are the best to dip a naan bread in) but this chicken tikka masala was too thick, even for me. Whilst the sauce is too thick it does have a smooth and creamy texture, which is a plus point.
"Open tin" "Masala and rice" "Close up of chicken tikka masala"
I would like to say this chicken tikka masala was tasty, however I can’t. The taste was non-spicy, very subtle and what little taste there was is non-descript. Adding some chili powder, curry powder or garam masala may liven the taste up a bit, however I struggle to see the point of this because there are some very tasty tinned Indian dishes out there that are exceptionally tasty straight out of the can.
Most tinned Indian foods are high in fat, high in saturates and high in salt and the traffic light nutritional system on the front of the tin is typically red. Well, this is not the case with this tin of chicken tikka masala. Yep, there is no red – only amber and green, so it’s not that bad for you. This, however, is the only thing this ready-made Indian dish has going for it.
Overall, I am disappointed with the chicken tikka masala and it is not something I would have again. The smell is awful, the sauce is too thick, there is too much meat for the sauce, the chicken is stingy and dry (the larger pieces are) and there is no taste to the dish. Rather than taking up valuable space in my Accordo 120 I will give this a miss and stock up with something better, such as an extra tin of Bombay potatoes or beef madras.
On my quest to try all of the Sainsbury’s own tinned Indian meals the next to be consumed and critically reviewed is the Bombay potatoes.
Out of all the tinned ready-made Indian dishes I have tried this tin of Bombay potatoes is the most authentic tasting yet. If I didn’t know any different I would have thought these Bombay potatoes were bought from my local Indian takeout – they really are that close to the real thing.
Opening the tin I found some authentic looking Bombay potatoes that not only looked appealing but also smelled nice too. I find most tinned foods smell absolutely disgusting when the tin is first opened, but sort themselves out whilst being cooked. This was not the case with these Bombay potatoes
These Bombay potatoes taste delicious and are nicely spiced. There is a little bit of a spicy kick, enough to leave you lips and tongue tingling slightly but not so much of a spicy kick it obliterates your taste buds. These Bombay potatoes really did get my taste buds going.
I think that consistency is crucial with Indian food. I mean a thin and watery sauce isn’t vey appetising and neither is thick and gloopy “one lump or two” sauce. Indian food has to be just right and have body without being too thick, and this tin of Bombay potatoes was spot on.
"Open can" " Bombay potatoes" "Read to eat"
The tin was full of chunks of potato that were the perfect size. Some tins of Bombay potatoes are full of tiny pieces of potato (the size of marbles) and some consist of whole potatoes that are too big. The size of the chunks were bite size and just right. As well as being just the right size the potatoes were cooked to perfection, i.e. they weren’t too hard I had to crunch my way through them and they weren’t so soft they were mushy – I hate mushy potatoes. I was a bit concerned the potatoes would soften whilst I was warming them through, and they would turn in to a mushy mess but this didn’t happen although I should point out that I was very gentle when stirring the Bombay potatoes.
Look at the nutritional value of most tinned Indian ready-made dishes and you will see red on the traffic light nutritional system, however this is not the case with these tinned Bombay potatoes as there isn’t a “red” in sight. Yep, the fat content is amber, the saturates content is green, the sugar content is green and the salt content is amber. All in all, not too bad, which makes a surprising change.
Bombay potatoes are typically a side dish accompaniment to other Indian dishes however these Bombay potatoes can be used for more than this. Yes, they do make a great side to go with a beef madras or Chicken jalfrezi but they are equally as good served on a bed of rice or as a dip with some poppadums or a naan bread or two.
Overall these Bombay potatoes are excellent. They are authentic, they taste delicious, they are a nice consistency and not too bad for you either. These Bombay potatoes are versatile and they are now a staple in my Accordo 120. Yep, I make sure I always have at least two tins of these Bombay potatoes in the motor home cupboard at all times.
I like a spicy curry, and since the madras curry is one of the hotter ones I thought this would be the best of the Sainsburys tinned curry range to try first.
The tin has a ring pull, which makes it perfect for camping since you don’t need a tin opener or if you have ‘mislaid the tin opener’ (which frequently happens to me) it is still possible to get in to the tin. The ring pull is a nice touch, usually found on premium brand tins, so I was surprised to see it on the Sainsburys own range – good job there Sainsburys.
The first thing I noticed about the beef madras curry when I opened the tin was how authentic and ‘proper madras’ looking the contents were. The beef madras was an appetizing reddy/brown color, a nice thick consistency and smelt really good. First impressions were good and I was looking forward to tucking in.
As with all tinned foods the beef madras can be warmed through on the hob or using a microwave. I am all for the easy life when camping, hence using tinned foods in the first place, but I never heat tinned foods in the microwave because I find they don’t cook evenly all the way through and using a microwave diminishes the taste. Consequently, I always heat tinned foods in a saucepan on the hob. Yes, this method is longer, makes more mess and results in more washing up, but the food is always better in the end so it is worthwhile.
Spooning the madras in to the saucepan I initially thought the madras was too thick and gloopy, and I was tempted to add a little water to thin it out a little. I like a thick sauce (to dip a naan or some papadums in) but the madras looked to thick even for me. Luckily, I resisted the urge to add some water and as the madras started warming through it started to thin out on its own, and by the time the madras was heated all the way through it was the perfect consistency for me. Had I added any water I fear it would have been too thin and watery.
A tinned madras is never going to taste as good as a madras made from scratch, or one bought from an Indian takeout so to compare the taste to one of these isn’t fair. I wasn’t expecting too much from the tinned madras and my expectations were low but I was very surprised just how tasty the madras is.
The madras has a nice spicy kick to it and whilst it seemed to start off fairly mild I could feel my nose start to run, my lips tingle and that nice warm feeling inside (that only eating spicy food provides) as I continued to eat the madras. By the end of the madras my lips were on the verge of tingling and feeling hot and my nose had started to run, however my taste buds were still intact. The madras had the perfect amount of spice for me, and it was nice and spicy to warm the body and get the heart pumping but not so spicy to obliterate my taste buds and make me feel ‘yuck’.
The 400g tin is two servings and whilst half a tin looked pitiful in the saucepan, as well as on the plate, I found that (with 50g of rice) the quantity was just about right and made me feel full but not stuffed. Sure, I could have easily eaten more, but I didn’t need it and I would have felt uncomfortable if I had.
I have never been that bothered about the nutritional value of foods when camping, so I can’t really comment in detail. The only thing I noticed is that none of the nutritional info on the front of the tin was red. I did some orange, but no red so compared to other curries (none of which are good for you) the tinned beef madras can’t be too bad. Besides, it is portion controlled.
"Open tin" "Beef madras warming through" "Finished dish with rice"
The only criticism I have is the beef was very stringy, and the larger chunks required a lot of chewing (too much in my opinion) to swallow them. The smaller chunks were fine and slid down with ease, but the larger chunks took some work. I have no issues over the quantity of meat in the madras, and I was actually surprised there was so much. Beef isn’t an authentic curry meat, and I have to say that I prefer other types of meat but I was happy with the beef (the smaller chunks more than the larger bits). It’s a shame that Sainsbury don’t have chicken or lamb madras options, as I think these meats would work better than beef.
Overall the Sainsburys beef madras is exceptionally good. If you like a slighter hotter and spicier curry the madras is just what you are looking for. If you like a really spicy curry I think you will be disappointed with the heat (I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the taste) although you could always stoke it up a little and add some chili powder, or better still chili flakes. The Sainsburys beef madras is going to be one of my staple tinned foods I keep in the motor home and I will make sure there is at least one tin in the cupboards at all times.