Wow that is a perennial question, luckily I’ve developed a routine that suits me, is all home cooked as luckily I can make the time for this and though can often morph into a chore it is generally pleasurable, particularly in the eating.
Two or three times in two or three years I’ve looked at a ready made alternative and this usually fails on three points, does not hold sufficient nuitrition in its list of ingredients ie the lack of herbs and spices I’ve become accustomed to, contains far too much sugar, salt and fat, and is a total non-event at the eating of it. Plus needlessly extended cooking time.
But what is yuckier still is when the foray into the ‘readymade’ is downright offensive. Yesterday was a case in point and drives me to write this post …. a can of Baxters ‘Super Good’ Root Vegetable and Turmeric soup. Verdict… FOUL!
What numskull and untalented so-called food technologist dreamt of this concoction and worse still was allowed to get it into production? Come forward, be counted! At first tasting I’d guess it contains cream, not good for me as I’m generally low gluten and most certainly dairy free. However the label contains no mention of dairy merely cornflour; oh no, the contents tell me its 2g of salt per can, this is needless and ridiculous. I create my flavours with middle eastern and Indian herbs and spices, various seeds; sans salt.
Twenty four hours later I still have a sore stomach (or upper intestine) and for three hours after I ate this crappy Baxters ‘Root Veg and Turmeric’ I was crippled with pain.
After a few spoonfuls and after it had reduced a little I had to put my thinking cap on and visualise how to improve this little better than a flavoured stock. Answer was…
some pre-cooked new potato cut into 3/8in cubes,
lots fresh ground black pepper,
1tbsp tinned sweetcorn,
a little fine chopped garlic,
Optional maybe if you are so inclined a small fine chopped spring onion, a few pieces thin sliced leek, maybe a few coriander leaves; maybe a few pieces thin chopped celery. Always be careful not to overload, you are looking for enhancement not disaster. You could also try a little oregano or basil from your herb jars.
I can see nothing on the supermarket shelves that comes anywhere near fulfilling my requirements, take in point a nice looking ‘Toad in the Hole’ as illustrated on the box. Oops another less than desirable, too much salt, too much fat and takes forever to cook ie horrendous carbon footprint, all my meals generally are economical with carbon usage. How can people expect to be healthy when their repertoire of ingested ingredients leaves so much to be desired?
The only way forward with the boxed ‘Toad in the Hole’ would be to cook the sausages (a handy way of utilising otherwise unusable butchers waste) separately to drain them, they take ages, then combine for the last say 20-30 mins for the Yorkshire pud to cook itself. Its a lot of time in my little benchtop oven and is exactly on carbon footprint alone that I am trying to move away from. The trick is to get the base cooked whilst not burning the upper parts.
So it seems theres no quick ready made option for me whatsoever. And of course being curmudgeonly, anti-social and tight … eating out is not an option.