Reviewed by Louise Totton
One of the main issues I find with having to follow a gluten free diet is the absolute lack of convenience foods that are available for me to safely eat. At home, I mostly cook totally from scratch, so usually this is not an issue for me at all. However I do find it a real struggle if I’m either out and about, or if I just want something really quick to throw in the microwave after a long day at work.
I was therefore really delighted to be asked to review a small range of ready meals from the Kirsty’s and Kirsty’s Kids’ Kitchen product range. We were sent the Malaysian Butternut Squash curry and Slow Cooked Beef with Celeriac Mash from the adult range, and the Sausage Casserole and Salmon and Cod Pie from the kids’ range.
Malaysian Butternut Squash Curry with Brown Basmati Rice; Butternut squash, red pepper and soy beans in a rich and creamy Malay curry sauce with coriander and red pepper brown basmati rice.
Slow Cooked Beef with Celeriac Mash; Tender chunks of slow cooked beef, sweet potato and parsnips in a rich red wine gravy with potato and celeriac mash.
Sausage Casserole with Root Vegetables; Sliced gluten free pork and leek sausage, carrot, swede and red peppers in a tomato and paprika sauce with roasted diced potatoes.
Salmon and Cod Pie with Sweet Potato Mash; Salmon and Cod with sweetcorn and peas in a dairy free fish sauce with sweet potato mash.
The products looked really attractive in their packaging, and it is certainly something I’d pick up from the supermarket shelf. As well as being gluten free, all of the Kirsty’s products are also wheat free (a subtle but real difference), and dairy free which I think is great for people with multiple food allergies. I’m also impressed that there is a Free From range of products specifically targeted at kids. It’s hard enough for kids to feel different, so it’s great they can still have a quick hot meal, or take something round to a friend’s house for tea as often other parents are too nervous to cater for them.
The meals are all reasonably healthy choices, all the adults meals are below 500 calories, and the kids meals are low salt, had plenty of veg in them and are nutritionally balanced with at least 1 of your child’s 5 a day.
Although the packs did suggest oven cooking might yield better results, I think if most people were going to buy this, it would be for speed so we microwaved them.
Unfortunately, despite all of the early promise, and desperately wanting to like them and have another ‘thing’ on my list of gluten free goodies, we all found the meals to be somewhat lacking in the flavour department. They were OK, but without exception, they were all rather watery in consistency and just didn’t pack a great deal of punch flavour wise.
The children were happy enough with the Sausage Casserole meal, and it did all get eaten, but it was disappointing. We found the fish pie to be rather lacking in fish and the beef casserole to be very short on beef.
I’m really disappointed, as I desperately wanted to like these products. They tick most of the boxes… they are attractive, have a broad range of meals available, are certainly diet friendly and health friendly, but we found them just not all that tasty.
I would probably buy one for the sake of convenience, but they won’t be making their way into my weekly shop.
For more information or to find your nearest stockist visit www.kirstys.co.uk.