Work in my kitchen recently left me with no access to any cooking facilities except a microwave moved into another room. This meant that I needed to look at some ready meals to feed us. Shopping in Tesco the bright red packaging of this Bisto meal caught my eye. I like Bisto gravy so thought some of these cottage pies for only a pound each would be worth a try.
The product is described as beef and onions in gravy topped with reconstituted potato mash on top. Had I read the words carefully before buying I would have paused at reconstituted potato. I think that this is like the mash you make up from dry powder and I hate this. Sure enough the mash was disappointing and tasteless. I cooked mine in the microwave at first through lack of other options. To be fair when a leftover packet was cooked in the oven later on it was more enjoyable as it slightly crisped on top and coloured to look more inviting.
The beef filling constitutes 14 per cent of the meal according to the packet. This isn't enough for me although I did find that part tasty. Tastier than other cottage pies I have tried though not like homemade.
In the microwave the cottage pie takes 12 minutes and in the oven 50 or in case of a fan oven 40 minutes. As I have said I have cooked this in both microwave and fan oven and would agree that the cooking times given on the packet were accurate.
The ingredients highlight possible allergens as celery, milk and barley and there is a warning that there is a possibility of nut and sesame traces.
I would recommend this product if you have time to oven cook it and don't want to make a cottage pie from scratch but I would personally not buy this product again because I love a tasty mash topping.
Living on my own I tend to eat ready meals quite alot. I can't be bothered to cook most of the time for one person let alone deal with the mess that I create so a ready meal is ideal for those times when I'm on my own!
This one I bought in my local Asda store and it cost me just £1.00. It isn't the first time I've bought this one....I've actually had this a few times!
The meal itself comes in a black plastic tray with a see through plastic cover it and that all comes in a box. On both main sides of the box we are clearly told what it is and there is a picture of the cottage pie shown and there is an at a glance nutritional chart shown along with being told that it is suitable for microwave and oven cooking and that it serves one person then on the sides of the box other information listed includes ingredients and allergy advice, cooking instructions and a full nutritional chart are given, the weight is stated which is 375g and contact details for the manufacturer are clearly stated.
The Cottage Pie:
Well this is best cooked from frozen and in my view in the oven rather than in the microwave. In the oven it takes about 50 minutes opposed to only 8 and a half minutes in the microwave however I find that this firms up better in the oven and that the mash goes brown and not so sloppy and it comes out of the tray alot more appertising than when its been cooked in the microwave and I think it simply tastes alot nicer oven cooked.
You get quite a large portion of this cottage pie and I actually find this meal a bit too much for me which really isn't like me cos I'm a right piggy!
You get mash potato on the top which is like Smash (artificial potato made from a powder). I don't hate it and there's no lumps in it or anything like that but it really it is very bland in flavour but there is a lot of it and it doesn't taste seasoned to me at all, it really isn't my favourite part of the cottage pie at all. Under that you get good quality mince in a nice thick, well seasoned gravy with little slithers of onion in it. Its quite a plain meal this one and I really like this type of food in these cooler times.
it contains no artificial preservatives and no hydrogenated fat and only contains 318 calories and 3.5g of saturated fat per meal which I think is not bad considering how much of a meal you get. I think that this is very tasty, very warming and very....very filling and this is the reason that that I buy and eat this one often. It will never be as good as a home made cottage pie, I have to be honest about that but its ok to fill a big belly like mine!
Available in all good supermarkets etc and very often on offer so keep your eyes peeled if you fancy it!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
I've noticed lately that with a lot less time to get things done, cooking after work is become more and more frustrating. I was looking for something quick, or something easy that you don't have to keep checking on, but that sounds appealing to eat and tastes good. I came across these in the supermarket at £1 and gave them a try; I'm glad I did because I was pleasantly surprised at their yumminess despite being a ready meal.
This comes in a rectangular cardboard box with a red design to the side, setting it apart from the shepherd's pie version. There's the classic 'aah Bisto' logo to the top right, which is quite recognisable, and a nice big picture of a golden-topped, yummy looking pie on the front to show us what to expect. There's also a little certificate style logo at the bottom saying that the product uses "100% minced beef", which is always good to know because no one wants to think they're buying fake beef (unless, of course, you're vegetarian).
I've actually discovered these can be a little tricky to come across in supermarkets, even though they are stocked in Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's. The going rate is around £1.50 but they're currently on offer at £1 in Tesco, though Asda seems to sell them at £1 anyway. Moral to the story? When you see them at £1, stock up!
This is described as "A Classic Shepherd's Pie made with minced lamb, peas and carrots in lashings of thick gravy, topped with buttery mashed potato. Based on a traditional British Recipe." It's sold as a 375g packet and contains no artificial preservatives or hydrogenated fats, which is always a good thing. It may contain traces of nuts and does contain gluten/wheat/milk, however, so bear that in mind if you have allergies. It's quite a 'traditional British' choice, and it's a good option for times when you want something warm and comforting with a home-cooked feel to it that involves far less time and preparation work.
Per pack, this contains 318 calories and 9.8g of fat. It's lower than the shepherd's pie version and I actually think the calories are quite low for what turns out to be a reasonably decent portion, considering it's a ready meal. It's also a good source of protein, and even though it doesn't really contain any veggies, adding some peas is a quick way of making this a more 'complete' meal.
The thing that surprised me was actually that this isn't for the microwave. Usually you get the choice of oven or zapping it, but unfortunately this is for the former only. To 'cook', pre heat the oven to 190°C, remove from the box and peel off the film lid, then place the plastic carton onto a baking tray. Pop this in the centre of the oven and cook for 50 minutes, or 40 minutes if you have a fan oven. That's about it! I never trust that it's simply a case of leaving it in there and taking out straight after 40 minutes, so I do check on it, give it a turn here and there and often leave it a little longer than the stated time. When it's done, take it out and leave to stand for 2 minutes. This bit seems important because it does help the pie 'regain rigidity' a little before serving, at which point it should still be piping hot.
The cooking time of 40 minutes may be a little off-putting when you want something fast that you think you should be able to nuke in the microwave, but it really does take very little effort. The top doesn't seem to burn but it does turn slightly golden. I've found that putting it on to the grill for 5 minutes at the end helps to get it a little more crisp and golden, but you do need to be careful about doing this because of melting the plastic container. Once I've done that, however, it looks quite nice and smells very tempting.
Serving it up, it looks a little sloppy. Make sure to use a big spatula or similar otherwise you'll just end up with a mess everywhere. When it's dished up and spread out a little, it does seem like a fairly decent sized portion, though probably not enough for those with slightly larger appetites. As a pea fiend, I actually do a saucepan of peas and add half a plate of those (I love them and think the ridiculous amounts are okay because they're still healthy veggies!) to make it more of a 'complete meal'. The pie itself doesn't really contain anything vegetable-like unless you count the onion, which isn't really noticeable except for perhaps adding a hint of flavour.
The taste itself is surprisingly good, again assuming that ready meals are often left lacking. If you like Bisto, then you should find the flavour and smell of this quite appealing. I don't find it too strong, which I thought I might, so it balances the flavour well to make it interesting rather than bland. There's plenty of meat and enough potato on top to not make you feel too cheated by the portion and both have quite soft textures that are easy to eat. The only slight gripe I have, and it's really the only one, is that I've noticed one or two bites with hard 'bits' in. I don't know what they were, and neither do I really want to know, but I've had a couple of these now and have only noticed it on one or two occasions so I don't count that as a particularly big flaw.
All in all, this is definitely one I'd recommend if you want something fairly quick and simple. It's quite low in calories, smells lovely, tastes good and doesn't leave your stomach feeling cheated by a miniscule portion. Nom nom!
I spotted this Bisto Cottage Pie whilst shopping at Asda; I couldn't believe how cheap it was. It was in the frozen section and only priced at a £1.00 I thought this must have been a new product because I had never seen it before. I really like Bisto gravy and thought that this meal would be very beefy in flavour; the picture on the front certainly looks appealing. It is made with 100% Minced Beef. This meal is described as 'A classic cottage pie with minced beef and onions in rich thick gravy, topped with mashed potato'.
I am not sure if some people would class this as a setback but it can only be cooked in the oven. Personally when it comes to shepherds pies or cottage pies, I tend to think they come out a lot better when cooked in the oven, so this wasn't a problem for me. It takes 50 minutes to cook in the oven (or 40 minutes in a fan oven).
The cooked product comes out really good; the top does go a bit crispy too; it is full of minced beef and the flavour is as I thought, beefy and delicious; the gravy is thick and this is actually quite a fair sized portion for one person. One of my favourite vegetables is Broccoli and I usually have this with Broccoli; but basically it's good to add any vegetable to this meal. It's quite good calorie wise and only 318 Kcals (375g box); so this can easily be used as part of a calorie controlled diet if you wish and its very filling.
Reconstituted dried potato, Whey protein (from Milk), Yeast extract, White pepper, Colour (Curcumin), Minced beef, Onion, Water, Modified maize starch, Celery, Beef flavouring, Rapseed oil, Tomato puree, Caramelised sugar (Wheat), Salt, Ground Bay, Beef stock (Red Wine, Mushroom concentrate, Salt, Caramelised sugar, Spices, Natural flavouring); Cornflour, colour (ammonia caramel)
There are no artificial preservatives and no hydrogenated fats in this product
Contains Celery, Gluten, Milk and Wheat; May contain traces of Nuts and/or Sesame seeds.
Although extra care has been taken to remove bones, some small bones may remain.
This is a super cheap, filling and tasty Cottage Pie; definitely worthy of 5 Dooyoo stars; highly recommend.