* Prices may differ from that shown
I like this cous-cous from Ainsley Harriot's brand of food products. You can find it in most supermarkets at under a pound a packet. I recently bought 4 or £2 in Morrisons, which was quite a good offer. The slim packets store easily in the cupboard and have a reasonably long shelf-life (usually a best-before date of about a year's time).
When you open the packet, it's not too inspiring a sight: the little bits of dried vegetable look like refugees from the Pot Noodle factory amongst the cous-cous. Vegetables included are carrot, onion and tomato, with sunflower seeds also in the mix to add more texture and their characteristic, slighty oily taste.
The packets rip open, or you can use scissors if you're weak with hunger! The aroma of the spices can be detected straight away on opening. In the 'spice sensation' version, garlic, coriander, chilli and mixed spice are prominent amongst the ingredients.
You pour the 100g of cous-cous out into a bowl, and add 160ml of boiling water (although I don't, I just fill it up 'til it looks about right to me, having used this product fairly frequently) and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then you fork through to fluff it up and serve. It looks more appetising than it does initially dry out of the packet.
It's a meal so simple to do, that it has become my first choice when I'm short of time or ideas for lunch - I'll eat it on its own quite happily. You can have it as a proper accompaniment to a meat or vegetable dish as well, of course. The packet recommends you go to Ainsley Harriot's website for recipe ideas: currrently the one suggested to go with the 'Spice Sensation' cous-cous, is his mango-glazed lamb. I've found it very nice with Moroccan-style lamb we've cooked, so the mango-glazed one sounds rather nice to me and I may well give it a go.
When made up, one packet serves 2 people, according to the instructions. I'd say that was about right: I couldn't see it stretching much further.
If you've judged the amount of water right, when served up the cous-cous should be light, fluffy and flavoursome. I think it's a ready (almost instant) meal even the most incompetent of cooks would be hard-pressed to mess up, as it requires no skills at all, just management of a kettle and hot water.
This cous-cous is my favourite from the range: there's enough heat in the spicing to make it warming and stimulating to the palate. It's an enjoyable food to eat, with a good texture and nice blend of flavours. It's just the right heat for me, not so much I need to get a drink or fear the ring of fire, but enough to make it interesting.
The cous-cous is suitable for vegetarians and is low-fat at only 1.4g fat per serving. Obviously it's not suitable for those on a gluten-free regime, being primarily wheat.
I'd recommend this 'Spice Sensation' cous-cous from Ainsley Harriot's brand of foodstuffs (I really despised his Mexican Pepper and Chilli cup soup, but here the product is just right). I also enjoy the 'Moroccan Medley' from his flavoured cous-cous range, although the others don't do much for me. I like 'em spicy.
Ainsley Harriot Spice sensation Cous Cous
This cous cous by Ainsley Harriot is another staple of my store cupboard at home now. I first tried this about a year ago and I haven't looked back since. It is a lovely accompaniment to various meats such as a nice piece of chicken kiev or a juicy steak, and is equally useful as a quick snack or lunch and when accompanied by a fresh salad is delicious for a lunch time.
Ainsley's cous cous comes in a variety of different flavours including, Wickedly Wild Mushroom, Moroccan Medley, and Roasted Vegetable to name just a few. The flavour I am talking about today is my favourite the Spice Sensation.
Cous cous is actually made of tiny granules of semolina wheat covered in wheat flour. The granules are smaller than grains of rice (about a third of the size) and are yellow in colour for this flavour.
This pack is easily recognisable in its black sachet with a yellow border, and a picture of Ainsley in the top left hand corner. Alongside is a picture of a plate of the cous cous made up indicating a serving suggestion. The name of the product is emblazoned in large, bold yellow lettering across the front of the sachet. The reverse of the sachet gives us the preparation instructions, the ingredients and the nutritional and allergy advice.
When you open the pack and pour out the contents, we can see that the little grains of cous cous are accompanied by tiny pieces of dried vegetables such as carrots, onions, tomatoes and courgettes. It also contains mixed spices and dried coriander and chilli powder and has a wonderful warm spicy smell of mild curry and chilli powder that is fragrant ans sweet.
To prepare ~
The preparation of this dish is just so simple .....
* Place contents of sachet into a bowl
* Add 160ml of boiling water and stir well
* Leave to stand for 5 minutes to allow the cous cous to absorb the water
* Fluff the cous cous with a fork to separate the grains
* Serve immediately. For extra richness, fork through a knob of butter or drizzle over a little olive oil
This cous cous tastes really nice, it has a slightly spicy flavour that isn't hot just a warm and spicy flavour. It has a slightly crunchy texture to it too due to the sunflower seeds in it and the dried vegetable fill out with the liquid to give the cous cous more moisture and taste.
Nutrition per 1 serving .... 1/2 pack ~
Energy ~ 165 kcals
Protein ~ 5.6g
Carbs ~ 31.1g
Fat ~ 2.0g
Fibre ~ 4.4g
Sodium ~ 0.36g
Allergy Advice ~
This cous cous contains wheat and gluten.
This cous cous is a real favourite of mine and I use it in many different ways. It is lovely with a salad for a nice lunch or as an accompaniment to a main meal it is also really nice just on its own as a snack. My husband likes it with a juicy steak and with finely chopped red peppers added to it and some fried mushrooms on the side as well as some potato wedges, a lovely meal! It is low in calories too, so is good for your waistline, and it is one store cupboard item that I will always have stocked up.
This is available in all good supermarkets at around 70p for a 100g pack but is often on offer in various places for 2 packs for £1.00, so I always stock up when the opportunity arises.
Thank you for reading my review!
I often buy these very convenient little sachets as something a bit different for lunch. They are great to keep in the cupboard in case you run out of bread for a sandwich, which often happens to me! It's good because it's low in fat and relatively low in calories but fills you up a treat.
It is very easy to make, just pour on 160ml boiling water, stir, cover and leave for 10 minutes then fluff up the grains with a fork. You can eat it hot or cold, and I think I actually prefer to eat it cold, so it's really easy to do before you go to bed at night, as it's then ready to grab on your way out of the door the next morning.
The flavour of this Spice Sensation one is nice, warming but not too spicy. It has bits of carrot and sunflower seeds in which add to the texture. It is less flavoursome than the Moroccan Medley one in the same range but it is still my second favourite. I usually add a few bits to it to pep it up a bit, like cherry tomatoes, spring onions and olives.
Per half a pack the nutritional information is as follows:
Sat Fat: 0.3g
Ahhh, cous cous, the staple diet of students which is quickly challenging the title of beans on toast at their sole source of nutrients.
The students have got it right though, cous cous is cheap, easy to prepare (especially the ready made varieties like ainsleys) and is moderately good for you.
Specifically ainsleys cous cous - spice sensation is fantastic. It is a constant in my kitchen cupboard. Within 5 minutes I have thge perfect accompaniment for my meals. (I tend to put this with fish and it goes brilliantly).
Ainsley states on the front of the packet that the cous cous is warmer than a Moroccan sunset, I am inclined only in part to agree.
The cous cous is a colourful side dish and will brighten up and dull plate with a slab of fish on it however in my household we don't find the taste very spicy at all. That said we do very much enjoy it but not because of the spice sensation.
The cous cous is easy to prerpare only taking five minutes and some boiling water and your done so it coldnt get much simpler.
The pack states that per 100g there is only 126 calories, however the fat content at 1.5g per 100g seems quite high to me.
However it does remain in the cupboard and we go through about two packs a month so it must be doing something right!
== Ainsley Harriott Spice Sensation Couscous ==
== What is it? ==
Ainsley Harriott Spice Sensation Couscous is a simple packet of Couscous made by the well known celebrity chef, Ainsley Harriott, it comes in a variety of flavours; Tomato Tango; Citrus Kick; Wickedly Wild Mushroom; Spice Sensation; Moroccan Medley; Roasted Vegetable Style.
They come in easy to use 100g packets which you just add water to. Each pack serves 2 people.
Couscous is made from Semolina and is much like rice in it's appearance only smaller round balls. When cooked couscous is again like a softer smaller grained version of rice. It is kind of an acquired substance with a lot of people not liking the texture of it when cooked.
I bought this from Asda as my husband told me he couldn't stand it, after eating it in a salad one time unflavoured, and I myself only once having it before in a lemon flavour, and not been 100% on it myself at that time, I thought while it was 2 packs for £1, I would buy some of this and see if I could tempt my husband into eating it!
I have just had the first packet, and so thought I would write up a little review on it!
This particular flavour is a "savoury couscous with vegetables, sunflower seeds and spices".
== How do I cook it? ==
Cooking this couscous couldn't be easier if it tried, when I bought it I thought you would need to be boiled in water in a pan on the hob so was surprised upon reading the instructions that you just put the couscous in a bowl and add boiling water from the kettle (160ml), and then mix it up, leaving the couscous to stand for 5 minutes to allow the couscous to absorb the water, and then serve! It couldn't be simpler.
On the cooking rating of ease, from 1 to 10 (1 been easiest and 10 been most difficult), this is most definitely a 1, nobody could find this hard to cook, and even the most amateur cook can easily make this perfect accompaniment to a meal.
When you have made the couscous, the packet recommends that you add a knob of butter or a drizzle of olive oil for a little extra moisture in the couscous, I definitely recommend this as otherwise the couscous can be a little dry.
== What does it taste like? ==
When you put the couscous into the bowl you will see little bits in it, orange and green bits, these are dried vegetables which when the water is added will puff up in the couscous giving it that extra something.
The couscous is quite spicy but not overly so, with a slight curry kind of flavour to it, and there is a nice crunchiness to it with the sunflower seeds. It is a lovely taste, but personally I do feel like I have to add a little salt to it, not much but just a little to enhance the flavours. It isn't too hot and spicy which is good for people who don't like spice, but if you wanted it spicier you could add a little more spice to it yourself at home.
The texture is like any other couscous, with bits of vegetable and sunflower seeds thrown in. It is the type of accompaniment to a meal as it isn't bland and boring but has a lovely little kick to it. It doesn't leave a nasty taste in your mouth either as some spices tend to do!
== What should I serve it with? ==
This could be served as a lunch time snack on its own, which seems to be very popular with a lot of people. But it is also perfect to serve with a main meal.
In Morocco, where couscous is very popular, it is served with a thick sauce with vegetables or meat, but with this couscous I would say to serve it with something quite plain as you don't want anything which will overpower the flavours from the couscous.
I suggest serving with a lightly spiced pork fillet, or grilled chicken breast marinated in a spicy sauce.
If you're a vegetarian you could try adding bigger pieces of extra vegetables to the couscous and maybe topping it with a little home made tomato sauce.
You can keep trying to experiment with this couscous, but I definitely recommend some grilled meat which has been lightly spiced.
== Nutrition ==
This couscous is quite healthy, just like all couscous is!
Here are the nutritional values as stated on the back of the packet.
These are the nutritional values of the couscous prepared as the packet says without butter or oil, and per 100g bag.
of which sugars: 2.5g
of which saturates: 0.2g
Something which confuses me a lot about this product is that is claims there are two servings per packet, yet on the back of the pack it says that each serving is 130g, yet this packet contains just 100g of couscous which for me was plenty to be split in two. This 130g could be when cooked and absorbed all the water? If anybody knows the answer to this I would actually appreciate if you could leave a comment about it?
Dried couscous, Dried Vegetables, Sunflower Seeds, Salt, Vegetable Oil, Yeast Extract, dried parsley, garlic powder, natural flavourings, carrot powder, dried coriander, onion powder and chilli powder.
Contains wheat gluten
Suitable for Vegetarians when served without meat!
== Packaging ==
The packaging for this couscous makes the product look much more expensive than it actually is, with the offer which I got the couscous on (2 for £1) it is only 50p for a 100g packet, which I personally think is very reasonable, of course you can get couscous for much cheaper than this, but it tends to be plain and you have to add your own flavourings to it.
The packaging (as you can see in the picture), is black with yellow writing, a photo of the chef Ainsley Harriott in the left hand corner and a photo of the couscous itself next to it, along with the a little nutritional information.
The packet is a packet like you get sauce mixes in (i.e. Colman's Cheese Sauce), and is easy to open, you simply rip the top off, and pour the couscous into the bowl, simple!
== Price and Availability ==
I have done a little research, and it seems the best place to buy this at the moment is Asda with it's offer on of 2 for £1, but it is sold in all the other popular supermarkets.
Asda: 57p each or 2 for £1
Sainsbury's: £1.18 (this is for a double packet, with 200g inside!)
Waitrose: £1.26 (again this is a double packet, with 200g inside)
== My Opinion ==
All in all, I enjoyed this couscous quite a lot, I actually had it with chicken kiev which to be honest didn't go too well and in future I would definitely have it with something else more suitable!
It is excellent value for money, and one pack is plenty for two people as an accompaniment to a meal, or for one as a snack at lunch time.
The taste and texture are lovely, and I can seriously say it is the nicest couscous I have had (to be fair it is only the second time I have had it!), but I have the other flavours in the cupboard to try yet!!!
I definitely recommend this if you have never tried couscous before, or if you have had plain couscous and didn't enjoy it!
I will give this a good 10 out of 10! :)
I work in an open-plan office and for that reason we are not allowed to have a microwave at work - apparently the smell of food cooking is considered too disruptive and in some ways I agree with this as it's not nice to smell the strongly flavoured foods that some people seem to prepare in office microwaves.
However, I live in the North of Scotland and around about October I start feeling dissatisfied with eating cold sandwiches for lunch and long for something warm. Soup brought in a thermos is great but a bit of a pain to prepare in the mornings. We do have a kettle at work so products that you can just add boiling water to are great. I don't find pot noodle or powdered soup mixes healthy enough in general to eat for lunch, so when I found this couscous and realised it didn't need to be cooked on the hob I snapped it up.
It's incredibly easy to prepare this couscous. You simply add 160ml of boiling water, stir well, and leave for 5 minutes to soak in. I use a plastic tub with a lid to prepare the couscous because I like to put the lid on while the liquid is absorbing to make sure it doesn't evaporate too much and too make sure I'm not stinking up the office with my meal (it really doesn't smell strong but because of the microwave rule I'm a bit paranoid!). I don't measure out the water exactly but estimate it and it always turns out well. I eat straight from the plastic container which may not be very elegant but I'm not really concerned with that - I'd rather keep the washing up to as little as possible. Then if I don't finish the couscous it's already in a convenient container to be stored in.
I always do finish it, however. An entire packet is a great portion size for lunch - although it says 176 calories per serving there are two servings in a packet making 352 calories for my lunch which isn't bad at all. I usually have a piece of fresh fruit with this too.
The flavour is very nice. It's got a warm, slightly spicy curry taste too it but it's not exactly like an Indian curry spice - it's an unusual taste really. The texture is just lovely and I really like the bits of dried vegetables and especially the crunchy sunflower seeds inside.
Although I eat this for my lunch, it would probably be even better served as a side dish with a Moroccan-themed meal. In Morocco (I've been there a couple times) couscous seems to be served always with a nice thick sauce full of vegetables and other bits in it over the top. So eating just this packet would certainly not be considered traditional but it is extremely nice for what it is.
You could also add things to this couscous - chopped walnuts and sultanas would be lovely and complement the flavour perfectly.
The price is very reasonable for a lunch meal - you can often find this on offer at 2 for £1 and when I see this offer I really stock up as they keep forever.
Ainsley Harriott Spice Sensation Cous Cous.........
I have been a big fan of cous cous over the past year or so and have come to the conclusion that you really can't do better than Ainsley Harriott's range.
I have just eaten for my lunch at work a whole packet of this Spice Sensation and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the perfect thing to bring to work as being only a single packet it didn't take up much room in my bag on the way to work like packing a sandwich in a lunch box would do and it was so quick and easy to make.
A packet of the Spice Sensation Cous Cous costs around the 70p price range although it works out a little cheaper if you buy the multi-packets which have a couple of sachets in. Another good thing about eating this cous cous is the fact that it is very low in fat and not too high in calories. The whole packet has less than 2% fat in and when eating the whole lot it really does fill you up enough to last over till dinner time.
To make up the cous cous it is as simple as boiling the kettle, or in my case at work using the tank on the wall! All you have to do it pop the contents of the sachet into a bowl and cover with boiling water. It needs a few stirs and then you just have to leave the water to soak into the cous cous. After around 5 minutes it is ready to eat! Simple!
Of course being at work the only trouble with this is the smell and although I think it smells nice because I am eating it often people who are not about to tuck into a nice spicy bowl of cous cous are not too happy about having to smell it. I wouldn't say that it smells nasty at all and in my opinion it has a very tempting aroma to it but I guess people like to moan. However both the smell from the Spice sensation cous cous and the look of it has somewhat of a curry type vibe to it.
The taste is exceptional and it is probably my favourite flavour from the Ainsley Harriott range for the time being as I keep changing my mind. However I wouldn't say it was too spicy or hot. It gives enough spice to make it taste spicy but not too much that it would put people off who are not keen on hot things. It has a wonderful crunch to it as well because there are pumpkin seeds thrown in the mix for good measure.
All in all I would say that this is the prefect lunchtime meal. It is cheap, filing, easy to make and above all else is delicious. It as well goes great with meals in the evening and is a good alternative to using rice.
I think only a 5 star rating and a high recommendation is apt for this great product.
I do hope this has been of some help/interest to you.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
Ainsley Spice Sensation Couscous is on special at Tesco's - any two packets for one pound.
In each packet there are two 100 gram sachets. Each sachet has enough Couscous for two people as a side dish for dinner or one person's lunch.
The Couscous is very easy to prepare, you pop it in a bowl and add boiling water and wait about five minutes. All the flavouring and spices are included and it is a fairly healthy, tasty option. There is 1.5 grams of fat per 100 grams, however, it is high in salt.
The Spice Sensation is particularly tasty, it has good flavouring and is very moorish, I have Couscous as an easy work lunch as there is no need for a microwave or any preparation equipment. When eating Couscous for lunch, I cheer it up a bit by adding some cherry tomatoes or other fresh veg.
At home I add tinned sweetcorn and left over roast chicken and suddenly I have a five minute easy Monday Night supper.
A 1kg bag of plain Tesco's Couscous is £1.39, so if you can be bothered or have the time to add some chicken stock and your own seasoning, it is much better value for money than buying Ainsley's products.
What place does a quick cous cous ready meal have in a country that is increasingly health conscious, and perpetually berated by celebrity chefs for not feeding ourselves or our loved ones with the freshest, least processed of foods? More to the point, is there such a need to accelerate the cooking speed of an already speedy food?
Call me soft, but I couldn't imagine there being a manipulative nor greedy bone in Ainsley Harriot's body. So when I saw these on offer recently - to buy two for £1.00 - I thought that there must be some merit to them considering they are created/inspired by the great chef himself AH.
I was searching for a quick, filling, vaguely nutritous snack to keep me going during a busy lunch time, and had eaten well made cous cous, with all the spices and salad and vegetables mixed together, before and found it to be incredibly delicious. The cous cous seemed to soak up every flavour around it, barely able to contain itself, and would release an exotic river of jucies every time you would move your mouth.
This packet was incredulously simple to make, considering the delicate difficulties faced when recreating a similar meal, at home, yourself. You simply measure out the exact amount of boiling water, add to the contents of the packet into a bowl, and wait for five minutes.
As it to be expected with such a straightforward ready made meal, the flavours are keenly tasted but don't have that zip and explosion of fresher alternatives, and don't progressively reveal themselves like some edible striptease. The recommended serving of water always seemed that little bit too much for the bowl I was using, and could end up being a bit sloppy.
However, overall, this is a welcome alternative to a food which is tricky to perfect, and is a quick and straightforward snack which shouldn't cause and trouble to your tastebuds, your time, or your wallet.
The Ainsley Harriet 'Spice Sensation' Cous Cous comes in a recyclable cardboard box and costs £1.17 in Sainsbury's (you can find it in the dried food aisle with the rice and pasta snacks).
In the box you get two 100g sachets with serve two people (as a side dish). On the outside there's a recipe suggestion but as it was a meat dish and I'm vegan I ignored it!
This cous cous is suitable for vegetarians and for vegans that aren't too strict - it says it may contain egg. The allergy advice also warns that it may contain soya beans and it's not suitable for wheat gluten allergy sufferers.
It's very easy to prepare, even a student could manage this! You just add 160ml of boiling water then leave for five minutes before fluffing up with a fork. I found that this leaves the cous cous a bit too cold for me so I popped it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds just to warm it up.
When I first poured the cous cous into a bowl the smell reminded me a bit of sage and onion stuffing but once I added the water it began to smell spicier.
To look at, it's a beige/pale yellow colour with little green flecks of parsley and a few bits of coloured vegetables. You can clearly see the carrot as there's more of that than the other vegetables and I definitely spotted a couple of sunflower seeds.
The texture is lovely and fluffy and not stodgy at all. Some of the vegetable bits and the sunflower seeds add a little bit of crunchiness to it.
I actually found the taste of this a bit bland; it's not very spicy at all. It tastes good but it's not a ' spice sensation'. You get more of the spice in the aftertaste than you do when you're actually eating it! I guess the lack of spiciness means it's suitable for the whole family though.
The Best Before date is quite long so this is probably the sort of product I'd buy to keep in the cupboard for when I fancied something quick or for 'visitor meal emergencies'. I'd rather buy cheaper, plain couscous and add the spices myself so I can actually taste them!
Dried Cous Cous (80%) (From Wheat), Dried Vegetables (7%) (Carrot, Onion, Tomato, Courgette), Sunflower Seeds (1.8%), Salt, Vegetable Oil, Yeast Extract, Dried Parsley, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavouring (Contains Mixed Spice), Carrot Powder, Dried Coriander, Onion Powder, Chilli Powder.
Energy - 535kj/126kcal
Protein - 4.3g
Carbohydrate - 23.9g
of which sugars 2.5g
Fat - 1.5g
of which saturates - 0.2g
Fibre - 3.4g
Sodium - 0.28g
Cous Cous seems to have become trendy in the past few months as it suddenly started appearing on the supermarket shelves with celebrity endorsements and the like, this was a bit of a surprise to me as i have been eating it for ages ever since coming across it in an African restaurant in Paris, I ea it with meat stews and also alongside a salad as it is very versatile wheat based product and easy to prepare.
This particular cous cous from the annoying Ainsley Herriot is actually rather nice however I still think that a cheaper option is to buy cous cous and add the spices yourself.
This particular cous cous as a slightly hot taste to it from the spices in it and is very easy to prepare in some water on the hob. It has a nice consistency and does not go stodgy when you cook it which suggests it is good quality cous cous, I could certainly detectthe spices in it and as such this would go lovely with some Moroccan lamb as that has a fruity taste to it and the two flavours wouldcombine well.
It is very light in texture and sits nicely on the fork with a nice golden brown, I love the versatility of cous cous and this particular one tastes better warm rather than allowing it to cool to eat with a salad in my opinion. For once the annoying chef has something about him I like.
With the warmer weather coming up and the barbecues being dusted off and being brought out of the shed, I always find my shopping takes a slight turn and I start buying more couscous to go with the salads and barbecues.
I never used to eat couscous, thinking it was bland and tasteless. On going to a friend's barbecue last year I saw a bowl of colourful looking couscous that actually looked appealing. I have never looked back since realising couscous didn't have to be bland and horrible.
Obviously you can buy plain couscous and add your own spices etc to make it flavoursome. Ainsley Harriott's spice sensation couscous has just the right mixture of flavours that makes an interesting addition to my salads and side for the barbecue meats.
Packaged in a cardboard box with two 100g sachets hidden inside, I believe you are getting great value for money at £1.17 for the two packs. I find one sachet once made is more than ample for a side dish for a family of four when served with a meal.
The packaging is very sleek and classy with black and yellow colouring. It's not very summery so you wouldn't look at the packet and think it would be good for the summer months, but that's not a bad thing on the manufacturer's part as this would be great all year round.
Each sachet is very simple to make, needing only to mix with boiling water. If you've never made couscous before you won't realise how simple it really is and can be made in a matter of minutes if you're looking for an extra to the meal.
There are simple instructions on the packet, but basically put the couscous grains into your serving bowl and pour the required amount of boiling water over the grains.
Give a quick mix with a fork and then cover with a plate and leave for ten minutes. When you go back to it you'll see that all the grains have absorbed the water and you have a dish of couscous looking at you. It's recommended that you fork through the mixture again to separate the grains.
The packet will tell you to serve immediately, but I have found through eating this on many occasions that this can either be eaten immediately or indeed left to cool and placed in the fridge to be eaten a another day and it'll still taste just as good.
On first appearances when the couscous is made, you will see lots of different small pieces of dried vegetables. I can never taste these when eating so it's a good way to sneak something into fussy mouths. The couscous hides courgette, tomato, carrot and onion, but sadly not in enough quantities to count towards your five a day.
The couscous looks very dark and almost curry looking, but it's not an unpleasant appearance when placed on a plate.
The smell that comes from the couscous is quite a fragrant sweet smell. It does smell inviting and pleasant.
Taste wise this couscous has lots of different flavours going through it. There is a slight hint of spice and heat to it but nothing major.
I find some couscous can be quite dry when eating without anything else, and sadly this one is just as dry as all the rest I have tasted in the past. I find a good way to combat this is to make sure it is eaten with something else or add a slight dressing to the plate.
Couscous isn't at all bad for you in the grand scheme of things. Each 100g packet of this will provide 123 calories and 0.9grams of fat. Eaten in proportion couscous is a good side dish. It's not so good however if you're allergic to wheat, milk and lactose, durum wheat, or maltodextrin.
Overall I highly recommend you try this brand of couscous if you are looking for an alternative to your dinners. It's a fixed staple in my cupboards especially in the warmer weather months.
I only really discovered cous cous a couple of years ago, and my first taste of it was at a morroccon street stall in Bristol. I loved it, the flavours were amazing and it tasted fantastic with the dish I was eating, soaking up all the juices and really adding to the taste of the whole meal.
From then on I would always look forward to eating it out however wasn't really confident about cooking it at home. I found the big bags of cous cous in the supermarket a little intimidating and I didn't have a clue what to do with it. Anyhow I was round at a friends for a spot of lunch and she served up some fishcakes, salad and some yummy spicy cous cous. It was really delicious and I asked her how she had made it......she laughed and produced the paket - Ainsley Harriot!
Before this I had no idea this stuff exisited and I took a look at the back of the packet at the cooking instructions. It sounded amazingly simple, there was no cooking on the hob required all you have to do is place the contents of the sachet in a bowl, add 170ml boiling water, leave it to stand for five minutes, and then fluff it with a fork and serve immediately. I was sure even I could manage to do that, so made a mental note to pick some on my next Tesco's shop.
Once I knew what I was looking form, it was easy enough to find in the supermarket and since then I have never had any trouble getting hold of the stuff. I usually buy a 100g sachet from Tesco's for about 77p and this is enough as a side dish for my elder daughter, my husband and me. I believe you can also buy a box containing 2 sachets however i'm unsure of the price of this.
Tastewise, this has a spicy taste but rather than being spicy hot I would say that it has a spicy warmth about it that it is actually quite comforting. I serve it up alongside warm spicy casseroles or as inspired by my friend, fishcakes and salad and oodles of thai sweet chilli dipping sauce. It is really versitile and something I always have in my cupboard and it can be made in a jiffy.
Dried Cous Cous (80%) (From Wheat), Dried Vegetables (7%) (Carrot, Onion, Tomato, Courgette), Sunflower Seeds (1.8%), Salt, Vegetable Oil, Yeast Extract, Dried Parsley, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavouring (Contains Mixed Spice), Carrot Powder, Dried Coriander, Onion Powder, Chilli Powder.
Contains Wheat & Wheat Gluten
May contain Eggs & Soyabean
Ever since I first tasted cous cous in a Moroccan restaurant in the South of France 10 years ago I have been in love with the stuff. However i've never been able to turn a bag of cous cous seeds into something tasty... Ainsley Harriott has.
This review focus's on the Spice Sensation Cous Cous from Ainsly Harriott though there are other flavours on the market. I bought a packet costing £1.15. I was attracted to this particular brand of cous cous over all of the other brands due to the simple attractive packaging, the serving suggestion photo (Though it blatently has added vegetables) and the recipie on the back. To be honest, the celebrity endorsement did not matter at all in my purchase.
This pack is 200g and you get two foil packed sachets inside. Each sachet has a generous portion and can feed two. The cous cous is so easy to cook. You place the contents into a bowl, add 160ml of boiling water straight from the kettle and stir it in. Let the bowl stand for 5 minutes to allow the absorption of the water and then fluff the grains and serve.
This particular pack is very tasty, the spice is mild and more for flavour than heat. The cous cous contains dried carrot, onion, tomato and courgette aswell as sunflower seeds. Personally i'd prefer if it didn't have the sunflower seeds but that's just me being fussy.
The recipe on the packet for spicy lamb steaks seems simple to follow though i have not given it a go.
I have to admit that I am not normally a huge fan of cous cous in its most basic form. To my mind (or should that be taste) it is extremely bland with the consistency of course sand. However, it does perfectly complement spicy Moroccan dishes and this particular variety of Ainsley Herriott's cous cous replicates those spices found in many a Moroccan dish. And, of course, it is just about the easiest food to prepare as all that is required is to add a small amount of boiling water, leave it to stand for approximately 5 minutes, then fluff up.
These packets are not only sold individually but also in triple packs which reduces the cost per packet considerably, making it a very cost effective replacement for rice or can even be a substitute for potato.
The ingredients, apart from the dried cous cous, include dried carrot, onion, tomato and courgette as well as added sunflower seeds. The spices which give it the unique Moroccan flavour include parsley, garlic, coriander and chilli powder. For the health conscious, cous cous is very low in fat at less that 2% per serving. The packet also proudly proclaims there are no artificial colours, preservatives or flavours.
The down side is that, even when cooked, cous cous is still very dry, so it really needs to be served with something that has a sauce. I usually serve with a sweet potato stew but it would also go equally well with mild curry dishes, though some of the flavours might clash a bit.
All in all, I can highly recommend this product. It is spicy but not overwhelmingly so, flavoursome and is, as it states on the packet, warmer than a Moroccan sunset..... As I've never been to Morocco I can't substantiate that last claim!
This is a good product to add to your store cupboard and is cheap enough to be an everyday ingredient.
Ainsley's cous cous comes in a couple of other flavours, tomato and lime and coriander, both of which I've also eaten and enjoyed.
If you want to try something different at meal times, give this a go. I think you'll enjoy it.