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Homepage Slider Life & Loves Recipe — 20 November 2012

Charlie Bigham's range of ready-to-cook meals
There are times when I thank my lucky stars that I get to review things for my blog, like when Scarlett, a PR for Charlie Bigham’s, asked if I’d like to try out their easy-to-cook range of meals…

Unless you have energy levels of an Olympian us parents don’t always have it in us to whizz up a gorgeous, adult, meal for two and that’s where the Charlie Bigham’s range comes in. The meals are ‘made for two’ to be enjoyed at the table, possibly with a glass of something and some conversation – a treat for both of you. These are not, therefore, like your average ‘ping’ ready-meals.

I know that they say you should never judge a sausage by its skin but first impressions of Charlie Bigham’s easy-to-cook food tell you that you’re in for a treat. The quirky drawings on the packet, the witty interaction between product and customer, the wooden trays and the weightiness of the pies (they come in ramekins) all signal there’s something special going on.

The meals in the range – a selection of Pan Fry, Oven Cook and Pies – are handmade and prepared by professionals. We started by trying the Fish Pie made with haddock and salmon in a parsley sauce with creamy mashed potato and a crunchy Cheddar and breadcrumb topping. Although the meals were made for two we had Grandma staying and as we were all so knackered after a day out in town we decided that we’d squeeze out three servings which we managed. So, yes, portion size is generous. We all agreed that Bigham’s fish pie tasted fresh and had lots of flavour. Being oven cooked in forty or so mins the pie had browned and crisped up nicely. When I tucked in I liked the way it was saucy but still held itself together and didn’t seep all over the plate and drown everything else.
Beautiful pies: Michelle cooks the Charlie Bigham Steak and Ale pie

The Steak & Ale pie, which I see won a Great Taste Award in 2008, was a treat from start right to the very last mouthful. As per instructions, I brushed the pie with egg to help give it a glazed, golden look but that was pretty much all my involvement (apart from eating it). It sounds ridiculous but the pie really was a thing of beauty (I think my picture proves it) as it cooked my tastebuds struggled to hold back and when it was finally ready it was attacked immediately.

Taste-wise the pies did not disappoint. The puff pasty performed that lovely sigh and dip when you cut into it and remained crunchy and multi-layered – no soggy pastry here. There was no denying the ale within the pie as the gravy was beautifully rich. The steak pieces were numerous and of a good size and not at all chewy. We both agreed that they were delicious and something of a treat.

So would we buy Charlie Bigham’s range ourselves? Most definitely. Often as parents you miss out on meals out and time together so these meals are a great compromise.

If you want to get hold of some of the Bigham’s range you can either order online (stock your freezer up NOW!) or you can meals using the Charlie Bigham’s store finder.

 

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