This week we’re looking at the interesting proposal which is Asda’s red pepper and chickpea Brazilian grills. There are a few things about them that seem intriguing right from the start: first of all, what exactly is a Brazilian grill? Why is there a sachet of sauce inside the packet? Isn’t it just a red pepper and chickpea burger?
We can answer that second question right away, as this is one of a seeming rise in sauce-accompanied frozen goods in supermarkets. The grill goes under the, well, grill, and the sauce goes into a cup of boiling water to defrost it through the sachet. When all is finished, you serve it up by drizzling the sauce from the sachet onto the burger. It’s an interesting, if unnecessarily fiddly, way of doing things. Of course, if you don’t like the sauce and would prefer some good old mayonnaise, you’re going to be in trouble once it’s already served.
Much as could be predicted, the taste is like that of a slightly spicy bean burger, with the added tang of the red pepper. Nothing unusual there. The texture is interesting but it’s also quite dry, which I presume is why some innovative soul thought of adding the sauce to the packet. Actually, compared to the burger, the sauce is really quite spicy and has a very strong taste. It’s got an overwhelming impression that I can only describe as “green”. I have no idea what’s in it and I don’t think I want to, as it was not entirely pleasant. It also looks pretty horrible and was quite greasy. To be honest, these grills are much better without the sauce. I can see why they’ve included it – but maybe they should have dedicated more time to making sure the burger wasn’t dry instead of just going with the sauce.
This little dish has become a serious favourite of ours since we first tried it a month or so ago. It’s become our go-to late-night, long-day, nothing-in-the-cupboards meal. It’s delicious, it’s filling, it’s moreish, and it’s also really very healthy. When you look at it that way, I’m not sure why we don’t eat shakshuka every day of the week.
There are a lot of variations on this recipe floating around out there, and this is the one we’ve decided on by trial and error (and chucking whatever herbs we had on hand into the pan to see what happened). It’s so hearty and rich despite there being so few ingredients. You can put this together on a budget as all you really need to buy every time are the eggs, tomatoes, and the pepper. It’s basically a good all-rounder. I’ve also read that it’s a great hangover cure, so there’s an added bonus.
In a large saucepan or wok warm the olive oil over medium heat
Add the tomato paste, red peppers, garlic, and spices.
Saute for about 10 minutes, until the peppers soften.
Add the chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for another 10 mins, until the sauce has thickened.
Make little indentations in the sauce one by one and crack an egg into each.
Simmer for about 10 mins until whites are set and yolks are wobbly.
Serve the eggs with yogurt on the side.
The Greek yoghurt is of course optional. You can also serve with pittas: it's fantastic to serve part of the pepper and tomato mixture inside a pitta and keep the rest with the eggs on your plate. Feel free to experiment with spices and added ingredients - we like Quorn hot dog sausages cut up into small slices and added before the eggs.
Our second Hello Fresh meal was rigatoni with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, which was surely going to be an interesting one. For starters, we never eat pasta unless it’s in a sauce, and we also usually go for a healthy version rather than just the normal “white” pasta. Secondly, we never eat white onions, always red. And thirdly, I don’t like olives. Basically, this recipe had a lot of work to do to win us over!
The rigatoni is cooked separately to the rest of the meal, which is a mixture of cherry tomatoes, onion, yellow pepper, basil, olives, and mozzarella. It is then combined at the end and tossed together for an even spread. There were some things that I definitely liked about this recipe – the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes go nicely together, and for once the olives weren’t utterly horrible. Perhaps simply because there were so few of them that I was able to disguise them with tomatoes and pretend they weren’t there!
However, there are a few changes I would have made. It was just far too dry, and could have done with more of a sauce element. Perhaps a larger quantity of tomatoes would have helped to create the right kind of sauce, especially if they were blended together rather than just being cooked in the pan. I also would have seriously preferred either having red onion, or just doing without. There’s just something so bland about “white” onion when it has been cooked in this way that I hugely dislike. A better blending of the basil throughout the dish would also have improved it.
So that’s what we thought of meal number two – and with the leftovers from this added to the leftovers from last week’s post, we ended up making some Italian and Mexican themed wraps on the third day! Here’s the Vine of this meal being made so you can see it in action.
This month on Vine we’re sharing with you three great new recipes from Hello Fresh. We signed up to the service through a free trial for one box (although this is not a sponsored post – we have a family member who already uses them and who received a discount code!), and decided to try them out. For this Monday and the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing the results.
This week was the turn of the Mexican tortillas with feta and black beans. This seemed like a great place to start, as we do love Mexican food anyway and eat tortillas often. All of the ingredients came in one big box which we were able to open up and sort through after it arrived. We noticed quite early on that you have to be careful with the measurements – for example, although a 175g bag of rice is included, you only needed somewhere around 150g. It’s difficult to be too precise, too: the measurements on these items were provided in grams, but the recipe cards use cups.
I won’t recreate the recipe here as it is part of the package sold by Hello Fresh, but I can tell you what it was like to make. The quantities of everything were a little off, in my opinion: the tortillas were far too small, and as a result I had to serve some of the food on the side of the plate. Even after I had squeezed on as much as I could, there were still lettuce pieces and some tortilla mix left over. It was not comforting to know that the recipe created 964 calories per serving… Much more than I expected from a company branding themselves as healthy!
It did taste good for the most part, although a lot of the lettuce was quite young and the tomato sauce just would not reduce down to anything nearly resembling enough. It was far too watery, making these quite hard to eat in one piece. I also found the rice a little uninspiring, although the lime flavoured sour cream was a nice touch. Generally speaking, I would have used less filling and perhaps tried making it with actual fresh tomatoes rather than a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Here’s the Vine, showing you the process as laid out on the recipe card: