It’s review time

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Can I just say, arghhhhhhhhhh! My wedding dress isn’t ready yet. Arghhh. Arghhh!! Deep breath. Deep breath.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, review time.

First of all, a huge thank you to Charlie Bigham’s incredibly delicious ready meals. I must have had a conversation with a lovely PR about this at some point but to be honest I can’t remember (unless it is covered with confetti, it frankly doesn’t make it into my brain these days). So it was a bit of a surprise when the doorbell rang on Saturday. I was just working up a fair head of stress about the proposed menu for dinner that evening. We had a full quorum of children, with Child 3 and Child 4 pretty determined to eat anything as long as it was sausages drowned in ketchup, and Child One and Child Two obviously not planning to touch sausages even if they were the last available sustenance on earth. Child Two also had to be picked up from a distant party right in the middle of supper time. Then, to add a merry cap to the whole business, TL had a business acquaintance coming to dinner and wanted to have a Serious Chat with him. So, while I was in the throes of mentally juggling sausages, times and zones in the manner of a very grumpy quantum physicist, a courier handed me a bulging cool bag. Inside were mysterious containers full of good things. No sausages, alas for Child 3 and 4, but a lovely Thai stir fry for the teens, two beef and ale pies for the businessmen and an enormous fish pie for anyone suffering from stress, ahem.

Everything, I must say, was super-duper-delicious and much tastier than those tragic ready meals you find in supermarkets, which are drowned in salt and sugar to compensate for poor ingredients and overcooking. The Thai sauce, in particular, was full of lovely lemongrassiness and was better than some I’ve had in restaurants. Even more importantly, the whole package saved me from internal combustion and also provided some excellent nourishment. Result! Thank you, Charlie Bigham. Have a look at the range here.

We had slightly more mixed success with Hovis’s new British Farmers loaf, baked with 100 per cent British wheat. We basically divided into two camps on this – the adults loved it, the children declared various degrees of antipathy, from mild dislike to full-blown hatred. On the plus side, it’s much lighter and more springy than Hovis’s other wholemeal bread. TL said a couple of slices for breakfast definitely kept him fuller for longer than Hovis Best of Both, our usual default bread if I can’t be bothered to get the breadmaker going. I thought the Farmers loaf was particularly good toasted with just butter – it becomes lovely and chewy, like one of those gorgeous Soreen loaves, though without the fruit. But I’m afraid it was a bit earthenware for the kids. There is apparently a white version but I haven’t seen it anywhere, we’ll give it a go when I track it down.

The Collective UK very kindly sent me some vouchers for their probiotic yoghurt, which looks fab on the website (don’t look at the pomegranate one, bearing a strong resemblance to soup) but I am afraid I just haven’t made it to Sainsburys yet to get my samples. There is a Sainsburys reasonably near but the carpark is always full and it’s in the opposite direction to the school run, so it’s not handy. I’m sorry, I know it’s a bit rubbish but there we are. I will get there in the end and let you know my findings when I do.

Who ate all the pies?

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