I love cooking from scratch and I have a very well stocked spice rack that I love dipping into like an artist's palette, blending flavours and colours until I have the perfect combination to tickle my tastebuds (or set them on fire, depending on my mood !). However, I also have a full-time job and three kids to look after, so I'm not averse to using cooking aids when I'm in a rush. I was delighted to receive a fabulous package from Knorr, containing a beautiful red cast iron cooking pot, some herbs and spices, a grow-your-own herb garden and some sachets of their new Naturally Tasty range of packet mixes.
There are six recipes, which offer a nice mixture of family favourites and more exotic dishes : Chilli Con Carne, Lasagne, Spaghetti Bolognese, Tuna Napolitana, Moroccan Chicken and Beef Tagine.
As the name suggests, these new recipe mixes contain all of the taste but none of the hidden nasties. They are made with real vegetables, with a variety of aromatic herbs, spices and seasonings, to allow you to create authentic, great tasting meals that are quick and easy to prepare. The range contains no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, as well as being free from MSG, HVO and HVP.
For added convenience, the labels on the Naturally Tasty Range are easy to read and understand, with ingredients lists containing nothing that you wouldn't find in the average kitchen store cupboard.
When you see the vibrant natural colours of the spices, it makes you wonder why people ever bother using artificial colours.
We've been road-testing the new range this week and they all got a big thumbs-up from the whole family. One of our favourites has been the Chilli Con Carne, which surprised me because I usually think the kids won't like it because it's too spicy. The Naturally Tasty blend is packed with flavour but has very little chilli kick, so it even had Pierre wolfing it down and asking for seconds.
The Beef Tagine was another big hit, and as I made it with rump steak rather than stewing steak, it was ready in half an hour. This is definitely a huge bonus when I rush in late from work and need something quick on the table. You can pack in the veggies too - the recipe suggestion recommends courgettes but I added onions, mushrooms and red peppers too. A quick sprinkle of flaked almonds on top and you have a dish that looks and tastes like you've been slaving over it for hours when it only takes about half an hour from start to finish !
Pierre had great fun helping me put together a lasagne with a difference - when I went to the cupboard to find the lasagne sheets, I discovered that there were none left. Oops !
But we have learnt that lasagne is just as delicious when made with regular pasta, and also much easier to assemble, as there is no risk of having undercooked pasta sheets when you take it out of the oven ! I used another shortcut in this recipe - a sachet of Knorr Cheese Sauce, which again made it possible to have the meal ready in about half an hour.
Knorr Naturally Tasty makes four servings per pack (but we've managed to get five generous servings out of each pack - I've just thrown in a few extra vegetables), has an RRP of 89p and is available at retailers nationwide, including Tesco, Asda, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. The whole range gets the Madhouse seal of approval !
Disclosure : We received a package of goodies, including the new Naturally Tasty range of sachets.