Sunday 3 June 2012

Ainsley Harriott World Kitchen Couscous review

Here at The Madhouse, we always love experimenting with different foods and exotic recipes that we've never tried before. We were therefore over the moon when we received a selection of products from Ainsley Harriott's range of food preparations. I've always had a soft spot for Ainsley - he was always so smiley and silly on Ready, Steady, Cook and I'm very proud to have one of his signed cookbooks that I won for submitting a recipe to his website ! Even without his name and photo on the pack, I'd still have been very tempted to try the range though, because it all sounds so exotic and full of unusual flavours, introducing ingredients that I otherwise may not have known what to do with. 

We received the following products from the World Kitchen range :

- Wild Mushroom Bulgar Wheat
- Lentil Dahl
- Creamy Vegetable Spelt
- Chilli & Lime Flavoured Quinoa & Basmati Rice
- Sundried Tomato & Garlic Couscous
- Lemon, Mint & Parsley Couscous
- Moroccan Medley Couscous
- Spice Sensation Couscous

The first product that I tried out was the Lemon, Mint & Parsley Couscous. We're quite used to eating couscous because, in France, it is as popular as pasta and rice, probably because it has been adopted from the North African gastronomy of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia whose populations are deeply rooted in France. Couscous is actually the name of the dish, made up of different meats (chicken, lamb, spicy sausage) and vegetables (carrots, courgettes, tomatoes) on a bed of couscous (or "semoule de couscous" - "couscous semolina" - in French). It is also the basis of a very popular summer salad - tabouleh - which is made with mint, lemon, onion, cucumber and red pepper. (Google the recipe if you want to give that a try !) We usually buy the boil-in-the-bag sachets for sheer simplicity but you can also buy it loose in a box. This was our first foray into flavoured couscous though.

The Lemon, Mint & Parsley Couscous reminded me of tabouleh actually, minus the vegetables, so it would be a really quick and simple way of preparing that, adding in some chopped cucumber and onion. Even without adding any extra ingredients, it was still packed with flavour and the perfect accompaniment to our barbecue. The packaging suggests that it is particularly suited to fish and lamb but we ate ours with grilled chicken, spare ribs and sausages and everyone declared it delicious.

The next one that we tried was Sundried Tomato & Garlic, which has visible flecks of dehydrated tomato in it. I wasn't quite so keen on this one because the flavours reminded me more of packet soup mix than fresh, natural ingredients, but everyone else thought it was lovely. The packaging suggests serving this with pork and chicken but ours went with beefburgers and salad. Couscous can be served as an accompaniment to just about any meat or fish, in place of rice or pasta.

It couldn't be simpler to prepare. You just tip the contents of the sachet into a bowl or deep dish, add 160ml of boiling water and wait for 5 minutes until the couscous has absorbed all the water. Fluff it up with a fork and drizzle over olive oil or add a knob of butter and serve.

Each 100g sachet makes enough for two large portions or several smaller ones - all five of us had a small serving, along with several other salads (tuna and potato salad, homemade chunky coleslaw, sweetcorn & cherry tomato salad and green salad) to accompany our barbecue. The packaging says that it is suitable for vegetarians, contains less than 2% fat and one serving (half a pack) contains under 200 calories. 

We'll be trying out the rest of the Ainsley Harriott range over the next few weeks so watch this space !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : 75p for 100g

for more information (and recipes) :

Disclosure : I received a selection of Ainsley Harriott World Kitchen products in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :


  1. I often buy these products and had the lentil dahl just the other day. delicious.

    1. That's our very next review - tried it this weekend !!

  2. I'm couscous crazy right now, so might try one, but the regular stuff is so cheap isn't it and easy to add stuff too, just a few herbs and squeeze of lemon is good. But good if you want a real different flavour I think.

  3. I love these products, and surprisingly the kids too!

  4. Love couscous, and tried a few of Ainsley's products. I forgot which one I found a bit too artificial-tasting. These packs are very handy though, and with a few bits added make a lovely lunch.

  5. Oooh, I don't know why I tease myself reading reviews of products like this. I used to love couscous but since being diagnosed coeliac it's off the menu for me ;-(
    Still, at least I can 'enjoy' reading what others think of it :-)


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