Friday 22 June 2018

Stress-free midweek meals from Field Fare (review)

Some days, juggling kids and jobs and household chores and endless paperwork is utterly exhausting, but at the end of the day, you still need to get food on the table and feed hungry tummies. For those days, having a frozen ready meal in the freezer is an absolute godsend. I was therefore delighted when Field Fare got in touch and asked if we'd like to try out some of the new additions to their ever expanding range of frozen food. You may remember, last year we reviewed their ready-to-bake cookies, summer fruit, chicken à la king and coq au vin, which were all very popular with the whole Madhouse Family. This time, we got to sample their dual-purpose pizza/focaccia dough, slow-cooked pork belly and spicy bean chilli.

The dough retails at 75p per portion and just needs to be defrosted at room temperature for four hours or in the fridge for 12 hours. That means you can pop it in the fridge overnight for lunch or get it out after lunch for the evening meal.

The dough is supposed to double in size when left to prove, something I was initially dubious about because I assumed the subzero temperatures would have killed off the yeast, but it really did work, as you can see in the photo.

Each ball of dough is the perfect size for one individual pizza so I called the kids to the kitchen to play at being pizzaiolos !

After much stretching and flinging (and laughing), we had four more-or-less round pizza bases to customise. The huge benefit of using individual bases is that everyone can tailor their toppings to their own tastes, and we all ended up with hugely different combinations.

On the left, cheese-lover (and tomato-hater) Juliette went for a crème fraîche base topped with salami, grated cheese, parmesan, camembert (yes, really !) and mushrooms (as an afterthought, when she saw me chopping them). Sophie, on the right, went for cream, salami and mimolette cheese (and she also pinched some of my olives). I think they were both inspired by flammekuechen, which have a cream base.

Pierre went for a minimalist meat feast, using a tomato base and various slices of meat (chicken ham and polony). In my opinion, I had the best combination : tomato, mushroom, salami, cherry tomatoes, cheese (grated cheddar and mimolette) and olives.

When we pulled them out of the oven, we were very impressed. The dough had morphed into the perfect crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, deep pan pizza base and they were exactly the right size for a meal for one.

I had two balls of dough left so I squished them together to make focaccia, drizzling the top with olive olive and sprinkling on some rosemary and sea salt.

Again, we were very impressed when it came out of the oven. Juliette even said it looked like it had come from the baker's, which is high praise indeed !

It has a slightly dense, chewy, delicious texture and was hugely popular topped with salted butter as an after-school snack. It kept perfectly fresh for two days, and probably would have lasted longer if the kids hadn't eaten it all !

The ready-to-roast Pork Belly looked quite small when I got it out of the freezer (RRP £4.99 for 220g), but it is deceptive and does indeed serve one to two people adequately. Field Fare have done all the hard work - it has been precooked for 2 ¾ hours, drained, sprinkled with sea salt and browned, then a liquor is made using the saved pork stock and added to the portion for added succulence and flavour during re-heating. It comes topped with a thick layer of crispy crackling, which Juliette was very pleased with. The meat underneath is very juicy and has the texture of pulled pork.

The spicy bean chilli (RRP £2.75 for 350g) is a mix of Kidney beans, Chickpeas and Cannellini beans with jalapeno peppers, infused with cumin and a hint of smoked paprika. I love the fact that you can see recognisable chunks of vegetable (courgette, carrot, peppers, ...) in there. After giving it a stir, it was lovely - however, it did have quite a kick.

To tame things down for the kids, I stirred through a glug of crème fraîche. This made it look less appetising, but tasted absolutely blooming lovely and the kids gobbled it up.

This is half a portion of pork belly, half a portion of spicy bean chilli and, to be honest, the potatoes were superfluous, but I wasn't sure what the kids would make of the chilli. As it turned out, I needn't have worried !

When I hear the words frozen ready meal or frozen pizza, I instantly think bland, cardboard-tasting and very industrial, but all of these products looked and tasted absolutely homemade. They can also be cooked straight from frozen making them total lifesavers when you need a meal in a hurry and you have zero energy.

The Field Fare frozen offer of premium ready meals continues to grow, now numbering over 60 loose products, meals and desserts, alongside the original scoop-and-serve range of more than 80 fresh frozen fruit, veg, fish and bakery goods. That means that there's something for all tastes and for all occasions. I also give it top marks for its eco-friendly credentials, both in terms of minimal packaging and avoidance of food waste because you can buy exactly the quantity you need.

for more information :

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.


  1. These look of really high quality and fun to make and look tasty to eat!

  2. These look delicious, I could use doing something easier mid-week when most tired!


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