Another Friday night, another meal deal. That seems to be the way we’re rolling these days when fish and chips (chips in particular) and indeed anything from out of the freezer is seen as an unhealthy option. My obsession with oats, nuts and all things low fat / good fat is very much on the wane since my trip to Oslo and some meals I have in my future sights are going to trash the whole idea of healthy eating (watch this space and you’ll see what I mean), so this meal deal is leaning towards comfort food again. After a hard week of work its the least we deserve, right?

So here’s the deal for a tenner:

Big bottles mind. Not those disappointingly pissy little bottles you sometimes get in restaurants for more than the price of a big bottle. Peroni is not too fizzy, refreshing and a bit stronger than a lot of bottled lagers. It seemed like a good choice with the risotto, although I guess a white wine would have been a more traditional accompaniment.
The side and the pudding. Not sure how happy William is about us eating his tarts…
Never an option for me when eating out as I think paying restaurant prices for something I could make at home is a rip off.

Yes I can make a decent risotto without too much fuss and I am very particular about how the rice is cooked and how moist the risotto is. I can be quite a Goldilocks when it comes to rice. So it was a bit of punt buying this especially when I decided to microwave it which can do strange things to rice at the best of times. But Siggy is a big fan of mushrooms and butternut squash so I thought it a good choice and I have faith in Tesco’s food development people.

The chicken breast pieces were succulent and tasted quite lemony – I assume that was to do with the marinade. The risotto was permeated with a good mushroom flavour and the rice was spot on to my liking. There was a good amount of thick sauce, very little spinach and I don’t think the butternut squash really added anything to the meal. And yes, in my haste to eat it, I forgot to take a photo.


The greens were pretty tasty. The blurb on the packet tells you that Tesco cook the veg quickly and then refresh them with cold water to help retain the texture and colour. A chill and mint dressing was supposed to add a slight heat with tangy feta balancing the flavours. To be honest I didn’t really notice the chilli or the feta, but the oil coating was nice in the mouth and the broccoli was nice and tender. I actually had these for my breakfast on Saturday, so I can’t comment on how well they complimented the risotto – I don’t expect that they would have done really. That’s part of the fun of these meal deals – combining dishes that might not normally go together.

As usual the star of the show is the pudding. We have had these pear tarts on numerous occasions and they work best with some whipped cream, clotted cream or single cream. The pastry can be a little dry otherwise despite it being all butter shortcrust.


Cooked for around 13min in a 160C fan oven the almond fragipane retains its moistness and works wonderfully with the cramel sauce and the lump of pear. The pear is around a third of a small pear to fit the small ‘footprint’ of the pastry base (and I guess to ensure it cooks ok). In this occassion the pear was a bit tough and we didn’t get as many chopped nuts on top as we usually do, but the overall taste is great.