Heston’s latest ready meal for Waitrose is his Beetroot Spelt Risotto recipe. And there’s a new dessert to go alongside it to: Earl Grey and Lemon Panna Cotta. Time for a review.
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Back? Anyways, last year we reviewed four of Heston’s ready meals for Waitrose (still waiting on Andy to cross of that Shepherd’s Pie for us). There’s now a magnificent, um, sixth in the form of Heston’s Beetroot Spelt Risotto.
Not only that, but a couple of new ready-to-eat desserts in the form of Chamomile or Earl Grey & Lemon Panna Cottas.
We picked up both the Heston from Waitrose Beetroot Spelt Risotto and the Heston from Waitrose Earl Grey and Lemon Panna Cotta to review. Here’s how our taste test went.
Product Review: Heston From Waitrose Beetroot Spelt Risotto
Price: £3.99 (introductory, RRP £4.99) for 400g
Availability: Very good
The usual classy Waitrose ready meal packaging. Identical to the one the Heston from Waitrose Chilli Con Carne ready meal comes in.
Sat atop the vivid purple spelt grains there’s a hefty slab of horseradish butter to finish the dish with.
You’re meant to use it according to your personal tastes, but since I’m as greedy as I am miserly I threw the whole thing in. No way am I throwing away artery-clogging trans-fats I’ve paid good money for.
Instructions say you can cook this in the oven in 20 minutes or in the microwave in 3. Obviously we went with the quick option. This is a ready meal after all!
Well, this is a surprise.
I had vague notions of what this dish would be like, since we had a go at cooking it ourselves from Heston’s Beetroot Spelt Risotto recipe in the Heston at Home recipe book.
Sadly that dish was ruined by a vinegar overload from the acidulated butter and dressed fennel. Some sloppy and inexperienced risotto cooking on my part didn’t help. Obscenely wasteful too: you have to throw away most of two beetroots to create perfect little cubes.
In this Waitrose ready meal Spelt still has a slight springiness with each bite, but nothing like the rubbery bounce of our home made version’s undercooked grains. The beetroot doesn’t come in perfect cubes either, but this isn’t an issue unless you suffer with serious culinary-OCD. In the Heston from Waitrose ready meal dish the earthy flavour of the beetroot comes through perfectly, and the horseradish provides a lively bit of kick.
Bottom line: the Waitrose ready meal take on Heston’s Beetroot Spelt Risotto recipe is a much better bet than if you were to cook the dish for yourself at home.
The home recipe has a relatively expensive shopping list of ingredients and requires several bits of long-winded preparation. So, unless there’s more than a couple of you, it’d be cheaper, tastier and vastly easier to go with the Waitrose ready meal option.
Next up, dessert:
Product Review: Heston From Waitrose Earl Grey and Lemon Panna Cotta
Price: £3.99 for 2x 100ml portions
Moe classy packaging. You get two plastic pots that are physically identical to those used for some Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference desserts, plus a smaller one filled with the lemon crumble topping. The third component is a generous layer of lemon curd underneath each panna cotta.
For the love of all things sacred DO NOT let this tip over in the boot of the car on the way home. Those layers of smooth panna cotta and lemon curd will slide into each other creating a smeared mess up the side of the container. Please, trust me on this.
Heston’s Earl Grey Panna Cotta is another recipe from Heston at Home that we’ve had a go at making.
We immediately noticed that our home made version was darker, and with a more defined Earl Grey flavour, than the Waitrose version. In this Waitrose dessert the delicate flavour of Earl Grey is completely overwhelmed by the lemon curd layer.
We served our Earl Grey Panna Cotta recipe with Heston’s Caraway Biscuit recipe, on the grounds that something as smooth as panna cotta needs a crunchy accompaniment to balance out the textures. The lemon crumble does an admirable job of this, and you get a generous amount, but its ever-so-slightly too sweet. Heston’s Earl Grey Panna Cotta recipe is pretty easy to make at home, and fun too. The home recipe makes150ml portions rather than the stingy 100ml you get here.
We agree with the inclusion of the crumble and curd. And having them there makes it more acceptable to be paying four quid for what’s essentially cream, milk, sugar and a tea bag. But we reckon these extras take away from the dish, rather than adding to it. This is one you’d be better off making yourself.
That said, £4 is about the standard for a pair of posh-range desserts. So if you’ve a pocket full of cash and a choice between, say, some sort of Millionaires Salted Caramel Trifle Sundae or this, then the Heston option is at least worth trying.
Have you tried any of the Heston from Waitrose ready meal products, including these latest offerings? If so what did you think? Perhaps you work for Waitrose’s PR department and you can explain why the hell you won’t send us any freebies, you tightwads. We look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.