Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Snack Food Review: Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce

21 April, 2009

THE last time I tried tinned mackerel fillets, they were John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce. And they were not good. The fish were fine, but John West never put enough sauce in the tin. And that made them dry and tasteless. The last time I had Princes tinned fish however, was with Princes Herring Fillets in tangy mustard and dill sauce. Had that herring been alive, it would have been swimming, thanks to the copious amount of sauce in the tin. So, what will Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce be like?

Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce front of tin

What can I say about the front of the tin? Not much. It’s 125g, the same as the John West. And there used to be a price sticker for 99 pence, until I peeled it off for this photo.

One of the sides has the address for their consumer department in Liverpool. And a web address of www.princes.co.uk. Besides that, you have to look at the back for more to read.

Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce back of tin

Not that there’s much to read here, either. There’s a recipe for mackerel pasta salad. There’s something about how good Omega 3 is for you. There’s a reassuringly brief list of ingredients where mackerel is 70% of the contents. There’s the big list of nutrition information that no one ever reads, which says it has lots of protein and fat. And that this is a product of Denmark.

So, are Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce better than the Jon West effort? Is this the snack you should buy? Let’s find out.

Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce open tin

First impressions are good. The mackerel fillets are practically floating in sauce. And in a bowl, you get two big, solid pieces of fish and plenty of sauce.

They are as tasty as they look, as well. The tomato sauce isn’t spectacular. But it serves its purpose. The fish is excellent, easily breaking into fork sized chunks. Together, they work brilliantly.

What do I like about Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce? I like that it fixes what was wrong about the John West mackerel fillets. The fish quality is just as good, but Princes, again, remembered to put in enough sauce. This stops it from being the dry, tasteless experience the John West was. I also like how it doesn’t fall into the trap of being too salty, like Princes Herring Fillets were.

What don’t I like about Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce? At 99 pence, they were a little on the expensive side from the off-license I bought them from. The sauce isn’t exactly inspired, either. Besides that, there’s little to complain of.

How can I sum up Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce? For their sheer easy of snacking, they have to go to at least near the top of the tinned fish leader board. Better than the extraordinarily salty Princes Herring Fillets, not as dry as John West Mackerel Fillet, they are roughly on a par with the excellent John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce. This is a very, very good snack food.

Have you tried Princes Mackerel Fillets in a rich tomato sauce? What did you think of them? Do you work for Princes? Then do please leave your corrections, opinions, requests, recommendations and places to buy in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce

12 April, 2009

SO FAR, my favourite tinned-fish snack is John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce. But recently, bigger tins have been catching my eye in the supermarket. Princes have some gigantic 200g tin of Herring Fillets. One in tomato sauce, the other “in a tangy mustard and dill sauce”. I’ve opted for Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce because tomato is everywhere. Mustard sauce is harder to get right.

Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy dill and mustard sauce front of tin

Not only is it by far the biggest tinned-fish I could find. It’s also the first I’ve reviewed here by that other big-name in tinned-fish; Princes. At more than £1.10 pence in my local Tesco, it’s the most expensive as well. Normal sized tins are around 60 to 90 pence.

On one side of the tin is the guarantee of quality where you will find the Liverpool address of Princes Ltd Customer Care people. They have a website printed on there too, at www.princes.co.uk. I wouldn’t bother clicking the link though. It is a boring corporate website. All they have about this product is some vague information about the Princes brand, which is one of very many they own. If you have a business studies assignment to write however, it would be a very good place to look.

Here is the other side of the tin.

Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy dill and mustard sauce back of tin

And there is nothing interesting to say about it. It starts with a recipe for herring wraps. The yellow stripe is about the benefits of Omega 3 fish oils, reminding you to eat two portions of oily fish a week. Under that is the nutrition information, which nobody reads.

Then we get to the ingredients. These are slightly interesting. It’s mostly good stuff like herring fillets and mustard. With only a tiny amount of not so good stuff like an E number. The very worst news however is that it is not a product of Liverpool, but of Germany. Why, with our fishing fleets, can we not have any tinned fish coming out of our very own country? Why? Please, someone explain this madness.

So, what are Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce actually like? Let’s find out.

Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy dill and mustard sauce open tin

Well, it doesn’t lack sauce. Three’s so much of the stuff, you can’t see any fish. What happens when you tip it into a bowl? They look like this.

Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy dill and mustard sauce tipped into a bowl

You can see big pieces of fish, and fish skin. The photo looks yucky, but it’s not as bad as it looks. I’m just happy that there’s enough sauce to go around this time. Unlike some tins of fish.

It smells tasty, too. For some reason, it reminds me of the way Big Macs at McDonalds smell. A similarity in the dill pickles and mustard sauce they use perhaps?

But what are they like to eat? A few mouthfuls in, and the results are good. The herring fillets fall apart into neat little chucks that make eating them a doddle. The pieces with skin pose little challenge to eat. There are no manky bits or bones to worry about. And there’s more sauce than I can handle. This does make a nice change.

The sauce is tangy and tasty. Not very mustardy, but you can forgive it that. It’s tastier than the smattering of sauce you find in most tinned fish. That said, it is a bit salty for my liking.

What am I enjoying about Prices Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce? Quite a lot of things. The fish is tasty and easy to eat. The sauce is mostly excellent. The tin is bigger than most, so it’s good if you’re hungry. This is shaping up to be an excellent light snack.

But what am I not enjoying about Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce? About two-thirds of the way through now, and the saltiness is getting to me. Make sure you have a drink to hand when you snack on this. I also cant’ help noticing that your basic herring doesn’t have much of a taste, Besides that, these tins are a little harder to find in the shops than your usual tins of sardines.

So where does this leave Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce? They are an excellent snack. There’s more fish and sauce than most other tins. Which is good because most other tins never have enough. I just can’t ignore how salty they are. If it wasn’t for that, they could be my new favourite. Recommended for hungry tinned fish fans.

Have you tried Princes Herring Fillets in a tangy mustard and dill sauce or the ones in tomato sauce? What did you think of them? Leave your corrections, opinions, thoughts, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: John West Sild

3 April, 2009

SO I’ve found some good tinned fish. John West Boneless Sardines were tasty and free of yucky bits. John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce were okay, but too dry. But there’s bound to be better out there. Which is why I’m trying this: John West Sild In Tomato Sauce.

John West Sild In Tomato Sauce front of tin

I don’t know anything about sild. But the picture on the front looked nice. And it features a competition to win a “luxury get-away to the Isle of Mull”. I couldn’t resist picking up this 110g tin from the shop-shelf in Tesco.

The sides and back of the tin don’t tell much about Sild either. The back is just a big list of ingredients and Nutrition Information.

John West Sild In Tomato Sauce back of tin

It has 232 calories and 14.3g of fat. Which is uninteresting. What do Sild go with? How do you eat them? The tin doesn’t say. You can thank me for taking the risk on your behalf, in the comments at the end of the post.

So, what do John West Sild In Tomato Sauce look like? What are they like to eat? Should you try them? Let’s find out.

John West Sild In Tomato Sauce open tin

To its credit, they look delicious. More so than most tinned fish. And it gets better when you tip them into a bowl.

John West Sild In Tomato Sauce in a bowl

Look at that. Real little fish. They haven’t been processed into oblivion. Granted, sild aren’t the biggest fish, but you could tell that from their small tin. And they look yummy.

So, how do they taste? I’m three sild in, and first impressions are good. There’s no bony or disgusting manky bits. Instead, you can happily eat everything in there. Most conveniently, each sild is the right size for a mouthful. One sild, one fork, one mouthful.

Picking one apart however does reveal some yuckiness. Sild, it turns out, are vertebrates. And as such, they do have spines. And a tiny bit of mankiness. Sure, you can arduously remove every piece. But from the few I’ve eaten so far from this tin, you don’t need to. Unlike sardines, you can chomp away without worrying about bones or yuckiness.

If I had to criticise John West Sild In Tomato sauce, it would be the taste. Or lack thereof. Sild, I’ve learnt, don’t have much taste. John West have done their best to compensate by filling the tin with tomato sauce. But John West are never going to pick a flavourful sauce. The result is a snack that tastes a little of fish, and a little bit more of tomato sauce. But ultimately, not of very much.

What do I like about John West Sild In Tomato Sauce? I like that they are exactly the right size. I like how easy and clean they are to eat. If, like me, you think sardines are icky, these are easier, yet still sardiny in character. I also like how John West have filled the tin with enough sauce this time.

What don’t I like about Job West Sild In Tomato Sauce? There’s not much to hate. They’re not boneless, so that might bother you. But the bones are so unobtrusive, you’ll be hard pressed to even notice. Especially if you’re hungry. If you want something fishy or with real flavour, you might want to look elsewhere.

To sum up, John West Sild In Tomato Sauce are a good value, easy to eat fishy snack. Easier than sardines, not as dry as mackerel fillets, more adventurous than boneless sardines. Just lacking any real taste. These are worth your time. Give them a try and leave a comment at the end of this post.

Have you tried John West Sild In Tomato Sauce? What did you think? Do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests and recommendations here.

Snack Food Review: John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce

10 March, 2009

THESE are my favourite tinned fish. So far. Unlike Brunswick Canadian Style Sardines, you don’t spend half an hour picking out the bones and mankey bits. And unlike John West Mackerel Fillets in Curry Sauce, they aren’t dry. So far then, John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce avoid the major pitfalls of tinned fish. But what do you think? And there’s always room for improvement. Time once again to cast a critical net into the sea of tinned fish.

John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce top of tin

The tin is quite a lot larger yet flatter than most tins of sardines and mackerel. The end result of which is that John West Boneless Sardines weigh 95g. 30g less than the mackerel fillets and 11g less than the very bony Brunswick sardines. That means about a tenth of your usual tin of sardines consists of bones and that grimy stuff you don’t want to eat.

Around the very this sides of the tin is some writing. One side informs you of how doctors recommend that you eat at least one oil-rich dish of fish a week. Imagine how useful it would be having your product recommended by doctors. That’s an endorsement that’s hard to beat. My goal is to find doctors to proclaim the health benefits of emailing me ones bank account details and passwords. I intend to use the proceeds to buy the worldwide stock of oily fish, making me the healthiest and longest living human in the world.

On another side, they say that there might still be some tiny bones in there. So be careful. That the ingredients are sardine fillets, water, concentrated tomato puree, sunflower oil, salt spice and that it may contain mustard. Then the sad news that it was produced in Portugal for John West Foods Ltd in Liverpool. If you can think of a good reason why our own fisherman and fish processors couldn’t produce this for John West, do please leave an explanation in the comments at the end of this post.

The underside of the tin is utterly packed with detail.

John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce underside of tin

There’s a recipe for Sardine Pizza. Opening instructions. The barcode. And a huge table full of nutrition information. None of which I understand. Fortunately, they’ve summarised the important bits at the bottom. This can has 156 calories and 9.5g of fat. Is that a lot? If you know the answer, leave a comment at the end of the post.

Once open, you’re met with filleted sardines. Filleted sardines that look a lot more fish-like than the filleted mackerel I tried a few weeks ago.

John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce opened tin

What’s more, if you coerce them out of the tin and into a bowl, you can see for yourself something that is recognisably fishy. Yes, you can see the skin. And yes, that is a delicious dollop of tomato sauce from the tin.

John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce in a bowl

What do they taste like? They taste of sardines in tomato sauce. Exactly what they should taste like. They crumble into easily edible chunks with little prodding from my fork. And there is zero mess or preparation. No stringy bones to uncover, attempt to remove and miss pieces of. No gunky grey manky bits to pick around. With the healthy dose of tomato sauce, these John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce aren’t dry, either.

Are there any downsides? From what I can tell, John West drew up a list of downsides to their tinned fish and produced their boneless sardines range as an answer. Because it addresses nearly everything I thought that was wrong with other tinned fish.

But there must be something. If I had to nitpick, it would be the sauce. In Tesco, there was only tomato sauce, which I have here, and sunflower oil. Fine If you’re making a sandwich, but hardly exciting. Maybe salty old sea dogs are the only people who eat tinned fish. The sort of people who don’t like exciting flavours. I don’t know. But I know that I would love to have some seriously spicy and interesting flavours to go with these perfectly prepared sardines.

How can I sum up John West Boneless Sardines In Tomato Sauce? If you want a tasty, good value, easy to eat small tin of fish, I know of no better choice. The sauce might be boring. But it’s worth it for the time you save picking out bones and other gunk you normally get. A must try choice for the lazy fish fan.

Have you tried John West Boneless Sardines? Do you work for John West? Did you like them? Got any recommendations, requests or places to buy? Then do please leave a comment here.

Snack Food Review: John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce

16 January, 2009

ANOTHER snack food review that no one will ever read. If you’re reading this, then leave a comment at the end of this post so I can learn who reads this. First though, read on to see what I make of John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce.

John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce front of tin

With the push to stop the population of the turning into chavvy puddles of lard, every food in the country now has health related symbols on it. John West Mackerel Fillets are no exception. Look closely at the front of the tin, and you’ll see a symbol telling you that this 125g tin will be “Rich in Omega 3 Fish Oils”.

On one of the four sides of the tin, we learn where these fish came from. It turns out that they were “produced” (shouldn’t that be caught?) in Portugal for John West Foods Ltd in Liverpool. Why did they have to come from Portugal instead of from our own fishermen? If you know the answer, do please leave a comment. I’m guessing that your answer may involve the letters E and U and the word “quotas”.

Over on the back of the tin there are all manner of nutritional information.

John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce back of tin

There’s some information how good Omega 3 is for your heart. That the chief ingredient, at 73%, really is mackerel fillets, which is good to know. And that this little can contains all of 275 calories and 20.7 grams of fat. No wander you never see women eating these things.

What will John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce look, smell and taste like? I’ve had them before so I know the answer. But for your benefit, here it is.

John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce opened tin

The tin opens very easily indeed. What’s inside is hard to make out. It doesn’t look like a fish in the way that sardines do when you open a tin of them. Oh well. That must be what “filleting” is.

The curry sauce smell isn’t very strong. Instead, it smells mostly of fish and partly of some kind of sauce. It doesn’t smell of curry at all.

But does it taste of curry sauce? Eating John West Mackerel Fillets in Curry Sauce is delightfully easy. With no bones and gunky bits to remove, you can dig right in without worry. Which is great if, like me, you’re too lazy to do that.

Can I taste any curry? No. If this was made by Brunswick, my eyes would be watering by now. But it’s not so I have hardly any flavour or taste in my mouth. And that makes John West Mackerel Fillets a bland eating experience. The same goes for their other hot and spicy sauce Mackerel Fillets. I’ve tried a few others and they are all similarly bland.

What else am I enjoying? The Mackerel Fillets themselves are a joy to eat. They break up easily with a fork into pieces just the right size for a mouthful.

What else am I not enjoying? They are very very dry. It’s almost exactly the same as eating chicken from over of the hundreds of fast-food chicken outlets that festoon high-streets up and down the land. There needs to be a lot more sauce to stop these fillets from being such a dry experience. Or make sure you have a beer nearby, because you are going to be thirsty by the end of the tin.

To sum up, John West Mackerel Fillets are about the easiest to eat tinned fish products you could buy. With nothing undesirable to remove, you get right into eating them. The downsides are that they’re dry and as flavourless as every other tinned Mackerel Fillet in the John West range. Highly recommended if you want a quick fish based snack, but not if you want flavour.

Have you tried John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce? Do you work for John West? If so, then do please leave a comment here. I’d love to know what you think of these Mackerel Fillets. Also, do you have any requests or recommendations of your own? Then here is the place to add them

Snack Food Review: Brunswick Canadian Style Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce

14 December, 2008

YOU know those little tine of fish. You see them in every supermarket and corner shop in the land. They have a ring pull and are usually filled with sardines. Or mackerel. Or some other type of fish. Well, I’ve been enjoying Princes mackerel fillets and boneless sardines recently. But, what happens when you go beyond the big-name brands?

While looking through Tesco’s ever-growing selection of ethnic food, I found these: Brunswick Canadian Style Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce. What they’re doing in the ethnic foods section is beyond me. If you know why Tesco are hiding them there, then do please leave a comment at the end of this post.

Front of wrapper

Unlike they’re British counterparts. These come in a tin, inside a wrapper. If they’re aim is to add a premium feel, then they’ve succeeded. It’s the equivalent of adding foil wrapping to the top of beer bottles. Pointless, but it looks good.

On both sides, there’s a lot of information. Little of which is interesting. If you want me to list the ingredients or whatever next time, then leave a request at the end of this post.

Back of wrapper

They’re serving suggestion involves crackers. Which is a new one to me. They’re web address is www.brunswick.ca. A website that helpfully has a section especially for those of us in the UK at http://www.brunswick.ca/brunswick/unitedkingdom/mainpage.asp. With heritage going back to 1893, Brunswick must know how to make a good tin of fish. And I’m fascinated to see what “Canadian Style” means. So, let’s open.

Tin

Once out of the colourful wrapper, things become a little more functional.

Opening the tin reveals what look like complete sardines. Minus the head and tail. Decanted into a bowl, I can report that they are actually large fragment. They smell of fish. They look as if they were only just in the water. And they have the manky bits I’m not so keen on. The bones and mysterious brown stuff that I try to avoid.

Opened tin

There’s also not a lot of sauce. I was expecting it to be drenched in the stuff like the sardines normally sold here. But it’s not.

How do they taste? First bite was plain. It tastes of plain old sardines. No bad thing if that’s what you want. But I was hoping for hot sauce. As per the billing. Then it hit. Like the after taste of a beer. It does have a hot taste. Hotter than with most UK brands.

They’ve also done a lot less processing than with the UK brands. I’m pulling out nearly complete backbones and stuff. Some of you will love that. But it’s not really what I’m after from tinned sardines.

Right, I’ve just finished eating. What is there to like about Brunswick Canadian Style Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce? It’ll please those who like the experience of eating a fish with the convenience of a tin. There’s no mass of sauce to splash all over your clothes. The flavour is hot.

What did I dislike about Brunswick Canadian Style Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce? Well, the sardines were so complete; I spent a good deal of time carefully removing the backbones and manky brown stuff. I hope you have an air freshener and a lid on your bin. If anyone has tips for how to dispose of fish bits, leave a message at the end of this post.

In conclusion, Brunswick Canadian Style Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce are not bad. Excellent if you like the fish eating experience. Not so good, if, like me, you prefer a bone-free fish. Outstanding hot flavour though. That’s unmatched compared to the brands over here.

Do please leave your corrections, opinions, requests, recommendations and places to buy in the boxes below. Thanks for reading my first food review!


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