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Product review: Bol quick cook pots

Wednesday evenings are generally when hubby goes out mountain biking, so tea has to be a quick and light meal, either leftovers or something thrown together after work.

This week I happened across a new fresh ready meal in the supermarket, so convenience won out over cooking, and also provided a good subject for the blog.

Bol was founded by Paul Brown with the aim of creating healthy meals for busy people to eat well without compromise on taste, health, quality or price. The recipes take inspiration from different places round the world.

There are about 8 different recipes in Bol’s quick cook pots selection, four of which have no gluten containing ingredients. The two I bought were Mexican sweet potato chilli and Keralan coconut chicken, and the other gluten free options are Sri Lankan lentil sambar and Italian tomato courgetti.

I am generally happy to buy foods with no gluten containing ingredients, but I appreciate others may be more cautious. Having read the ingredients on the packs, I assumed they were ok, as the packaging does not indicate any risk of the meals containing gluten. However, having just looked at Bol’s website, the FAQs state that their meals are prepared in kitchens that do handle wheat, barley, rye and oats. So a big caution here if you’re coeliac. That’s a bit frustrating as I’d expect to be warned of cross contamination risk on the packet. I’ll update the post if I’m ill!

The ingredients are layered in the pots, so from the side, they appear full of colour and loads of fresh vegetables. (Bol’s website shows this well.) Both of the pots took 3 1/2 minutes to cook in the microwave.

First we tried the Keralan coconut chicken. This one had an aromatic fragrance and plenty of colour from the beetroot, green beans and coconut sauce. We were impressed by the taste – plenty of spices – and the variety of textures.

The beetroot in particular brings great colour and sweetness to cut throught the spice, and the rice had a nice bite to it. We thought there was a generous amount of chicken in nice big pieces, and it was soft and tender. Overall, a really lovely, fresh tasting meal.

Next up was the Mexican sweet potato chilli. The first thing we noticed on opening the lid was a pungent smoky aroma. We both love smoky food so were looking forward to trying this bowl, but it didn’t quite match up to the Keralan chicken for us.

The prominent flavour was a smoky earthy one that lingered in the mouth, and slightly overpowered the rest of the flavours. The sweet potatoes were the white coloured ones, but I think the orange coloured ones would have given a sweeter flavour. We did like the beans, and the combination of rice and quinoa, but overall didn’t enjoy this as much as the first dish. This chilli was also supposed to be spicier (3 chilli rating) than the Keralan chicken (2 chillis) but we didn’t really notice a difference.

Price is roughly £3 per pot. Available from Sainsburys, Ocado, Tesco and Waitrose.

It looks like Bol are also introducing a range of salad in a jar, which seems to be all the rage at the moment. There are 4 recipes but only the Persian and Mediterranean have no gluten containing ingredients.

Well, here’s hoping there’s no cross contamination…


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