Indian Tiffin Boxes

When I say ‘microwave meal’ to you, what do you think of? Soup? A jacket potato with a cardboard bottom? A dubious looking ready meal with enough salt content to cater for half of Lancashire? Still? Really? Well, let me tell you times have moved on.

Chilled food has been on a steep upward curve since 2013 and the disturbing Horsegate Scandal swept through food manufacturing. I realise this was a despicable and trust-destroying time but may be it wasn’t such a bad thing. The news stories forced consumers to demand more from manufacturers and it made manufacturers more accountable for full food traceability and sourcability. We have become obsessed with where our food comes from and we have, rightly, become distrusting of re-constituted, Frakenstein-food.

Thankfully there are a number of marvellous-microwave-meal-masters out there that have dedicated themselves to not only producing food with credible provenance but food that pushes the boundaries and expectations of what can be cooked in the microwave.

I love discovering new food pioneers and Street Monkey is a fabulous example for you to gorge on…

Street Monkey

northernmunkeebites.streetmonkeyRating: 9/10

Appeals to: fine food aficionados, time poor hunger-bursters and just about anyone really

Packaging

The packaging is the lifeblood of the branding here and it really inspires the authenticity of Indian Street Food and tiffin boxes. The colours are bright and vibrant and, more importantly, will serve to disrupt the bland chiller. The Street Monkey branding is strong and I do think more could be made of the character reference to bring some personality to the products.

Price

£6.00 – now, this price point says two things to me: quality and luxury and the food delivers against this. My concern for this product and price point is that it limits stocking points. The quality of the food deserves the price point but, in most mainstream retail outlets, it would be an outlier. It’s important when pricing a product to consider what will be surrounding it. High-end retailers stocking Charlie Bingham et al should welcome this product and price with open arms but it may be too much of a stretch for the middle market.

Delivery

Phenomenal. I cannot convey how good the quality of the food is. Take whatever you thought about Indian ready meals and tear it up; this has the potential to be a game changer.

The slow-braised beef madras is up there with the best curry I’ve ever tasted, ready meal or otherwise!

Verdict – in a word, game-changing! This product and brand has huge potential with a couple of tweaks and a targeted go-to-market strategy it could take over the chilled shelves. Seek out this monkey and take it home!

Details: www.street-monkey.com

Any comments, thoughts or questions? Or are you a fine-food-hunter yourself and you want to offer me some tips? Leave a little comment below because sharing is caring!

Northern Munkee.

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Mexican Hot Chili Garlic Sauce!

BBQ Mini-Series: Chili Garlic Sauce by Cholula

So, it’s officially the British summer and it’s that time when we fellas refuse to wear sun cream, go an offensive shade of puce and revert back to our Neanderthal instincts by making a fire to burn meat on.

I love BBQ season but living in the UK makes it tough to predict and event more difficult for retailers, producers and eateries to plan for. However each year the offering keeps on getting better and better and the categories that the BBQ occasion spans is ever increasing. We would now happily shop the meat aisles, bakery, salad section, spices, oils, condiments and, of course, the booze aisle. BBQ is much more than a category in retail; it’s an occasion, a mood, an ambience and something that the whole nation, nay the world, goes crazy for.

BBQ has increased in popularity over the last few years with the explosion of street food trucks and festivals that have shown the common household cook what is possible with a fire, a hotplate and a bit of food soul. If we get invited round to a friends for a Saturday afternoon Barbie it’s no longer acceptable to serve salmonella sausages or botulism burgers. Now we expect brioche buns, sliders, low and slow briskets, sliders, kofte, shawarmas and a fabulous infusion of world flavours and tastes all on an undersized paper plate.

Now, I’m good with a pair of tongs and a hotplate but I don’t profess to being an expert by any stretch so I’d recommend you check out the BBQ Geeks for some absolutely top tips and the perfect BBQ.

This mini-series explores some of the new and great products and recipes that I’ve foraged and found this year to make Britain’s BBQ season great. So, even if we need to turn to supplements rather than the sun for our vitamin D, we can always enjoy well-cooked, well-seasoned and well-complimented meat.

Cholula Hot Sauce

northernmunkeebites.cholula1

Packaging

In my opinion the beauty of this product is in its packaging and the distinctive wooden cap. The label draws up connotations of fresh ingredients, traditional cooking and authenticity. I’m also a big fan of the inclusion of Spanish on the label to add to the product’s character.

Price

£1.50– for a 150ml bottle this is very affordable and excellently positions it against other similar sauces (in profile not origin) such as Nando’s and Encona.

Delivery

I really enjoyed this sauce. I was expecting it to blow my socks off, which it didn’t, but the flavour that emanates from the chili is outstanding. The first taste you get is the vinegar of the arbol and piquin peppers which gently give way to an intense garlic hit. Although I wouldn’t describe this sauce as a powerful heat it does leave a pleasant tingling sensation on the lips and peripheries of the mouth.

I opted to use this sauce as an adornment for some sweet potato chips and it worked superbly; however, I can see this sauce being versatile in its usage and occasions.

Verdict – in a word, authentic! It’s hard to find a truly authentic sauce that doesn’t taste synthetic but this is one. I’m a big fan of hot sauces but not the types of sauces that tear a strip off your taste buds; I want a sauce that adds a depth of flavour and this certainly does that. Señores bien hecho!

Details: http://www.cholula.com/

So all that leaves me is to ask: what’s your favourite BBQ recipe, tip or trick? Come on folks, leave me a comment below because sharing is caring.

Also, before you go take a look at my blog on a fantastic condiment I reviewed earlier in the year; it’s the perfect accompaniment to any pork dish.

Northern Munkee.