A few weeks ago we were invited to a food bloggers’ evening with Knorr, who were promoting their new flavour pots. I am a fan of Knorr stock pots so I was interested to see what their new products were all about.
There were about ten or so other bloggers there, who had all been invited along to sample a six course tasting menu prepared by one of the chefs and product developers at Knorr: Cameron Healy, with a sensory masterclass by taste expert Professor Barry Smith.
It was a fun evening with a taste test competition and an interesting introduction from Barry on how taste varies from person to person, including a little test to see who among us were ‘supertasters’. The most interesting part, of course, was the six course menu, and I was looking forward to seeing how they used the five different flavour pots: mixed chilli, curry, garlic, mixed herb and 3 peppercorn.
Cameron describes the flavour pots as the ‘new kitchen store cupboard essential, capturing the quality and flavour of fresh ingredients but with all the convenience of dry’. The pots use a combination of herbs and spices and a bit of oil to form a paste. You can use them at any point in cooking and they still retain the same fresh flavour.
Cameron cooked the dishes in front of us, describing how simple they were and how the flavour pots worked to provide a perfect balance without overpowering any of the ingredients. The first course was garlic king prawns. This was lightning fast – butter, prawns, a garlic flavour pot, lemon zest and juice and some chives. It was delicious. Cameron explained that while fresh garlic can be a bit pungent and strong, the garlic flavour pot was much more subtle and could be used more liberally.
Since the event, I have used the garlic pot mainly as a last minute addition to green beans, which previously I would add crushed raw garlic to. Stir a teaspoon or so through freshly cooked beans with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. You can use the garlic pot in any recipe that would usually use fresh garlic.
The second course was a curried parsnip soup. Again, this was really simple. I liked this dish, but I wasn’t sure if the flavour pot added any more of a flavour than normal curry powder or paste. It was very mild and is good if you want a gentle curry flavour, like a korma.
Next: pasta napolitana using the mixed herbs flavour pot. Again, this was a very quick and easy dish using fresh garlic, shallots, cherry tomatoes, tomato puree and the flavour pot. It was a lovely little pasta dish, perfect for a quick mid-week meal at home. I found it a little sweet for my taste, so I tried a very similar recipe at home using only half a flavour pot and it was perfect. It is much better than using dry herbs and is a good substitute for fresh if you don’t happen to have any in the house. I’m not sure what else it could be used for other than pasta and risotto, but check out the Knorr website for ideas.
The next dish was a chilli chicken stir fry, using the chilli flavour pot. I think this was my favourite dish (unsurprisingly), possibly because I thought the sweetness added by the flavour pot worked really well with the Asian flavours. It had quite a kick and some of the others found it a little spicy. The solution to this of course would just be to add a little less, depending on your tolerance for spicy food.
I loved the chilli flavour pot, and when I tasted it by itself it reminded me of the Vietnamese chilli jam that I had made recently. I often use a spoonful of this in stir fries, fried rice and noodle dishes, and the chilli flavour pot is a great alternative if you don’t fancy making your own chilli jam.
The last of the savoury dishes was steak with peppercorn sauce, using the 3 peppercorn flavour pot. This is possibly one of the most simple recipes, using only olive oil, the flavour pot, single cream and a beef stock cube for the sauce. I always love steak, and thought this did not have a peppery enough flavour. I haven’t tried using these yet, because we have a great Chinese black pepper sauce that we always use for steak, but as soon as that has runs out I will be giving them a try.
Finally, the dessert wild card! We weren’t told which flavour pot was used in this dessert, and all I could think of would be the chilli as it is often used with chocolate. But this was a strawberry shortcake…so I was at a loss. It turned out it had a 3 peppercorn flavour pot in the shortcake recipe! I could detect a subtle peppery sweetness to the shortcakes, it was an interesting idea and showed how versatile the flavour pots are.
Since the event, I have used the garlic, herb and chilli pots on several occasions in pasta, risotto and stir fries. I usually use half or two thirds of the pots, otherwise I do find them a bit sweet. I would like to try and find some more recipes using the peppercorn flavour pot, like Knorr’s pork stroganoff recipe. They are great for people who aren’t very confident in the kitchen, but also for those who are but fancy a few shortcuts every now and then. I’d love to see some more!
Take a look at Knorr’s product information and recipe ideas.