Charlie Bigham’s World of Grains Range
by Federica Carr - Tuesday June 12, 2018 1:06 pm
In the rather saturated pre-cooked meals market, occasionally some brands or some products stand out for quality, taste and presentation. Charlie Bigham’s is one of those names, and their new range of ‘grain superfoods’ is no exception.
The company started in 1994 when, in a maverick move, Charlie quit his job to go travelling in India. Captivated by the tastes, colours, textures and aromas of the cuisine, he decided to set up a food business.
By 1996 he had done just that. After perfecting three dishes in his home kitchen – Caribbean Lamb, Cajun Chicken and Salmon with a Dill Sauce – he went knocking on doors and managed to find some upmarket London food shops who were up for stocking his product. Then Waitrose were interested, then Sainsbury’s, then Tesco. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Using top quality ingredients, his goal was to help people steal back some quality time by doing all the dinner prep for them; he has a couple of chefs working for him, an illustrator and a number of people that create what I feel is one of the top products in the sector.
I discovered Bigham’s only fairly recently, because it’s not that widely available and their really extensive range is found in larger stores only, which is a shame.
We tried three options from their recently launched Charlie Bigham’s World of Grains selection. The first was Chicken katsu curry with edamame, shredded vegetables, sticky jasmine rice and quinoa. It’s a two people portion and requires oven cooking, not microwave, which is just as well.
The chicken breasts could have been a little bigger, but overall we were pretty happy with it. The grain crust added great texture and a peppery, fragrant aroma, while the jasmine rice with quinoa was properly sticky and full of edamame beans. The dish also looked good on the plate.
Similarly, the Goan fish curry with sweet potato, kale, turmeric and biryani rice was oven cook only, and was packed full of flavour; the curry mild and generously creamy, with plenty of vegetables to go with it such as green kale which still had body to it and all accompanied by a decent biryani rice.
The final test was with Roasted aubergine and halloumi with butter beans and bulgur wheat, one of their vegetarian options.
There were a lot of well-cooked aubergines, loads of tomato sauce and plenty of bulgur wheat; perhaps the halloumi suffered a bit because it had been cut a little too small and lost its usual, springy consistency and so was a little lost in an otherwise well-balanced dish.
Bigham’s range of food is well packaged, and comes in - a rarity - bamboo boxes, which are sustainable and actually quite attractive. We’ve kept the ones with the rice as they don’t get dirty and can be reused, which is environmentally a win. The company sources ingredients ethically and sustainably (for example, the fish in the curry was Pollock).
Overall, we really recommend Charlie Bigham’s food; we’ve tried other options from the regular range before and we’ve never been disappointed. The price is reasonable (around £8 for two people) and the quality is worth it.
Available in larger Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Budgens and Ocado.