A couple of weeks ago I was sent a nice hamper of ingredients so I could try out the new Lake District Diary Co cooking sauces. It is always good to receive one of these kind of hampers as it forces me to move out of my boring routine and to try something different. I'm not the worlds most inventive cook (despite being a qualified Chef!) and we could end up with the same meals all the time if I didn't occasionally stretch myself.
These cooking sauces are made from Quark and I can't recall if I've ever tried Quark before to be honest. I mentioned it to my husband and he turned his nose up, saying when he had it in his younger years it was awful so I was then interested to see what he thought of the cooking sauces.
Quark is spoonable soft cheese made from British cows milk and it is good to be using a product that is made at home and has not travelled hundreds or even thousands of miles to get to me. The Cooking sauces are sold in a 200g pot and they look very attractive. The retail price is £1.75 and this is comparable to other sauces I might buy. there are currently three flavours - Garlic and Herb, Tikka and Tomato and Basil and all are naturally low in fat.
None of the sauces contain any preservatives or artificial flavours and they seem to come with about a 2-3 week shelf life and as a diary product they must of course be kept chilled. I think these cooking sauces make a great healthy alternative to other diary ingredients such as creme fraiche or double cream and what is really good is that the sauce can be used as a cold dip, so is fabulous for buffets and packed lunches too.
My favourite sauce was definitely the tikka, it came with the ingredients to make Chicken Tikka and Quark rice and we all really liked this. It was not too spicy but was flavoursome and made a good biriyani style meal, although the consistency of the meal was wetter than a biriyani but that did not bother us. Everyone asked for seconds of this.
I was asked to make a Quark version of spaghetti carbonara, they called it Quarkonara which made me smile. It is impressive when you read that using this cooking sauce instead of cream cheese will reduce the fat content of the dish by 28g, a massive 88% and the calories per portion dropped by 227 kcals too. I also like the ease of the cooking sauce, cook the pasta and pour in the sauce, ham and a little cooking water and perfect finished dish once heated a bit. Sadly for me I thought the taste of this was pretty foul, one of my daughters would eat it but the other refused and I had to cook her something else so we wouldn't buy the Garlic and Herb one again, it was just too strong in smell and taste.
As far as the tomato and basil sauce is concerned we never got to use it. It was in date but when I opened it I noticed there was a bit of the orange around the outer lid which made me wonder if it had burst a little in transit. I assume it had as when I put my finger in to try a little it was fizzy and tasted bad. It also stained my hands as it is a vivid orange colour, so I've really been put off that one I'm afraid.
Our family would buy the tikka sauce again as it was very pleasant with the rice, sadly the other two are not for our family.
Disclosure: We received a hamper ingredients for the purpose of this review, I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.