Annabel Karmel Ready Meals

Busy Mums always feel guilty about the food they give their little ones. Do they have enough fruit?
Is there an equal amount of vegetables to carbohydrates?
Should I introduce a more varied diet?
How much sugar are they consuming?

Guilt, guilt and more guilt. You can check out our Recipe section if you want; it’s a guilt-free version of quick, easy meals for all the family instead of reaching for ready meals.

As a busy working Mum, I know the stresses and strains of ensuring that my family eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet and when I have meetings back-to-back in London and Beard working late, I can guarantee if there are no other plans, the option is take away. Of course, this is fine in moderation, but it’s not OK for a healthy balanced diet or your bank balance.

As a backup, I decided to invest some time in reaching out to ready meals. I am not a ready meal lover; however, I opt for the odd pack now and then, although usually from Cook when in an emergency. Yet, on this occasion, I was shopping to stock up the fridge/freezer, you know, for those “Shit! I forgot *he/she* was coming round after school” kind of scenarios.
After long consideration of some supermarket favourites, I was pleased to be offered Annabel Karmel’s; however, the only place I found an extensive choice of this range is Waitrose; however, the selection changes weekly, as do prices and special offers within the range.

We tried the Chicken Curry with white rice. Twice. So this review is based on two elements, one back in 2015 and one in 2021.


We love curry in our house, but Austyn is an extremely fussy eater. We have tried to get various dishes when ordering a takeaway, and I have cooked a few mild curries, but he just point blank refuses to eat them because he thinks they smell spicy. Instead, I have decided to see how it gets on with this ready meal which was an absolute failure for Josh and Finn in 2015, but then they both absolutely love curry.

As I took the meal from the fridge, Austyn looked at it suspiciously before turning his nose up and saying, “I am not eating that.” Just like in 2015, I started to persuade him and eventually, he gave in. I served up his curry, and as I expected, he sniffed it and pushed it around his plate a bit. He then licked his fork and didn’t look at me in disgust. So far, so good.
After a couple of stirs to combine the rice and curry, that was it. He was conveyor belt stuffing forkfuls of it into his mouth. So much so that he wouldn’t even stop so I could get a picture!

The end result?

Mummy, I am very happy to have this every single week. It is the tastiest curry I have ever eaten. I wish I had eaten this curry when I was a lot younger because it is really super yummy you know?

However, it was a very different review back in 2015

Josh, age 9
I do not like things that have a plastic bowl you cook food in. I can taste the plastic. You can microwave this one, but I wanted it in the oven. Even though it was in plastic, it did not taste of plastic. Sometimes when Nana cooks rice in the oven it is dry and not nice, but this rice is nice and fluffy but not like take away rice, or the rice Daddy does in the pan; they’re the best.
I do not like the colour of this curry, and there is not enough chicken. I had two tiny pieces in my dinner. I left the vegetables because they are hard and I like soft vegetables. I had a pizza when I finished my dinner because I was still hungry. I do not want to eat this again unless I have to.

Finn, age 7
This curry looks like poo. Why is it that colour? It smells funny too. I don’t want it.

After persuasion.

The rice is ok, but there isn’t much there. Is that chicken? It doesn’t look like chicken.

After more persuasion.

Ok, well, I will eat a little bit because the sauce tastes good. Actually, the sauce is yummy, so I can dip my naan in that. But that stuff there (points) is not real chicken, and I am not eating that yellow and green stuff. And I am still going to be hungry, and I do not want this again.

So, in our opinion, if you have kids who enjoy Indian food, there’s a strong chance they may be disappointed. But if they aren’t keen on curry, give it go because there’s a chance they will!