Barker's Better Homestyle tomato sauce blends onion, parsley & basil with spices to create a traditional and flavoursome tomato sauce.
Made with heaps of NZ tomatoes but 40% less sugar and 30% less salt than the market-leading sauce. A traditional home-made style tomato sauce that delivers true Kiwi flavour.
• Gluten free
• New Zealand tomatoes
• Made in New Zealand
• No added preservatives, artificial colours or flavours
• Vegan friendly
Shake before use. Refrigerate after opening.
When I think of 'homestyle' I envision a thick and chunky homely sauce so I was rather let down when I poured this sauce onto our dinner of fish and chips and found it way thinner and watery then I was expecting. The flavour was definitely there and you could taste the richness of the tomatoes but I did not enjoy the consistency so much.
Tomato Sauce is a used regularly in our house - so much so, that I find I have to buy a new bottle every week. I am not sure entirely how it gets used as I find unless I open the bottle myself by the time I go to get it to use it is usually down to its last portion. My husband and I have been brought up on one particular brand and I find I gravitate to that brand when doing the shopping - I was keen to find a replacement and I had high hopes for this particular item but unfortunately it did not cross the bar I was going for.
We currently have three sauces in the house at the moment and I have found this is the one everyone would grab last. I have used it with a couple of dishes over the week and a bit, most recently Devil Sausages last night - where as it is so easy to pour and comes out freely, which a great bonus, I just don't like the substance of it. My husband prefers the taste of this one compared to the others and thinks he can taste a smokey flavour where as I find it pleasantly rich and oozing tomatoes.
I do like that it is a glass bottle and it will be so easy to clean when the time has come to wash it. It will be awesome for crafting activities for the girls as the shape is great and the label is removable. Speaking of labels I am drawn to the vibrant colour of the green and the luscious tomato it really catches the eye. It also informas there is 40% less sugar and 30% less salt which is fantastic especially with younger children who seem to want to use it on everything.
Although, this was not a favourite I am pleased to say we all loved Barker's Fruit and Veges flavour and in future that is the one we will be purchasing - this one just missed the mark with us.
Tomato sauces are a staple of my diet. My unfortunately unhealthy diet. A lot of fatty foods in that diet. Invariably at various points, I've been trying to find a way to eat healthier without compromising the flavours I have come to love in my life. With less sugar and less salt, this Homestyle sauce looks like it could be a great substitute. I've not usually enjoyed chunky sauces because I never liked the texture of cooked tomatoes or onions, but over the years I've grown used to it, and the Tuimato sauce is currently one of my favourites despite its chunkiness. I mention chunkiness because this homestyle is not as homogenized as most sauces. It lacks that consistency but is more uneven than chunky. Still, it was a noticeable difference.
What is also noticeable is the flavour. With onion, parsley, basil, and other spices, the one thing that came to mind when I first tasted it, was pasta sauce. The level of savouriness is exceptional and very prominent. It isn't something that I would really use as a table sauce. I could easily add some tomato puree and chilli sauce, and throw it in with some pasta? Bam! Dinner!. Smear it on a pizza base and sprinkle some sliced deli meats and cheese? Bam! Dinner! Warm it up and pour over some ravioli? Bam! Dinner!
The packaging is quite well designed, with the jar being a good height and thickness to hold a lot of sauce but not take up too much place in the fridge. I like that it is made of recyclable glass, instead of plastic, but I do still prefer the ease of a squeezy bottle when it comes to pouring a certain amount out on a plate.
Despite the lower level of sugar in the product, the vinegar doesn't overpower the flavour at all, which is ideal. It is still quite smooth and has the consistency of a tomato sauce, but the savoury flavour isn't something that I could personally add to anything. It twists it towards the more Mediterranean flavours, as an ingredient in the cooking of a meal, rather than a supplementary addition after the meal is completed.
"Homestyle" is an interesting way to describe a sauce. For me that has connotations of being produced in my own kitchen, using only fresh ingredients and skipping the additives. But that would describe most of the sauces in Barker's range, so I needed to find out why this one is special. There is one interesting ingredient listed - smoke extract - which is a natural food flavouring, produced from woodsmoke and then condensed. Although it is not the "real thing" insofar as it is added as a liquid (as an alternative to just smoking the ingredients the oldfashioned way), we really could not tell the difference. I spent years living in a remote part of Europe where much of our meat and fish was smoked over an open fire, so I am familiar with the taste of "real" smoked food.
However, with this addition, we thought the sauce did have a more sophisticated taste, one more likely to appeal to adults. The tomato flavour is enhanced, and although we could taste the "smokiness", the balance was pretty well perfect as there was no competition between the two. I am not a fan of plain tomato sauce normally, but this one really appeals to me. Over the course of several days we tried it with a variety of dishes and agreed that it did offer that sophisticated extra that would appeal to many older folk.
We tried it both as an accompaniment to a meal and as an ingredient in other dishes. We served it with a roast chicken loaf, mushrooms and roast root vegetables; as an accompaniment for goujons; combined with reduced cream as a dip for crackers and crudites; and mixed with mayonnaise to make a thousand island dressing to have with fish. All of these combinations were successful, and both of us enjoyed the new take on familiar flavours.
Venturing further into the realm of added ingredients, we added a couple of tablespoons to a vegetarian stir fry and to lasagne. Although the sauce itself could not be tasted in these dishes, we did think the overall flavour was much rounder - we tasted a little of each before adding the sauce then again after it had been mixed through, and there was a definite improvement in the taste. Although it seems a bit wasteful to use it in this way!
Our one reservation was that we liked the sauce so much that we were tempted to use it on everything - although we avoided foods like chips and sausages as we thought it would be wasted on them. We will probably reserve it for adult meals, and keep a second bottle of Barker's regular sauce for when the children come over - a pity to use the Homestyle version up on them!
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