Monday 4 October 2010


I admit to being Very Cynical about advertising. But this product really takes the biscuit.


“M&S terribly clever roast potato seasoning” is 99p for 50grams.

As I understand it [admittedly I have yet to actually check a packet instore, I’m just going by other people’s online comments] it appears to be mostly semolina, with a little bit of seasoning thrown in.

That’s £19.80 per kg for a product you ‘sprinkle over parboiled potatoes before roasting in the oven’

Compare this with the Sainsbury’s Semolina [1.58 per kg] which I use

JS semolina

Sainsbury’s even give you this recipe if you are not sure what to do!

Amazing roast potatoes

Amazing roast potatoes

Preparation time: 10 Minutes - Cooking time: 60 Minutes

Peel and halve your spuds – for best results use varieties like Wilja, Maris Pieper or Kerr's Pink. Preheat some fat, either goose fat or vegetable oil in a large sturdy roasting pan to 220ºC, fan 200ºC, gas 7. Meanwhile, boil your spuds for 5 minutes. Strain and shake them about in the pan to roughen up the edges – not too vigorously or they’ll fall apart. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of dry semolina and shake again to coat the spuds really well.
Then add the potatoes to the pan and cook for about an hour, check and toss them around in the oil occasionally.

The M&S product costs more than 12.5 times as much! And not only that, but you can only use it for savoury dishes – my regular Sainsbury’s semolina is useful for loads of other things too e.g. for milk puddings, and for sprinkling into pastry pie shells to stop soggy bottoms etc.

How can people justify spending that much money?

How can M&S justify charging it? no wonder their profits are going up!

M&S may think they are ‘terribly clever’ – I am not sure customers who fall for their advertising hype can claim to be so!!

For my overseas readers, Spud-U-Like is a chain of fast food restaurants which started about 35 years ago in Scotland with a menu based around jacket [baked] potatoes. My daughters always refer to it as “Spud-OO-Liquay” as it sounds more exotic!


  1. The even worse products are pancake mix (flour, just add eggs and milk)and microwave porridge sachets (oats, just add milk or water) each of which is at least four times the price of the generic product.

    I may try your/JS recipe at some point rather than my usual 'bung 'em in the oven' appraoch.

  2. Naughty M and S! How could they be so silly.

  3. I am cheering you on here Angela - when the ad comes on I have been shouting - "I bet it's just semolina with some herbs" LOL!
    Am a bit thick - to avoid a soggy pie bottom - do you sprinkle the semolina on the bottom and then add the filling and lid and no soggy bottom?
    Thanks for the tip.

  4. We have specialty spice shops now. You can buy one teaspoon of any spice you like. Marketing is crazy. Simple is best - I'm sure of it.

  5. Lynn - 1 tsbp of semolina sprinkled on the pastry base before you tip in your apples or whatever combines with the juice and makes the bottom less soggy.
    PomPom - the idea of buying ONE teaspoon is horrifying - what a waste of packaging [and I bet the shop makes a HUGE profit by bulk buying]
    Thanks for the comments

  6. semolina's also great to sprinkle on the base when you make your own pizza...


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