Still, home cooking offers a useful yardstick for comparing taste and satisfaction. If these meals get anywhere near Pat's standards, they're doing well. We hadn't come across Bigham's products before ­ maybe this is because of our northern location or because we don't shop at Waitrose, which apparently stocks the range. Our first impressions were that the packaging was excellent, with clear pictures and simple descriptions giving a persuasive edge. The printed recipe suggestions and cooking instructions were accurate and helpful. All the meals were tasty, but the Dijon chicken came out tops in every way; the flavour was good, the meat, tender and the green beans fresh. Both the Oriental and the Pesto salmon dishes were excellent as far as the fish quality and taste, but neither the pasta nor egg noodles came out with the same appetising flavour. The least authentic was the Moroccan chicken dish, although this lost a little in presentation after the cooking process splattered the couscous over the otherwise tasty chicken and vegetables. All the dishes were the sort of choice available on a good restaurant menu and their price ­ at £3.59-£3.79 a little higher than most competitors, I'm told ­ seemed justified, although we're of the opinion that a slightly less generous portion at a lower price would probably do just as well. We would certainly buy these again ­ particularly for entertaining. The samples we tried all offered a welcome change from other ready meal producers' familiar variations and we would be keen to try others. They don't rival Pat's cooking of course, but they have persuaded us that Bighams have a good product here, perhaps needing just a little more market research on portion sizes. {{P&P }}