I have a friend who loves to cook but being a busy lady she likes to try out the different ‘food and recipes delivered to your door’ type companies which give her the freedom to be busy and still know she’s cooking something good at the end of the day. It’s all a matter of convenience for her; she says they save time and wasted energy thinking about what you’re going to make. And, hey, if it works for her, why not, I’m all for a convenient life.
So when she received a free trial voucher from one of said companies, she sent it to me to use and try out. The company was Hello Fresh and they are one where they send you practically everything you need to cook a meal: meat, vegetables, herbs and spices (but only ‘practically everything’ – because you need to have your own oil, butter, sugar and some other bits which I can’t remember right now).
The voucher was good for three days worth of meals for two people (usually about £35) but when for £10 extra I could get five days worth of meals, it was a no-brainer. Let’s go the whole hog and try this out for a week, I thought. Mainly because my husband (flat out denies that he) is a fussy eater and I didn’t know what we were going to be getting, and there’s a better shot at him enjoying at least one of the five meals than there is with three. You can’t pick and choose your meals (maybe this is a good thing though so you get to try new things that you wouldn’t have before considered), you can only decide between veggie and non-veggie options, I went for the meat meals.
Really, when you think about going shopping and how much would normally be spent on meals for a week for two, yes, this might be ever so slightly more expensive, but honestly, I don’t think much more, not if you’re normally a meat buyer anyway (actually you might even be saving money by doing this if you’re one for buying a lot of meat). It gives you back the time that you would otherwise have had to plan what meals you were going to make for the week and then shop for those meals, which when you think about it, is worth it for some people. And then when you think about the cost of eating out, you would never get 10 meals for £45. Unless of course it’s fast food but even then it would be a stretch.
Because of their ordering schedule and the day I put my order in, my meals weren’t actually going to come until the following week after I ordered it, so by the time it came – I had forgotten all about it – I thought it was some delayed Christmas hamper when it arrived, although the Hello Fresh all over it should’ve given it away.
I will state though that this massive box was just left outside my house, right outside my front door. The doorbell was rung, I went to answer it and the guy had gone before I’d even got there – so if I hadn’t have been in – it would’ve just been there. All day. And it was raining. This could have been a disaster from the beginning. Just saying.
Everything inside the box came packed fairly well apart from the rice, the bag had split so rice was everywhere in there. Also, considering they do set meals for everyone (everyone gets the same)- it was odd that I was sent some slightly different veg to what was in the recipe, namely vine tomatoes when the recipe called for cherry tomatoes but whatevs’. The meat was all tucked up in it’s own ASOS parcel bag (please note: it did not actually come in an ASOS branded bag – it’s just what the packaging reminded me of) with cooler packets inside too, and the veg was one big free for all but stacked as well as it could have been.
Now. I never really am sure at what way is best to store various veg, and nowhere on the veg did any of it tell me where would be best to store it, so it all went in the fridge – just to be safe.
Also, nowhere was I told what particular order the meals were meant to be cooked in to ensure everything would be at its best. So I just did them in the order that the recipes were stuck together in. By the time Friday came, I had to chuck away some of the veg and replace it with whatever else I had in the fridge at the time, but I’ll get to that.
Steak tagliata with roasted garlic and sweet potato chips
Neither one of us are what you call ‘steak people’ so we were glad to get this one out of the way early. And I am convinced the picture that was provided, is not actually for that recipe. For one, the leaves are just rocket not a salad bag, there’s something else in with the rocket and the tomatoes definitely look roasted in that image. The only things consistent between the picture and the recipe were the sweet potato chips and the steak. As for the food itself, I’m sure for a steak lover this would be great, but unfortunately, not in our house.
Walnut and rosemary crusted chicken with crispy potatoes and salad
We both liked this one, although it definitely could have done with some sort of sauce, it was a bit dry. Happy to say, the picture fitted perfectly with this recipe though.
Sweet spiced moroccan meatballs, tabbouleh and mint raita
This one was given a 30 minute prep and cook time. Lies. It took bloody ages to chop all the vegetables and make the meatballs. To a well-trained chef, yes, maybe 30 minutes is doable, but it was a late night meal for the Tillers that night. And why do so many recipes insist on putting lemon in? That’s mostly what I could taste in this meal. It’s the same with homemade pesto, all recipes call for lemon juice – NO. No, I won’t do it anymore. It’s overpowering and unnecessary in my opinion. Loved the bulgar wheat though, that will be a staple inclusion into our weekly meals I reckon.
Jamie’s south asian chicken curry with fluffy rice
This was an overwhelming success. Dan actually said the words “I think we’ll make this one again.” I was gobsmacked. That is high praise indeed from him, Jamie should be proud. I left out the lime it told me to put in it though, I told you, I’m not doing it anymore.
Sicilian Caponata with herbed pork and garlicky ciabatta
The veg was not okay by day five, the peppers were creasing, the aubergine was a bit on the squishy side and the celery, well let’s just say it wasn’t exactly standing to attention, so I used everything but the celery and replaced that with some homegrown courgette (another veg my husband doesn’t like, but of course, he’s not fussy…). I also did not bother making my own garlic bread with the ciabatta – the rest had already been so fiddly and I had some garlic bread in the freezer, so I cheated and cooked that instead. I loved this meal, Dan not so much. Aubergine, courgette (he doesn’t like celery either, so that wouldn’t have made a difference) and olives, it was a bit much for him. I think I’ll try again with this one though and maybe just substitute the veg he doesn’t like for veg he does. So it’ll be herbed pork (aka sausage) and white potatoes. Excellent.
Would I order from Hello Fresh again? Verdict:
I must admit I did enjoy the ease of not having to decide what to cook for dinner each night and knowing that I would definitely have the ingredients I needed, also it was nice to have an excuse to try something different for meals, even if I knew from the outset a certain someone wasn’t going to necessarily enjoy it – which is generally the case with most recipes anyway. But at least I hadn’t wasted my own time picking out recipes from my many cook books and online, planning what to have, gone searching up and down the aisles for each ingredient; it was just sent to me in a box one day. No time wasted my end. Apart from the whole cooking aspect, I don’t normally do that much cooking of an evening.
Quick, easy and less complicated meals are more my style. Chopping just aint my bag. However, of the recipes that I liked, I can now recreate them with freshly frozen chopped veg (don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it, the veg tastes just as fresh as fresh veg) which will make it all so much easier.
So whilst I feel I would try it again one day, I would also like to make sure I’ve got the pre-chopped stuff ready to go too, which kind of defeats the object doesn’t it?
However, if you were thinking of giving them a go yourself, I have a couple of £25 off vouchers for Hello Fresh that came in the post the other day, so message me at (lisaj dot tiller at yahoo dot com – down with spambots!) and I can give you the code.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ‘food to your door’ type companies, ever tried one?
Until next time. x