I’ve been trying out a Hello Fresh box this week. [disclosure: I haven’t been given anything for free by Hello Fresh, or been approached by them to write this post. I don’t do that sort of thing here.] If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid their marketing bombardment, they are a recipe box delivery company. You get three recipes delivered each week, along with all the ingredients to make them, in just the right quantities. This means everything from fresh prawns to leeks to sachets of balsamic vinegar and tiny bottles of oil. The only things missing from my box were salt, pepper and vegetable oil.
I’m still not convinced by this model, especially for already competent cooks, but I will write another post when I’ve thought about it some more. My first impressions are that it is useful to have the decisions about which recipes to make made for you, and it’s also useful to have just enough to make the recipe and no more. For instance, one recipe came with a mini-block of feta. Normally, I would end up with half a packet unused, which would gradually go off in the fridge. But the recipes themselves tend to require more attention and steps than my usual weeknight fare.
Apart from those three recipes, the rest of the week was all about slow and patient cooking: salting chickens for roasting a day and a bit ahead of time; roasting a head of cauliflower for an hour on a weeknight; making a big pot of soup to last the week. For me, that’s a much more satisfying form of ‘easy’ cooking, and not much more time consuming.
- At the weekend:
- Zuni Chicken bread salad
- Five O’Clock Apron apple flapjacks
- Honeyed rye bread and a Sunday Vat of soup (sweet potato and butternut squash) from Anna Jones’ ‘A Modern Way to Cook’
- Ham, cheese and leek scones from ‘The Violet Bakery Cookbook’
- Three from Hello Fresh:
- Firecracker prawns with Chinese leaf and rice
- Butterflied chicken with leeks, feta and tomatoes
- Steak stir fry with broccoli and noodles
- Whole roasted cauliflower – from the New York Times. Served with meatballs (from the freezer) in tomato sauce.
Without a recipe:
- Chicken, cheese and avocado quesadillas
- Meatballs in tomato sauce
- NY Times lentil soup recipe – a simple looking recipe using red lentils and lemon
- Light-touch pizza, from David Tanis in the NY Times. Doable for a weeknight if the dough is made in advance.
- Signe Johansen talks to Halen Mon about porridge, favourite restaurants, and Wales.
- Why reader reviews of cookbooks are so important and do cookbook reviewers test the recipes any more? (They don’t – but