I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed cooking. Pre-children it was always something best avoided as it would often end in a big disastrous mess. Every Christmas and birthday my well-meaning sisters would give me gifts of ‘helpful’ cooking equipment and the latest ‘simple’ cookery book. Didn’t work, I was still rubbish. Since having children I’ve had to up my game, determined they would eat fresh and healthy – which I’m proud to say they do. My kitchen is well used and generally a mess from that days attempt at dinner, but my biggest stress each week is trying to decide on a meal plan. I find it so hard coming up with ideas and get bored very quickly with the same old thing. I was very happy and excited to hear that I was going to get a few days off having to think, in way of some help from Hello Fresh!
What is it?
Hello Fresh are still fairly new. They started a short while a go in a bid to ‘encourage busy Britons to get back in the kitchen’. You subscribe to their service and every week their chefs create some super recipes that are easy to prepare and offer a well-balanced and varied diet. They do all the shopping, sourcing high-quality, fresh ingredients. Then every Tuesday or Thursday (your choice) you receive ‘happiness in a box’! At home you cook up their amazing meals. Recipes generally take only about 30 minutes, without using too many pots and pans in the process.
What’s in the box?
Everything but the kitchen sink!! Recipe cards, fool-proof step-by-step instructions, with pictures guiding you through each stage of preparation and cooking. Tins, vegetables, zip-lock bags of rice or lentils, all the ingredients, down to little pots of herbs and spices all measured out and ready to go.
What’s on the menu?
As it was Halloween week the recipes had a spooky feel but it all comes with a warning on the box ‘CAUTION: Contents may be extremely delicious’!
Attempt #1 ~ ‘Dracula’s Oven-Baked Sea Bream with Creepy Chilli Spiked Vampire Vegetables’
Our first evenings attempt was pretty darn good, I must say! I was a tad anxious to start, lots of chopping and chucking things in the pan at different times, normally in these situations I get nervous and muddled and mess it right up….but not tonight – Oh no!, it all came together and tasted delicious! I wasn’t convinced that all the prep and cooking would take the 30 minutes suggested on the recipe card, but it was just that. It resulted it a lovely dinner with a nice mix of flavours. It was just about right for portion size (although I’m sure DC could have eaten it over again!).
Attempt #2 ~ ‘Wicked Witch’s Carrot, Pancetta and Lentil Cauldron Broth’
As I started chopping up the ingredients for this recipe I wasn’t really sure there would be enough for two people and no way would they all cook in the time stated. I was wrong. Despite managing to burn it just a smidge, it resulted in a feast, real hearty comfort food. The flavours were so fresh and it was spicy enough to make my nose run (just how I like it!). This is certainly a recipe we will keep and try again off our own backs. A very tasty surprise!
Attempt #3 ~ ‘Simple Spooky Shredded Chicken with Citrus Sour Scream’
I handed this one over to DC to have a go. He’s a bit more methodical in his approach but tends to rebel against recipe instructions! He managed to stick to what the card directed, and although this one took longer to prep and cook than the others it still resulted in a quick scrumptious dinner. One of the underlying themes of these recipes is the reliance on good quality, simple but flavoursome ingredients. The sights and smells of the components you chop and stir, prepares the tastebuds for whats to come. The result was another fresh tasting, wholesome and satisfying dish.
What did we think?
The whole experience was very enjoyable. From excitedly peering in to the box on arrival to discover what was inside, to being reintroduced to the enjoyment of creating something different and new for dinner. The recipes are well structured and simple to follow and yet its not the end of the world if you let the timings slip a little. All of the best dishes from the best cuisines across the world rely on simple combinations of the freshest ingredients available and it seems that this is the thinking behind Hello Fresh. Everything in the box appeared to be as local and as bursting with flavour as possible and with the well designed recipes its hard to imagine how even the most hopeless cookophobes could fail to emerge from the kitchen salivating over a plate full of fresh and tasty grub! With the time pressures of working family life, taking time to cook is often easily sacrificed but the Hello Fresh experience has certainly reminded us that it doesn’t have to be a chore to produce a fresh tasty meal of an evening…..
Value for money
We had a 3-meal box for 2 so it would have cost £39 (vegetarian option £36). The best value box is the 4-meal family box for 4 at £64.
The meals work out at around £5 per head, by no means the cheapest option but not extortionate. Go back a few years or so when we were ‘D.I.N.K’s I would have leapt at this, no fuss, no arguments and dinner ready to go when you get in tired from work. But these days with three hungry boys to feed as well we have to make a smaller budget go a whole lot further. Now we rely on budget meals from whatever is on offer, and cooking in bulk in the hope of some leftovers! Hello Fresh do also have a ‘Family Box’, and although my kids are good eaters I don’t think they’d fully appreciate it just yet – maybe when they are all a bit older or on special occasions.
It was such a treat to not have to think and leave the planning to someone else. We really enjoyed having whatever turned up in the box and it was actually (dare I say it..) fun to cook.
We were sent the box for free for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.