I’m often contacted by well-meaning friends with ideas to help me out in the kitchen, easy recipes that ‘anyone can cook, even you Alice‘ or invitations to come round and learn something. Social media chefs offer handy hints to me via Twitter and of course the wonderful commenters on here give me great advice constantly.
Some things work for me, some things don’t. But I appreciate everything, so you can imagine how happy I was to hear from Hello Fresh who asked if I would try out one of their home delivery boxes – these include all the ingredients you need to make fresh meals at home.
Yes ALL the ingredients, down to a pat of butter, a drizzle of honey or a pinch of seeds (and lots of things I don’t have in my cupboard because I don’t know how to use them). They promised their easy to read recipes and pan-ready items would reveal the gourmet chef in me… How could I say no to a challenge like that?
I was very impressed with the delivery, everything was fresh, responsibly sourced and organic where possible. And the three recipes looked perfect, light and tasty. I couldn’t wait to get going…
Chicken Meatballs With Homemade Ragu & Spaghetti
I made this up for a weekend lunch with my son who loves pasta. I made a few mistakes: burnt the carrots and onions slightly, chopped the coriander too roughly and made the meatballs too big – you were meant to create 12, I made 7!
I was so concerned at my balls being too big and raw inside I overcooked them. And because my coriander was far too large my son spent the time pulling green stalks and leaves out from between his teeth. However, damn they were tasty – you can use fennel seeds in everyday cooking. Who knew? I will be trying again but just a bit smaller next time…
Summer Chicken with Ginger Rice and Courgettes
I love North African cooking so was pleased to see this dish included. However, I have trouble cooking savoury dishes with traditionally sweet things as they always taste like pudding. This sunny little recipe included greek yogurt, honey and fresh ginger – as well as some toasted chilli flakes and coriander seeds which meant the kitchen smelt gorgeous and I didn’t burn them either…
I couldn’t get over how baking and grilling a spiced yogurt actually turned into proper food. You really do learn something every day. And I now know how to flavour plain rice with ginger (and possibly other things?)
The portions were small and light, so great for me but my husband does prefer a bit more ‘heft’ to his meal.
Courgette & Butterbean Salad with Pan-Fried Salmon
Er, I don’t eat fish. At all. Nothing from the sea for me… I’m not allergic I just hate it. I’m the worst dinner guest. But my husband loves it so as a surprise I got this together for him. This is a bright, fresh, colourful meal that was a joy to cook. I loved getting it ready:
My husband was incredibly concerned, every time I have cooked seafood for him before it has been an utter disaster. Maybe because I don’t eat it myself but it is always either overcooked and rubbery or undercooked and dangerous. But I smiled serenely with my failsafe recipe card in front of me!
I was so happy when I served this one up. Nothing went wrong and I enjoyed the experience so much. I was cooking proper food! Me.
I even had a glass of wine on the go I was so relaxed. It was like being in a kitchen advert.
Two things you need to know:
- I have NEVER cooked salmon in my life
- My husband said it was the best thing I have EVER made for him
So… as an experiment I’d say it was a success. I loved the fact the recipe cards spelt everything out so clearly, for a ‘non-chef’ it was great to get ideas on what flavours went together and such detailed instructions. I always think when I am told to ‘put something into a pan of boiling water’ why wasn’t I told to put that pan on a few steps ago – well Hello Fresh does that.
In fact the only thing it assumes about your cooking is that you own some salt and pepper, and even I have some of that! I’m not completely useless…
(Thanks to Hello Fresh who provided me a with free box of ingredients so I could write this blog post, I hope you enjoyed reading it, but I normally buy and burn my own food OK?)