Thursday is the new Christmas

Earlier this year whilst strolling around the Ideal Home Exhibition in London I came across HelloFresh who were exhibiting (www.hellofresh.co.uk). One of their sales reps came over to speak to me and explained that Hello Fresh is a weekly food subscription service which sends you all the ingredients and recipes to make your meals for the week. The ingredients are delivered to your door with step by step photo instructions and all meals take between 25 and 40 minutes from start to finish. The concept is to make cooking easy and fun for people with busy lives.

This interested me as at the time my husband and I were completely stuck in a rut, living on a diet of baked beans on toast, frozen pizza and microwave meals. Neither of us had ever really enjoyed cooking. We had plenty of recipe books and good intentions, but locating all the ingredients was always such a hassle and often expensive too. Plus we both work full time and so the idea of getting home from work and cooking from scratch never appealed.

After showing the website to my husband when I got home, he surprised me by signing up online that very evening… at full price because I didn’t have a discount code (he must have been more fed up with beans on toast than I was!).

And so a week later we received our first box.

We have the ‘classic 5’ subscription, which is 5 meals per week for 2 people. I really like this as most recipes in cookbooks or online tend to serve 4, but now we don’t have to worry about trying to work out how to halve the ingredients in recipes or wasting excess food. The ingredients themselves are already measured out to the correct weight or portion, in little pots, jars or sachets.

As it’s a ‘to your door’ delivery service, the food is wrapped in ‘woolcool’
insulation and ice packs to keep the perishables fresh. This has worked
well for us as we’re almost always at work when the box is delivered.

Sookie also likes the packaging

At the end of our first week we had cooked a Mexican style tomato jumble with spiced citrus chicken, herby pork and lentil casserole and a caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart. We were off to a good start.

After a month we’d been on a journey around the world cooking recipes inspired by Asian, Italian, Mexican and even Lebanese cuisine.

Pecan Leaves with Sweet Potato, Goat’s Cheese and Chorizo

One of the things that I’d worried about was not liking the ingredients as you don’t get to choose the meals. The menu is posted up by HelloFresh and you have the choice to receive the box or pause your subscription for the week. However we actually found not being able to choose the meals to be one of the big wins for us, as it has forced us to try new things which we wouldn’t have if left to our own devices. There are so many ingredients that I was convinced I didn’t/wouldn’t like and have now discovered that I love! Looking back I think that for the most part these were things I’d never actually tried, I’d just decided somewhere along the lines that I disliked them and that was that.

Homemade Burger and Chips

Perhaps the biggest change for me though is my attitude to cooking. Previously there were probably about 10 meals in my repertoire – things like spaghetti bolognese and chicken wraps. Now I don’t really see any limit to what I can cook, I’m always excited when I see a new meal posted, or an ingredient that I haven’t used before and can’t wait to try it out.

Five Spiced Chicken with Bok Choi

Since joining HelloFresh I’ve also discovered a whole online community of foodies who like to share photos of the food that they are cooking and post hints and tips for others. This has led to me to a new hobby – food photography. I started to take photos of our cooking as I was so proud of what we had achieved and shared some on the HelloFresh Facebook page. After receiving encouragement on there, I started to think about how to better present the food and what style each dish would suit. I even got out the instruction manual for my camera and have started to play around with the settings rather than just using the ‘auto’ function! I don’t get a lot of time to practice (after all myself and the husband are usually dying to eat the food after a busy day at work!) but whenever possible I’m experimenting with light, angles and accessories in our little kitchen.

Pan-Fried Salmon in a Dill and Butter Sauce with Rocket New Potatoes

Black Bean Luchito Chilli with Herbed Pork

So now we await the delivery of our box every Thursday like it’s Christmas day, eager to unwrap all the new goodies and get to work!

Mr D also eagerly anticipates the arrival of each new box!

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