Recently I was contacted by the lovely people at Hello Fresh and asked if I would like to give their service another go. Of course I jumped at the chance, three days of not having to worry about what to cook? Er…yes please! So the following Monday a box of Hello Fresh goodies arrived at my door with a rather nice hand written note. It also turns out that Hello Fresh are celebrating their one year birthday. Eagerly I opened the box to see what I would be preparing for that week. Inside was all the ingredients to make a chicken, fish and pork based meal. Below you can see how I got on:
Day 1 – I decided to cook that night the Smoked Paprika Chicken with Avocado and Barley Salad.
Not having to worry about not having the right amount of ingredients was great and as you can see they were indeed fresh!
First part of the recipe of consisted of chopping the vegetables, I’m not the best chopper so they are a little bigger than the recipe states but I don’t think it mattered very much.
Then I prepared the chicken by covering it with olive oil, paprika and black pepper and then placing it under the grill. I think I am definitely going to start using paprika to flavour my meat it gave the chicken an amazing taste!
Then I boiled the pearl barley, which was probably the most nerve-wracking part as I have never cooked or eaten this before so I was a bit worried it would go wrong.
This was then drained and rinsed and put to one side. For the salad dressing I mixed balsamic vinegar and olive oil together. To finish I mixed the chopped avocado and the rest of the vegetables together with the balsamic dressing . I then sliced the cooked chicken and laid it on top. Below is the finished dish which tasted unbelievable! My mother who is the most critical person of my cooking couldn’t get enough of it and we have decided to add it to our weekly dinner schedule at home. I think this dish is great if you are looking for something fuss free and easy and even if you don’t like cooking you will find this easy to prepare.
Day 2 – I decided to make the Ribollita with pancetta and Garlic Parmesan croutons
This was probably for me the most fiddly and time-consuming dish to prepare but it was also the most filling. Ribollita is perfect for when the weather is chilly as it is sure to give you the energy needed to keep you warm. Unfortunately because I had used all the celery in my first recipe I had to forgo it for the Ribollita, although I don’t think it was that detrimental as the dish still tasted lovely.
Day 3 – Pan-fried Salmon with homemade Guacamole and New Potatoes
With this recipe I’m not too sure what happened, but maybe I should have cooked my salmon dish first because when I checked the salmon I wasn’t sure it was still OK to eat. It doesn’t help that my fridge can be dodgy. I ended up throwing away the salmon and going to purchase a new one. With fish I’d rather be safe than sorry.
The finished dish tasted amazing, the guacamole gave the salmon a spicy edge, and the potatoes were a nice accompaniment. The dish also felt really easy to whip together. I could definitely see myself attempting to make this again.
Overall I really enjoyed my Hello Fresh experience, it was nice to not have to worry about having the right ingredients in the fridge and even for someone who doesn’t think myself much of a good cook, I was quite pleased with my attempts. I will definitely be adding the pan-fried salmon and the smoked paprika to my recipe book.
Last Friday, I got a chance to try out a new addition to London’s food scene. Dinnr is concept by ex Googler Michal Bohanes which aims to take the hassle out of preparing your meals by providing a variety of recipes and ingredients in the right quantities. Their unique selling point I suppose is that the food can be ordered online on the day and delivered to your office or home (central London) before it’s time for tea!
Now, I have to be honest I hate following recipes as I find the whole process of checking the measurements, timings etc stressful! Not that I can’t cook just most of my knowledge comes from watching my mother in the kitchen when I was younger. However, I was willing to give Dinnr a try. There is a variety of dishes on the site to order and the prices are pretty reasonable. I decided to opt for the Herb-roasted Salmon with Smashed Potatoes and Truffled Fennel Salad which serves 2 for 22 pounds. It arrived promptly two hours after I ordered to my workplace in a lovely brown bag.
Inside all the ingredients where nicely wrapped up in little brown packages and the food was fresh when I opened it up.
Also included was a step by step guide to preparing my meal with nutritional information.
Fairly easy start to recipe, I washed and boiled the potatoes with sea salt till they were soft.
While this was on the fire I started to prepare the salmon. Have to say I was pretty impressed with the quality, it arrived fresh and cool, organic from Waitrose.
This went into the oven for 20 mins on the middle shelf.
Next step the fennel salad:
Two ingredients I have never used to cook before; Fennel and Pecorino cheese, I thought the cheese was so delicious I had to stop myself nibbling on it before I had finished cooking. I will definitely buy this again when I go shopping.
The finished meal tasted lovely and the fennel salad had a lovely sweet and sharp flavour. Another great selling point for Dinnr is the fact that with your meal they include suggestions for wine and music which is very handy if you’re trying to impress a date.
Overall I was very impressed with the Dinnr service, for time pressed Londoners it is a god send and if you want to cook a meal for a loved one you will find the variety of recipes helpful. You do have to have some cooking ability for some of the recipes though. Also all the recipes are currently for servings of two so not so helpful if you have family of mouths to feed. A Lanky Girl rating:
Apologies for the lack of posts recently.. I’ve been suffering with a bout of tonsilitis which has left me slightly lethargic. Anyway enough of feeling sorry for myself. I recently had the opportunity to try a lovely new bespoke addition to the London food scene called Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is a service for time-sensitive Londoners and those of us who would rather avoid the thought of going to the supermarket after a long hard days work. Each week you can choose to be sent a box which will contain all the ingredients and instructions to make 3 or 5 healthy recipes selected by the Hello Fresh team. Now, I have to admit I was a little worried at first because most of the things I cook I’ve learnt from watching my mother or friends and I am usually rubbish at following recipes. However, as you will see most of the recipes are fool-proof and didn’t take much cooking ability to rustle up something tasty.
So on a Tuesday evening at around 8pm I sprinted excitedly to the door to receive my package from Hello Fresh.
Inside the box was 3 recipe cards, fresh meat, vegetables, herbs, all individually packaged and ready to cook. Also a lovely little after dinner treat some chocolates from Hotel Chocolat yum yum!
Ready and waiting to cook were 3 recipes: Warm Sweet Potato Salad and Pan fried Tilapia, Chicken fajitas and homemade guacamole and baby asparagus salad with chicken, pea shoots and smoked paprika.
Day 1 – Warm Sweet Potato Salad and Pan fried Tilapia
Being of African descent I ate a lot of tilapia cooked by my mum growing up but this was the first time I had eaten it in a salad so i thought this was an interesting combination to start with.
On the back of each of the cards was a step by step guide to preparing the dish (with pictures) and an ingredients list which only involved reaching into the box to achieve. Easy peasy!
Step 1 – My ingredients: 2 sweet potatoes, Tilapia fillets, lambs lettuce, soft cheese, sunflower seeds and 1 Lemon.
Then I cut, and steamed my sweet potato in a colander over a pan of water until they were soft enough to eat.
After this to make the dressing I segmented a lemon to get the juice, took two teaspoons of the juice and then mixed it with 50g of the philadelphia , two teaspoons of olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper mixed it all together until it was smooth. I then mixed it gently with the sweet potatoes.
Step 2 – the fish
To cook the fish I seasoned it with salt and pepper and added it to the to the pan skin down for 3 mins. (Note to self invest in some decent non stick pans). Then I transferred it from stove to the grill on the top shelf and let it cook for another 3 mins.
Then I transferred it back to the stove added a teaspoon of butter to the dish and drizzled lemon juice over it to serve.
To serve I mixed the salad leaves with sweet potato, topped it with the fish and sprinkle over some sunflower leaves.
The whole dish was really quick and simple to prepare. It also tasted delicious! I am definitely going to make this dish again in the future.
Day 2 – Chicken Fajitas and Homemade Guacamole
I’ve made fajitas before using the Ol del Paso ready pack, so I was surprised to see how quick and easy it was to prepare from scratch. Not being a fan of avocado I only ate one with guacamole in it, but it works perfectly without it.
Day 3 – Baby asparagus Salad with chicken, pea shoots and smoked paprika.
I left this recipe till last as I had tried cooking asparagus before and it hadn’t come out too well. Now I know why asparagus should be steamed not boiled! The chicken salad for me was the easiest out of all the recipes, tasted delicious and it took less than 30 mins to whip up, perfect for when your feeling tired after a long day at work. Since my sister has an allergy to cheese I made her an alternative without it which I think tasted just as nice.
To conclude I really enjoyed the Hello Fresh experience. The meals were easy to make and I liked the idea of pushing myself to make something new, and I now have three recipes that I will definitely try in the future. I think this will end up becoming a popular service for shop shy Londoner’s.
Souffle’s are easy and quick to make. Today I made one for myself, following the recipe below. Souffle basically means “full of air” but you don’t need many ingredients in order to make it.
Hot Vanilla Souffle Recipe
Hot Vanilla Souffle Recipe with Vanilla Essence, Butter, Flour, Milk, Sugar and Eggs
1 oz (25g) Butter
1 oz (25g) Plain Flour
1/4 pint (150ml) Milk
1 oz (25g) Castor Sugar
Heat the oven Mark 5 or 400F or 200c and have ready a thoroughly greased 6 inch (150mm) souffle dish. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, cook together gently for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk, beating constantly to keep the sauce smooth. Bring to the boil stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and vanilla essence – about 1/4 teaspoon depending on the strength of the essence – and leave until the saucepan itself is cool enough to handle comfortably. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold carefully through the souffle mixture. Turn into the prepared dish and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve immediately.
Based on the Hot Vanilla Souffle Recipe in:
The Book of Sweets & Puddings
by Myrtle Lindlaw (Spectator Publications 1967).