A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Hello Fresh www.hellofresh.co.uk a London-based company who deliver recipes together with all the ingredients you would need to make them to households across the city.
I’d not heard of Hello Fresh before – they are a relatively new company – but I was asked to try out one of their vegetarian boxes, so I thought, why not. Now I’m not vegetarian but I do love vegetarian food, so for me as well as testing the concept and giving my honest opinion about the service, it was also an opportunity to try out some dishes that I might not have cooked before.
But before I talk about the recipes I tried out, here is a little more info on Hello Fresh. They deliver every Tuesday (after 5pm) and you receive a lovely box which includes recipe cards and all the fresh and necessary ingredients in the right quantities to cook the dishes. The recipes are designed to be healthy, delicious, and family friendly and even better, they only take around 30 minutes to cook and you don’t need any complex cooking equipment. Brilliant!
In terms of the costs, a box of 3 meals per week costs £4.94 per meal, per person, and a box of 5 meals per week costs £4.30 per meal, per person with delivery costs included. I did this was a little bit expensive but the produce I received was very good quality and you are of course paying for the convenience of having everything you need for those meals delivered direct to your door.
Hello Fresh is subscription based but it has no minimum contract length and the notice period is only 6 days, so you really can opt out at any time if you wish to do so.
So, on to the recipes themselves! I was trying out: Roasted Aubergine with Pistachio and Herb Couscous, Wandering Forager’s Wild Mushroom Risotto and Warm, Herby Mushroom Salad with Watercress and Ripe Avocado.
Everything turned up well presented in the box and it was nice to see that only the items that needed to be wrapped up had been and there was no unnecessary packaging.
The recipe cards themselves were also really well produced, nicely designed with clear photos and step by step instructions on how to make the dishes.
Out of all of the recipes the Roasted Aubergine with Pistachio and Herb Couscous was my favourite. I loved the idea of putting fried onion and pistachios through the couscous (so yummy), it was really quick and simple and the end result was a very delicious dinner. My only quibble was that the red onion delivered wasn’t actually big enough for the amount required in the recipe, so instead of specifying a quantity in grams for some ingredients I would have thought it would be simpler to just say ‘1 medium onion’ or ‘1 stick of celery’ rather than going by weight.
Wandering Forager’s Wild Mushroom Risotto was again a tasty recipe and really easy to make. The wild mushrooms provided were really delicious and good quality and the Arborio rice had a nice flavour.
The Warm, Herby Mushroom Salad with Watercress and Ripe Avocado was my least favourite. I’m not a huge fan of watercress (unless it’s in a soup, I’m funny like that) so I’m slightly bias and I decided to supplement much/pretty much all of the watercress for some rocket and lambs lettuce which I had in the fridge! Sorry! I also found the combination of warm herby mushrooms with the avocado a bit odd. Obviously with any recipe it comes down to personal likes and dislikes and my dislike of this dish is probably saying more about me than the food! Again I can’t fault the ingredients which were decent quality and the dish was very quick and easy to prepare.
One general improvement would be to give customers a choice of recipes to receive, or ask them to fill in a form which identifies ingredients that they dislike or are allergic to. I think that would be helpful as there is always something people won’t eat!
Overall I think Hello Fresh is a neat idea, especially for busy folk who don’t always have the time to shop for all the fresh ingredients they would need to create a wholesome family meal from scratch. The ingredients provided are good quality and the recipes themselves are easy to follow and the end result is tasty.
And would I pay to use this service again? Yes, I would probably give the 3 meal box a go once in a while if I knew I was going to be really pushed for time. But I love food shopping and experimenting in the kitchen too much to ever give it up.