HelloFresh - A meal subscription box review6 November 2015
The Hello Fresh subscription box is one that I've had my eye on for some time. I really enjoy cooking in the evenings as I find it a helpful way to wind down from a day at work, but I don't always have time to plan meals and buy ingredients. My diet is particularly bad at the moment (fishfingers and potato waffles are cooking in the oven as I write this), and my waistline and general health are paying the price. Despite the fact that I absolutely love cooking from recipes and creating delicious home-cooked meals, my lack of planning means I often end up plumping for convenience over quality and I find myself sitting at the computer eating junk food rather than enjoying that cathartic time in the kitchen.
So having a subscription box where not only are the recipes chosen for you, but the ingredients are pre-measured and sent directly to your door, is a real winner for me, and definitely something worth paying for. I was very excited to come home last week to a box full of tasty, fresh foods, and three recipe cards containing the meals I'd be having that week.
The three meals we had chosen for us were Hearty Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet, Zesty Orange Beef Stir Fry and Mexican Black Bean and Chicken Stew. I think what intrigued me the most was that these weren't necessarily three meals that I would have chosen to cook were I searching for recipes, but I was really excited to try them. It was good to get out of my comfort zone both with cooking and with trying new things.
The first meal we tried was the sausage cassoulet. It seemed like the perfect warming, hearty meal for the chilly, rainy evenings we've been having lately. I can't describe how much I enjoyed standing over the stove and watching as the beans and tomatoes cooked, chopping the thyme, stirring the mix, grilling the sausages. The smell of it bubbling and cooking away filled the house with the most mouthwatering aromas. It made me realise how long it's been since I've really taken my time over cooking a meal and preparing ingredients - it's very mindful and calming, and really helped me switch off after a long day at work.
You can probably guess from the photos that it was totally delicious (it really was every bit as yummy as it looks). I'm a real carb-lover usually and most of my meals often feature two different types of potato, so to be able to fill up on beans and veggies rather than a starchy alternative made me feel much better afterwards.
The second meal we tried was the Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Stew. Although I love black beans and soured cream, I wasn't sure if I would love this one as much as I'm not a great lover of brown rice - but yet again it was totally delicious. If I'd cooked this at home normally (here's the carb lover in me again) I probably would have had this in a tortilla wrap, but it really didn't need it - it was more than filling enough.
The final meal was the orange beef stir fry. I'm a big steak lover and I often cook stir fries so this one was definitely up my street. It was a slightly quicker cook at 25 minutes, but what it saved in time it certainly didn't scrimp on flavour. Although a stir fry is something I am quite comfortable cooking, I've never added muscovado sugar or lemon and lime before, and this is definitely a method I'll be using again it future.
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I absolutely loved my week trying out the Hello Fresh box and I would recommend it to anyone. Tom and I already in the process of ordering another one for next week as we loved the convenience of having the meals delivered (not to mention how amazing the meals themselves were). We got the Classic Box, which is three meals for two people (but the stir fry also made enough for lunch the next day). This would have cost £39, which is about how much we spend on meals per week, so I think it's worth it to have the ease of having the meals delivered and the fresh, quality ingredients. Whilst we might not choose to order one every week, the subscriptions are flexible, meaning you can pause and un-pause them whenever you like, so if you wanted to only have one or two boxes a month then it is possible to do so.
The main thing that I took away from our week trialling the subscription is how pleasurable it is to spend your time on cooking and eating, rather than making that another facet of a busy, rushed life. We also ate all of our meals at the table this week rather than on our laps in front of the television (and phones were banned from the dinner table!) This too made a real difference to our evening routine and is another thing we'll be keeping up.
Have you tried Hello Fresh or any other food subscription boxes? Are you a 'take your time' cook, or a beige oven dinners kind of chef? (Oops!)