Hello Fresh, Goodbye Supermarket
Some people’s idea of the future involves self-tying shoelaces and moon crater accommodation. For me, it involves talking dogs and an alternative to grocery shopping that doesn’t include getting caught between a trolley and a stroller in the condiments aisle.
Luckily the team at Hello Fresh feel the same way, and have set out to revolutionise the way we shop. The weekly meal delivery service takes all the hard work out of meal preparation - from creating recipes and sourcing fresh produce to putting it all in a box and delivering it to your door.
I decided to put the service to the test to see if Hello Fresh could do a better job of feeding me than I could. I received a Classic Box for two people (both me) which included recipes and ingredients for five dinners. The only things not included were salt, pepper and someone to do the washing up.
I opened my front door to a beautiful sight early this morning: a big brown box full of carefully selected, fresh groceries. After dreaming about it all day, I rushed home from work starving and ready to cook up a storm. This dish taught me to cook chicken that is succulent instead of dry: the key is to brown it in the pan first and then finish it in the oven. Success! The side dish of smashed chickpeas and pumpkin paired well and was something I wouldn’t have thought to make.
Pork Larb Rice Boats
I was too hangry last night to do anything other than throw kitchen utensils around and attempt to cook chicken in record time. By tonight, however, I am ready and able to enjoy the cooking experience. I’ve also discovered that a fun thing to do with Hello Fresh is lay out all of your ingredients and pretend you’re a super organised adult!
The addition of a few Asian sauces from the pantry gave the pork larb rice boats an authentic look and taste, and I knew I was onto a winner when my housemates appeared in the kitchen to 'help'. Sidenote – trying to add hot pork larb and steaming rice to thin lettuce leaves is hard and likely to burn your hand. Be careful out there, readers.
Yes! Carbs! Tonight is a chilly, rainy winter night – the perfect setting for a creamy and hearty beef stroganoff. I nearly cried with joy when I saw the beef was cut into perfect, thin little strips ready to be browned off in the pan. Lacking Jamie Oliver’s kitchen setup, I didn’t have a pot big enough to fit a whole bunch of pasta AND a head of broccoli, so I improvised and used two separate pots and a fry pan. It worked well but washing up is never the most enjoyable part of cooking. The recipe also called for parsley, the devil’s herb – I left it out.
Tonight’s meal prep was initially hampered by my lack of meat cutting knowledge. The recipe instructed me to cut the lamb rump so that it was ‘halved crossways’. I know what those words mean separately, but together they made no sense, so I ignored that step. It also required more utensils than I’m usually comfortable with, so the washing up had me feeling a bit like I was the kitchenhand in an 18th-century English manor. In spite of my bad butchering, the lamb was not too thick and still very tasty. The golden crumb on the outside was just delightful.
My last Hello Fresh meal. What a journey it has been; I’m sad it has to come to end. Today’s meal required exotic utensils like a mortar and pestle which I don’t own because I usually keep things basic (my main goal is to cook without setting the smoke alarm off). I improvised with a pepper grinder and a bowl, which I realised, after biting into a whole peppercorn, doesn’t work. All in all, it was not a bad way to get a hit of protein before the weekend.
Initially I was worried the box would hold too much food for one person, but it actually works well for singles. The second portion of each meal made for a great lunch the next day, and if you are smart (and have freezer space) any excess meals from one week can be carried over into the next. The recipes, though sometimes a little time-consuming, were fun to make and generous in size. Not only did the service save me time I’d normally spend grocery shopping, it also got me out of my culinary comfort zone. 10/10 would do it again.