Being a so-so cook, I find that deciding what to have for tea is rather difficult – despite having a collection of cookery books that would fill a library.
If I do find a recipe, there will be at least one ingredient I don’t have to hand, or the ingredients will be far more exotic than our local supermarket will offer.
This means that the kids’ weekday teas tend to consist of pizza, salmon, spaghetti bolognese, fish fingers and ham sandwiches.
Over the summer holidays we got into a bit of a rut with rather more of these than was good for us. Now autumn is here and it’s getting colder, I find myself wanting proper, hot, nutritious food – particularly for the kids.
But I’ve discovered HelloFresh who offer a food box subscription service with fresh produce, all the stocks, sauces and spices you’ll need and recipe cards with instructions even the most hopeless cook can follow.
We were sent the family box to try over 2 weeks. This feeds 2 adults and 2 children for the price of £64 per week for 4 meals (that’s £4 per head per meal).
These were the 8 meals we were sent:-
Jamie’s South Asian Chicken Curry with Fluffy Rice
Mushroom, Broccoli and Pancetta Gnocchi
BBQ Sausage Skewers with Cheesy Wedges
Chorizo Crusted Tilapia with Miniature Roasties
Creamy Leek and Mustard Chicken with Stir-Fried Green Beans
Jamie’s Sizzling Steak Stir-Fry with Tenderstem Broccoli & Noodles
Sweet and Sour Pork with Bulgur Wheat
Courgette, Broad Bean and Feta Orzotto with Pork Meatballs
Once you have signed up (and there are other boxes to choose from), you select your delivery day and then wait for your box to arrive.
Each box contains a variety of vegetables, a bag of all the spices and condiments you need to make the recipes, your meat and fish (carefully wrapped in wool with ice packs) and the recipe cards.
HelloFresh also offer a box for vegetarians and a classic box with more adult and spicier meals.
With the possible exception of a splash of olive oil, milk or water, there is nothing else you need to provide.
You can cook the meals in any order and the produce lasts for one week so there is no need to panic and cook them 4 days on the trot, although I did find I began to get into a routine.
Whilst the meals are easy to prepare, if you don’t do much cooking I would allow yourself extra time for chopping etc.
As experienced cooks will know, a small block of time for food prep in the morning (unless your school mornings are complete chaos) or just after you’ve put the kids to bed will give you a useful breathing space when tea time comes around – particularly if you are taxiing the kids back and forth to various clubs and classes.
Not only are the recipe cards clearly written and easy to follow, the quality of the produce you are sent is incredibly high.
All the food is carefully packaged and clearly marked with the use-by date. There is nothing processed and you add the seasoning yourself so there is no danger of too much salt.
The cooking time for each meal is around 25-35 minutes, designed specifically for busy mums and dads who need to get tea on the table pronto.
Caitlin is an excellent eater but Ieuan is a lot more picky. To my surprise I found that they both tested everything.
I did substitute the bulgur wheat for rice with the sweet and sour pork and Ieuan wasn’t a fan of the orzo pasta.
I also managed to undercook the Gnocchi which could have been better had they been crisper – but I’ve learned to cook in batches rather than chuck everything in a frying pan and hope for the best!
I was really impressed with HelloFresh and we have now subscribed because
* No more bulky main meal food shopping
* No cupboard full of condiments and pickles that never get used
* No stress about thinking “what’s for tea”
* Cooking is actually quite enjoyable (don’t tell the Husband)
* I feel like a much better mum for feeding my kids decent meals each tea time
* We all feel quite a bit healthier due to less processed food
Of course there are still another 3 tea times to cope with but the recipe cards are punched so you can store them in a folder for a quick idea or two. I feel far less guilty about pizza and fish fingers when the kids have already had 4 proper meals that week.
Currently, if you sign up to HelloFresh there is £40 off (£20 off each of your first 2 boxes) and if cooking is your bugbear, I heartily recommend you take a look.
In terms of value, I think the £64 is very reasonable. You could probably cook 4 meals a lot cheaper but it’s the removal of the stress of planning, shopping and storing that adds value to Hello Fresh.
Their subscription plans are flexible too – you can stop your subscription when you need to or cancel it at any time (as long as you give about a week’s notice).
It’s going to be a much healthier, and tastier winter in the Hobbis household.
*We were sent one family food box for two weeks for the purpose of this post. Our subscription is entirely independent.