Like most people who cook dinner every night, I can get stuck in a rut. Some weeks we eat the same things as we did the week before. Sometimes I forget what I’ve cooked that week and we eat the same meal in the same week. Actually, when I’d just had Baby G, we ate the same meal two nights running because the day before seemed like a month ago.
When you’re busy and stressed, meal planning doesn’t seem high on your list of priorities but we all need a change from time-to-time and last week we got one.
We were asked to try a recipe box from Riverford.
If you haven’t heard of them before, The Riverford box scheme began when Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. They now deliver around 47,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from our regional farms.
You can type in your postcode on the website and find out where your nearest Riverford farm is and even see photos of the people who grow the food. It really is the face of farming and it is right up my street.
From Andy, the delivery driver who chatted to Hubster (I was gutted I missed him) to the wool packs in the box which keep the food fresh and cold, everything about the Riverford experience made me enthusiastic and, at this point, I hadn’t even tried the food.
Due to the nature of farming and the recipe boxes, you are unlikely to receive the same box twice.
I choose the meat box (there are vegetarian, quick and vegetable boxes available too) and these are the meals we were sent:
Chicken and spinach balti
Minute Steak with hassleback potatoes, broad bean and mint mash with salad
Roasted vegetables with chickpeas and pitta bread.
You receive the ingredients and recipe cards and you are set to go.
The cards themselves are set out in really easy-to-follow steps. I left them on the side in the kitchen so I could glance at the, throughout the day. Hubster liked this because he enjoyed knowing what he would be eating for dinner that night.
The first night and the chicken curry was very flavoursome. You even get the tiny little pots of herbs and spices in with the pack and with the root ginger (also included), it was very aromatic.
The little touches were what sold it for me. The chicken was already diced. The rice was perfectly cooked because I had instructions to follow. Even the yogurt came in the pack. As with each meal, all the spices came in tiny little pots and fresh herbs were included.
Night two was minute steak and hassleback potatoes with salad.* I had never made hassleback potatoes before but believe me, I am sold. They are so easy to make but so tasty and impressive to look at.
Now, I’m not going to beat about the bush here. Hubster has been a beef farmer his life and he knows his steaks.
I am always nervous serving it for him because if it is not up to scratch, he won’t eat it. Think of the restaurant critic of the farming world when it comes to Hubster and you won’t be far off the mark.
Well, the Riverford steak went down treat. There were no grumblings. I can’t even buy steak from the regular supermarkets. It has to be a local butcher or M&S and this week, feeling brave, I bought a steak from M&S. Hubster said it was no comparison to the steak from Riverford. That is praise indeed.
The broad bean and mint mash was also something I had never thought of but it was absolutely delicious, and even Boo was a fan. All in all, a success.
The final meal was roasted vegetables with roasted chick peas and pitta. Again, everything was expertly laid out and easy to follow instructions. Unfortunately, Hubster doesn’t ‘do’ vegetarian meals so I served his with sausages but it was a great success and Boo is a great lover of chick peas. The paprika and cumin they were roasted in was again a delicious idea which I will be using again. I would also like to highlight the pittas which were included. They were absolutely gorgeous. Wholemeal and so light and fluffy. Not the usual cardboard pitta breads available in supermarkets.
Notice Boo enjoying two plates of night three’s meal because I left the plate I’d use to take the photo for the blog-that is how much she liked it.
Now the Riverford Boxes serve two people but there is easily enough to feed two adults and one or two small children. Obviously Hubster got the bigger share but Boo and I were not in the least hungry after sharing the other half of the box.
They come in at £33 for the vegetarian box; £39.95 for the quick recipe box and £39.95 for either the original recipe box (which we got) and £39.95 for Hugh’s box ie Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.
While on face value it may seem a lot to shell out in one go, think about how much your weekly shop comes to. This worked out (for us, with Boo) at around £4 a day to feed us for three days. I think that is good value and, the thing that appeals to me the most about the boxes is that there is no waste.
The instructions in the box say the produce lasts for five days. We tested this out by having a two-day break between days two and three and the veg still looked fresh and perfect.
I cannot recommend the Riverford boxes enough. They tick so many boxes (pardon the pun) for me.
- Large portions
- Suitable for the whole family
- There is no waste
- Value for money
- All fresh and dried herbs included
- Hassle free
- Delivered to your door.
The only drawback I found? Lamenting the end of our three day experiment. I was left with plenty of ideas but I had to go out and plan the ingredients for our meals.
What a good excuse to order another Riverford Box.
For more information on the Riverford Recipe Boxes and their other produce, visit:
*In the photo you may have noticed a mushroom on the plate. That was actually from the night three meal but Hubster loves mushrooms with steak so I stole one of them for night two.
**We were sent our Riverford Box for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.