Hello Fresh is Super Spesh!!
What do you do when it’s a Sunday night, your girlfriend needs something nice to ward off her Sunday night blues BUT you’re in London and you can’t face the grim selection of ready meals and sad empty shelves at your Sainsbury’s local?
You dive into the big cardboard box that arrived yesterday, of course.
London (where my girlfriend lives) is a foodie heaven for many reasons – from famous venues like Borough Market or Greenwich Market to up-and-coming hidden gems like Deptford Market Yard – but not so much on a Sunday evening.
Express one-stop-shops like Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s locals are designed keep commuters stocked with the essentials and not much else, so it can be hard to find ingredients for a gourmet meal. No wonder we end up relying on an unhealthy ready meal, or using an app to get restaurant food via bicycle courier (for a nominal fee).
HelloFresh was designed for those same foodies who love eating well (and who have helped the UK street food scene to thrive in the last few years) but just can’t find time to shop for and cook a decent weeknight dinner.
The way Hello Fresh works is that you pay for your box, then go online and peruse the week’s menu and pick the meals you would like to try. You then receive a box with all the ingredients you need, clearly labelled and divided up, and recipe cards.
My girlfriend is a vegetarian and while all the recipes looked delicious, she wasn’t spoiled for choice. A fortunate dilemma really: I would have found it really hard to choose between all 15 meals.
If we could choose our perfect evening in, it would definitely involve spending time preparing food. Both of our respective businesses demand so much of our attention, when we put our laptops and phones away we can lose ourselves in chopping, stirring and tasting – preferably with a can of decent beer in my hand. Nothing is more relaxing for us, which is why HelloFresh is ideal.
Last Sunday, Paneer Vegetable Curry was on the menu. After a weekend of partying it felt very healthy and positive to open a box of fresh veggies – and they looked much perkier than those we normally pick up from the supermarket. Everything comes weighed out for you, so we didn’t even have to get out the scales (although we are both of the ‘dash of this, dash of that’ school of thought).
What I loved most about this box is that it inspires people to feel confident in the kitchen and try out new things without fear or unnecessary faff. I often order Paneer curries in restaurants but it’s still a relatively new ingredient to me (like Tofu #VegetarianProblems), and that might put me off trying to cook it myself. The recipe card from HelloFresh made the instructions simple enough for anyone to follow (although my girlfriend completely failed at chopping the paneer into 2cm cubes: which really didn’t seem like the complicated part).
Although the spices came ready measured, garnishes like chilli and coriander meant you could adjust the flavour: we both like a bit of spice so we added red chilli to the sauce. Adding a dollop of mango chutney also helped to perfect the dish. The recipe told us to boil our rice with Turmeric (also provided) which neither of us had tried before, and was actually a delicious tip for the future.
All in all, it took us about 45 minutes from chopping up to plated up, which isn’t bad for a weeknight dinner. The flavours were very fragrant and all of the ingredients clearly high quality – you get what you pay for with organic produce.
What’s so good about it?
- Easy to follow
- Learned new skills
- Quality of produce
- Builds kitchen confidence
What could be improved?
- We got our box on an offer & the vegetarian option comes at a lower cost, so were very happy at the value, but otherwise it would be pretty pricey. Luckily there are enough deals and introductory discount codes that you can try and blag a cheaper box.
- The food was really nice, but we did add quite a lot of our own spice and seasoning: it probably could have packed more of a punch – but that might have just been us!