Friday, 16 February 2018

Riverford Organic Food - Delivered to your door.

If you're not scrimping, saving or super dieting then food box deliveries can be a great way to discover new recipes, ingredients and moments of joy. There are a few out there at the moment, that range from budget to blow and cater to a whole host of dietary requirements. 

I had previously reviewed Gousto and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed cooking out of a box. Riverford Organic offered to send me a box to try out and I gladly accepted, curious to learn new recipes and find out how it different from Gousto. 

Even the cat was intrigued... 

A brief history...

Riverford have been growing veg since the year I was born, that's around 30 years. They sell fruit, veg and grass fed meat. It's all organic, but you probably already guessed that. They've been selling their fruit, veg and meat boxes for a little while now, my neighbour gets one a fruit and veg box every week and really rates them. She's a vegan and she says the assortment of veg she recieves really spruces up her cooking each week trying to a) work out how to use it all and b) find a recipe for a new piece of seasonal veg she is yet to cook with. 

You can be guaranteed that everything you receive in their recipe boxes will be in season, organic and locally sourced where possible. 

The options for their veg boxes (aside from how many people you are cooking for) are: quick vegetarian recipes; quick and light meals (under 500 calories); quick meals; vegetarian meals; original meals. 

We opted for the quick and light meals, I have a wedding dress to fit in to next year and life as a trainee teacher means my time to cook is now severely limited (but is helping the HTB learn how to cook). 

Our box of three meals turned up midweek, inside the box was all the ingredients nicely packed and three recipe cards. The cards were numbered (1 to 3, surprisingly) but we didn't follow the numerical order... because we wanted to save the steak recipe for Friday (who doesn't want a treat meal on a Friday?). 

The first meal we cooked was a dish inspired by Greek Saganki. We don't eat a lot of Greek food, perhaps we should start, I often imagine it to be samey and lacking taste. This proved me wrong on all accounts. 

The dish is made up of sesame and honey halloumi with roast tomato and olive maftoul. It's pretty much all of the HTB's current favourite foods. I've never cooked with maftoul before and when I've picked up at the deli counter we've always just referred to it as 'giant couscous', we're so uneducated. 

Spoiler alert, this was the best recipe of the box. I literally couldn't shut the HTB up about it, he kept going on and on about how delicious it was and he even offered to make it again next time! Best keep hold of that recipe card then. 

The next meal was a little less spectacular, chicken and red pepper cacciatore with a butterbean and rosemary mash. When we made it all up I looked at the butterbean mash with slight disappointment, it didn't look like there was nearly enough. How wrong I was, this was an incredibly filling meal and it was a good thing there was less mash than expected. 

It was nice to cut out some of the carbs from our diet, for one night at least, sometimes we fall in to bad habits when we're both so busy so it was nice to be forced to be healthy and we felt much better (and much more productive) for it too. 

The final meal was the sirloin steak with chickpea salad. Steak is normally a treat meal for us, we buy a nice piece of meat (a slightly cheaper cut these days now I'm a student again), have the posh broccoli (tenderstem or purple sprouting) and we... FRY our chips. It's completely indulgent and my only saving grace (apart from cooking the steak better than most restaurants) is that we make our own chimichurri to our own recipe that we've developed to our own tastes (definitely not authentic). 

Therefore, it was rather an odd feeling to have steak with no chips or green stuff but instead a chickpea salad. The HTB lapped it up but I was left craving my beloved chips, you can't change some spots and all that. The salad included carrots, beetroot, alfalfa sprouts and had an orange and ginger dressing, it was nice but I might save it for summer barbecues and keep my fried chips for now. 

The portions were really healthy, our portion sizes aren't normally on the small size (the HTB cycles 20 miles a day and I'm just greedy) so I worried that we'd be left feeling unsatisfied, we weren't. 

The ingredients are all nicely measured out for you, so there's less faff. Plus, it also takes away the supermarket experience of trying to find all the ingredients for a new recipe and sometimes (happens to me a lot) going to several supermarkets to try and find all the ingredients you need. In addition to this, recipe boxes also takeaway the angst of trying to decide what to cook for the week, in weeks where I'm feeling really uninspired and time limited it really can be a chore to think of new things to cook (hence why we fall back in to unhealthy circles of eating). 

I was really impressed with Riverford organic and if you're looking to spruce up your evening meals then this could be an option you might wish to consider. Prices for three meals range from £35 to £42, as we're on a budget (weddings and student life) this wouldn't be a weekly option for us, but it might be a nice treat from time to time. 

The recipes didn't call for too much equipment and I'd like to think that most people would have what was required in their cupboards, perhaps invest in a garlic crusher if you don't have one. 

How did it compare to Gousto? The meals were bigger, better quality and I am much more inspired by their menu options. The recipes were more refined, they were clear and didn't call for any cook's judgement (i.e. you can literally cook it to word). Gousto is slightly cheaper at £29.99 for three meals but I'd rather pay the extra for a better quality box. 

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