We have been using Riverford organic fruit and veg delivery for a few weeks now. It’s working well for us, as it cuts out some heavy bags from my shopping trips. It’s also great to know that all the produce is organic and ethically sourced. Our delivery driver happens to be quite cute as well…
As we are using Riverford’s veg box scheme we have been asked to try their Recipe Box. The idea is simple: you are delivered a box with ingredients and recipes for 3 dinners. When I say ingredients, I mean ALL ingredients. The spices, oils, nuts and raisins, whatever is required, all measured out in exact quantities. You also get detailed recipe cards, which you can keep if you have enjoyed the dish. We are vegetarian, so the box we have received was with vegetarian recipes, but there is also Original and Quick Box, both containing meat. The box came with an ingenious eco-friendly, reusable cooler pack.
Here’s how we got on.
Oh, I should mention that though Little F is only 22 months he loves cooking. He sits on the kitchen top while I cook and helps me in whatever way he can (and I let him!).
Our first recipe – Aubergine Involtini
with ricotta, raisins, almonds and wilted spinach
Jumping ahead – this was the overall winner for us. The balance of flavours is perfectly worked out between the sweet raisins, savoury aubergine and acid from tomatoes and lemon. There is also a pleasant crunch from crushed almonds (crunchiness of food has been proven to be an important factor in our enjoyment of a meal. There’s lots of money going into research into a perfect crunch of a crisp. Apparently the ideal ‘crack’ speed is 300 metres per second). The spinach with lemon and garlic was a revelation. The lemon itself was incredibly fragrant – just shows that it pays to buy organic.
It took me an hour to cook, as opposed to suggested 45 minutes. Possibly because I am cooking with a toddler and tacking pictures as we go…
This was a great recipe for Little F. He helped with:
zesting and squeezing the lemon
crumbling ricotta (well, squishing it)
adding spices from little pots (he did miss once…)
There’s a lot of little pots with spices, which will be handy for our camping trips, but I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable receiving so many every week. That’s a lot of recycling.
The portions were very generous and there was enough left for lunch the next day for Daddy and me.
Our second recipe was – Falafel
It was an easy dish to make and Little F lent a hand by tipping the spices into blender and doing some mixing. It took about 40 minutes, so this time we managed to cook the recipe in prescribed time.
We were not crazy about this meal, but to be honest I tried a lot of falafel recipes and I haven’t found one I like. Yet. I can’t say I don’t like falafel, as I enjoyed it in a restaurant, but I haven’t made one I like at home.
The flavours were a little too spicy for Little F, so he hasn’t eaten much of this dish.
Our final recipe was New Potato Tortilla
with green onions and wet garlic
This was definitely the simplest, though not the quickest recipe. It was definitely a favourite with Little F, as he loves omelettes. It’s always the best way to get him to eat his vegetables. Daddy’s vote was that it’s a more of a lunch than a dinner dish. As there was a slice left he had it for lunch the next day. And enjoyed it cold.
I was surprised that a whole bottle of olive oil was needed to cook the potatoes (they are cooked, rather than fried in oil). It does seem rather wasteful, so I have cooled the oil and stored it in the jar for the next time I make a tortilla. And make one I will!
Little F showed off his culinary skills by placing slices of new potatoes in a (cold) pan in one layer and pouring a whole bottle of oil over it (what a treat!).
All in all the box is a great idea, especially if both parents are working, as all the recipes are relatively quick. There is no need to worry about planning meals and shopping for all the spices and additional ingredients. As always though, there is a price for convenience. A box with three veggie recipes for 2 people is at £30. Quite a lot for three dinners. Though as I have mentioned, the portions are generous, and even with Little F eating with us, in two cases there was enough food for next day’s lunch.
I can see where the price comes from, as there is a lot of work to pack the ingredients and the packaging itself costs money. And of course all the ingredients are good quality and organic. The price is fair, but won’t fit into all family budgets.
PS. We have been given a Veggie Recipe Box in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions are mine (with a sway from Daddy and Little F!).