Friday, 15 June 2012

Make Weekly Meal Planning a Doddle

As regular readers will know, I work in the wonderful world of food PR and in over two years of writing this blog I’ve never once included any of the clients I’ve represented. However, I’ve just started working with a brand new food delivery and recipe service that has launched into the UK and I’m keen to share my review with readers.

Hello Fresh is an online service that creates weekly recipes and delivers the recipe cards along with the ingredients needed to create the meals, measured out exactly, depending on whether you’ve selected a two, four or six person meal plan.

One of the great things about Hello Fresh is the precision with which ingredients are delivered, aside from the fact that this avoids buying obscure and often expensive ingredients that might only ever be used once in a blue moon, what I think is truly fantastic is this accuracy completely eliminates waste.

When my box arrived, all of the ingredients for which only a pinch was required, came in tiny pots, all popped together in a brown paper bag entitled ‘The Little Bits. I have to say it was very exciting receiving this box of goodies, and opening it up like a gift to find out which meals I’d be preparing that week.

I trialled the 3-meal plan for two people, which I thought was a good way of testing how well the recipes worked against three different people following the instructions so I roped in my boyfriend, who is very much a can’t cook, won’t cook type and my brother who is comfortable in the kitchen but very much a novice.

Glen, the kitchen-phobic, took the first baton and prepared Stir Fried Pork & Prawn Noodles with Shitake Mushrooms. Frankly I was gobsmacked and impressed to see my boyfriend comfortably chopping, slicing and stirring, and even more so when he dished up a meal in less than twenty minutes that looked appealing and tasted great.Hello Fresh supply the customer with smart recipe cards, which on one side display an image of the finished dish, with the ingredients listed out below with an image of each, and on the other side is the recipe method, which is broken down into step-by-step stages which are illustrated clearly with a photograph. The very fact that Glen was able to follow these instructions clearly and produce not just an edible, but frankly a delicious meal is testament to the fact that these really are a simple format easy enough for anyone to follow, regardless of their competence in the kitchen.

When we received the recipe cards, this was the one I was least excited about it but it was actually my favourite one, with a very fresh chilli and coriander flavour it was thoroughly enjoyable and I’ve retained the recipe card to re-produce at a later date.

On enjoying this meal and the two that followed in the next couple of days, the first point that simply must be made is the very high standard of the produce used. The meat in particular was incredible, and in this first dish, the fresh, large and succulent prawns were what elevated a week-day meal into something spectacular.

My brother Daniel prepared Chorizo and Toasted Pine Nut Burgers with Red Onion Marmalade and Corn on the Cob. Once again instructions proved to be clear and the final result was great – so much so that a photocopy of this recipe was made so both of us could enjoy this dish again at a later date.

The final dish, which I cooked, was Chicken Skewers with Ginger Rice and again I couldn’t fault it on either flavour, ease of preparation or originality – a triumph for the third time.

I have already recommended Hello Fresh to friends and family as I think it is a truly convenient way to enjoy fresh, home-cooked meals from scratch, that are of a very high standard without the stress of visiting a supermarket or even planning meals for a week. In the fast-paced culture we live in, it’s not unusual to ‘pop’ to a supermarket after work during the week to pick up your evening’s dinner, and in my experience I usually spend £20 or more doing this, buying unnecessary extras and over-priced convenience purchases – not to mention the fact that if you go there not knowing what you’re planning on cooking (which is often half the problem) then traipsing around the aisles can be an uninspiring and definitely not an enjoyable way to spend precious hours outside of the working day.

Hello Fresh is priced from £39 per week for a 3-meal plan for two, which is what I trialled, and which works out at £6.50 per person, per meal and for the high quality of the dishes prepared and the ingredients included I think this is simply marvellous.

As readers will be aware, I’m very passionate about food and particularly about home-cookery and I think Hello Fresh is an affordable way of equipping people who might lead a hectic lifestyle to enjoy all of the benefits of cooking at home for family or friends.

I will definitely be using this service and I urge readers to try too.

For more information about Hello Fresh check out their website


  1. I love Hello Fresh and have subscribed for a weekly 3 day box. Sitting here waiting for one now and getting very hungry! :)

  2. Hi there, it's a great service and I can really see this taking off now that they have launched nationwide.