We love the sheer laziness of delivered-to-your-door ingredients, all pre-measured and ready for the pan. But how fresh can box scheme cooking be? And is it worth the money? We tested out Marley Spoon, one of the latest companies to jump on the bandwagon.
It’s simple: Marley Spoon’s chefs share seven recipes a week (everything from pan-fried lamb with mint pesto, to roasted tomato, aubergine and courgette tacos); you decide which ones you like the look of; they deliver the ingredients and a reminder of the recipe to your door; then you cook it. The menu changes weekly and you can view all the recipes on marleyspoon.co.uk – a beautiful, clean website that’s easy to navigate.
We tried chilli salmon with sticky rice and pak choi for our first meal. The fillets were huge, the pak choi crisp, and the ginger fresh. Because the ingredient measurements are so exact (right down to a tiny thimble of honey), it goes a long way to reducing food waste – so no more bags of red chillies withering in your salad drawer, or crystallised honey in the cupboard. Plus, the boxes come insulated and stay cool for 30 hours, so we didn’t even bother refrigerating everything before dinner.
Every meal comes with an image-led step-by-step recipe card, which we found super-simple to follow. In fact, we’re pretty confident that even the most amateur cook could manage. There is some prep involved – grating ginger, chopping coriander and the like – but, because we didn’t have to measure anything out ourselves, the total prep time for one meal was about 20 minutes.
As for the taste, it was one of the best salmon fillets we’ve had for a while – great quality, and sustainably sourced (like most of their ingredients). And the glaze – a sweet and hot marinade, with plenty of lemon zest – was just the right level of sticky. The rice was a little dry (perhaps that has more to do with our cooking), but overall it was a solid 8/10 meal.
Another recipe we tried, pea pancakes, was just as quick to make, and almost as satisfying. But, considering that the recipe had no meat or fish in, it was a bit steep for £11 for two people. In fact, all the recipes are at least £5.50 per person – whether or not that’s good value really does depend on what you order. We’d try Marley Spoon again, and be happy to pay, if we were getting a wonderful piece of salmon, or tender neck of lamb for that price. And it’s a great solution if you’re hosting a dinner party, but don’t have the time to shop for ingredients.
For more information, visit marleyspoon.co.uk
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