|HelloFresh meal - Yoghurt and Dukkah Crusted Chicken with Aubergine and Bulgur Wheat|
September whizzed by, with back to the school routine, my Mum staying for a month, my in-laws visiting for a week, long-planned trip to London for a cooking masterclass in the Italian restaurant, volunteering at school and much more crammed in.
Just this week I went on a school trip to the museum with Eddie's class, did a reading class, attended the Harvest Festival service at the church today and baked cupcakes for the fundraising event.
I enjoy cooking, but sometimes preparing a varied menu on a daily basis could be more of an onus rather than pleasure.
I envy those organised people who plan their meals a week in advance, I surely do, but as much as I admire their organisational skills, it just doesn't happen in my life.
I appreciate all the help I can get, and was very happy to have a helping hand from HelloFresh this month.
Every week Head Chef Patrick and his team create new recipes with step-by-step photos. No planning on your part is involved, all has been done for you by the team.
You don't need to take long lists to the supermarket (I'm also known for writing long lists and then leaving them at home), traipse through the aisles and also buy a lot of random things just because they were on offer or caught your eye (does it sound familiar? I sometimes go in the supermarket to buy a bottle of milk and some bread, and end up with a full shopping basket).
So relax, it's all being done for you. All the ingredients arrive in exact quantities needed for three (or more) big meals.
All the foods arrive in a chilled recipe box - you can choose a day. Delivery is free too.
You can choose one of the three possible boxes - Classic, Veggie and Family; a size - from 2 to 4 people and the quantity of meals.
I had a good look at all the boxes, and it was a difficult choice. All the recipes looked delicious. As we're omnivores, I have selected a Classic Box with 3 recipes. Each meal comes at £4.92, a very reasonable price for a big creative meal.
The Classic box came chilled, the ice in the box hasn't even melted completely in the cooler pads.
All the meat, vegetables and herbs looked fresh.
There was a wide selection of vegetables, herbs, spices and condiments.
Each card has a photo of the final meal, an easy guide on which ingredients you will need to prepare the dish and a concise step-by-step.
The first recipe I have prepared was Yoghurt and Dukkah Crusted Chicken with Aubergine and Bulgur Wheat. I butterflied the chicken breasts as suggested in the technique tip. Bulgur wheat was very easy to prepare. Aubergine and peppers were roasted on the tray in the oven, so it was just the matter of cutting and chucking it all in the oven.
The chicken was cooked in the oven, smothered with yogurt and sprinkled with dukkah spice. I haven't tried this Egyptian spice mix before. If like me you are not familiar with dukkah, this is a tasty spice mix made with celery, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. thyme, coriander, cumin, cayenne, paprika, black pepper and sea salt.
As it was the first time I cooked with dukkah, I have halved the amount of the spice mix. The combination of yogurt and dukkah works very well. The chicken was moist and flavourful.
It was a delicious meal, full of beautiful flavours.
The portions were very generous. We had plenty of couscous left for the next day's lunch.
The second meal was a Courgette, Broad Bean and Feta Orzotto with Pork Meatballs. This one was
the most time-consuming of the three recipes, as you also had to pod the broad beans.
It was a creative recipe but it did require quite a bit of ingredients. I have felt that there was no need for the peashoots leaves. They made the final dish prettier, but there was enough food on the plate without them. My impression - and I do mean it kindly - that whoever created this recipe, was over-enthusiastic. Sometimes less is better.
We also ended up with too much of the orzotto. It was a big pot, enough not just for the family of four but for a mini-army. I have packaged half of the orzotto into small plastic containers and put in the freezer.
I have finished cooking it in the pot in the oven, as it kept getting stuck to the big pan on the stove.
To speed up the cooking, the meatballs were made from the skinned pork oregano sausage. Because of the sausage texture, the meatballs were a bit dense. When I make my own meatballs, they have a fluffier texture. Saying that, they tasted lovely, with just the right balance of oregano.
Finally I cooked Seared Steak with Crispy Potato Salad. I love a good old potato salad, and this potato salad with green beans didn't disappoint. It was flavoured with roast tomatoes and garlic. I also love olives, so for me this was a win-win recipe. I didn't use all the potatoes at once.
I do tend to cook my steak well done, so it might look too dark for rare beef eaters. This is just a personal choice.
Verdict: The portions are very generous. The quality of ingredients is excellent.
I enjoy cooking, but having a break from planning and shopping was a big bonus. It is a real treat for me when someone else takes care of the menu planning. It was very convenient to have all the ingredients prepared. It was particularly helpful this month, as getting back into the school routine sucked all my energy.
Readjusting to early mornings and a bigger daily load of washing and ironing, plus helping with school homework and volunteering, I appreciated the convenience of HelloFresh service.
If you like the look of these recipes, you can download all of them in HelloFresh Archives section - for these meals go for September 2016.
Disclosure: I received HelloFresh Classic box for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.