We are huge fans of food in this house. Buying it – cooking it – eating it. If we can put it in our mouths and it tastes good, it’s OK with us.
But as life gets increasingly busy I find I have less and less time to spend on creating lovely family mealtimes. I adore nothing more than a couple of hours with Pinterest, my recipe books and a meal planner, but when choosing between meal planning and sleep? Sorry, a nice long snooze wins every time.
Which is why I’m always looking for ways to cut corners, speed up our eating process, without compromising on taste or quality. The holy grail, am I right? And I’m going to go out and say it: although I always feel like I’m *kind of* cheating, HelloFresh boxes make our meal prep process so much easier.
I’ve ordered them on and off since the company’s inception in 2012 and it’s been brilliant to see their product offering grow and improve. But this time they asked me to have a go with some of their more flavourful recipes, following their Head Chef and co-founder Patrick Drake’s inspiration trip to Sri Lanka.
First off I took a look at HelloFresh’s new video series, FreshPlaces, to glean some inspiration. I loved the sound of the straight-up Sri Lankan Fish Curry, so decided to cook that first for the occasion of my lovely friend Laura coming to stay. The recipe was as easy as it looks, and both Laura and I went to bed with very happy tummies that evening (with her thinking that I was an incredibly effortless cook ;). I’ve popped the recipe below – I served ours with some cauliflower roasted in oil and sea salt and it was so tasty (AND healthy).
Sri Lankan Fish Curry
1 Red Onion
1 Garlic Clove
1 Green Chilli
75 ml Water
1 Vegetable Stock Pot
0.75 tsp Ground Turmeric
150 grams Basmati Rice
1.5 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder
400 milliliters Coconut Milk
3 Curry Leaves
2 Vine Tomatoes
1.5 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tilapia Fish Fillet
1 handful Baby Spinach
1. Halve, peel and thinly slice the red onion into half moons. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Halve and remove the seeds from the green chilli then finely chop. Zest the lime then cut it in half.
2. Boil the water (amount specified in the ingredient list) in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in half the vegetable stock pot and half the turmeric. Pour in the basmati rice and pop on a lid. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 mins. Then remove the pan from the heat and set aside for another 10 mins. The rice will finish cooking in its own steam.
3. Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in another large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until softened, 5 mins. Then add the garlic, Sri Lankan curry powder and remaining turmeric. Cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the coconut milk, curry leaves and remaining stock pot. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the coconut milk has reduced by half and thickened nicely, 10-12 mins.
4. Chop the vine tomato into 1 cm chunks. Put in a mixing bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Add as much green chilli as you dare, a pinch of lime zest, a squeeze of lime juice and the ground coriander (a little less if you don’t like strong spices). Stir in the olive oil (amount specified in the ingredient list) and keep to one side.
5. Chop the tilapia into 3cm chunks. Add the baby spinach to the curry then carefully stir in the fish to submerge it in the sauce (be gentle – you don’t want it to break up!). Cover with a lid and simmer until the tilapia is cooked through and the spinach has wilted, 5-7 mins. TIP: The fish is cooked when the centre is opaque. Taste and add salt, black pepper and lime juice as desired.
6. Fluff the rice up with a fork. Share between your bowls. Spoon the curry alongside and then top with the tomato salsa. Sprinkle on any remaining lime zest and enjoy!
Next up it was time to have a go with the recipes in the box I received last week. There’s no box available for single parent families, so I tend to have the two-person box and either cook the supper for myself and my man friend, or if it’s just me I’ll save the leftovers for the next day’s lunch. Alternatively I’ll cook the recipe for the kids; there’s enough food that I can have one portion and the kids can have another split between them.
For these Beef Tostadas my boyfriend was over for dinner, a smart move on my part because he’s not keen on guacamole (more for me!!). This recipe was so simple, and to add an extra side of WOW to our supper I cooked a couple of my very special flatbreads instead of using the wraps included. It was delicious, so yummy, and a meal I’ll definitely be making again in future.
The next day I moved on to the Crispy-Skinned Chicken with Asian Pesto Dressing, Stir-Fried Cabbage and Noodles. Again, this was a mega easy recipe with a twist – what might look like simple chicken and noodles, but with the added specialness of the (delicious) asian pesto of peanuts and coriander. I slightly modified this once more as I’m not such a fan of loads of noodles, and just ate more cabbage with my portion.
This wasn’t a recipe I would have come up with on my own, and as I always think it’s a good idea to step outside of your comfort zone in the kitchen I was thrilled with how it turned out. Everything was cooked to perfection and the flavours were bang-on: once I’d finished the dish I immediately looked forward to scoffing the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Having tried them all over the years – it’s a tough job, someone’s got to do it – HelloFresh is most definitely the best out of the meal boxes currently on the market. Compared with others I find their recipes uncomplicated and their produce fresh and delicious (clue’s in the name, eh?). I think their boxes are a great way to introduce a different way of eating to a busy lifestyle: not only will you get to try recipes and meals you may not have cooked otherwise, their recipes will allow you to practice new processes and techniques in the kitchen. It’s a win/win situation!
Plus, I always opt for the three meals a week box, though you can choose up to five. That way I feel like I’m not cheating too much when it comes to my meal planning.
Try it for yourself: click here for £25 off your first box, and let me know what you think. I’ll be the one in the corner, scoffing a Beef Tostada…
Thank you HelloFresh for working with MTT. All thoughts, opinions and appetites are my own.