I never know how I feel about recipe boxes. I’ve had some good, and I’ve had some very, very bad (think teeny portions and an absolute ton of unnecessary packaging to get rid of). Recently Waitrose have joined the (dinner) party by launching their own recipe box delivery service. Cook Well from Waitrose delivers fresh, portioned ingredients straight to the door. All the meals are approved by a Waitrose nutritionist and most have at least two of your five fruit and veg a day. There’s quite a decent range of dishes, including a range of vegetarian and pescatarian recipes as well as meat options. Waitrose very kindly asked me if I’d like to give Cook Well a go, so I chose three dishes to try out. Here’s how I got on.
How does Cook Well from Waitrose work?
After signing up online, you just have a look through the recipes and choose what you’d like to order (you can order the recipes to feed two or four people). Each recipe shows you how many calories per portion and how long it takes to cook. You can either have a subscription for a regular delivery, or you can just place a single order. Delivery is free and the food is packed in a sort of biodegradable wool stuff with cool packs which mean it will last for several hours if you’re not in to put it in the fridge when it arrives.
How much does it cost?
You can pick from eight weekly recipes, and deliveries come in either a two meal (£28) or three meal (£39) box. If you’re ordering for four of you, the choices are £48 for a three meal box and £66 for a three meal box. We tried the three meal box for four people costing £66 (which works out at £5.50 per portion). The packaging wasn’t too excessive: each recipe is contained in a brown paper bag except the meat and fish which is exactly as you’d buy it in Waitrose. All the packaging is recyclable.
What did we eat?
My first choice was a Japanese-style chicken curry which I cooked on Saturday night instead of ordering a takeaway. The recipe was really straightforward to follow (actually much easier than my usual curry recipe) and the curry was delicious: creamy, coconutty and with the unexpected fresh crunch of sugar snap peas (I’d never normally put them in a curry). The portion sizes were really generous (it actually ended up feeding five people as we had a visitor). No pic for this one I’m afraid as it was dark when we ate it. I’m really going to have to track down the Katsu curry paste used in this recipe as we’ll definitely be having this again.
I cooked our second recipe, the lemon and oregano chicken with sweet and salty tahini greens on Sunday evening instead of a roast dinner (ooh, contentious). Noses were turned up at this one as there was an awful lot of broccoli involved and also tahini (otherwise known as ‘ew, what’s the peanut butter-looking stuff?’). The chicken breasts are bashed until thin, then cooked with lemon and oregano as a one-pan meal with sliced, sautéed baby potatoes. The tenderstem broccoli and kale is lightly cooked and then given a drizzle of tahini and maple dressing and some sweet and crunchy maple-roasted pine nuts and mixed seeds. What a revelation. I could eat a never ending supply of broccoli when it’s served like this. Everyone cleared their plates (again, portions were decent), and everyone remarked on how delicious it all was. Again, I’ll be recreating this one very often. Yum. I’m so sorry for posting appalling photos – I wouldn’t normally but I really wanted you to see the delicious tahini and maple dressed greens. It was seriously good.
The third recipe we chose was the Greek style cod, served with roasted garlic vegetables and tomato and lemon salad (small admission here: I didn’t bother with the tomato and lemon salad – I just threw them in with the roasted garlic veggies). This one was really easy to make as it’s all baked in the oven, and felt very healthy. I feel this was the least child-friendly with all the peppers, onion and courgettes, but again, everyone ate it, it was just our least favourite out of three good choices – it felt like it needed a flavoursome sauce.
So what’s the verdict?
Well, mostly the verdict was YUM. Okay, so ordering in recipe boxes are never going to be the most affordable way to buy food, but if, like us, you’ll splash out on a couple of fancy meals or maybe a takeaway once a week, I think these make a decent substitution. Plus, I got three new recipes that everyone loved to add to my repertoire too.
Will we order again?
Yes, I think we will. I already want next week’s recipes as there’s a delicious looking king prawn pad Thai. I liked that it really brought everyone together. The whole family was eager to check out the box and find out what we were going to be eating. There was even some general joining in on the cooking front too.
I love the idea of splashing out on a weekend of delicious food where all the choosing and shopping has been done for you (I actually enjoy the cooking bit), and I feel like £66 is much better spent on three really great quality, healthy and delicious meals for four of us rather than one takeaway. I didn’t buy the ingredients for Sunday dinner either (I’d usually buy some sort of meat joint to roast). In fact, I’d rather do this than order a takeaway and cook a roast dinner.
Fancy trying Cook Well from Waitrose?
If I’ve tempted you, Waitrose have very generously given me a special code which will give you a 50% discount off your first order. Just head over to Cook Well to register and select your recipes for the week and your preferred delivery date. In the discount code box use the code: EMUM50.
Many thanks to Waitrose for allowing me to try out the Cook Well recipe boxes.