I like food. I think we’ve covered that subject pretty extensively over the past 15 months or so…
Also, you may have heard that I recently move house. (No? Yo didn’t know? You mean I HAVEN’T bored you all to tears talking about it nonstop for days/weeks/months? *sarcasm*)
Today I’m talking about a mix of food and house-moving stuff. More specifically, I’m gonna tell you about the food I ate WHILE I was doing all the house-moving stuff.
Shockingly, it didn’t involve takeaways, cereal and/or excessive amounts of cheese on toast. (OK there was one takeaway. ONE. #sorrynotsorry)
Let me introduce you to Riverford’s Organic Farm recipe boxes!
You’ve probably heard about this sort of recipe box thing. It seems to have taken off massively in the past few years and I know a few people who order them quite regularly.
Basically, it’s a home-delivery service of a food box, filled to the brim with everything you need to make several specific dishes. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING!
Meat, vegetables, butter, spices, sugar, sauces… it’s all been measured out and perfectly packaged for each recipe, so you know there won’t be any food wastage. Clever huh?
Riverford have several organic farms scattered throughout the UK, and at least 80% of the ingredients provided are from the actual farms. It’s a great philosophy as it means that everything you receive is both incredibly fresh and amazingly good-quality.
I’d been meaning to try a recipe box like this for ages anyway, so when Riverford got in touch and offered to send me one for the week of my move, I couldn’t resist!
It meant that I’d be able to have proper cooked meals, without the stress of meal-planning, grocery shopping and having to move a whole bunch of food from one house to the other.
I chose the Quick box as well, which meant that I could have everything on the table in about half an hour.
Very handy for when you’re trying to simultaneously pack, paint and clean!
Orange & Herb Pork Spare Rib Steaks with Tarragon Potatoes & Cherry Tomatoes
This was a good one! The orange and herb steaks came pre-marinaded by Riverford and you can actually buy them in their online store.
(Also good to note, they store the meat in one section of your box, surrounded by chiller packs. This makes sure it all stays perfectly fresh and chilled, even if it’s sat out of the fridge for the whole day cos you got it delivered to work…)
I scrubbed all the mud of my lovely new potatoes, chopped them in half and boiled them. I melted some butter in a big frying pan, added the boiled potatoes, the cherry tomatoes and a massive handful of washed, picked and chopped fresh tarragon, giving it all a good stir.
Lastly, I fried my pork steaks in a little drizzle of olive oil, and served two of them up hot, alongside half the potato and tomato mixture. The meat was perfectly tender, the marinade was super flavourful and juicy and the herby potatoes were a lovely accompaniment.
This was a definite highlight of my week! Especially when I took the leftovers in for lunch the next day.
Summer Vegetable Laksa with Rice Noodles
I’d never made a laksa before, so was a bit wary about this. Especially as it involved making my own curry paste!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a blender. Fortunately, Riverford pre-empt this by giving you separate instructions in case you don’t have a blender. Hurrah!
I very finely chopped up all my herbs and spices before gently frying them for a couple of minutes. I added coconut milk, and let it simmer for a bit, then slowly added my roughly chopped veg. Then I covered the rice noodles with boiling water and let them soften until al dente, before serving them with massive spoonfuls of the laksa over the top.
My housemate and I both loved this. The portions were HUGE but it was so light and healthy, that I didn’t feel like I needed a nap straight after or anything. (Which was good, considering how much work I had left to do!)
It’s definitely a dish I’d cook again… which is actually another thing I love about this experience. There’s no way I’d ever have decided to just make something like this off my own bat.
Doing the recipe box pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me to play around with my cooking techniques and experiment a bit more.
Baked Chicken Thighs with Gnocchi, Spinach and White Wine Sauce
Doesn’t that sound fancy? That’s cos it was.
I saved this one for my very last night, after Gary and I had finished entirely packing up my room. It was delicious and stupidly easy to make!
Put the chicken thighs in a roasting pan, skin-side up. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and stick in oven for 35-ish minutes. Boil some water and put the spinach in for about 2 minutes, until it’s wilted. Drain, cover in cold water until cool enough to handle, and then use your hands to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Chop roughly.
Stick the gnocchi in boiling, salted water and cook for about 4 minutes, or until it rises to the top. Drain. Put the pan back on the heat and add the wine. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the cream and seasoning. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then add the spinach and gnocchi. Mix it all up so the gnocchi’s coated.
Serve the chicken thighs with the gnocchi on the side. Pour a massive glass of wine.
Eat all the gnocchi, drink all the wine and beeee happyyyyy…
I absolutely loved trying this out. You get all the fun of cooking and eating, without the stress of planning (which I have to admit, is usually my downfall!)
The whole box was only £39.95. It sounds a lot, but it’s actually a bit of a bargain when you work out that that’s 6 meals for about £6.50 each, and all the ingredients are fresh and organic.
It’s obviously not something I think I could afford to do on a weekly basis, but it’s cheaper than eating out at a restaurant. So maybe something to keep in mind for a fun special occasion activity if you’re trying to save money.
And if you’re interested in learning a bit more about Riverford, they’ve got some super interesting articles on their site about the farms, the organic growing and rearing process, and even how they manage their food waste.
What do you think? Have you ever tried a recipe box before? Do you think it’s worth the money?
*I was gifted my Riverford recipe box.
As always, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t blog it! :)