1 March 2015

Hello Fresh - Week 9 recap

2014  has been hectic with lots of ups and down and blogging and all things related have been put on the backburner.  Not that I haven't been cooking, obviously, but I haven't taken things further than the occasional Instagram picture accompanied by a quick and short caption.

One of my resolutions for 2015 was to participate in food challenges again on the Daring Kitchen and other blogs but I haven't found any yet that really caught my eye.

In order to get back into the blogging mode however, I wanted to tell you all about a new food service I discovered two weeks ago : HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a concept that has already proved itself in various countries (USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands) but only recently came onto the Belgian market.  These food delivery series seem to be the  hype at the moment because since I discovered HelloFresh, I also learned about two other providers (Foodbag and Smartmat) hitting the local foodie market.  Budgetwise these competitors are a bit less interesting for me, so I'm sticking to my first choice for the time being.

But back to HelloFresh.  For those who are unfamiliar with the type of service, a little recap is in order.

What is it?

Every week the HelloFresh team creates new recipes for delicious and nutritious meals, that on average only take 30 minutes to prepare. Then they source all the ingredients needed for those recipes and pack them in the exact quantities needed. Once a week, in my case on Monday evening, all those ingredients are delivered, free of charge, in a chilled box.  The only thing left to do, is the fun part of cooking up a meal using sometimes unknown items.

How much does it cost?

I took a subscription to the Originalbox, but for vegetarians HelloFresh also markets a Veggiebox.  There are boxes for 3 or 5 meals and of course, the price is also determined by the number of people you are cooking for (from 1 up to 6 eaters).

In order to speed up the dinner preparations during the workweek, I opted for the 5 meal box for 2 persons and this subscription costs 53.00 EUR a week or  5.30 EUR a meal per person which is a very reasonable price, considering it also removes the hassle of having to shop for groceries and coming up with interesting meals.  I don't regret my decision to embark on this adventure as I do feel that I get good value for the money. At the bottom of this post you'll find a discount code, if you want to try them out yourself.

And how do all those nice promises translate into real life ?

Well,  have a look below. :o)

This was the contents of the Originalbox for Week 9 of 2015. As you can see all the ingredients are nicely labelled and packaged.  Every box also holds the recipe cards for that week as well as a recap card, telling you the preferred order to cook the meals in (taking into account the "best before" dates of the different items - meat, fish, etc.)

My 5 meals boxes always include 2 meat dishes, 1 fish dish and 2 vegetarian ones.  I have been adding meat to the veggie recipes this week as I received some complaints last week from the carnivore of the house, who isn't too keen on, and I quote, " my latest veggie craze".  I can confirm though that if you aren't fixated on the archaic "a meal isn't complete without animal protein", the vegetarian dishes really don't need the meat to be tasty and nutritious. :o)

A little recap of this week's dishes.  As I didn't save the pictures after posting them on IG, I'm embedding them straight from there but I'll try to have better pictures next time. :o)

Meal 1 : Tomato and pumpkin bulgur with spicy chicken sausages

A photo posted by ceinwyn13 (@ceinwyn13) on

In the top 5 of this week's recipes, this landed on number 4.  It was the first time that I made a "wholewheat" type of bulgur and maybe it is inherent to the less refined type, but I found that despite cooking it longer than the prescribed time, it still had this slightly undercooked texture to it.  Tastewise the pumpkin and tomato combo works nicely, so maybe with another carb it would score better.
Verdict : 6/10

Meal 2 : Indian cod stew

A photo posted by ceinwyn13 (@ceinwyn13) on

This week's winner recipe.  Everything about this dish was perfect : the spices, the veggie combo, ... I never thought of using sweet potatoes in combination with fish and curry but it is a match made in heaven.  I will undoubtedly be making this one again.
Verdict : 10/10

Meal 3 : Carrot mash with meatballs

This meal was such a letdown that I didn't even bother to post it on IG.  I am mainly a visual eater, meaning that a dish has to look good if it's going to seduce me to take a bite. And this one just didn't work for me.  For honesty's sake, I have to say that the original recipe called for red cabbage, one of the very few vegetables I absolutely loathe. Because I didn't know which green could replace that horrendous thing, I contacted the Hellofresh customer service and they suggested replacing the red cabbage by carrots.  In the end, despite my apprehension the carrots do marry well with the apple and the walnuts in the recipe but I'm just not really a mash kinda gal and the meatballs were, well, you see the picture, so I will not dwell on that. 
Verdict : 4/10 and therefore bringing up the rear this week.

Meal 4 : Creamy orzo with green cabbage

A photo posted by ceinwyn13 (@ceinwyn13) on

In case you hadn't noticed, cabbage season is on top of us.  I'm not really fond of cabbage and other winter fare, so I will be very pleased when with the milder weather less coarse veggies will start appearing again.  This dish didn't turn out very pleasing to the eye neither, but at least tastewise it was more than OK.  I had to cook it for longer than indicated because the cabbage didn't seem to soften up.  Maybe I should have discarded the dark green leaves and concentrate on the inner, softer ones of the cabbage, but I could tell they had already removed the outer leaves, so I figured I didn't need to waste any more. Otherwise the cooking cream and the grana padano cheese I melted in it, made for a very creamy and tasty dish.  This was supposed to be a vegetarian dish, but to please the house's carnivore I added bacon to it.  After all, everything goes down well with bacon :o)
Because of the cabbage, I wouldn't remake this one of my own volition, but it wasn't really bad.
Verdict : 7/10.

Meal 5 : Noodle stirfy with shitake, choisam and peanuts

A photo posted by ceinwyn13 (@ceinwyn13) on

More cabbage, but as I said before, 'tis the season. :o) This was however a new vegetable for me, as I never heard of choisam before nor did I encounter it in the asian supermarkets I frequent. Apparently it is a relative of the more widespread bok choy, which I quite like. It blended in perfectly in this asian inspired stirfry with shitake and ginger. To please the household I added chicken, but I am convinced that in its original meatless version, it would have been great as well.  This was definitely a contestant for the first place in this week's ranking and a recipe I would not hesitate to make again.
Verdict : 9/10 

Have all the pictures made you hungry and do you want to try out the HelloFresh Boxes ?
Right now, Hellofresh Belgium only delivers in Flanders and Brussels, but using the discount code UT55M, you can have a 20 EUR discount on your first box when you take a subscription.  The subscription requires you to buy 2 boxes but you can take them whenever you want (it doesn't have to be for two consecutive weeks) and once you have those two boxes under your belt, you can suspend or end your subscription every week.  For more info, please read up on the fine print on the HelloFresh website.  On their website, you can also find out which meals are on next week's menu.

Disclaimer : This blogpost is about my own experiences with the Hellofresh service, I am in no way affiliated with the company and I didn't receive any sponsoring to write this post. Just to get this out of the way :o)
Tomorrow, I'll be preparing Bobotie, so if you're lucky, I might be posting again on Sunday.

Until then, bon appetit :o) 


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