As a new busy academic year starts, I have teamed up with Simply Cook to offer one of my readers three months’ worth of recipe boxes, as well as a 90% discount for anyone who fancies trying their first box.
What is it?
Simply Cook is a new recipe box concept, delivered through your letterbox every month. Each £10 box contains flavour kits and recipe cards, along with a handy tear-off shopping list to make four meals for two people.
The stocks, spice blends and sauces are nothing like what you would get from the supermarket. They are the key flavour ingredients and have been created by chefs for a perfectly balanced result.
How does it work?
After you have registered online, you will get your first delivery within four days. You will receive a box each month and you can decide to suspend or cancel your membership at any time.
Once you have chosen a recipe, all you have to do is tear the shopping list off the recipe card, buy the few ingredients you need and follow the simple instructions on the recipe card to cook delicious meals in less than thirty minutes.
What if some of the meals do not appeal to me?
Your first box is chosen for you but in subsequent months, you will be able to choose recipes you really fancy. You also have the option to be sent gluten free boxes as well. These would have been perfect when Jumpy was diagnosed with a plethora of allergies and I was not sure what to feed her.
Why would I want to get these boxes?
I deliberately asked the people at Simply Cook to send my two boxes around the time I knew life would be as busy as it would ever get: when I was still juggling work, an evening job from home, three children under six and approaching the end of my fourth pregnancy. If these boxes were making like easier for us at that particularly hectic time, they could work for anybody.
I personally loved the concept as soon as I heard about Simply Cook, but before I used my kits, I thought it would be interesting to show them to two of my friends, who have a different approach to cooking.
Loraine, who has three young children and is not fond of cooking, immediately thought these meals should be recommended to time-starved couples or new parents with little time on their hands to be creative in their cooking. She also suggested they could be used as a special treat once a week, but raised the issue that non-foodies might find the shopping list too specific. Finally, she thought the boxes might make a lovely gift for busy corporates.
Cé, who dedicates a lot of time to create healthy meals for her family, was attracted to the hassle-free concept that would lead her to try new recipes. The idea behind those tasty, varied, meals with no thinking involved really appealed to her. I gave her the Malaysian Laksa kit and her husband complimented her on the meal, adding that it was the best curry she had ever made.
Did the boxes work for us?
I cooked four of the meals for my family and managed to stretch the ingredients to feed five of us (two adults, three children under six). Where necessary, I served the children before adding the hot spices and removed ingredients not tolerated by my allergic daughter. I liked the fact my toddler with multiple allergies (nuts, seeds, wheat, eggs, milk) could share the same meals as us.
It cost very little to make those meals as we already had some of the ingredients at home and I needed to buy very little to make them, substituting items on the shopping list here and there to make the meals more cost-efficient.
What were the meals like?
I made the first meal, Spiced Butternut Squash Risotto, when my newborn was under a week old, and apart from the need to stir constantly to achieve good results, I found the recipe straightforward to follow, with great results. We found the cinnamon a tad overpowering in this savoury dish, but it is only our personal taste.
The following week, we went for the Iranian Stew. It was quicker to make than the risotto and had a really healthy feel to it. The children found it too spicy but hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Firecracker Chicken was delicious, with the right amount of spice for the adults (added after serving the children) and we all loved it. The dish came together beautifully for all of us.
Our favourite was without the shadow of a doubt the Baked Cod in a Chorizo Broth. We served it with rice to make it more filling and we would all be happy to have this meal on a regular basis. The sauce was flavoursome and the chorizo worked really well with the cod.
Our overall impression
I love cooking but I sometimes feel I am making the same meals over and over again. As all kits have a long use by date, I might keep a few for when I need a change as those meals are much nicer than a takeaway whilst being relatively fuss free and saving time.
A promotional code for you
The lovely people at Simply Cook are giving you the chance to try your first box for just £1! Just click on ‘Get your 1st box’, fill in your details and enter Mel when prompted for a discount code (‘Have a promo code?’ on the left column).
Last but not least, a giveaway!
You could win a subscription to Simply Cook recipe boxes for three months.
Follow the simple instructions in the entry box below for your chance to win three Simply Cook boxes. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is check the range of recipes offered by Simply Cook, use the entry box below and answer a simple question in the comments section at the bottom of the page. For extra chances of winning, check the instructions in the form.
Entries are open until midnight GMT time on 7 October 2014 and the competition is open to UK residents only. Good luck!
– The giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
– The prize will be supplied directly by Simply Cook.
– I was sent two Simply Cook boxes for the purpose of this review and no payment was received. All opinions and photographs are my own.
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com