Discovering the joy of cooking

I enjoy cooking a lot, but it’s something I’ve never really managed to get fully into. I had that brief interlude with baking and impressed myself with a couple of dishes, but even that ended up petering out before it really got going.

The trouble I have is that I don’t really have the fundamental basic knowledge to start experimenting and learning and making great things. Without boring details about the meals I have been making up to now, I will say that the famous rut of cycling through a handful of recipes over and over has definitely been reached.

Step forward HelloFresh. They’re a company that, essentially, do all the hard work for you when it comes to choosing recipes, picking ingredients and doing the shopping. All you have to do is cook. I signed up as soon as I heard about them, and was superbly excited to get my first delivery.

After the first week, I have to say, I am totally bowled over.

Let’s break it down, then. HelloFresh offer a variety of boxes – classic, veggie, or family friendly. You can get them for 2 or 4 people, and for 3 or 5 meals. A good selection of options to choose from to start with. The HF team figure out the recipes, and send you only the ingredients that you will need to make them with.

BENEFIT 1 – Far less wastage.

The goodies arrived in a box, veggies and non-fridge items stacked on top of the wrapped refrigerated produce. They have it with ice packs, wrapped in sheep’s wool insulation, so that a) it keeps cool until I get home in the evening to put it away and b) it’s recyclable. As is the cardboard box and pretty much all the packaging.

BENEFIT 2 – Good for the environment.

Opening my first box took ages, because I first had to read every little bit of paper included, and then marvel at the scope and colour of the ingredients. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a sweet potato before, how exciting! The recipes come on nice bits of card, with what the food should look like on the front, and a step by step guide on the back. I have found the instructions to be really useful, although absolute beginners may need a bit of guidance to get started.

BENEFIT 3 – Great recipes.

The first meal I made was rigatoni with cherry tomatoes, chorizo and goat’s cheese. Already, this is the fanciest meal I have ever put together. It all went perfectly, a bit of a faff occasionally because I don’t necessarily have the best tools or a fully decked out kitchen, but otherwise… amazing.

And delicious!

It’s also a step towards the adventurous for me. I hate to be someone who is picky when it comes to food, but I can get weird over textures and complicated items. That’s probably why it was so easy to slip into the recipe rut mentioned above. Here, there’s no choice but to experiment. I won’t pretend there isn’t a backup pizza standing by in case things don’t go to plan, but there’s no harm in giving each and every recipe a go!

I know there will be times when the meals won’t work out right, or they won’t be to our taste, but after just a couple of attempts, I’m addicted. There is a small capacity for meal swapping before the boxes arrive, but sadly not on the plan I have chosen. I love the fact the subscriptions are manageable, you can put your delivery on pause if you’re going on holiday or just need a break.

BENEFIT 4 – Customisable and customer-friendly subscriptions.

It’s still early days, but there are loyalty levels you can work through (after three boxes, I’ll be an apprentice chef!) and a free gift or two thrown into the boxes to tempt you to other suppliers. It just seems like a win-win situation all round. The stress of worrying about what meals to make is taken away, the ingredients come directly to my door, and I get the fun of putting it all together and receiving the compliments when it goes well.