Sampling the marvellous Marley Spoon
Review by Emily Hirschmann
I do so love a recipe box delivery. Although you kind of know what’s coming, there’s something quite exciting about receiving a box full of beautifully packaged ingredients when you’ve not directly ordered them yourself. Obviously, you’ve selected the recipes, but you don’t know exactly what will be included; it’s a bit like a foodie Christmas. You can imagine my pleasure then, when a few weeks ago a knock at the door revealed a Marley Spoon delivery!
Specialising in recipes which can be cooked simply in around 30 minutes, with truly tasty organic ingredients, Marley Spoon provided me with my recipe box introduction last year, and although I’ve tried a number of their competitors since (for no other reason than curiosity), they remain my unparalleled favourites. Why? Well, it’s all about quality…
First, there’s the quality of the experience. The Marley Spoon box looks like any other from the outside, but it opens to reveal a cornucopia of goodies. Each recipe is individually bagged, so if you have room in your fridge (I did this time), you can simply pop the lot in and take out your meal when you’re ready to begin cooking.
Then there’s the quality of the ingredients. Within each carefully prepared bag is a range of the yummiest organic ingredients you’re likely to find. Each item has been pre-weighed/measured so that you only have what you need to make the meal you’re working on, so there’s never any waste, but what you’ve got is top quality, and grown free from any chemical nasties.
Next there’s the quality of instruction. Now, I will give one caveat here – it’s a good idea to read the whole recipe before you begin cooking, otherwise you’ll end up making mistakes. BUT, if you’ve done that tiny little bit of prep, each step of each recipe is practically infallible; written in plain English, no cook book has ever been easier to follow.
Lastly, there’s the quality of the meals. I like recipe boxes mainly because they push my boundaries; they make me try foods that I think I don’t like, and learn how to cook them in enticing ways. This time around, I was forced to encounter two of my foodie nemeses: beetroot and aubergine. To say the least, I was doubtful that the results would be edible. I was proved very, very wrong. Then you add in the fact that the portions are enormous – realistically, each of the meals I prepared for two could easily have fed three, add in a side of bread and they probably could have stretched to four – all of which makes for an extremely good value proposition.
This time around I ordered three vegetarian meals.
The Rainbow Chard Spelt Spaghetti was a complete revelation.
I wasn’t expecting a huge taste sensation because the recipe was just so simple, but goodness me! The combination of the rich roasted tomatoes, creamy ricotta (not something I commonly cook with) and the zing of the chilli and lemon dressing set my taste buds trembling. I’ll certainly be cooking it again.
The next day it was the turn of Pomegranate Roasted Carrots.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one; not only were beetroot involved, but on the surface it didn’t sound that fulfilling, but it’s amazing what a dribble of pomegranate molasses can do to the humble carrot and beetroot. The veg came alive in a sweet explosion, which was mellowed by the cool creaminess of the goats’ cheese rolled in dukkah (one of my fave ingredients). When laid on a bed of giant couscous and topped with salad leaves, I really couldn’t fault it.
The final recipe was Tandoori Aubergines.
as a long term vegetarian, I’ve been served more than my fair share of bath-sponge-like aubergines, and I will usually avoid them like the plague, but this recipe does something special to them… That said, pretty much anything will taste good when coated in tandoori paste! When you add in the kachumber (delicious tomato and cucumber salad I’d never tried before) and a bed of fragrant rice (it should have coriander in it but I have that gene that makes it taste like washing-up liquid, so I left it out of mine and the other plate was snaffled before I had a chance to grab my camera), you have a meal that’s really worth the eating.
Now, I don’t buy recipe boxes that often, so when I do I view them as a real treat. As far as I’m concerned, weekend treats don’t come much better than a recipe box from Marley Spoon.