If there's one thing I love it's trying out new dishes at home, but I can be such a fussy eater that it's often hard to find a dish that's different from the things I usually eat but still something I enjoy.
I guess I enjoy experimenting but I so often fail at being creative with my cooking, and it's rare that I'll try something new and enjoy it enough to ever make it again.
Part of the reason for that is that my own cooking skills are not fantastic - as much as I'd love to be Delia Smith, I'm sadly not - I struggle to understand which flavours work well together, I understand very little of the technicalities of cooking and more often than not I burn everything as I'm so worried about undercooking it I over-compensate!
Recipe books are something I love as I do find it so much easier to create nice dishes while following a tried & tested recipe, but I always struggle to find all of the required ingrediants or even just find the time to dedicate to cooking a full on meal from scratch these days.
And so when I was offered the chance to try out a Riverford Recipe Box, I was excited to see what new meals we'd find and if any would become favourites.
I've tried these sorts of boxes before - step by step recipes are sent along with all of the ingredients you need to make them, the idea is a great one for people like me who have the desire to home cook but not the knowledge.
When the Riverford Recipe Box arrived, I noticed immediately that this was a step-up from the others I'd tried.
For a start there was SO MUCH MORE veg in the box - and some really unusual ones too, infact there were things in there I don't think I'd ever eaten before - fennel for example! I had no idea what one looked like or how on earth to cook it!
Luckily though, the recipes are very user friendly and talk you through each little step in easy to follow detail so even the most novice of chefs would have no problem following them.
Each ingredients included is local, fresh & organic - the Riverford company are based very close to me here in Devon and I loved the idea of using fresh, local produce.
There are three different box options available - the Vegetarian box (£33.95 for 2 people, containing 3 meals), the quick recipe box containing meals that take 30 minutes or less to cook (£39.95 for two people, containing 3 meals) and the original recipe box (£39.95 for 2 people, containing 3 meals).
The recipes to be included in each weeks box are available to view on the website so you can ensure that you like whats on offer.
The box we tried was the original recipe box, and the meals included Pork schnitzel, Lamb & spinach pies and Fennel, tomato & tarragon risotto.
We have yet to try the pork as, although our box arrived last week, the use-by dates are actually surprisingly generous and we have until tomorrow (at the time of writing this post, so around 9 days after receiving the box) to use it.
The first dish we tried was the risotto - as previously mentioned I had never encountered Fennel before and was at a loss as to how to handle it or how it would taste - I found the recipe very easy to follow and had soon cut the fennel as described.
The smell is very similar to aniseed and this may have put me off but the recipe card warned me that the smell would be strong when raw but would become milder after cooking, so I persevered and kept an open mind.
Now I know with these sorts of reviews, bloggers can often be kind for the sake of it but let me just assure you that this review is entirely honest and I am not just stating this for the sake of it - that risotto was hands down the BEST meal I have ever eaten at home. EVER.
Infact, it is high on my list of best meals eaten ANYWHERE. I would have been more than happy to be served that dish in a top restaurant, in fact I would have come home talking about how beautiful it was.
No word of a lie - It was DELICIOUS.
The flavour of the fennel did indeed mellow, and simply infused the dish with a warmth and an inviting aroma - the butter and cheese added as a last step created a deliciously creamy sauce, I could have eaten buckets of it if only it wasn't so very filling!
I cannot wait to try to make this dish again and have found a new all-time favourite - so for that I thank the Riverford chefs deeply!
The lamb & spinach pies were also very simple to male - the pasty was ready rolled which was a huge help, and even the butter is delivered measured out in little pots, everything is done for you so there is minimal fuss.
The lamb filling for the pie was delicious, and the little kick of chilli was a lovely touch - we did find the butter pastry a little too buttery for our taste and would probably have preferred the filling alone or maybe in a wrap but we aren't really big fans of pie anyway - if you are then you may have enjoyed it more.
The quality of ingredients, the ease of the recipes, and the thought & effort that has gone into these boxes is outstanding and it is by far and away the best value for money and most user-friendly of these boxes I have ever come across.
I wouldn't hesitate to subscribe to this service and in fact am planning to do just that.
To have a look at this weeks recipes, please visit HERE or for more information visit www.riverford.co.uk
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