hello fresh

hello fresh

So here’s the thing. My life just got a lot busier. I’ve just started a new job. In an office. In a field I haven’t worked in before. I just started work in a faculty student office at a university, during freshers’ week, so you can imagine just how deep the deep end was in which I was thrust. Let’s just say, my learning curve was almost vertical. 

The week before I started I was nervous. A tightly wound ball of nerves. Very excited, but with a lick of anxiety. I had a feeling it would all be fine, but when you’ve been a stay at home mum for eight years, the prospect of leaving your children to head back to work full time is a daunting one.

Getting this job has meant after school childcare, and being far more organised with my grocery shopping. It means supermarket deliveries, and the week before I started, it meant trying out HelloFresh, a food box delivered to your door, with recipe cards and everything included to whip up delicious meals the whole family will enjoy. 

So how have we found our trial of HelloFresh?

First things first, let’s talk about delivery. You get the option of Tuesdays or Thursdays and you aren’t given a time slot. Fine if you are at home, but trickier if no one is in to take delivery. I specified a safe place to leave the box if I wasn’t at home – which I wasn’t, so I don’t know what time my box arrived, but what I do know is that everything was still nicely cold when I arrived home. Delivery is free and the box was in good nick when I unpacked it. Nothing had been biffed around. Nothing was bruised. So far, so good. 

Next thing I need to talk about is the cost. A family box from HelloFresh is £64 for four meals, serving two adults and two children. I was sent my box for free for the purpose of this review, but would I spend that money every week? Probably not, to be honest. My usual weekly Tesco or Sainsbury’s delivery is around the £50 mark, and that’s all in. Inclusive of wine and cleaning products. One thing I’m good at is preparing nice meals on the cheap. I’m a shameless lover of a jacket potato, and I batch cook a lot, which drives down the price. Plus, with a supermarket shop you get the added benefits of Nectar or Clubcard points (which I turn into Air Miles). Four dinners still requires me to buy food for my daughter’s packed lunches, breakfasts for everyone, gin for me. You get the idea. As delicious as the food from HelloFresh is, and it really, really is, I’m not convinced it’s not just that little bit too pricey for me. Having said that, I realise there are families who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending that on a weekly basis.

But what about the food?

The quality of the produce in my HelloFresh box was by all accounts incredible. We received honey and mustard sausages, chicken thighs, tilapia, gnocchi. Packets of pancetta and chorizo. All the spices and sauces required in the recipes. Vegetables that, frankly, looked like they could be used in a photoshoot. Everything was fresh, everything was from really good suppliers and I liked that. The recipes are easy to follow, the results tasted amazing, and the portion sizes were perfect. The South Asian chicken curry was delicious, the gnocchi was quick and easy to whip up, and the sausage skewers gave what is essentially sausages and chips a whole new lease of life. By all accounts, we all ate well that week. HelloFresh is perfect for expanding your repertoire in the kitchen, and for building confidence in your cooking as well. I’ve never cooked tilapia before, but now that I have, it’s something I won’t necessarily overlook in the future. And I’m salivating just thinking about the gnocchi. 

Who would HelloFresh suit?

HelloFresh is perfect for busy people who want cooking dinner to be easy and delicious. If you can afford to eat out, but enjoy staying in and cooking, then this could be the perfect subscription for you costwise, as I think the price comes in somewhere between the two. If cost isn’t an issue and you want to broaden your culinary horizons then, again, HelloFresh could definitely be the answer. 

So would I use HelloFresh again?

All in all we very much enjoyed our HelloFresh week, so yes, if I had more money to throw at my food budget. I’m a sucker for a delivery and I really like the concept behind the boxes. You have the option to pause your deliveries, so it might well be something I dip in and out of when I’m feeling affluent or have a special occasion coming up, although this does mean keeping organised and on top of your account. Or maybe it’ll be something I consider for if the day ever comes that I am bored by the thought of a jacket potato when I get home from work.



Griddled Aubergine and Courgette Gratin

griddled aubergine gratin 2

Last Thursday was a fasting day, and I wanted a meal that was healthy and filling as well as being quite low in calories.  I had a vague idea of something I was going to cook, but I wasn’t diligent at meal planning last week, so it was a bit of an experiment.  Happily, the results were tasty, and thus my griddled aubergine and courgette gratin came to be.  


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Sweet Potato Fries

sweet potato chips

Earlier in the year, I made a conscious decision to not give my family processed foods.  I’m making everything from scratch, where it can be done.  And where it can’t, I’m looking for alternatives.  What started off as a plan for me to lose a bit of weight and be healthier in myself, has turned into something that will benefit my whole family.  No unnatural preservatives, no nasty chemicals, less fat and oils and far fewer E numbers.

Last week, Roo asked for chips for dinner, so instead of picking up a packet of frozen chips in the supermarket, I picked up a bag of sweet potatoes and made sweet potato fries for a change.  Also, I am still a bit obsessed with them after my trip to The Diner the other week.

These are so easy to make and absolutely delicious.  They are baked in just a tiny bit of olive oil, and cook quickly – no need for par boiling!  A sprinkling of salt and pepper on the raw potatoes as they go in to oven give a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the creamy orange flesh.  Finally, sweet potatoes are full of good things: folate, vitamins, beta carotene and calcium.

sweet potato chips

To make sweet potato fries, you’ll need:

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Total Greek Yoghurt – Honey Pudding with Pistachio Yoghurt Ice Cream

Join the TOTAL Recipe Treasure Hunt!

Total Greek Yoghurt have come up with 1000 different ways to enjoy their yoghurt, and popped them all on this great new Facebook app.  Now you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your computer for inspiration on how to use such an incredibly versatile ingredient.  Total Greek yoghurt is made in the traditional way, in Greece, making it delicious and authentic compared to Greek style yoghurts.

To celebrate this, Total are running a treasure hunt: find the hidden recipes, dotted around the internet, and win up to £800 worth of ultimate kitchen gadgetry!  There are 30 to find so get searching.

If you’re already taking part, good news! You’ve stumbled upon one of the hidden recipes.  I tested out the honey pudding with pistachio yoghurt ice cream.  Being a lover of honey cake and pistachios, this really appealed to me, and I vlogged my experience here:

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I Love: Summer Barbecues

Dishy Husband

I do love a barbecue.  Probably because a barbecue in my house means all I have to do for dinner is whip up some kind of green salad, and make a potato salad.  All the grilling is left to Ross, and I know we haven’t consistently had the weather for it this summer, but it really doesn’t have to be a big work up.

My Dad (commonly known as Paaj, or Paaji if my sister and I are feeling affectionate) and step mum have just returned to the UK after a nine year stint in New Zealand.  Hooray! It was about time – the grandchildren were only going to get older and less baby-like.  They popped round this afternoon after an interview and brief shopping trip in Southampton and stayed for a nice, boozy barbecue dinner.

All in all it was a lovely afternoon, and hopefully a nice welcome home for Dad and Lynda.

Here are my tips for a successful barbecue:

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Having been to two blogging conferences in as many weeks, I’ve been inspired to switch my camera over to video mode.  So, I thought I’d try something new with this recipe.  Not only am I blogging about the fishcakes I made for supper, but I am also vlogging about them.

The ingredients I used for my fishcakes were:

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