It’s fair to say that our meals tend to come in at the budget, simple and quick end of the scale. When you have a houseful of variously young and/or picky eaters and a limited spend per head, exotic eating does not tend to be high on the list of priorities – filling tummies is much more the thing.
And then of course there is the added complication that after a long day of work and ferrying kids about and me being out coaching in the evenings, it is Daddy who does the shopping and cooking. Quite understandably, sticking mostly to familiar recipes and shopping lists is a hard habit to break. There just isn’t much time to be inventive.
This week we got to experience how the other half live in a number of ways; Marley Spoon sent us two fabulous meal boxes to review and I (having for some reason thought they would be ready meals) found myself cooking them. To say the children were shocked by this turn of events was a significant understatement. 😆
I have to admit I initially panicked when I undid the boxes and saw from the recipe card what was expected of me but panic turned to awe as I saw how beautifully packaged it all was. From attractive outer box to reusable ice-packs, clever cool retaining, reusable wrap and paper bags to keep the herbs and leaves in, I was seriously impressed. The recipe cards themselves were just so pretty and beautifully explained that I started to think maybe I would actually be okay. We had been sent 2 different meals for 4 to try out but I quickly realised that despite tummy sizes here, one meal per night was going to be just fine.
Thus steeled for the challenge, I set about cooking steak sandwich and home made coleslaw with homemade chips – 3 things Max regularly makes that I’m convinced I can’t do.
The premise of Marley Spoon is that you get sent a fuss free, no waste box of ingredients for a gorgeous meal where step by step instructions talk you through making a gourmet meal without the hassle of decision making or shopping for ingredients. Everything arrives in packaging the guarantees freshness for 30 hours in a state that meals you can refrigerate it for several days if needs be. And like I say, the packaging is really robust (and it arrives by courier) and you can even have the used wraps etc collected again if you wish, to reduce waste.
With Josie acting a sous chef, we got on with making the chips first (easy, no boiling required which I always get wrong) and while I sliced up the cabbage and carrot, she mixed up the mayo, mustard, horseradish root and more to make the dressing. It all went swimmingly and because she helped make it, she ate it, even though it had onion in it. 😉
With all that done, I got on with the steaks (terrifying) – I’m always terrified of ruining it. Since the girls aren’t keep on rare I did it fair well done and then sliced it into strips. It was the loveliest, most tender steak I’ve ever had, a quality matched by all the ingredients we were sent.
Because I was feeding us all on a 4 meal portion I did chuck some left over potato salad and extra rolls on the table but it wasn’t really necessary; there was LOADS of food.
It’s fair to say Marley Spoon isn’t a budget food shopping service; it’s great meals and great food for people with enough money to afford to pay for convenience and quality rather than watching the pennies. It’s professional people food, food for adults and older children (although 10 year old Josie was quite happy to eat it) who can afford to enjoy the finer things in life. It’s a brilliant way to learn new cooking methods and experiment with great ingredients without having to plan it yourself.
Each week you can be sent 2 boxes with up to 3 meals in each and the recipes on the site change weekly, arriving at your door on Wednesday and/or Friday. There is ample time to login and alter the meals you are being sent (which are planned based on some preference you enter into the site) if you prefer to have something different. The Marley Spoon menus are pretty amazing, as you can see from the sample page and the ingredients gorgeous and inventive.
You can also tailor deliveries to suit your needs and pause them at will, making it a flexible way to eat amazing meals at times that suit your lifestyle. Depending on how much you order, meals cost from £5.50 a serving, though like I say, 1 adult portion did 2 teenage children quite happily, making it much more cost effective for a good quality meal. On the second night we tried out the pea and mint risotto – one of the vegetarian options – which was also lovely (though harder to photograph!) I loved that the website clearly tells you how long the meal will take to cook (largely accurate even for a novice with a grumpy toddler on her leg), difficulty level and number of calories.
And I’m gradually discovering that perhaps I can cook after all, which is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure!
If you fancy giving it a go, they’ve sent me a voucher code for you:-
The first 50 to redeem will receive £25 off their first Marley Spoon order. Code: Merry&Marley.
Disclosure: We were sent 2 meals to review. All opinions are my own.