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Food kits: are they worth it?

vegetable kebabI’ve just spent more than £100 at Sainsburys: and I don’t think I’ve got enough for more than three or four complete dinners. Yes, I did buy non-food items – cat food, toilet roll - as well as lunch/breakfast stuff and (non-alcoholic) drinks. But the dinner choices are uninspiring and basically come down to chicken, whether roasted/stir fried/kebab-ed or whatever. Frankly, it’s all a bit boring and expensive. I’m not organised enough to go through recipe books and take a list. So it does mean that we have to fall back on the few things I know how to cook easily and which have limited ingredients.

With perfect timing, I got an email from Waitrose offering 50% off its Cook Well food kits. I’ve a friend who loves Gousto and treats them as a way of teaching her teenage boy to cook. Maybe it would work for me. The Waitrose Cook Well offers two or three meals for two or four people. Three meals for two cost £39 with free delivery. For the first delivery, you get 50% off so that brings it down to £19.50. I can choose from eight recipes, three of which are vegetarian, two are fish and the rest chicken. Bubble and squeak risotto with charred baby gem and tarragon dressing wouldn’t go down well here – and doesn’t sound like a bargain. But Japanese-style chicken curry, chicken Pad Thai and sticky hoisin prawns sound OK. I could knock up Pad Thai myself but I’d have to buy rice noodles, limes, coriander and whatever as well as the chicken.

Gousto offers 30% off the first three orders and free delivery. For two people I get offered 30 choices – some I could easily manage myself such as meatballs and pasta or chicken tray bake. But others are more interesting and it’s nice to have a lot of choice. I’d choose Miso Chipotle chicken burger and slaw; spicy Hoisin pork with spicy vegetables and sticky chili beef burritos with lime mayo. With the 30% discount, the cost is £21.
Hello Fresh offers me 50% off my first order but I’m not that inspired by the recipes on offer for the classic box for two – bacon gnocchi anyone? Indeed the only one I think the boy might eat is Thai spiced pork. Three meals for two people cost £17.49 (after the 50% discount) with free delivery, which is the cheapest so far but as I can’t find three meals we’d eat, I’ll go without this time.

Simply Cook is a different idea in that you have to buy four to five fresh ingredients and it supplies the rest: so I guess it is mainly spice mixes. I’m offered 18 choices and select Tandoori chicken, jambalaya, Vietnamese pork and Mexican pulled chicken and sweet potato fries (you have to have four recipes). The cost is £9.99 – but of course you have to buy the main (expensive) stuff including the meat and vegetables – and I’m offered a special trial for £3.

There are other recipe boxes – Abel & Cole notably – but I’ve chosen the big ones. I’ve plumped for Waitrose first – I’m going to get it delivered in time for next weekend – and then maybe Gousto and the £3 Simply Cook offer. I’ll let you know how I get on – in the meantime, let us know whether you’ve fallen for the kits: and if so, which is the best/worst?

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Saturday, 20 April 2019