HelloFresh recipe box review


A lovely young lady from HelloFresh came ringing my doorbell some time ago. I really wasn't going to subscribe, but she was very good and I am impressionable, so by the time she left I had subscribed and had my first delivery agreed for the following weekend. I have of course seen the adds with the young and fresh looking guy with the wide-set eyes and always thought that it was an interesting concept, but not for me. But the offer was good (50% of my first boxes), the young lady engaging and system simple, so I decided to give it a go.

Coconutty Caribbean Soup with roasted sweet potato from my second box
My first half priced pack with the chosen three meals was delivered on the following Saturday. It worked out quite well because I had a busy week ahead and wasn't going to be home. So I cooked all the meals before I left on my work travels on Sunday and packed everything in small containers for husband to heat up for lunches and dinners until I came back Thursday evening after our annual sales conference in Southampton and a quick trip to Amsterdam.

And I could brag to my colleagues about husband's menu: Sweet chilli beef, Yellow Indonesian vegetable curry, Mexican style chicken with refried beans and Middle-Eastern spiced lamb shank with saffron rice (weekend's leftovers). Some of my younger female colleagues were rolling their eyes, and 20 years ago I would have been right there with them.

Gender equality has always been very close to my heart as my brothers will testify. Our hoovering areas were measured with mathematical accuracy and my sister and I once imprisoned one of our brothers downstairs until he'd hoovered the area allocated to his lazy golden boy arse.

But more recently I've realised it's about bigger things than hoovering and cooking, and that I quite like husband getting my car washed, unblocking the drains, worrying about the boiler which I didn't realise is almost a full time job etc.

So I saw in my mind's eye husband obviously distraught at being left without the wife for so many days, missing the healthy packed lunches of overnight oats with blueberries, salads etc. But also possibly rubbing hands together at the thought of a sneaky fast food lunch or a nice takeaway pizza to eat in from of football in the evening. So I told him if he wanted to get a takeaway while I was gone, he could and he wouldn't get a bollocking if I came back to find some uneaten food in the fridge or a pizza box in the recycling bin. But he insisted he prefers my home cooking. Bless him.

When I got home there was only some of the Indonesian vegetable curry left. And that's not necessarily a sign that it wasn't good. There was quite a lot of it to begin with and it is a proven law of physics that a male homo sapiens will be unable to eat the vegetarian options if there is still meat in the fridge.

HelloFresh Sweet chilli beef, Yellow Indonesian curry, Mexican style chicken

The cost of the box with 3 meals for 2 people is £34.99. The introductory offer was 50% of week one and three. You can choose your delivery day and change it in the app whenever you need. You can also skip any week and stop the deliveries completely whenever you wish. So if not cheap, it is a very convenient system.

The choices of recipes each week is quite good. There are 14-16 recipes each week to choose from, usually 4 vegetarian, 2 fish/prawn, 3-4 chicken and the rest beef, pork or lamb. Some weeks there is also a premium recipe which can be venison, duck or a nicer cut of lamb. You pay £4.99 extra for the premium recipe.

The amount of food is pretty generous for two people. There is not a huge amount of meat, around 250g, but with the vegetables and everything else it makes two generous portions with possibility of  leftovers for some of the recipes.

Some of the pastes and ready spice mixes are quite potent and salty, so worth just having a taste and adding to your own taste. The yellow Indonesian curry would have been way too hot (for husband, things rarely get too hot for me) if I had added all the paste, I only used a fraction. The chilli beef was the first one I cooked so I added everything according to instructions, and it ended up very tasty and nice, but a little bit on the salty side. Doing it again, I would leave some of the soy and ketjap out. For the Mexican chicken I left out quite a bit of the Mexican spice mix because it tasted quite hot.

For the reduced price of £17.50 a pack (3 meal  s for 2 people) it is good value for money, but for the normal price it starts to get a bit expensive for what you get. There is a definiate convenience value of course and the recipes are interesting and tasty.

Ingredients of one of the boxes - this made a very generous portion of Coconutty Caribbean soup for two people.
I'm not sure if I will continue HelloFresh after my initial discounted boxes. It's not great value of money to someone who loves grocery shopping and has all the possible stables, herbs and spices in the cupboard anyway. And somehow it feels like cheating a bit. Many of the recipes come with ready made spice mixes and pastes, which of course is great for convenience, but I like to really cook from scratch and create the flavours myself. And for me some of the pastes / spice mixes have a bit of an artificial taste. They don't always taste like homemade food.

But at the same time, the recipes are pretty quick and easy for week day cooking. And for anyone whose not massively into cooking but still wants to eat fresh homemade food, this is a great way to explore different cuisines and get familiar with different ingredients. I don't think you can mess up with these recipes.

I might just keep skipping weeks and only order when I really need to, a perfect next time might be in about a weeks time, when we are coming back home after our holiday to an empty fridge. A well timed delivery the day we get home might be just the ticket.

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