How many of you have watched ‘Come Dine With Me?’ Have you ever wondered if you’d have the skill to carry it off? I haven’t because I’m a can’t cook, won’t cook kind of gal. In fact it’s one of the things Mr London Mum moans at me most about. But I just don’t possess the natural talent of a chef. He often turns down my offer of rice, tomatoes and cheese for dinner. I wonder why?
The thing is I really enjoy food, I love a proper meal. I’m talking about the meals you don’t attempt at home because they look impossible. The meals you buy when you’re at a restaurant. The meal you wish you could cook for a ‘Come Dine with Me’ show and wow everyone at the table, letting them all believe you are a culinary genius.
Minus the cameras and the guests, I actually experienced the joy of providing a restaurant standard meal at home, cooked by my very own fair hands, with the help of Marley Spoon.
After deciding on a fish and a meat option for two across two nights, a parcel was delivered to me on a date I chose. All the ingredients I needed were in the box, with a recipe card for each meal.
The non refrigerated items are packaged in brown bags, and the meat/fish items are packed securely in a woolcool pack (great sustainable source of insulation). Written in large writing across the wool pack it tells you to refrigerate the items straight away.
So don’t be like me, and just assume the massive wool pack is rubbish and used to keep the brown bags insulated. I suppose that reveals just how crap I am at cooking, I couldn’t even put the main ingredients in the fridge! Yep, straight into our big black bin went the meat and fish.
We then had a lovely day out in the blazing sunshine before coming home where I thought I’d start preparing dinner and see what needed to be done. I looked in the brown paper bag labelled ‘plaice’ for the pieces needed to create ‘whole grilled plaice with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, truffled potatoes and salsa verde.’ Only our plaice was nowhere to be found. Bearing in mind the plaice is the star of the show I was a bit dumbfounded until I realised my mistake.
What I can say is that I thoroughly tested out the insulation of the woolpack, and can safely say it’s bloody fantastic!
The recipe card breaks everything down simply in 6 easy steps, and allows you to have multiple bits cooking, simmering and roasting away without that panic of trying to remember everything at all times. It’s so easy to follow and fool-proof.
Yes, completely fool-proof, that the creation above was dished up by me.
The cooking process couldn’t have been explained any simpler but had I come up with any problems I knew there was a cooking hotline available to help me out should I require it. The hotline is run from Wednesday to Saturday during the hours of 5pm-8pm.
The fish was sublime and perfectly cooked and the rest of the ingredients were suitably complimentary. The potatoes were just so beautiful- there’s a phrase I ever thought I’d use. I was disappointed to realise the asparagus had been forgotten, but had I checked my bags thoroughly before preparing our meal at 9pm (!!!) I could have called the customer service helpline, who would have directed me to getting the issue sorted.
The day after and with the steaks now nicely refrigerated I got started on ‘flank steaks with chimichurri, anya potatoes, chestnut mushrooms and artichokes.’
With guidance on how to cook the steak to taste, I was able to serve Mr London Mum his first cooked but rare steak done ‘a la moi’ in about 40 minutes from start to end.
I prefer my steak more medium and using the tips provided, mine came out exactly as wanted.
At prices starting from £5.50 per meal (with the option of meat, fish and/or vegetarian with 7 new recipes weekly), it’s actually quite cheap for the quality and standard of the food you receive. Obviously price depends on how frequently you would want to use the service per week.
As a Mum, getting the exact ingredients for a posh dinner can be a long, tedious process with plenty of wastage. Having everything pre measured and prepared just takes away the additional tasks required, thereby making it stress free.
The beauty of Marley Spoon, is that although it’s a subscription service, it’s flexible. Delivery dates can be changed, food portions can be modified (need more for a dinner party- not a problem), you can even pause the service or skip a week.
The experience of cooking through Marley Spoon has actually made me more confident in the kitchen because everything just went to plan. I think a subscription service would continue to encourage me in the kitchen and allow me to take pride in the meals I cooked. It certainly beats rice, tomatoes and cheese! If I was in charge of hosting a dinner, I wouldn’t hesitate to use a service such as Marley Spoon and palm it off as my own creation 😉
(Disclosure: Marley Spoon allowed me to experience their subscription service. They are also offering a £25 discount to the first 50 readers that sign up to their service using the code: MarleyandMum)