Today, I am reviewing Simply Cook, a different type of recipe box from the others I have reviewed so far – Gousto, Hello Fresh, Mindful Chef.
Recipe boxes have two main things going for them, I think:
- They deliver everything you need to cook the meals in question – full ingredients, recipe method, step by step pictures.
- They encourage you to try new cuisines, to cook outside your comfort zone.
For me, there are two disadvantages, though I stress they are minor in comparison to the conveniences.
- As a single person, I have to accommodate the fact that the smallest boxes are for 2 people. So I either have to split the ingredients and cook the meal twice, or cook for two, and chill or freeze the second portion. The exception to this is Mindful Chef, who offer 1 person boxes.
- If plans change, you have a week’s worth of fresh ingredients in the fridge that needs to be used up.
Cost is also an issue to some, these meals work out at about £6-7 per portion (£9 per portion for the Mindful Chef single box). In my opinion, this is justified by the quality of the meals that have resulted, and the fun I have had.
Simply Cook is different, as it supplies recipe cards and, for each recipe, pots containing culinary pastes, infused oils, garnishes, rubs, specialist stocks and herb/spice blends. Everything you need to make the recipe, except for the raw ingredients.
So lets look at what you get:
There are over 70 recipes on the site at any one time, of which you can select 4, to make up your box. The kits include sufficient ingredients to cook for 2-3 people, but unlike the other recipe boxes, there is a lot less of an issue of cooking for one and using only half of a kit – there is little there that is going to go off quickly if you don’t use it that week. The kits cost £9.99 (so £2.50 a meal, or £0.80-1.25 per portion). Simply Cook estimates that after the purchase of the raw ingredients from your local suppliers, these meals should work out between £3-6 per portion.
The boxes are letterbox size, so you don’t even have to wait in for them to be delivered.
I kind of like the all-in nature of the other recipe box schemes, having a boxful of ingredients turn up in a chilled box. I get a thrill from unpacking them into the fridge, looking at the great ingredients they have supplied – and the quality of the ingredients is always very good – and I love cooking from them. But that kind of scheme is not always convenient; it needs a large degree of planning a week ahead and knowing where you will be, what you will be doing, and what you are going to eat.
Simply Cook is a really nice compromise. I am still being encouraged to cook outside my normal culinary world, and the bit that I might hesitate about – the rubs, spices and herbs that actually make the dish distinctive – are taken care of. I just have to go to the supermarket and buy the meat and veg, as I need them
Will let you know how I get on with them!