If you are going through with January with New Year Resolutions in relation to losing weight, look away now because this post will have you drooling in no time. It might also make you lose your motivation to get up and go to the gym. You have been warned. This post is focusing on crockery and crockery looks better with delicious food on it.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a foodie. I like to try out new recipes but with long hours in the office I started struggling to come up with meals the were quick, easy to prepare, nutritious AND tasty at the same time. This time last year I felt I had fallen into the pasta trap - you know, where you cook pasta, like ALL the time.
The Seasons husband and child were not complaining. As long as it was al dente, they were happy to have past every day. But it was boring, repetitive and frankly, we were putting on weight.
Cue in Hello Fresh.
Food delivered to you, with easy to follow recipes, mostly British grown organic meat and vegetables and a user friendly app where everything is available: from timing each step in a recipe, to photos of what your result should look like (I like to benchmark, not sure about you).
A friend passed along an invite for a free box to test them out so I took the plunge. Now, I KNOW what you will say. Food in a box? Believe me, I was just like you. I am the one who gets fussy if my super market delivers meat that is close to its due date or tomatoes that are just too ripe. And I want my bananas green too.
This new way of cooking needing a lot of good faith on my side.
When the first box was delivered, I saw it and felt deflated. Nice looking box, but I usually come back with 3-4 grocery bags depending on how many meals I am preparing. I was no where convinced that this box would include all the ingredients I would need to make 4 meals for 3-4 people. There was just. No. Way.
Luckily, I did not make any bets with anyone on this. Luckily, because I would have lost. I sooooo misjudged this box. Because with the exception of oil and bread, this box had EVERYTHING I needed and ended up saving me both time in the supermarket and money. Oh, and we STOPPED THROWING AWAY FOOD.
Polenta was once considered a ‘food of the peasants’, but those days are gone. It’s so popular nowadays that there has even been an Italian folk song written about it: ‘La Bella Polenta’! Hello Fresh recommend you put on some folk music and have a little dance around the kitchen to get you in the mood for this Italian feast!
Here's what was included in my box for this recipe. I used everything except the Red Chilly because... well, me and chilly are not friends yet. Oh and the Netherend Butter was delicious and my greens fresh!
Recipe for Italian sausage stew with polenta (gluten free)
1/ Put your porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and pour over 200ml of boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 mins. Peel and finely chop the garlic and finely chop half the chilli. Peel and thinly slice your onion into half moon shapes. Cut the sausages into 2cm wide chunks.
2/ Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the sausage and gently fry on medium heat for 6-7 mins until browned. Meanwhile, strip the rosemary leaves from their stems and roughly chop.
3/ Turn down the heat slightly, add the onion to the pan and sweat for 5 mins together with your sausages. Next add the garlic, rosemary and chilli (the amount depends on how spicy you like things!) to your pan, cooking everything together for an additional 4 mins.
4/ Drain (hold onto the soaking water!) and roughly chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan too. Pour in the reserved soaking water. Tip: This helps add a nice umami flavour! Stir in the chopped tomatoes, 250ml of boiling water, 1⁄4 tsp of salt and 1⁄4 tsp of pepper. Simmer uncovered for 10 mins, then add the spinach to wilt for the last 2 mins.
5/ Meanwhile, make the polenta. Bring 625ml of water to the boil in a large pot with 1/4 tsp of salt.
6/ Grate the parmesan and tear the Gouda into small pieces. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat so the water is simmering and add the polenta to the pot, stirring continuously.
7/ After 4 mins, and with the pot still on the heat, add the butter, parmesan, Gouda flakes, a good grind of black pepper and mix well. Continue to cook on a low heat. The cheesy polenta should be ready a er 5 more mins. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
8/ Serve the cheesy polenta, topped with the sausage stew in bowls. Buon appetite! And yes, this was honestly done in 30 minutes. So thumbs up Hello Fresh, I'm sold!
If I said I am pleased with the quality of the food I set on the table, it would be an understatement. I was thrilled. And as a busy City professional, to get the above done in one pan, one pot and no trip to the super market, within 30 minutes is an achievement. Hence would love to recommend them to my readers.
Shop the Look
Top row (L to R): Natural World Dessert Plate by Lou Rota, £16; Perasima Side Plate in pink, £16; Caicos Napkin in blue, £8; Bottom row: Imanne Jacquard Napkin; Nature Table Dessert Plate, £16; Abelia Side Plate in teal, £12, all Anthropologie
Photography: Olympus OMD EM10, Seasons in Colour. While cooking, the photos were taken on an iPhone. Because who wants sauce on their camera! And the best thing about this review? It's a totally honest, non sponsored review.