I first heard of Mindful Chef when I was browsing my Instagram and I saw one of their sponsored posts. Next I looked at their Instagram page in more depth and decided to follow them on there as well as on Twitter. I then looked at their website and when I saw that they offered boxes for one person I was thrilled. This option is perfect for me because I live alone. I decided to cancel receiving recipe boxes from elsewhere because while I enjoyed their dishes the minimum number of people they served was two and although I didn’t mind saving the rest for the next day I much preferred to receive recipe boxes that cater for one person.
Mindful Chef offers a wide range of gluten free and low carb meals including vegan options. Customers can choose three, four or five meals every week (I chose three) and meals cost £9.00 each for one person, £7.00 each for two people and £6.00 each for four people. The first three meals I chose were Indian chicken curry with wild rice; Rosemary lamb roast and roasted veggies; and Pork, kale and bean casserole. Upon ordering I received £10.00 off my first box, which was a generous introductory offer, and delivery is free. Customers can skip receiving meals up to six weeks in advance, which is ideal for when they go on holiday or if meals contain ingredients they dislike.
My first Mindful Chef box arrived on 13th November 2017. Upon opening the box I was met with some text on the inner flaps of the box that says how the boxes are mindful for their customers as well as guidelines on delivery days (Sundays or Mondays – I went for the latter) and when to choose meals by. I liked this nice little touch a lot.
I folded back the inner flaps and I saw the recipe cards followed by three clearly labelled bags with ingredients for each recipe and an insulated bag containing fresh meat and gel ice packs and sheep’s wool to keep them cool. Next I opened the paper bags to check the ingredients, removed the meat from the insulated bag and placed the paper bags and the meat in the fridge (I put the tin of butter beans for the Pork, kale and bean casserole in the cupboard) until I needed to cook the meals and I froze the gel ice packs. I was also given a free small carton of Vita Coco coconut water and a money-off coupon for Tesco as well as a menu of the following week’s recipes although I skipped my next two boxes in order to save some money for Christmas shopping.
Here is how I cooked each meal in the box and what I thought of them (Note: I washed most of the vegetables and herbs before preparing them):
Indian chicken curry with wild rice
First of all I preheated my oven to 180 degrees Celsius to cook the sweet potato (I was given more of it than I needed for the recipe so after having cut it up I weighed out the exact amount I needed, put the rest of it in a food bag and placed it in the fridge to use in another recipe later in the week), washed the vegetables, sweet potato and ginger, chopped the sweet potato and red onion, peeled and chopped the ginger and crushed the garlic in my garlic press. I then cut the chicken thigh into bite-sized chunks.
Next I boiled the kettle, rinsed the wild rice, put it in a saucepan, added some boiling water and simmered it for 25 – 30 minutes. I drained the rice once it was cooked.
While the rice cooked, I placed the sweet potato on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray, tossed it with a little olive oil and baked it for 20 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. I then dissolved the coconut cream in some boiling water in a jug.
I added a little more olive oil to a frying pan and heated it. On a medium heat I fried the onion, garlic, ginger and curry leaves for three minutes. Next I added the chicken and garam masala and fried for eight minutes until the chicken was golden brown.
I then stirred in the turmeric and the dissolved coconut cream and simmered for 10 minutes until the chicken was cooked through. Finally I stirred in the sweet potato once it was cooked, added the spinach, cooked for a final 10 minutes and ate the curry mixture with the wild rice and a glass of orange, lemon and pineapple squash topped up with the coconut water.
Verdict: I really enjoyed this meal. It wasn’t too spicy for my tastes – instead I got some gentle warmth from the spices. 5/5.
Rosemary lamb roast and roasted veggies
First I preheated my oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Next I washed the broccoli, shallot, baby potatoes and rosemary and chopped them all. I also washed the lemon and cut it in half, started zesting it with a lemon zester but to no avail so I used the fine attachment of my cheese grater to grate the zest instead and then I juiced the lemon. For the final step of this preparation stage I crushed the garlic (I received two cloves instead of one I was expecting in the recipe bag but I didn’t mind because I absolutely love garlic!).
Next I made the lamb rub with half the garlic, half the rosemary, the lemon zest and juice and a teaspoon of olive oil. I stirred them all together and set them aside.
I put the potatoes, shallot, remaining garlic and remaining rosemary onto a foil-lined baking tray, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil, coated them in the oil and roasted them for 15 minutes.
Next I heated some more olive oil in the frying pan and fried the lamb on each side on a high heat. I placed the lamb on another foil-lined baking tray, added the rub and roasted for it for 15 minutes alongside the broccoli and the potatoes, shallot, garlic and rosemary for a further 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of roasting the lamb I saw it was rare and I don’t like rare meat so I roasted it for a further 20 minutes and it was cooked more thoroughly.
While the lamb, potatoes, shallots, garlic, rosemary and broccoli cooked I dissolved the beef stock cube in a little boiling water and added it to the same pan as I cooked the lamb in to make the gravy. I added some reduced salt gravy granules to the stock because I love extra thick gravy, squeezed so,e lemon juice in, sprinkled in some remaining rosemary and cooked the gravy for a few minutes.
Finally I put the lamb, potatoes, shallot, garlic, rosemary and broccoli on a plate, poured the gravy over the dish and ate it with some mint sauce.
Verdict: Although the lamb was rare at first it got better after cooking it for longer. On the other hand the potatoes, shallots, garlic, rosemary and broccoli were cooked to perfection. 4/5.
Pork, kale and bean casserole
First I boiled some water in my kettle. Next I crushed the garlic in a garlic press and chopped the cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, kale, rosemary and parsley. I also drained and rinsed the butter beans, weighed out the exact amount I needed, put the rest in the fridge to save for another recipe and weighed out the exact amount of passata I needed and again refrigerated the rest of it to use in another recipe.
I then cut as much fat off the pork as I could and cut the pork into thin strips.
Next I heated a little olive oil in a saucepan, cooked the garlic for three minutes and then I initially cooked the pork for seven minutes. I added bits of boiling water to the garlic and pork because they would stick to the bottom of the pan and burn slightly (I used a stainless steel pan).
I dissolved the vegetable stock cube in 200ml boiling water. Next I heated some more olive oil and cooked the mushrooms and rosemary for two minutes, added the butter beans, sun dried tomatoes, passata and vegetable stock to the pan and simmered for 10 minutes with the lid on (according to the recipe card I was supposed to put the pork and garlic aside once they were cooked but I kept them in the pan throughout to make sure the pork was cooked through. Also the recipe card stated I should cook the kale for three minutes along with half the parsley and cherry tomatoes but since it was my first time cooking kale I cooked it for longer because it felt quite rough when I chopped it ).
Next I removed the lid from the pan, added the cherry tomatoes and half the parsley and cooked for three minutes.
Finally I spooned the casserole onto a plate and garnished it with the remaining parsley before eating it.
Verdict: This was a lovely, warming casserole that not only reminded me of my mum’s homemade butter bean bake but also had a great mix of flavours, particularly the herbs and sun dried tomatoes, and textures. 5/5.
On the whole I throughly enjoyed my first Mindful Chef recipe box despite having received enough sweet potato for two to three people as well as enough butter beans and passata for two people. Although the recipe cards only have photos of the finished product, they were quite easy to follow and had the ingredients plus any necessary quantities in bold. Unfortunately I decided to cancel my subscription after receiving only one box because I was saving some money for Christmas presents and a lot of upcoming recipes contained ingredients that I didn’t like.
Mindful Chef UK website: https://www.mindfulchef.com
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored blog post.