Last year I decided to try out HelloFresh. Although they had a vast selection of meals the minimum number of people their boxes serve is two and I live alone (I saved the rest of the meals for the following day), I temporarily cancelled my subscription after two boxes to try elsewhere that offered meals for one. While I enjoyed my first and only box from elsewhere a lot of their upcoming meals didn’t appeal to me so I cancelled my subscription after my first box and reactivated my HelloFresh subscription. I received my first two boxes on Mondays but now I receive them on Wednesdays owing to certain bank holidays falling on Mondays that could affect delivery.
Shortly after having reactivated my subscription, HelloFresh sent me a money off voucher code in the post for their new Rapid Box, which contains meals that can be made within 20 minutes. I switched from the Classic Box to the Rapid Box but when I entered the code online it didn’t seem to work and I found it confusing to use so I reverted to the Classic Box. I even found that the choice of meals the Rapid Box offers was rather limited compared to those offered by the Classic Box.
Although I have been satisfied with the service from HelloFresh for the most part there was one occasion where they let me down. As part of my first box of 2018 I ordered Veggie Moussaka to give it another go (I made it last year albeit a one-pan version because my oven was emitting smoke at that time) and while I received the ciabatta bread and hard Italian cheese I was sent the wrong ingredients for the recipe in a paper bag. I contacted HelloFresh about this and while they advised me to keep the wrong ingredients to make another meal, they gave me £12 credit towards my next box and assured me that any future boxes I order will be double checked before they are sent out to me. Soon I used most of the incorrect ingredients plus some of my own ingredients to make some chicken enchiladas and I donated the tin of mixed beans (they contain kidney beans, which I don’t like) to my local food bank. My next two boxes were generally more pleasing although the mascarpone needed for a pasta dish in one box was replaced with creme fraiche, which was outlined in an accompanying letter so I’m glad that HelloFresh can inform their customers if an ingredient has been substituted.
In this post I will focus on my most recent box plus my recipe folder. The latest HelloFresh recipes I cooked were the Juicy Cheese Burger, the Fragrant Paella and the Pork Loin Steak. Based on advice given by a reader in the comments of my first HelloFresh blog post (I have since deleted the comment due to the fact that I no longer wish to receive comments on my blog owing to getting some negative ones towards the end of last year – I even found the second half of the comment to be rather negative and unneeded in relation to me initially forgetting to mention something in that blog post. I also deleted my reply to the comment and edited the post accordingly) I have taken photographs of each meal during the preparation and cooking process as well as the final product. Also in this box I received an extra paper bag that contained a recipe folder, which I claimed in exchange of 500 HelloFresh points. Customers can earn 20 points for each meal in their box, 50 points for each successful referral to a friend and 5 points for each social media share of their meals. They can then exchange their points for items in the HelloFresh Shop such as tea towels, cooking utensils and of course recipe folders. I find the recipe folder a simple, neat and practical way to store my recipe cards but the only thing is that while the recipe cards in my first two boxes had holes punched in them, they didn’t have any holes punched in them in the three boxes I received this year so far so I ended up pushing those recipe cards through the open rings in the folder to make holes in them hence why the inside of my folder doesn’t look neat in the third photograph below. I’ll try using a hole punch in future.
Here is how I cooked each meal and what I thought of them (ratings are based on those on the HelloFresh website and app):
Juicy Cheese Burger with Sweet Potato Wedges and Rocket Salad
First I preheated the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and washed the rocket, sweet potato and one of the tomatoes. I then cut the tomato and the sweet potato plus cut one of the brioche buns in half.
Next I placed half the sweet potato wedges onto a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray, sprayed them with low fat cooking spray and sprinkled them with half the garlic salt. I baked then for 30 minutes and put the remaining uncooked wedges inside a zip bag to put them in the fridge for the next day. While the wedges cooked I mixed most of the tomato with most of the rocket in a small bowl and added a drizzle of olive oil to serve as a side salad.
I grated half the cheese and in a glass mixing bowl I combined the beef mince, remaining garlic salt, panko breadcrumbs and a little sprinkle of pepper but I forgot to add the ketchup so I put it aside to put in the buns. I heated some oil in a frying pan, divided the beef mixture into two, formed it into patties and cooked one patty for 7 minutes on each side while I wrapped the other patty in cling film and put it in the fridge so I could cook it the following day. When the burger was cooked I put the cheese on top, added a splash of water to the pan, placed a plate on top of the frying pan and steamed the burger for 3 minutes so that the cheese would melt. I removed the burger from the pan, loosely wrapped some foil around it to keep it warm, wiped the inside of the pan and toasted each half on the bun in each side for 2 minutes.
Once the buns were toasted and the wedges were cooked, I put half the ketchup that came with the box on the bottom half of the bun, placed the burger on it, added the remaining rocket and tomato and put the top half of the bun on top. Finally I put the sweet potato wedges on the plate with the burger and ate them with my own ketchup, garlic mayonnaise and burger sauce after I took the photograph of the final meal. The following day I cooked the remaining burger and wedges, cut the tomato and prepared the salad the usual way but I didn’t toast the bun or steam the burger to melt the cheese that time.
Verdict: While the brioche buns were lovely and buttery, the rocket and tomato salad was fresh and the second serving of wedges was well cooked, I felt that there were a few little bits of pink meat left on the burgers after I cooked them so I picked them off and the first serving of wedges and the second burger were a bit burnt. 3/4.
Fragrant Paella with Chicken and Chorizo
The first steps I took were washing and chopping the pepper, shallot, green beans and parsley. I also crushed the garlic in a garlic press. Next I put the chicken stock pot in a measuring jug, boiled the kettle, filled the jug with 400ml boiling water and dissolved the stock pot.
Despite the recipe card saying the chorizo was diced, it came as one whole sausage, which I found rather strange because I received diced chorizo in another HelloFresh recipe before, so I chopped it up on a plate. While the chicken thigh was already diced, I cut it up into smaller pieces (I forgot to photograph the chicken thigh pieces on the chopping board after I cut them – d’oh!). I then heated some olive oil in a saucepan on a medium-high heat, added the chorizo and chicken to the pan, cooked them for 5 minutes, added the shallot and cooked for a further 3 minutes.
Next I added the white wine vinegar, paprika and rice (while the online and app version of this recipe listed saffron as one of its ingredients, it wasn’t listed on my physical recipe card or included in my box). I stirred the mixture together and let the vinegar evaporate. I added the chicken stock, stirred it in, put the lid in the pan, reduced the heat to medium and let the paella simmer for 8 minutes.
I then placed the red pepper and the green beans on top of the paella, covered the pan with the lid again, reduced the heat to medium low and cooked for a final 12 minutes. Finally I stirred in the parsley, put half the paella on a plate to eat and let the rest cool down before refrigerating it for the next day.
Verdict: Although everything was well cooked the paella had a slightly burnt taste to it due to some of the paella burning at the bottom of my stainless steel pan despite stirring in some extra splashes of water during cooking. I also found the chorizo to be a bit too spicy for my tastes so sadly this hasn’t been my favourite HelloFresh meal so far. If I were to make a similar dish I will be sure to purchase a big enough non-stick pan with a lid for the recipe to hopefully prevent the dish from burning at the bottom. 2.5/4.
Pan-Fried Pork with Cavolo Nero Champ and Sticky Glaze
To begin I washed the potatoes, parsley, spring onions and Cavolo Nero. I chopped the potatoes, spring onion and the parsley and then I boiled the potatoes for 15 minutes. I grated the cheese and because I found there wasn’t enough that came with the meal kit, I grated some more of my own.
Next I cut some bits of unwanted fat from the pork loins and seasoned them with pepper. I heated some oil in a frying pan and cooked the pork for 12 minutes, making sure I turned it every 2 minutes. Once the pork was cooked I put one loin on a plate to cool so I could eat it the next day and I wrapped the other loin I was going to eat on the day I made this dish to keep it warm.
After 15 minutes of the potato cooking, I added the Cavolo Nero to the pan and cooked it and the potato for 5 minutes. I drained the potatoes and Cavolo Nero and mashed the potato. I added the spring onion, cheese, some milk and some butter to the potato and Cavolo Nero, mixed it all together and placed a lid on the pan to keep it warm.
I added 100ml water (obviously more than the specified amount of 75ml!) and the chicken stock pot to the frying pan. I brought the pan to a boil and stirred to dissolve the stock pot. Next I mixed the apple and sage jelly (although rosemary jelly is listed on the website and the app, the recipe card listed apple and sage jelly that came in my box) and the parsley with the stock and stirred until the jelly was dissolved.
Finally I poured any remaining pork juices from the foil and one of the plates into the glaze and reheated it. I spooned the Cavolo Nero champ (similar to colcannon) onto the plates, sliced the pork and arranged it on the plates. Next I poured the glaze over the pork and the champ because it was too thin to spoon on the plate to make a pretty pattern. I ate one serving on the day I made it and I served the leftovers the following day with some buttered leeks.
Verdict: The pork was tasty but I initially thought the bitter taste of the Cavolo Nero overpowered that of the cheese in the champ. I thought the glaze wasn’t sticky or thick enough because I added a little too much water but it still had a lovely apple and sage flavour that complemented the pork very well. The meal tasted better when reheated the following day due to the cheese flavour shining through more and the buttered leeks made a delicious accompaniment to the leftovers. 3/4.
All in all this was a generally satisfying HelloFresh box with the Pan-Fried Pork Loin, Cavolo Nero Champ and Sticky Glaze being my overall favourite dish from the box. I look forward to cooking more HelloFresh meals in the future whether I’ve had them before or if I want to try some new dishes.
HelloFresh UK website: https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored blog post. All opinions expressed are my own.