As you know from this blog, I’m a big fan of gardening, and we love cooking with the fresh fruit and veg that we grow. So when the team at Riverford asked us to try out their limited edition recipe box, featuring recipes by award-winning chef and gardening guru Sarah Raven, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
Riverford started as a very small-scale box scheme in Devon, and has grown to a UK-wide delivery service, supplied by regional farms. Everything they grow and make is 100% organic. As well as recipe boxes, Riverford also supply veg boxes, fruit & salad boxes, and meat boxes.
The recipe box service works like this: every week you receive a box containing everything you need to make organic, home-cooked meals for two people, including step-by-step recipe cards. The number of meals included depends on the box selected, and there are original, vegetarian, quick and limited edition boxes to choose from.
The limited edition Sarah Raven meal box range features recipes from Sarah’s new cookbook, Good Good Food. We tried the 3 meals box, which costs £36.95 and includes lots of fresh, seasonal, organic Riverford veg.
The box arrived well-packed, and bursting with clearly labelled, lovely-looking ingredients.
Because everything is supplied in the quantities needed, there’s no waste, and no time spent shopping either. You won’t have a whole jar of dijon mustard sitting in the fridge because you needed a teaspoon, for example. There’s also no weighing required, which makes the cooking quicker and simpler.
The recipe cards are really clear and easy to follow. I liked the helpful notes on the front which talk about the flavours in the dish, the kitchen equipment you’ll need, and the prep time.
It’s fair to say that with these recipe boxes, you need to be prepared for prep time in the kitchen; ready meals these are not, this is a box for people who enjoy cooking. You will be cooking everything from scratch, and while there aren’t really any tricky processes to tackle, there is an expectation that you will have certain kitchen equipment (if you cook regularly, you’ll have the things you need). But the fact that you’re cooking with really good quality, fresh ingredients translates into delicious home-cooked food, which in my opinion is well worth the effort.
We feasted on three seasonal recipes, the first being Tomato & Poppy Seed Tart. The poppy seeds gave the pastry a little crunch, and inside there was a layer of Sussex Slipcote goat’s cheese, topped with a rich tomato and basil filling. You can make it as individual tarts, or one big one, which is what we did.
There was pastry to make and filling to cook for this dish; it wasn’t complicated, we just needed to allow time for chilling the pastry. We ate this dish for lunch with the accompanying side salad, and there was enough leftover for another meal. It was so full of flavour, and the soft goat’s cheese was just fantastic, I’ve never tasted such mild, creamy goat’s cheese before.
Our second dish was Sangria Chicken, served with red rice. All the prep happens the night before for this dish, then on the day after you just pop it into the oven and cook the rice.
I loved this dish; you could really tell that the meat was good quality, and the whole thing was fresh whilst also being hearty at the same time. It filled the kitchen with a wonderful aroma too.
Our third dish was Sweet & Sour Vegetable Curry, accompanied again with red rice.
The curry was packed with veg and full of flavour from the spice mix, sharp lime and sweet coconut milk. A kick of chilli finished it off perfectly. Having never eaten red rice before, I’m a convert; it has a wonderfully nutty flavour and a firm bite.
We really enjoyed trying out our Riverford recipe box. The dishes were straightforward to prepare thanks to the pre-weighed ingredients and clear instructions, and the fresh ingredients were just that; fresh, not days old and losing their flavour. The quality of the ingredients really stood out, and resulted in fantastic dishes. We thought all three were delicious and packed with flavour, and they were all pretty healthy too. My favourite was the tomato tart, it’s perfect for a Summer meal and I’ll definitely be making it again when my greenhouse tomatoes ripen.
One thing that’s always concerned me about a regular recipe box delivery is the fact that you may not be able to cancel a particular week or make changes to your order. The Riverford service is actually really flexible; you can setup a regular order, but you can also add one-off orders, change your delivery frequency, cancel a particular week on a regular order, and pause your orders. This is ideal for busy family life, which for us often involves last-minute commitments or changes of plans.
The Sarah Raven recipe boxes are available for deliveries until 15th July. Will you be giving them a try this Summer?
We were supplied with the Sarah Raven recipe box free of charge for review purposes, all comments and opinions are honest and genuine.