There are quite a few delivery meal companies out there now but Mindful Chef was among the first.
Mindful Chef launched a few years ago with the aim of using top-quality British produce and being healthy, mindful and aware – the company’s social conscience means that for every meal sold, they company donates a school meal to a child living in poverty, and packaging can be recycled.
I must ‘fess up that I did subscribe for a while a few years ago – you choose three or five meals per week for one, two or four people and can book up to six weeks ahead, or skip weeks when you need to.
I was always really impressed by the food’s quality and freshness…but trying it out again now reminded me of what had annoyed me: the faffy, hard-to-open little plastic pots of cumin, spices and maple syrup (why not just tell customers that they will need certain store cupboard items), plus the fact that cooking for one seems to require several pans.
Personally, I’d prefer more one-pot and wok meals on the menu.
Delivery was as slick and efficient as ever, brought to your door by van and well packed in a cardboard box. And menus have changed to reflect food fashion, with a range of imaginative vegan dishes on offer: sesame, tofu and avocado nori wrap with spicy salad or squash, mushroom and butter bean lasagne were on the week’s menus when I tried it out.
Carnivores may prefer chimichurri steak and baked sweet potato, ginger and spring onion haddock with miso quinoa or chipotle pork meatballs with Mexican-style rice.
They’re certainly all healthy options, with carbs kept to a minimum – in fact, controlled portions are a bit of a wake-up call, making me realise that I tend to cook too much rice.
But what was the food like? Tandoori chicken, red cabbage and apple slaw was a good combination of spicy, tender chicken breast, crunchy slaw and rice, with chard stirred through it.
But the other offering, pulled barbecued jackfruit and avocado salsa, less so – to me tinned jackfruit (not my favourite of fruits, even when fresh) are akin to tinned artichokes, resulting in a disappointing flavour and texture when combined with spicy pastes, tomato paste and maple syrup.
My final gripe? Cooking for one is tricky. The recipe card confusingly says to halve the ingredients (OK for the main ingredient but doesn’t seem to work as well for the rest.)
By halving, I ended up with dried-out rice and no way to stir the chard through it. It’s a very good scheme in principle and well worth trying out but make sure you don’t end up with piles of washing up or, if cooking for one, food to throw away.
For more information or to set up an account, visit mindfulchef.com