We all know that cooking after getting home from a day at the office is a faff. Luckily, there is a solution. Alex tries out Simply Cook, purveyors of quick and easy recipe kits.
That people have less and less time to cook should need no explaining. Long hours in the office only to come home and umm and ahh over what to knock up for dinner is not a climate amenable to healthy cooking. The lure of the takeaway is often too much to resist, which is unfavourable for both the wallet and the gut.
Simply Cook aims to provide a solution to these difficulties, providing recipe packs for time starved urbanities. Each box is handily shaped to fit through your letterbox, and contains four recipe kits, along with recipe cards to tell you how to make them. I was given such a kit to test out. Will Simply Cook manage to save a generation of workers from takeaway mediocrity?
The kits contain three different specialist ingredients required to make each recipe, with the recipe cards telling you which base ingredients to buy. For example, the Cajun chicken with sweet potato mash recipe contains the Cajun seasoning, garlic oil and a Mediterranean pepper paste to add to the sweet potato mash. You buy the chicken, sweet potato, courgettes and bacon. The recipes are all simple to follow and don’t require a mastery of culinary technique to execute.
Of course, much of the outcome depends on your ability in the kitchen nonetheless. As somebody with an above average cooking ability relative to the average bloke (and tall, dark, handsome, and modest), the recipes were fairly easy to execute, with some great results. The seasoning on the above Cajun chicken was excellent, and the sweet potato mash with courgettes and bacon was good too, though I’m not too sure of the pepper paste they supply to go into it.
A chicken bucatini amatriciana was even better, with lovely pancetta coated tomato pasta and another great seasoning mix to go on the pan fried chicken breast. Malay chicken laksa produced lovely bowls of a tasty ramen-like concoction, and really took the hassle out of making something like this judging by the amount of ingredients you’d normally need.
The recipes are sound then, but there are some limitations to the Simply Cook concept. First of all, each meal is designed to yield a (small) dinner for two. Happily however, we found that there was always enough of everything to make a third more than the recipe card stipulates, leading to a filling meal for both of you. If it’s just you, then the only solution is to refrigerate the rest for tomorrow, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Secondly, the meat in all of my recipes was to be pan fried and added to whatever else you were eating it with. This is okay, but for reasons pertaining to health and variety it would be nice to see some roasting or other cooking methods involved. It looks like Simply Cook have this covered with their Healthy Box option however, and the choice of recipe boxes changes very regularly.
There are also not many greens in the recipes but knocking up a quick salad on the side to boost the nutritional value is easy. It’s a solid, well-executed concept. Only you will know whether or not it’s for you. If you’re looking to add ease and speed to your evening cooking, Simply Cook is well worth a go.