Thumbs up for… Riverford and The Happy Pear recipe box

Riverford Happy Pear Collage

I’ve been a Riverford customer for several years now, receiving an organic veg box full of seasonal delights on a weekly basis. This week for the first time I tried out one of their recipe boxes and was mightily impressed.

The recipe boxes contain fresh, seasonal organic produce, step-by-step recipe cards to help you create inspiring and vibrant dishes, and all the ingredients you need in exact quantities. All you have to do is cook.

Coming up with the recipes for the boxes are Riverford’s own talented bunch of cooks, including chefs from the Riverford Field Kitchen down in Devon, Kirsty Hale who comes up with the weekly veg box recipes, Riverford founder Guy Watson and his brother Ben. Every now and again they invite special guest chefs to create recipes too and at the moment it’s the turn of the Happy Pear twins, David and Stephen Flynn. Part of Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube, the Happy Pear are on a mission to get people to eat more veg.

The Happy Pear’s recipe box featured everything we needed to cook up three flavourful vegetarian meals for two people:

  • Mexican leek and black bean chilli
  • Spanish chickpea and potato bake with a beetroot and apple salad
  • Puy lentil and coconut dhal.
Mexican leek and black bean chilli
Mexican leek and black bean chilli
spanish chickpea and potato bake with beetroot and apple salad
Spanish chickpea and potato bake with beetroot and apple salad
Puy lentil and coconut dhal
Puy lentil and coconut dhal

At £33.95 the recipe box isn’t exactly cheap but the dishes are generously sized and did feed our family of four (with a few additions to bulk them out a bit).

The Mexican leek and black bean chilli was pretty good, if perhaps not particularly exciting, with a decent kick – a little too much for our youngest but she managed to scoff it all by dousing hers in Greek yoghurt. The Spanish chickpea and potato bake was very good, beautifully spiced and extremely moreish, and a great accompaniment to our organic pork sausages. The salad of beetroot and apple served alongside was fabulously refreshing and full of texture.

But the stand-out dish from the box had to be the puy lentil coconut dhal. This recipe is an absolute keeper and I intend to recreate it again and again. It’s wholesomely comforting and wonderfully warming, yet delicately spiced with cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric and ginger, paprika, curry powder and chilli, which might sound like a crazy spice overload but it’s actually an incredibly soothing combination. This dish is a loving hug in a bowl and I could eat it day in, day out.

As an enthusiastic home cook, I do have well-stocked food cupboards, and so did find all the tiny measures of ingredients such as spoonfuls of tomato puree and honey in little plastic pots a little annoying, as I have all these ingredients anyway. But I guess these recipe boxes are designed more for people who are starting from scratch, and how much more annoying would it be to discover your missing vital ingredients and need to pop out to the shop for those little extras.

So while I loved this particular recipe box and will definitely try them again in future, I can’t say I’ll be cooking with them on a regular basis. However if you love good food, are looking for new inspiration and are keen to eat more vegetables, but aren’t 100% confident in the kitchen, or simply don’t have time to shop for heaps of ingredients, then I think these recipe boxes are totally for you.

Find out more at www.riverford.co.uk/recipeboxes.

spanish chickpea and potato bake with beetroot and apple salad

Disclosure: we were supplied with a complimentary Riverford recipe box for review purposes. As always all views expressed are mine – and my family’s.

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