Sometimes it seems like not a blog post goes by without me mentioning Anna Jones. Yes, yes, I'm a fangirl and all that, but for good reason. She's just the bomb when it comes to vegetarian/vegan food with enormous flavours.
Riverford Organic Farms got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to review one of their veg boxes recently, and when I spotted that Anna was one of their guest chefs I had to say yes. Recipe boxes are such a thing these days, and one I'm in two minds about. On one hand, I find it all a bit prescriptive and it often seems quite expensive, but on the other, it's such an easy way to eat good, real food and to try meals you might not necessarily have chosen yourself.
When my Anna Jones box arrived it felt a little like Christmas - all brown packaging and twine, it felt like a treat to open (I'm like this with post anyway, but big boxes? YES). All the ingredients for three meals (each serves two people) were contained within, carefully packaged to ensure they arrived safe and sound. Even the spices were measured out into tiny pots, making me feel like a Blue Peter presenter (always a dream!). Three recipe cards explained how to make each one, and for the AJ box were a combination of recipes from both her books - A Modern Way to Eat and A Modern Way to Cook.
While I've eaten quite a few recipes from both books, this box contained recipes I had yet to try - Beetroot Curry with Spiked Cottage Cheese, Warm Kale, Tomato and Coconut Salad with Quinoa, and Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Pie.
First up was the Beetroot Curry. There is nothing more appealing to me than an unusual curry, and this one featured the flavours of south India - curry leaves, black mustard seeds and coconut. My friend Lara came over to eat with me and we were both kinda bowled over by the taste and the beautiful jewel colours of the pinky purple curry. Utterly delicious! And I've since made it again.
Next, we tried the Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Pie. This is just my cup of tea - warming and wintry, a dish that is hearty and comforting but doesn't leave you collapsed on the sofa too full to move.
And finally the Warm Kale, Tomato and Coconut Salad. This was my least favourite dish of the three, as I wasn't convinced by the combination of flavours and textures. But I think that's more about my personal taste rather than the recipe itself or the raw ingredients.
With everything weighed and measured and ready to go, the recipe box made cooking these three dishes an absolute breeze. All the fruit and veg were such lovely quality it was a pleasure to cook with such fresh, quality ingredients. My only quibble would be the layout of the double-sided recipe cards - they weren't particularly intuitive which didn't make it easy to follow. I ended up finding the recipes in my books and following from there.
Have you ever tried a recipe box before? What are your thoughts? Do you like a prescriptive way of cooking or are you more free-form? Let me know in the comments.
Riverford sent a recipe box for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and images are my own.