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Cook like a pro at home: 5 of the best food delivery recipe kits

by Maria Bell Published on 25 September 2013
Cook like a pro at home: 5 of the best food delivery recipe kits© Gousto

As a nation we’ve gone utterly bonkers for home cooking. You only have to switch on your TV to see at least four, 42-inch chefs cooking away in your living room. But in reality, the majority of us want all the gourmet glory without the hassle. Finding the time to go out and source the finest produce and exotic spices after a full day at work just isn’t going to happen. So what’s the solution? Recipe kits people, it’s all about the food delivery recipe kit.

Recipe kits all started when - luckily for us - a few foodies with creative culinary backgrounds made the connection between our inherent lack of time, laziness and our lust for cooking and so launched companies which, in essence, do all the hard work for us.

With a recipe kit you choose from a selection of weekly or daily recipes online, then sit back and relax until dinnertime comes.

While you’re rushing around in the office they’re off sourcing all of the ingredients, cutting them down into perfect portions so there isn’t any waste, then delivering your kit to your front door complete with recipes created by professional chefs telling you exactly how to cook it.

Frankly, it’s genius.

We know what you’re thinking; a lot of these must be in London. Well for the moment yes, about half of them are, but the good news is that 2 more of the companies we’ve spoken to are launching nation wide within the next few months. So really, we’re just whetting your appetite.

So we tried and tested 5 of the UK’s best recipe kits that put the fire into food delivery.

Housebites

At only 11 weeks in and with a sign up rate in the 1000s, Housebites deserves some attention. With Head chef Alice Feaver previously studying under the watchful eye of Marcus Waring, the quality of these recipes is not to be underestimated.

The recipe kits come in over 5 different options, they are quick and relatively easy, taking only 30 minutes to make and at 500-700 calories per portion, they won’t be hard on your waistline either (but might dent that bank account a bit more).

Founder of the company Simon Prockter says: "We go beyond convenience. Our mission is to inspire you in the kitchen, giving you interesting and exciting dishes to cook." ​

Although Housebites is London-based at the moment, they will be launching nationwide in the VERY near future, so keep an eye out.

This week's recipes:
Beef with Peanut sauce, lime rice and broccoli
Chicken Schnitzel with warm lemony potato & radish salad
Greek lamb with summery orzo pasta and feta garnish
Warm Salmon Salad with Chilli Caramel & Toasted Coconut
Sweetcorn Fritters with Black Bean & Avocado Salad

Price:
3 meals for 2 people - £42.00
3 meals for 4 people - £84.00
3 meals for 6 people – £126.00
Website: housebites.com

Gousto

You might recognize the name of this company from a rather tense episode of Dragon’s Den, but instead of falling off the face of the earth like most ex-dragonites do, Gousto’s organic recipe kits have gone from strength to strength.

Seasonal, organic produce is at the very heart of the company, so you can expect a variety of good quality food arriving on your doorstep. The recipe options are fantastic, and despite seeming quite complicated, won't take more than 30 minutes to prepare, which is ideal.

The best thing about Gousto is that they ship nationwide, so anyone in the UK can add a bit of dazzle to that dinner table. One thing’s for certain, the Dragon’s missed a trick.

This week’s recipes:
Pork Steaks with Thyme Infused Apple and Leek Crème Fraiche
Filled Romano Peppers with Crispy Bacon and Chestnut Mushrooms
Spaghetti Al Nero with Squid

Price:
Couple Bo, 3 meals for 2 people - £42 per week - £7 per meal
Family box, 3 meals for 4/5 people - £67 per week, £5.60 per meal
Website: gousto.co.uk

Dinnr

The ultimate recipe kit has got to be Dinnr. With 18 slots to order in (compared to other companies who have 6 per week), the guys at Dinnr are pretty much ready to cater for your every cooking craving.

Can't be bothered to cook dinner that night? You can order a three course meal ready to prepare at 3pm and it will be at your door by 7pm without a subscription - that's just crazy good service.

Co-founder Michal Bohanes says: "Dinnr is not so much a convenience option but an educational one. We want every customer from total novices to someone with more experience to be able to enjoy our recipes."

​Don't think that because it's fast it means less quality either, the ingredients are sourced from a range of local suppliers and each week there will be a new recipe 'theme' to sink your teeth into, including things like Peruvian week and cook like Jamie Oliver. Exciting stuff. Really Dinnr isn't just about speed, it's about sophistication, just look at these recipes to see what we mean...

This week’s recipes:
Grilled Tuna, Sesame Noodles and Summer Vegetables with Ginger Sauce
Fenugreek Prawn Curry
Five Spice Duck with Pak Choi and Udon Noodles
Seared Scallops with Bacon and Mint Pea Mash
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Orange Zest

Price: Mains start from £12.00, starters from £6.00, desserts from £5.00
Website: dinnr.co.uk

Jessica's Recipe bag

If you want simple but effective, then get yourself over to the Jessica's recipe bag website pronto. The recipes are easy to follow, take up to 45 minutes and have healthy eating as their top priority. Sourcing their food from suppliers like Southbank Fresh Fish supplies, H G Walter of Baron’s Court, Clifton’s Greens in Maida Vale, you're in for a local London treat.

The recipes are incredibly easy to cook, look great on your plate and taste even better in your belly. The only minor downside about Jessica's is that there isn't the option to pick and choose between the weekly recipes like some of the other kit options, and you might need to buy some of the more standard ingredients which some might say does slightly defeat the point. However, you do get a weekly email warning you of what you need in that kitchen of yours and the main meal is sorted. If you're after a no-nonsence meal which can be delivered next day (in London) then give Jessica's a go.

This week’s recipes:
Beef Satay with Celeriac and Carrot Salad
Salmon Teriyaki with Rice and Spinach
Lemony Roasted Lamb with Potatoes and Beans
Ricotta and Tomato Fusilli with Salad

Price: Couples bag - £42.00 (3 recipes for two people), Family recipe bag (4 recipes for 4 people) - £69
Website: jessicasrecipebag.co.uk

Hello Fresh

As the marginally cheaper option, you might want to lean towards Hello Fresh for your foodie deliveries. A slightly older kid on the block, Hello Fresh has actually been offering up their Award-winning classic and veggie boxes for a while now but has newly launched into family sized boxes too.

With hints and tips from Head Chef Patrick Drake, locally sourced food and absolutely delicious restaurant standard recipes, you'd be mad not to try it.

Also don't be fooled by the price, Hello Fresh source their produce from some of the best places in the UK, including New Covent Garden Market, Tom Hixson at Smithfield's Meat Market and James Knight in Mayfair, used by none other than HRH The Queen don't cha know. ​​When you actually break it down, the cost of that £64 family box actually equates to just £4 per head, per meal. A royal recipe for a pauper's budget? We can't think of a better option.

This week's recipes:
Walnut and Rosemary Crumbled Chicken Breast with Crispy Potatoes and Salad
Pork Chops with Cinnamon and Apple Chutney and Rosemary New Potatoes
Sizzling Steak Stir fry with Egg Noodles and Pok Choi
Risotto Milanese and the World's most expensive spice

Price:
Classic box – 3 meals for 2 people £39.00, 3 meals for 4 people £59.00
Veggie box – 3 meals for 2 people - £36.00, 3 meals for 4 people, £57.00
Family box - £64.00
Website: hellofresh.co.uk

Want to take a look at some of the finished products? Feast your eyes over the delicious meals that you could be making in your very own kitchen.

Gousto's Honey Roasted Beetroot with Bulgar, Crunchy Walnuts & Beans © Gousto

Have we managed to convince you? Tell us what you think about recipe kits or if we've missed anything out by tweeting us at @sofeminineuk.