There are so many services at the moment that claim to make evening meals a bit easier. Some of them carefully measure out the portions of every last ingredient, others deliver whole meals to your door. I've never quite found one that works for me, but when Everdine got in touch and asked if I'd like to try them out, I thought it sounded promising.
Everdine's USP is that it offers frozen, 'clean-eating' meals. I agree with Jennie's point about the phrase 'clean-eating' - let's not suggest some food is 'unclean', shall we? - but I appreciate the sentiment here. These meals aim to do what I try to with my cooking - fresh, healthy ingredients that aren't packed with chemicals and ingredients you can't pronounce. Some of them are meat, some are fish, some are vegetarian and some are vegan. They're all fairly low in calories and fat, and you can pick and choose which you want to receive based on your preferences.
I signed up to the website and selected eight meals to be delivered the following Saturday, which were:
- Slow cooked beef & beetroot bourguignon
- Paneer & sweet potato kofte biryani
- Open ravioli of wild mushroom & tarragon
- Falafel shawarma
- Coconut katsu chicken
- Chickpea & vegetable tagine
- Black bean chili burrito
- BBQ pulled pork with Boston beans
They came as promised, well packaged and I liked that I could pop them straight in the freezer without worrying about eating them all quickly. I get busy, y'know. It meant I could sample them over a few weeks, which is just what I did.
The meals were a mixed bag. Some were really delicious - I loved the paneer and sweet potato biryani, the falafel shawarma and the pulled pork. However, I was really disappointed by the open mushroom ravioli and the black bean burrito.
As you know, I'm a big advocate of cooking giant meals and freezing them, and that means I'm also very aware of how not everything suits freezing. Some ingredients lose their flavour and some lose their structure and integrity when reheated. And not all of these meals seem to have been frozen with that in mind - the saucier dishes and the curries were great, but the burrito for instance was dry and flavourless and the mushroom ravioli was all pasta, no sauce.
I also felt it was rather expensive for the service offered. The meals work out at £8 each, and while the delivery aspect is convenient, I don't think it warrants the meals costing around double what a decent ready meal would cost from somewhere like M&S. I do think it would be a great gift for someone who was short on time - say if they'd just moved house, couldn't get out because they were ill or hurt, or had just had a baby. And if this describes you, or if you're thinking of someone who'd appreciate this, I can help with the cost - I have a 30% off voucher which is IN1ESSBEEVEE, just enter it at the checkout.
Let me know if you've tried Everdine or a service like it, and what you thought in the comments or on Twitter!