On the hearsay grapevine of internet-mainly-twaddle, I heard that Barack Obama wears only blue or grey suits to cut down on non-vital decisions. I admire that. Having recently ‘de-cluttered’ my own on-line life (I now have a phone that is just a phone and a camera that just takes pictures) because it felt like some sort of prostitution of the soul (pretentious I know but stay with me), it is a relief. Less can definitely be more.
I digress massively. Suffice to sum up that ordering your first Riverford box is 1) like getting a present you forgot about asking for and 2) is intelligent outsourcing of non-vital decisions to someone else à la Barack Obama. So on that basis, should we all be getting one?
This is what I got from my mini fruit and veg box plus a meat box for £29.45:
Organic beef mince, organic pork spare rib steaks, organic beef roasting joint.
2 peppers, 1 small aubergine, 2 small cucumbers, 1 small bag fresh peas in the pod, 6 clementines, 4 nectarines, 1 large bag of cabbage.
The nectarines unfortunately went mouldy pretty quickly. The clementines were tough so I jammed them. This is what I cooked:
Clementine and lemon marmalade (recipe below).
Chilli-con-carne with fresh peas and cucumber salad
Beef wellington with roasted aubergine
Beach barbecued pork spare rib steaks
Fried spring greens with soy, sesame and 2 eggs (eggs not included)
Excellent service and on-line resources.
For one person it equated to about two weeks’ worth of food with bread, milk and other sundries (Riverford cat food mini box anyone?) on top; for two people, it would be a decent feed for a week and cost-wise, pretty reasonable too.
I tried different meats that I would rarely buy, such as the very tender spare rib steaks and a large bag full of cabbage meant that I was forced to make something interesting out of it.
Intellectual outsourcing and reduced supermarket brain-bashing was a massive plus, not to mention cutting down on petrol and time.
Reduced waste – Riverford re-collect the boxes and meat packaging, most of the fruit and veg was loose in the box.
Riverford recipe suggestions in the little booklet that comes with the box or on-line make you a more adventurous cook.
The nectarines that went mouldy but these will be replaced in my next box.
You may feel creatively confined by the choice of seasonal veg (I didn’t).
While the meat certainly felt like it was value for money as well as ethical, I’m not sure the fruit and veg were and I rather like to squeeze the cheeks of my own nectarines before purchasing.
Overall: Highly recommended for transforming the weekly shop and eliminating the likes of last-minute spontaneous snatching of multi-value packs of Cadbury’s at the till and a smug slap on the back for intelligent outsourcing. Try it. It’s classy and middle class.
Recipe for easy clementine and lemon marmalade:
1kg of clementine including 2 lemons for extra pectin
1 litre of water
500g granulated sugar
3 jam jars (sterilised by either putting into the oven or by pouring boiling water over them)
Boil the fruit in the water until soft (about an hour)
Add the sugar, bring to the boil and keep at a simmer (an occasional bubble) for about 2 hours or until a skin forms when you place a small amount on a saucer and leave to cool.
Pour into jars and enjoy with fresh sourdough bread and a cup of coffee.