Riverford Organic Recipe Box: Kale and Roasted Tomato Salad
Last week the lovely guys at Riverford Organic Farms sent me one of their recipe boxes in exchange for an honest review. The company has been around since the mid 1990s, and works with local farmers across the UK to offer weekly boxes, containing fresh seasonal produce. Customers have a choice of vegetable, fruit and meat boxes, or a combination of all three. There is also an option to add on eggs, butter, local cheeses and other essentials. Riverford also offer weekly recipe boxes containing all the essential ingredients to make three recipes, along with step-by-step instructions.
Riverford has recently teemed up with stylist, cook and food writer, Anna Jones, to create a limited edition recipe box. The box is on sale between 12 October 2015 and 6 November 2015, and contains all the ingredients to make the following vegetarian dishes: puy lentils with sweet potato pie, beetroot curry with spiked cottage cheese, and warm kale and roasted tomato salad. Each dish has been inspired by Anna’s travels and day-to-day experiences, and is packed full of vibrant colours and exotic flavours.
This was my first experience of using a vegetable box scheme, and I was very excited when my delivery arrived. The boxes were neatly packaged, fresh vegetables and herbs on one side; recipe cards with step-by-step instructions to make each dish, including a small paragraph on the inspiration behind each recipe; and three separate compartments containing spices and other essentials. There was no weighing, no rustling through the kitchen cupboards to find the right ingredient, all I had to do was provide the oil, salt and pepper. The chill bag that accompanied the box deserves a special mention, since it ensured the cottage cheese and white miso remained chilled during transportation.
I was most intrigued by the kale and roasted tomato salad, with quinoa – much to my husband’s dismay! He was sceptical trying the salad since he has never been a fan of kale, and is increasingly annoyed at me sneaking tomatoes in his meals. Before I started, I laid out all the vegetables and ingredients on the table. I followed the instructions carefully and was amazed at how easy it was to prepare the salad. And quick too! It only took 30 minutes to assemble (including roasting the kale and tomatoes, and boiling the quinoa), perfect for a quick lunch or after work meal. The ginger and miso dressing that accompanied the salad added a zingy heat. We were both pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted. Every part of the dish was full of flavour. The limes, the ginger, the chilli, even the desiccated coconut added a certain oomph. I could go on and on about how tasty this salad was, but the video speaks for itself. It was prepared by my husband, who was having just as much fun in the kitchen as I was, preparing the salad (although I do apologise for my chipped nail polish!)
That same evening, still feeling a high from the kale and roasted tomato dish, I prepared the beetroot curry; and the next day, the puy lentil and sweet potato pie. Anna’s instructions are easy to follow. Each recipe (to our surprise) was filling and tasted different to the other, with Chinese, South Indian and British flavours. I will definitely be making the pie and the salad again, but as much as I love beetroot, I was not sure about the curry. I felt the ginger overpowered the dish, but that doesn’t mean I thought it was bad. I liked the idea of paring the curry with the cooling cottage cheese and I may tweak the recipe in the future to suit my palate.
Would I buy the recipe box again? Possibly. While I had fun exploring the three recipes, I don’t think I could justify paying £33.95 on a regular basis. But I could see myself buying it every couple of months or so, or on special occasions, as it is fun to create new meals in the house and explore new flavours and taste sensations. One thing is for sure, the Riverford vegetables were very tasty and I will definitely be ordering their vegetable boxes to try, as well as some of their fresh organic meats and dairy products. At £10.35 a week for a basic box, it could become a regular feature in my house.
Disclaimer: I was provided a limited edition recipe box, in exchange for an honest review.