Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting my cooking mojo back: with DinnerTime.

One fine morning about three weeks back I announced to my family that I was considering employing a part time cook for I didn’t have the time or the energy to prepare meals for all of us each day. Loud gasp from all of them! Strange looks and mumbling under breath followed. Translated it meant but you love to cook and we love to eat what you make and we have been spoiled silly all these years and how will a cook who would probably make the same twenty things over and over again make us look forward to getting back home for a hot and full of love meal each day (with all due respect to people who have cooks and the very talented cooks who help homemakers and working people put their meals on the table).But they said none of the above. “Aah…okay…sure if you feel the need for one start looking around. I “heard” their thoughts though and decided to ignore them.

So I began my search for one. But before I could even employ one I realized it wasn’t that I had no time to cook (it really doesn’t take more than forty minutes to cook if you have four burners and an oven running, right and especially for someone who loves to cook) the real issue was between all the work deadlines, bringing up a child and managing home suddenly I didn’t feel inspired enough to cook and I had zero enthusiasm to plan my meals. It was taking too much time and as a result each week I would end up buying the same fruits, vegetables and proteins and come mealtime I found myself looking at the fridge and wishing the ingredients to rise, come together and become a meal on their own. Have you ever been in a cooking rut?

Just my luck that the very next week the lovely people of DinnerTime got in touch with me  and I decided to give it a try.

Before I share with you my experience of using their dinner service, let me share what DinnerTime is and how it works. In short, each week DinnerTime’s chef creates a menu and shares it in advance. Should you choose to try it out they go and get the ingredients for you, write down the recipes and deliver the food box right to your doorstep. Sounds like a fairy godmother just stepped in, no? (I am sorry I have been watching way too many fairytales thanks to Sara and this was the only comparison I could come up with). Read how DinnerTime was born here

So at a time slot chosen by me the food box was delivered and I have to tell you that both Sara and I were excited to open it and discover the contents of our “treasure” box. The ingredients looked fresh and beautiful. The chicken and the fish were from Choithram’s and there was fresh Australian meat, the veggies were from local Greenheart Organic Farm and there was a fresh baguette.
The menu for the week was:
 Crustless mushroom quiche with a crisp green salad in a honey mustard dressing
 Thanksgiving roast chicken with bread and onion stuffing, cheat’s cranberry sauce and steamed broccoli.
 Provencal fish in a tomato basil sauce served with grilled eggplant
Beef cashew with a cucumber thai salad
And I have to say I enjoyed each meal and so did my family.

So why and how did it work for me:
  • I loved the fact that there was variety; egg, chicken, fish and beef with adequate veggies in each meal and carbohydrates too. So each meal was both wholesome and nutritious plus there was range in what we were eating through the week. And all of the produce was fresh.
  • All the meals and I repeat all the meals took me exactly 30 minutes like they promised (I did take out all the ingredients on the counter and read the recipe twice and did several things simultaneously which in any case I think most of pressed for time people do. But even if you are not really the types to treat this like a race you still won’t take more than 40 minutes. I am slightly crazy so to test this I followed the recipes to a T and set up an alarm for 30 minutes to prove them wrong. But DinnerTime won and my husband had a good laugh that his wife is crazy as ever). Also I must mention that the vegetables, protein were all washed and chopped within those 30 minutes.
  • Coming to instructions, I am sucker for well written recipes, instructions, notes…whatever you may want to call it. And their recipe cards made me super happy. At this point I must mention DinnerTime did not bribe me into playing their brand ambassador. Honestly they did impress me so much so I told me extended family about it and everyday they would ask me to send the snap of the meal we were eating that night. However I am person who likes to eat and read cookbooks/recipes with her eyes so I would have appreciated if the accompanying pictures on the recipe cards were as appetizing as the recipes were.
  • There was absolutely no wastage. I used up all the perishables since they were given in just the right quantities except for 2 eggs, some sage and a lemon. I was also left with a lot of onion powder, sesame oil and bread crumbs which is great since that can be stored and can be used to make the recipes once again or try out new ones.
  • All the meals had leftovers which meant with some creative thinking we had lunch ready. The recipe mentioned if it would yield for two or four and it did (though we ordered the box for two) so it was great value for money.
    • Crustless mushroom quiche with a crisp green salad in a honey mustard dressing : Had half the quiche left and we ate it with half of the French baguette from the next recipe
    • Thanksgiving roast chicken with bread and onion stuffing, cheat’s cranberry sauce and steamed broccoli: Had half chicken left which I shredded and made into a wrap the next day. Had half the steamed broccoli which was converted into a simple salad with some sesame oil that was already there in the box, some sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
    • Provencal fish in a tomato basil sauce: We were three of us so if you are ordering the box for two then you would still have lunch for one. I would actually mash up the fish and convert it into fish balls with some gravy to make it into a meal for two.
    • Beef cashew with a cucumber Thai salad: Four complete meals out of this once again.
But most importantly it got me my cooking mojo back. Should you try it? Yes, whether it is for the convenience of the ingredients delivered straight home or to take away the pain of meal planning or when you know it is a busy week/month at work and you still want to eat and serve homecooked meals or simply to try out new flavours and new recipes.

A big thank you to DinnerTime for giving me chance to review and for being a part of my kitchen.

Have you ever lost your cooking mojo? How did you get it back?

More about DinnerTime:

Each week a new set menu is created by DinnerTime’s own chef including one meat dish, one chicken dish, one fish dish and one vegetarian, pasta or soup dish. Next week’s menu is presented in advance, and the customer has the option of choosing whether or not to have the food box delivered. Delivery options include regular subscriptions to weekly or fortnightly dinner deliveries as well as ad hoc delivery at your convenience. Everything that comes in our box is carefully selected and each recipe tested. We do the dinner planning for you and create a weekly menu with great care taken in achieving a well balanced nutrient content, good quality products and organic choices whenever possible. They do expect you to have some basic pantry staples like rice, oil, vinegar, etc at home.

Disclaimer: All views expressed here are my own and DinnerTime invited me to try out their dinner service. 

Images: Personal Album.While you enjoy reading this post with visuals.Please do not use them without asking. They belong to Orange Kitchens unless otherwise stated

1 comment:

Rida niyaz said...

Interesting content you shared, i am really so inspired here keep continue sharing.

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