Friday, 21 October 2016

Eating Clean, with Everdine

As you may have noticed, my social media presence over the last week has died down a little bit. Well, I managed to cut my head open at work, and now I have this horrendous scar across the top of my face :-( As such, I've been feeling quite sorry for myself and not really getting up to too much, and therefore it was great for me when Everdine* offered to send me over a box of their frozen meals! I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling like crap I'm not going to leave the house more than I have to and I'm definitely not going to cook anything, so something like this was exactly what I needed.

The very first thing we did upon receiving a delivery was cook up this warm pea & asparagus orzo salad - we had no choice, I literally ran out of room in the freezer and so we had to quickly pick one to eat. The above is just half of a portion, as we split it between two of us. I wasn't initially sure how I was going to feel about this one as while it was in the microwave it absolutely stank - I have now been reassured that that is just a thing that asparagus does, as this was really delicious.

So, what is Everdine? In short, Everdine is a company that sends out clean and wholesome frozen meals, ready to be heated up in your microwave in no more than ten minutes. They state that all of their meat and fish come from sustainable sources, and on top of that advertise the fact that the two chefs have both been trained in Michelin starred restaurants. This is something that really got my hopes up, as I do love to go for a good meal out - but at the same time, I quite often find myself in Sainsbury's at the end of the day trying to resist the urge to just pick up a ready meal. If all went well, it sounded to me like Everdine could be exactly what I was looking for!

 You can choose between a regular menu and a veggie one, and you can also choose between 8 or 10 meals. I went with the regular 8 meal one - and again, it's a good job I did as otherwise I would have had to eat three meals on arrival! There is a menu that allows you to choose which meals you'd like to receive, and when your box arrives you'll get a little copy of your personal menu there as well.

  Each box is well labelled with what it is, and provides simple instructions for how to cook your meal.

 The packaging itself is also great for the most part. The main box was waiting for me for a few hours but everything was still nice and cold, and the individual boxes are well presented and secure as well. The only packaging problem that we came across was on the inside - certain meals require you to cut open and remove a cup - for example, of cheese to be sprinkled on the meal at the end. For some unknown reason, quite often the cup would be at the opposite side of the area that you can cut from and it isn't the most compliant cover, so every now and then we would end up covered in meal juice.

  By the way, in regards to delivery - Everdine is delivered by courier, always on a Saturday morning before 12. For me this was actually quite problematic as I work shifts, meaning I sometimes work Saturday mornings, am sometimes getting home from work on Saturday morning, etc etc etc. For me, I would prefer to be able to choose a day myself. However, I can understand why they have chosen to go this route and I imagine that the majority of subscribers to this service work ordinary office hours so it probably isn't a problem for anyone else, but for me would mean that I would need to be picky about what weeks I receive a box or always make sure a housemate is in and prepared to wake up!

  Shall we get on to some of the actual meals?
The first meal we tried was the jerk chicken with pineapple salsa. I didn't expect to enjoy this, but it was actually really delicious and filled us up. There's a good variety of flavours in this one and the different ingredients all go together really nicely. Plus, I would definitely say that this was the best presented of all the meals and really does look restaurant quality.

 Next up we tried the sea bream Thai green curry. I was really impressed with this one, and I say this as someone who is very picky when it comes to Thai cuisine. I don't know why, but visiting there and taking cookery classes over there has made me feel like a bit of an expert when of course I'm anything but! Anyway, this meal just tasted fantastic and we both really enjoyed it. The fish was good quality and again, all of the ingredients just came together really nicely.

 The next dish we tried was the Singapore noodles. First up, apologies for the photo quality in this one - the weather has been shocking here over the last couple of days so it's been impossible to get decent lighting to take photos! Anyway, I have to be completely honest with this one - I did not enjoy it at all. I was only able to have a couple of mouth fulls as there was something about the texture that I really could not stand. However, my boyfriend happily finished the rest of the dish off in about three minutes flat and clearly did not find anything wrong with it!

Next up was the Meditterannan Cod. This was another dish that worked really well for the most part, however I will say that the vegetables in this one did not take well to being frozen and microwaved and had a very soggy texture to them, though the rest of the meal was really nice.

In addition to these meals, I also tried the pulled beef ragu spaghetti which was very nice - the beef in particular was of a very high quality and tasted absolutely delicious. I also tried the mushroom spaghetti carbonara which I have mixed opinions about - the mushrooms didn't quite heat up well and had a bit of an odd flavour, but on the whole I did enjoy the meal though probably wouldn't order it again.

On the whole, I really like the idea of these boxes. I like that the menu is varied, and I think something like this is great for every now and then when you really just can't be bothered to cook but still want to eat something healthy and that's not rammed full of various preservatives. However, at the same time, this IS expensive. If you can look past that, the other main con for me besides that and the delivery is the fact that sometimes the vegetables really don't handle being frozen and microwaved very well. Some of them had very odd textures when it came to eating them - for the most part this didn't bother me, however my boyfriend really struggled with it, so your mileage may vary. We have enjoyed eating a variety of food too, as when it comes to readymeals there tend to be about three different boxes that I'll pick up over and over again, so it has been nice to try a bigger variety of frozen foods, particularly ones that state they are much cleaner than what you will typically find in a supermarket.

If you'd like to give Everdine a try yourself, you can pick up a box from their website, here. Prices start from £8.00 per meal, bringing it to a total of £64 for a box. However, if you fancy getting your first box for £30 off then you can, with the code INV1PINKCONFETTI

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