is a recipe kit subscription service that aims ‘to get Britain cooking’. A monthly service that sends you a box full of spices, marinades and stocks that each match a simple and quick recipe is designed to help busy people cook exciting food more easily. Now we all know I’m not averse to spending ages in the kitchen, or cooking everything from scratch, however I am a very busy person. It is difficult to think of a good variety of meals to cook during the week that I don’t find boring and won’t have me eating my dinner at ten o’clock on the evening. When I saw an offer to give Simply Cook
a try with the first box for as little as £1, I thought it was worth giving it a go.
What I received was a handy letterbox sized parcel (unfortunately I live in a block of flats with weird shaped postboxes, but the postman helpfully just left it on top for me) with four boxes inside, each containing the flavour ingredients needed to cook four delicious meals for two from around the globe. With each flavour pack you get a short and simple shopping list, all of which can be found in any local supermarket and none of which are expensive.
My box included:
Creamy chorizo rigatoni
Spicy cajun chicken quinoa
Jerk chicken, as the first meal The Boyfriend ever cooked for me, is one of my all time favourites. I decided to give this a go first and I was keen to see how it compared to the usual recipe we make at home.
The recipe was ridiculously simple to make. After a quick marinade the chicken only took 20 minutes in the oven and the accompanying rice and peas was done in a one-pot dish method that made it really quick and easy.
The chicken came out perfectly cooked and still nice and juicy. If anything I think perhaps it could have cope with a few minutes longer just to crisp up the outside but I wouldn’t want to overdo it too much at the risk of drying it out. My chicken thighs were skinless and boneless, I think perhaps a piece with some skin could have helped with the crispiness. I squeezed the optional roasted lime quarters over the chicken for a hit of extra flavour.
Overall I was really pleased with this dish. It was quite different from The Boyfriend’s recipe that I’ve come to know and love but I don’t really expect a semi pre-prepared meal to come up to the standard of a time honoured, home cooked family classic. On the other hand, our recipe involves marinating the chicken overnight and can be quite time consuming. This Simply Cook version gets me my jerk chicken fix without any hassle in the middle of the week, so I can live with that. It also does have a really good flavour. They’ve not made it too bland and the flavour of the rice was great, it really stood up well to the strong flavours going on in the chicken.
I added some steamed broccoli on the side of my dinner as I like to have a fresh veg element thrown in wherever possible. I also swapped the recipe’s pinto beans for kidney beans because that’s what I had in my cupboard. You could really switch this up and use any kind you like though really. It’s a much debated topic, The Boyfriend’s Jamaican born and bred grandmother tells me aduki beans are what I should be using, however most places I’ve seen it served with kidney beans and the Simply Cook recipe tells me pinto. I suggest you just go with whatever you like/have in the cupboard.
I did think it was a lot of rice for two portions. The recipe would easily stretch to feed three, perhaps even four if you increased the amount of veg on the side as the marinade could easily cover twice the amount of chicken thighs. Obviously you could use chicken breasts instead of thighs if that’s your preference, however I found the thighs worked brilliantly with this recipe. They’re juicier and generally a bit tastier.
Based on my first meal, I’ve got high hopes for my little Simply Cook experiment, I’ll keep you posted on how the rest of the box goes and if all of them fare as well as this one I’ll definitely consider using them again.