Food Review: SimplyCook

I was initially hesitant to try SimplyCook because unlike HelloFresh and Gousto, which we tried on the site previously, you aren’t getting all the ingredients delivered to your door, fresh for you to prepare. Instead SimplyCook provides four non-perishable ingredients, it’s not just herbs and spices as I’d be led to believe previously, but and I’m now quoting directly from SimplyCook, the items included in your box can include culinary pastes, infused oils, garnishes, rubs, specialist stocks and herb/spice blends. 

What eventually made me decide to try a box was that you can get your first one for free, you just pay £1 for postage. I felt like this was a small enough investment to encourage me to try it out and I’m glad I did because honestly despite getting significantly less than other competing meal kit services on the market in the UK, I think I liked it the best. 

HelloFresh and Gousto are marketed on how easy they are, you get everything you need sent to you, measured out to reduce waste, with a super easy to follow recipe to help you prepare dozens of different meals. And that’s good, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have written such glowing reviews if I didn’t like it. But there was something fun about going shopping to purchase the ingredients on my own. It made me feel more involved in the whole process. At the end of the day with SimplyCook you still have the structure of the recipe and the ingredients you were provided to help guide even the most inexperienced cooks to create delicious meals so overall even though you get less, I liked SimplyCook a whole lot. 

So for our first box we each picked two meals, and despite Tori B Bearly being a super talented cook, as well as our go to chef for these types of things I decided that I’d make these ones and it turned out pretty well If I say so myself.

Balinese Chicken
So I was fairly certain from the moment I put it on the order that I was going to enjoy this as I have a pretty good sense of what flavours appeal to me personally but I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy this. It was rich and creamy, the coconut milk infused perfectly with the chicken, and the paste and garnish. It was spicy, but not to spicy, and the only complaint I have was a bit of user error. I overcooked the chicken just a little but even then it was still easily one of the best meals I’ve ever cooked and my personal favourite from this box.

Vietnamese Pork
First off, the rice was absolutely fantastic. Not only did I finally have an excuse to use the rice cooker my mum gave us but it was just so good. The Beef and Ginger stock integrated well withit for perfectly cooked and great tasting rice. Tori makes a similar dish called a Ginger Beef Bowl, and you can check out the recipe for that here if you’re interested. The pork really took on the flavour really well, the rich savoury umami of the Thit Kho Paste blending with the sticky sweetness and lightness of the Chilli Garlic Sauce. The garlic itself came through quite well and blended with the fresh, clean taste of the vegetables, which in this case were Pak Choi and Mangetout, both ingredients I really enjoyed working with. All together this dish really came together,  and I was especially proud as rice and pork are two products I’ve historically had difficulties with but in this recipe it really worked. 

Indochinese Hakka Noodles
This was one of Tori’s picks and let me tell you it turned out great, I don’t know if I was maybe on a lucky streak but everything I made from SimplyCook really turned out well above my usual standard. I felt that it was perhaps a bit dry, but that’s largely due to the fact it’s heavier on spices than sauces, or rather the volume of sauce you get isn’t entirely adequate to fully coat the noodles. It didn’t really hinder my enjoyment but I do think that more of the sauce might be beneficial in this recipe. That being said the fresh vegetables, and the soft, well cooked chicken blended together in those herbs and spices are incredibly tasty nonetheless so it’s a very small issue. The spice and heat from the dish is understated but very invigorating, and I’d definitely consider making this again, perhaps just adding in some extra soy sauce for added moisture.

Firecracker Chicken Noodles
Another pick from Tori, and this one really packed a wallop. I enjoy heat and spice in food, but only when it’s a flavourful heat, I see no real point in something that’s hot just for the sake of being hot. I prefer to enjoy my food, rather than seeing it as some sort of masochistic trial or contest. The Firecracker Chicken Noodles manage to remain on the right side of the line, tasty and hot, but only in a way that serves to improve the meal. That being said, poor Tori struggled to finish her portion as in their own words ‘It’s so spicy’. Unlike the other noodle dish above, I think this one maybe didn’t even need the chicken. With the Indochinese Hakka Noodles, the ingredients all meshed together and each was critical to the overall enjoyment but with the Firecracker Noodles, the flavour is such a big part of it that you could substitute the chicken for fish or beef or Tofu or even nothing and still have more or less the same taste experience. I enjoyed the Firecracker Noodles a lot though, and strongly recommend you try them and all the other options on this list.

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