Sometimes when life gets a bit too hectic, thinking about what you need to buy and cook for dinner is the last thing you need in your day. There are also times when you just can’t be bothered to spend ages in the kitchen and would rather be painting your nails or blogging!
If I lived on my own then I’d probably eat a lot of beans on (wheat free) toast or soup for dinner, but since I have a man in the house, dinner needs to be a little more substantial. When Alex and I first got together, the weekend was all about convenience meals. We spent a lot of time rushing about from club to club, so purchasing microwave or oven ready meals was just a crummy Friday habit we fell into. I don’t know if we were just choosing badly, but none of the meals we bought tasted any good at all, so we called it a day until just a few weeks ago, when I came across the COOK Twitter page…
COOK is a family run business who offer food for your freezer, which is prepared by hand in their kitchen in Kent. They sell everything from one pot meals to pies, side dishes, Indian, stews, casseroles, roasts, desserts and even children’s and baby meals! Each meal comes nicely packaged with the name of the chef that has prepared the dish, for that extra personal touch. COOK have quite a few stores scattered around various parts of the UK and when I spotted that there was one just down the road from me, I thought I’d give them a go.
Luckily, a few days after I discovered them, there was a festive open day where they were offering 10% off all purchases. Armed with my voucher and driver, I headed into the store determined that these guys would change my opinion of convenience foods. As usual, I went a bit overboard and stocked up on quite a few dishes for the big taste test and over the past few weeks we have given most of them a go. The results… ? Well, I have to say I’m pretty impressed!
Not every single meal we had totally blew us away, but there were certainly some truly tasty dishes – More so than not, and much better than any other ready made meal I’ve ever tasted in the past. Some of the meals we tried included their red Thai curry, green Thai curry, roasted confit of duck, smoked haddock and sweet potato gratin, as well as their Carribean one pot (which is pretty delicious and perfect for taking into work). Our first dish of Chicken Pad Thai was the only dish that we didn’t like all that much. I’m not sure if it is because Pad Thai just doesn’t suit being frozen and then cooked in the oven, but it just didn’t take our fancy. Everything else on the other hand, was more than tasty enough to serve up and oh so easy to prepare. You just take the meals out of the freezer, put them in the oven or microwave and voila! Dinner is served. Some dishes require a little additional cooking if you don’t buy the sides to go with them, but cooking up some rice or steaming veg is hardly a chore!
Apart from being pretty delicious, the COOK meals come in so many different varieties that there is something for pretty much everyone. Meals for one, meals for two and family dishes are all there for those occasions when you truly don’t want to cook from scratch. There are award winning dishes, meal boxes and for those on a more restrictive calorie diets, there are also Guilt-Free Suppers, which contain 20% or less of the guideline daily amount of both calories and fat. What more could you ask for? Prices vary depending on the style of dish that you opt for, but it’s all pretty reasonable and with some dishes being great value for money.
Overall, I think that COOK are ahead of the game when it comes to ready meals. You just need to try out various dishes to discover which ones work best for your household tastes and then stock up your freezer with your favourites. I’ll certainly be filling up a shelf in my freezer again soon!
Best not judge the food by my images as I didn’t do well with these pictures… I just wanted to scoff the goods quickly!
For more info head to the COOK site here: