Another month into our food box subscription from Marley Spoon. Some hits and misses: here is a selection of pics and general observations.
- Still plenty of options from different cuisines to choose from
- Apart from some slightly limp celery stalks and tiny carrots to put in a soup last week, the quality of the ingredients remains quite good
- The quantity of the portions is consistently large and veg packed. We settled for 2 portions of a dish as it usually proved enough to feed 2 adults and 2 kids
- The overall cooking time of the recipes is about 45-60 minutes, invariably more than indicated. This is due to the prep work and often the prescribed cooking times just proved too short to properly cook them. Not ideal for weekday suppers…
- We had a couple of dishes that could use (a lot) more seasoning and with some others, the measures from the liquids were quite off, so ended up way too wet
- Marley Spoon likes oven roasting vegetables, rocket leaves, little gem lettuce, and yogurt dips just a bit too much
After the very promising start in the first couple of weeks, the past batches of Marley Spoon dishes ranged from “meh” to “okay” to “nice”. Of the 13 dishes there, unfortunately, was only 1 real standout. We, therefore, decided to cut back the Marley Spoon deliveries to once every 2-3 weeks.
Carbonara gratin with cauliflower (6/10)
The creamy carbonara combination is obviously great, but the cauliflower didn’t add much flavor nor texture. The very large pieces of pancetta were (exceptionally) lean so unfortunately became a bit chewy.
Red lentil dal with roasted cauliflower (9/10)
This was our favorite; a richly flavored curry that went very well with the toppings of stewed tomato, ginger, garlic, and red peppers as well as the oven-roasted cauliflower. Finished off with fresh coriander and minty yogurt.
Tikka chicken masala with Hokkaido squash (6/10)
The other Indian dish in the batch was a rather underwhelming oven-baked chicken tikka masala. Luckily, the chicken remained tender and the Hokkaido squash was a nice addition, but the seasoning was outright flat and it took ages to cook. No way near a proper alternative for a take-out Indian meal.
Vegetable couscous with lamb and yogurt-mint dip (8/10)
This Moroccan recipe was a rather good one. Fried diced onion, red peppers, and green peppers as the main textural elements to the couscous with incredibly tender ras-el-hanout marinated lamb fillet and a parsley and mint yogurt dip.
Spiced oven-roasted vegetables fajita style with feta (8/10)
As said, they sure do love oven roasting at Marley Spoon. The sweet potato and courgette filling were nicely spiced. However, making the tomato salsa yourself is worth repeating. First dry roast sliced red onions, chopped garlic and cherry tomatoes in a pan until golden and then blend them together with lime juice and coriander leaves with an immersion blender and season to taste. I finished it off with a couple of dashes of tabasco to give it some extra kick.
Orzo risotto with roast broccoli (7/10)
This time it was time to oven roast a broccoli covered with garlic and grated cheese. Very nice combination! Too bad that the orzo risotto – although easy to cook – was bland. It was cooked in a mixture of milk and water. Using stock instead of water and finishing with parmesan instead of grated cheese would have been better options for the risotto. When mixed everything together, it was still okay (although that should never be the thing to aim for).
Mushroom stroganoff with baby potatoes (7/10)
I needed to spice up the stroganoff quite a bit and therefore came out quite decent. The boiled baby potatoes were marinated in orange juice and then tossed in orange zest. It obviously tasted fresh, but we didn’t think it was worth repeating.
Green cabbage and potato oven dish (5/10)
This one was the least favorite. It tasted okay-ish, but the measures from the liquids were off; there was no way that in the prescribed cooking time it could even get close to thicken, so it came out quite soupy and ruined the crispy panko coating when served. It also came with beetroot and sour cream dip that was quite overpowering, so a couple of tablespoons was all we used of about half a liter of dip…
Celery mash with Brussels sprouts and chipolata sausages (8/10)
This was a good one though. The mashed potatoes with celery and apple were a great combination from a taste and textural point of view. The oven-roasted garlic and rosemary coated Brussels sprouts were even better than expected. Walnuts were quite dry though and didn’t add much to the dish.
Tomato soup with thyme, croutons and stir-fried beef (6/10)
The soup itself was nice, but not really special. Pan-frying croutons from a “raw” bake-off baguette was new to me but worked nevertheless. The beef strips turned out rather chewy, as I kind of anticipated when reading through the recipe; you simply cannot expect them to stay tender after flash-frying them for 2 minutes, resting for 15-20 minutes and bunging them into the soup to reheat again before serving them.