Does UCOOK's feast box really take the drama out of Christmas cooking?
Hilary Biller and friends test the Christmas meal kit. Here's how it turned out
A UCOOK feast box featuring a complete Christmas meal kit. You can select a menu from a range of dishes.
The box comes with the promise "to take all the drama out of Christmas". The UCOOK chefs, they say, have designed the menu to be as simple as possible using ingredients that are sustainable, ethical, free-range and locally produced.
Spinach and ricotta ravioli
Beef fillet tagliata
Classic roast potatoes
Brûléed baby onions
Eat 'n Mess
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
With gin and tonics in hand, the four of us opened the brown paper bags for each dish. The quality of the produce was impressive, the only disappointment was what was supposed to be parmesan, instead a limp and tasteless lump of unrecognisable cheese.
We, the girls, chose the veggie dishes, starter and dessert. For the guys, the main dish - a beautifully trimmed fillet - and the onion dish.
"What's Brûléed?" said one as the cooking started. " Where do you keep the roasting pans?" asked another. "I think these knives need sharpening," shouted my husband, Peter.
It was becoming chaotic, even competitive as we vied for equipment, territory on the counter tops, gas hob and oven - and the dishes started piling up around the sink.
Clearly some of the chefs who'd written the recipes aren't the ones doing the washing up... It was time for another round of gin and tonics.
The detailed recipe cards with pictures - although a little wordy - made it easier, but in some instances the ingredients were missing in the method.
It was great fun. When the dishes started rolling out we were chuffed with our efforts - and hungry. Did ours match the photographs on the recipe cards?
The dishes were very generous - or perhaps in hindsight, we could have made a better menu selection.
For us the overall feeling was too many nuts and seeds in the dishes we'd chosen.
Favourites? The big mound of crispy roast potatoes, delicious. The brûléed baby onions came up trumps and certainly one we'd all cook again. The hero, the fillet was tender and tasty but let down by the green baby tomatoes, which made the dish acidic.
Would we consider ordering a feast box for Christmas? Yes, we enjoyed the evening. Ideal for those looking for a 'Ready Steady Cook' experience, without the hassle. Just a couple of tips: ensure the kitchen is big enough for a crowd, the knives are sharpened and kick off by designating someone to do the dishes!
• The UCOOK festive kits are priced from R300 per head. Orders must be placed before December 11 for delivery in time for Christmas.