Cirrus Masthead
Chicken Eggplant Green Curry.

Roadtest: The Cook’s Grocer

Amanda Whitley

In the fourth of a five-part series, we road test home-delivered cook or heat at home meals, and give you the lowdown.

I love to cook, it’s the finding time to shop thing that’s tricky.

A perfect weekend for me would be hitting the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, armed with a week’s meal plan and shopping list…doesn’t always happen that way. So when I was given The Cook’s Grocer for my roadtest in our series, I was pretty chuffed. A delivery of five meals for two was delivered to my door on the Saturday morning, as promised by owner Tim Ryder, each in their own brown paper bag and with accompanying recipe brochure.

bag

Each day’s ingredients comes in their own paper bag.

HOW IT WORKS

According to their website, The Cook’s Grocer works with “Sydney’s top restaurant chefs, nutritionists and foodies to design a new menu of 30 minute meals every week.”

There are about eight meals to choose from each week – you can try some, or all, or order one of their three- or four- meal plan packages.

Simply select your menu and it will turn up on your doorstep on a Wednesday or Saturday morning, and all meals will stay fresh for four to seven days from the day of delivery.

Summer Bolognese

Summer Bolognese with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Basil

THE FOOD

When I was ordering, I decided to pick three ‘big-flavour’ meals for the big kids (my husband and I) and two family favourites for the little ones (Misses seven and nine). The balance between dishes with spice and more traditional dishes seems to be a conscious decision by The Cook’s Grocer, as in any given week you’ll find some ‘adventurous’ and other more ‘home style’ meals on the menu.

I settled on: One Tray Salmon Bake with Roast Potatoes and Green Beans; Lebanese Chicken with Herby Pearl Couscous; Summer Bolognese with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Basil; Chicken Schnitzel with Beans and Mash; and Chicken Eggplant Green Curry. 

Chicken Schnitzel with Beans and Mash.

Chicken Schnitzel with Beans and Mash.

 

Each brown bag comes with all the ingredients you need for the number of meals you’re intending to make, and clear instructions. All you need is olive oil, salt and pepper. There’s something a little ‘MasterChef Mystery Box’ about opening each bag — far more exciting than digging through the pantry for those bay leaves you’ve had lying around since 2011.

The ingredients for the Summer Bolognese.

The ingredients for the Summer Bolognese.

 

I am going to be completely honest here. When I opened the One Tray Salmon Bake bag, I was all ‘meh…how tasty can salmon, green beans, potatoes, dill and lemon juice be?’. It was bloody delicious. So delicious in fact, that I’ve reproduced the meal several times at home on my own (which I’m not sure is the point of The Cook’s Grocer, but I love that I’ve found a new go-to recipe!)

Lebanese Chicken with Herby Pearl Couscous.

Lebanese Chicken with Herby Pearl Couscous.

 

Each comes with a ‘degree of difficulty’ so you can choose the complexity you’re willing to tackle. I’m a pretty confident cook, so I loved being able to get stuck in to making these dishes without having to think twice about whether I had everything I needed. There was an element of comfort knowing that after a busy day all I had to do was grab the paper bag of choice from the fridge and follow the recipe.

My favourites were the aforementioned salmon and the green curry — it was really spicy, but it was so good I couldn’t stop eating it.

THE VERDICT

This is a reproduction of an email I sent to Tim (the owner) after a couple of nights:

“Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much we’ve been enjoying your meals. We got our delivery on Saturday morning and have made two per night (one for the kids, one for us) and my husband is in love (he told me to say that)!

The kids ate every morsel of the bolognese and the schnitzel, and the salmon and green curry were bloody delicious!

We’ve taste-tested quite a few ‘ready meals’ and ‘cook at home’ options, but yours is far superior to others we’ve tried.”

One Tray Salmon Bake with Roast Potatoes and Green Beans.

One Tray Salmon Bake with Roast Potatoes and Green Beans.

I eat out a lot. I know good food. And this food really did impress me (and, no, this is not a sponsored post – the only ‘payment’ we’ve received is the five meals). If you love to cook but are time poor, this is a brilliant solution. It depends on your budget, but I know that I’d be happy to pay $11 per person/per meal a few nights a week if it means I just don’t have to think about providing a healthy and tasty option for the family.

the essentials 

What: The Cook’s Grocer
When: They deliver before 12 noon on Wednesday and Saturday each week.
How much: Priced from $11 per person/per meal or there are meal plans available.
Order online here: thecooksgrocer.com.au

The author received one week of The Cook’s Grocer meals free of charge for reviewing purposes, however, all opinions are her own. 

Want more options? Read our roadtests of FudieYouFoodz and Urban Real Food.

user

Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

Murrumbateman MF Leaderboard