I discovered Abel & Cole last year, and I was a fan of them from my first delivery. For those of you in the UK who haven’t heard of them, Abel & Cole are a Fruit, Veg, and lots-of-other-lovely-stuff delivery service, delivering all organic (when they can) produce. They have good relationships with the suppliers of their products, and great relationships with their customers too! I’ve been away from home for most of the months this year so I haven’t been able to get many boxes from them, but recently I entered a vegetarian food photo contest of theirs, and won one of their ABRecipe boxes because of it! This coincided with our car dying on us, which was fantastic as it meant I didn’t have to worry about going shopping that week! So thank you for that! I thought I would share with you all exactly what a ABRecipe box is, so you can maybe try one for yourself!
First off, I just want to mention the packaging. I know I know.. boring right? Wrong! I know it’s a strange thing to love, but I love Abel & Cole’s choice of packaging. All of their boxes are tied shut with string (which as a crafty person, I of course keep). And all of their packaging is either compostable, or re-useable (they pick up the boxes from your last delivery when they delivery your new one, and those boxes go on to start new lives as A&C boxes!).
Anyway, on to the recipe box!
The recipe box works by delivering to you all of the various ingredients you will need (plus recipe cards) to make 3 different meals for two. There’s no guess-work, everything you will need (apart from the bare basics like water, salt and pepper) come included in the box.
They even included a free bottle of organic, cold-pressed olive oil to use in the various recipes! I even tried a little of this as it is, and it has a truly fantastic flavour. It’s something I would buy for myself, without a doubt.
Absolutely everything was included. From a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and breadcrumbs, to flour and a stock cube (all organic, I must say).
To the single cloves of garlic, bags of tomatoes, and pretty darn huge sweet potatoes..
Even the tin of mixed beans was organic! (And yes, that is a block of organic feta cheese. Unfortunately, it’s not a miraculously vegan feta! It came with the 1 out of 3 recipes which wasn’t vegan. I gave it to a vegetarian friend – who loved it – and used a vegan cheese I’d made myself instead).
The first meal that we tried was a roasted carrot and feta pilaf (though with our vegan cheese instead of the feta).
This also came with a gorgeous lettuce to serve with a balsamic dressing as a side. Can we just take a minute to look at how beautiful this lettuce is? (It took me about half an hour to wash all of the mud from this little beauty – one of the perils of buying organic! – but it was so worth it! 🙂 )
How beautiful? It’s like a gorgeously blossoming sun!
I’m pretty notorious for never following a recipe, but I thought I would make the exception for these. And I’m very glad that I did! Out of the 3 recipe cards, I was expecting to like this one the least, but it ended up being both mine and my partners favourite! The sweet carrots paired perfectly with the soft savoury rice, and with the herby bite of dill and crunch from the almonds, this was a truly wonderful dish. The cheese and side salad really took it over the top. This is definitely a dish I will be making again.
I did feel that the recipe called for too much oil (I prefer my dressings to not be too oily) so I only added in one tablespoon of oil. I do really think that the balsamic worked brilliantly to cut through the richness of the rest of the dish though.
Because I can’t just follow a recipe, I also made my own raw version of this dish. I used cauliflower “rice”, dehydrated the carrots instead of roasted them, and popped the almonds in the dehydrator too to add a bit of extra bite. I then dressed it using olive oil, a bit of fresh garlic, salt, lemon juice and dill, and the raw cheese. Simply lovely!
I’m normally dreadful for adding hot sauce and a million other condiments to my food, but I wanted to really taste the flavours of this as they were, and I’m glad that I did. A resounding success!
When I told my partner about these recipe cards (and after he had tried this recipe) he decided he would love to get involved with the other two meals. I very rarely get a hand in the kitchen, so this was a lovely surprise! And so, on to the next meal.
Our next recipe to try was spring green pesto spaghetti, with asparagus, new potatoes and roasted tomatoes.
This was very easy to put together. And for a pesto made with no herbs (just a spring green cabbage), this was amazingly flavourful. (Though I think I reduced the amount of oil recommended in the pesto, and added a little water instead. Worked wonderfully!). We also appreciated the tip to cook the potatoes in with the pasta (and you add the asparagus to the same pot), which means less washing up, and less wasting water! Great idea.
I also made my own raw version from spiralised courgette spaghetti, thinly sliced asparagus and chopped tomatoes. I did add a few tablespoons of the pesto (which included toasted pine nuts, so isn’t 100% raw) and this was fantastic. So fresh and flavourful.
Another stunning success!
The third and final recipe from the recipe box was for mixed bean burgers, sweet potato fries, with a smoky salsa and watercress salad. My partner is a huge beanburger, sweet potato, and salsa fan – so we saved this recipe to make together on the weekend.
Some slight adjustments were made to the recipe when we made these. For starters, I only added a scant 2 tbs of oil (instead of the recommended 3), and rather than adding extra oil when it was dry, I instead popped in a few tbs of water to help it mix together. I also chose to bake the burgers for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, rather than frying them. (I’m just not a big fan of frying!). Even with this changes though, these still turned out wonderfully. My partner ate both of his with his meal, and I had my second burger for lunch the next day! Just as nice too.
Whilst I really loved the unusual smokey hit in the salsa, I did find it lacking a little in flavour. I added in a pinch of salt, a clove of crushed garlic, a few drops of olive oil and some freshly diced chilli, which perked it up nicely! Some people might love it how it was, but I like my salsa to pack a bit of a punch! But that’s just me :).
You can’t go wrong with sweet potato fries, and these were heavenly. The potatoes provided were HUGE, so we had more than enough fries to go around (plus a huge chunk of sweet potato to cook the next day!)
Here’s my gorgeous meal. One of the least raw meals I’ve eaten in a long time! Really enjoyed it though. I added some lemon-juice spritzed avocado slices to my watercress salad to add a nice contrast to the bitter leaves. This also worked nicely with the salsa (think smokey and spicy guacamole!). Yum!
We were both quite surprised that this wasn’t our favourite meal out of the 3. The pilaf, with it’s unusual flavour pairings, and the spaghetti – with it’s unique usage of the cabbage, really shone.
All in all, I completely enjoyed this experience. Recipe following is rather new to me, and although I didn’t follow them all completely, I think I got the essence of each dish! If you ever fancy trying something a little new, I would certainly recommend them.
I also very quickly wanted to show you what else I got from Abel & Cole. These fantastic superfood powders! Here we have Spirulina, wheatgrass, maca and baobab!
Good quality superfood powders are very hard to come by where I live, so these were a dream come true! I’ve already used these nearly every day, and dreamt up lots of recipes to use them in!
I also treated myself to a bottle of organic, fair-trade rosé wine.
Now, how often do you find a bottle of wine that says “vegan friendly” on it? No more guess-work or trying to use apps!
It’s also rather lovely too ;).
Wow, that was a rather lengthy post wasn’t it? Can you tell I’m a slight fan?
I’m going to head off now.. I have another delivery from them arriving tomorrow, so lots of new recipes to dream up ;).
If you do try them out, I’d love to know!
Which recipe out of the 3 I mentioned would you most like to try?
(All thoughts here are purely those of The Vegan Pixie. I won this ABRecipe box in a contest, but the choice to review it is all my own. No compensation was provided for this review.)