Ooh, I don't really have to cook tonight! - me
It's no secret that I have a passion for cooking, but I'm also open to new culinary experiences, so it was with curious trepidation that I agree to review a new service from Newcastle, More More More, which promises to deliver ready to bake courses that take all the work out of hosting a dinner party.
With most courses designed to feed a party of four, ordering was quite simple - you simply scroll through the courses and add what you want to your basket. I'm the only vegetarian in my family, but I was keen to try every dish we chose in order to write a fair review, which did make the choice a little limited. That said, there were at least two vegetarian options per course, so compared to a restaurant menu that's still on the right side of average. In the end, we selected one starter, main course, dessert, sweet treat and store cupboard favourite, which came in at £72.15. Eek! (Stay with me...)
At the end of the ordering process, you choose a delivery date and then lo and behold, your food arrives on the allotted day, safely packed in a chilled box, ready to be stored in the fridge until tea time. All went to plan for us and what you see above was some of the contents of our delivery. Everything was well wrapped, clearly labelled and nothing had leaked, collapsed or broken.
The ribbon on the cheesecake was a pretty touch, although the graphics on the card were pixellated and could do with a tweak - it's a tiny issue, just worth fixing to ensure confidence in the quality and attention to detail afforded to the food itself.
So anyway, oven on, here's what we thought of our meal...
The grilled field mushrooms with dolcelatte (£13.95, feeds 4), were a pleasant combination of garlic, lemon, dolcelatte cheese and breadcrumbs, however the packet gave no indication as to what temperature to bake them at, so I put them in the oven at 180C with the mains. The allotted fifteen minutes later, they were well heated through but quite wet with a soft rather than crispy top. I suspect they'd have benefited from being in at a higher temperature. Ah well, my mistake!
The vegetable lasagne (£18, feeds 4) came with clear instructions on time and temperature and that paid off. The cooked dish was delicious with a creamy cheese top, sweet tomato sauce and layers of chunky, griddled vegetables. The pasta was soft but not mushy and the portion size was very generous, so generous in fact that I will be able to reheat some tomorrow for the kids.
I overcooked the side of chargrilled broccoli (£6, feeds 4) because, again, it didn't say what temp to use or for how long, but although they look a little charred, they were still very tasty. The toasted almond flakes were perfect, the broccoli fresh and sweet, however the dressing was a little weak - I could have stood for more kick from the chilli and garlic.
The blueberry and mascarpone cheesecake (£27.50, feeds 12) was a very generous size and of the calibre you'd expect if bought fresh from a deli. It had a really excellent flavour and texture with a ginger biscotti base, perfectly baked filling and oodles of plump, juicy blueberries. I'll be eating this all week.
Finally, with very full tummies, we managed to cram in some extremely delicious, buttery and crisp homemade shortbread fingers (6 for £3), washed down with Tea Forte tea infusers (6 for £3.90) - fruit teas, which came in attractive individual cardboard pods. A really pleasant end to the evening.
Overall, this was an excellent meal. The experience was a strange one - almost like eating in a restaurant at home - but the food was good, took very little work on my part and there's plenty left over for tomorrow.
At over £70 for four courses, it's not a solution I'll be using every day or even every month, of course, but if More More More can just make a few tiny tweaks to the cooking instructions and broaden their choice of dishes, I think this will prove a very viable option for anyone holding an informal dinner party, particularly those not fond of cooking from scratch.
Disclosure: we were sent a More More More meal to review. No payment was received. All posts are 100% honest.