I reviewed Riverford’s regular vegetarian organic recipe boxes just before Christmas and waxed lyrical about how wonderful it was to know exactly what I was cooking, that I had all the ingredients to hand, ready measured and ready to go and that the recipes were clear and easy to follow. I told you how nice it was not to have to think because I cook a lot! I have to plan recipes which fit around five or six people’s busy lifestyles and I develop recipes both for Thinly Spread and for my freelance work. I am planning food all the time, often months in advance to meet deadlines, so a big box arriving containing ingredients and instructions for three meals which I do not have to plan is heavenly!

This time Riverford asked me to try out a 3 meal recipe box put together by Irish veggie guest chefs The Happy Pear. Identical (and very smiley) twin brothers David and Stephen Flynn began The Happy Pear as a veg shop in Co Wicklow and are now spreading the veggie organic word via their natural food store, whole food cafés, restaurant, cook book and by being part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Family – they’re fabulous news for us as a veggie family!

Trying not to cackle (I failed, obviously) I opened the box of delights to find warming winter treasure. Over three nights I would be cooking:

Spanish Chickpea and Potato Bake with Beetroot and Apple Salad

Mexican Leek and Black Bean Chilli 

Puy Lentil Coconut Dahl

All three dishes were comforting and hearty, perfect for the wild windy nights of late January and early February as the UK was battered by storms and I didn’t have to venture out for supplies! I’d be hard pressed to choose a favourite and all three will be making a regular appearance on the family menu. As a long term vegetarian who cooks from scratch most nights none of the dishes were new to me but, because they had been developed by other people, and because I stuck to the recipes, the flavours were subtly different from my own version of dahl, chilli and winter bake. It was lovely!

The chilli was the simplest recipe and was delicious served with baked potatoes – I liked the combination of spice sweetened with a little honey and black beans are always a hit here.

The Happy Pear - Mexican leek & black bean

Image Credit: Riverford

The coconut dahl was furthest from my comfort zone – mainly because until recently I thought I was allergic to coconut! It was only when Mr TS tested this by allowing me to eat a spring roll which he knew had coconut in it, without my knowledge, that I discovered that I’m not!  A whole new world of coconut flavoured dishes has opened up before me! Bite sized pieces of sweet potato, sweet leeks and the gorgeousness that is a speckled lentil all cooked in a spicy, coconuty sauce topped with tomatoes and wilted spring greens – yum!

The Happy Pear

Image Credit: Riverford

Finally Spanish Chickpea and Potato Bake graced our table – this is the sort of meal I routinely make midweek throughout winter and early spring. It is simple and satisfying but what made this really special was the beetroot and apple salad – a gorgeous mixture of flavours and colours which really brightened up a gloomy day! Dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey and sprinkled with sunflower and pumpkin seeds it was a perfect winter salad and I’ve made it again several times since.

The Happy Pear Box at Riverford

What I like most about the Riverford Recipe Boxes is that you can see what is on offer for the week by checking the website so you know exactly what you are getting. This is the same for their veg boxes, I get a weekly large veg box  but I’ve swapped my regular order this week because I didn’t want jerusalem artichokes! Riverford really listen to their customers and make veg box and recipe box ordering simple and workable.

If you want to order a Happy Pear Box get a wriggle on because they are only on offer for a limited time! The Happy Pear Recipe Box costs £33.95 and contains ingredients to make three meals for two people with very generous portions.

The Happy Pear

Image Credit: Riverford

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This