Archive for January, 2021

Pork with colcannon and mustard sauce

January 27, 2021

It would help if when ordering Mindful Chef specify any extra equipment required, pots and pans a given.

Mashed potatoes requires a means to mash the potatoes, which I lack. An extra purchase, adds to the cost of the meal and not even possible as lockdown and all but non-essential shops are closed.

Therefore what to do? Various possibilities:

– par boil the potatoes then roast potatoes alongside the pork
– pop into town visit M&S Food Hall chilled ready made mashed potatoes
– pop into town visit M&S Food Hall chilled ready made colcannon potatoes

Pros and cons of all these options.

Very little fat on the pork, roasting potatoes alongside a non-starter.

Let’s see what M&S Food Hall has to offer. The two potatoes I will save and use for baked potatoes.

One reason I do not buy meat from a supermarket, apart from the low quality, is packaged in plastic. Meat supplied by Mindful Chef ticks both boxes.

Portion size? I ordered for one. The meat not sufficient for two, the potatoes and vegetables more than sufficient.

I will pop to a local butcher and order a second pork loin chop.

Valentine steak. Pretentious name for a pork loin chop with a lot of waste. Equally pretentious to call it a steak. Strictly speaking a variant on a loin chop, a horizontal cut halfway into the chop. Why? What purpose does it serve?

The humble potato is an extremely versatile vegetable.

Staying in Cyprus I ate most evenings in a hotel. Not once were the potatoes served the same, not once did chips appear.

My first encounter with colcannon potatoes which until then I had never heard of was at Secret Garden, not its full name, with an excellent Irish chef. Sadly the restaurant is no more. A crying shame.

Peter O’Connor kindly shared with me his recipe for colcannon potatoes, which is different to the variants of mashed potato plus.

Colcannon potatoes can be thought of as mashed potatoes plus. Create mashed potatoes, then add shredded cabbage or kale, maybe a spring onion or two or a chopped onion.

From M&S no mash, but I did find a pot of colcannon mashed potatoes. I was going to add to it, but decided against.

Spring onions in the box, not very good condition, to the compost heap, the cabbage not much better, but neither needed.

Colcannon in the oven in an oven dish. Splosh of rapeseed oil in baking tray, salt and pepper to season the chops, to go in he oven later.

Carrots sliced lengthwise, shallot diced, added in saucepan wit ha little oil.

Mushrooms supplied were not chestnut mushrooms, Excuse chestnut mushrooms not available. I had no problem obtaining mushrooms, nor when I inquired was there a shortage. But more expensive. Difference in final result, I do not know. The mushrooms were not in good enough condition for salad, ok for cooking.

I only used half the the mushrooms supplied, ie two. A mistake, I should have used all four. Tow saved to fry with bacon.

Illustrated mushrooms in a box as would use for eggs. No, a simple card box. I would prefer carsdas an egg box, use for kitchen scraps, then onto the compost heap.

Adding to a pot in olive oil a big mistake, not unless wish to ruin the pan. Maybe get away with non-stick pan. Use a small frying pan, then add with the chicken stock to a saucepan and gently simmer.

Chops taken out of oven, water in the saucepan drained into tray and back into the oven, emptied onto plate, then the gravy added. Note gravy not mustard sauce.

A very tasty dish.

— to be continued —

Tony’s Chocolonely call foul on Nestle

January 26, 2021

According to The Grocer, Tony’s claim their chocolates are being blocked from the shelves of Sainsbury’s.

A joke, could not make it up if tried. Two low quality chocolate makers battle for supermarket shelf space. Though stretching it to call either chocolate.

What has caused the problem, other than unfair competition, bullying of a chocolate company by Nestle, is a range of ‘chocolates’ that has the look of other ‘chocolate’ bars to highlight slavery in the chocolate industry. A look that at first glance easily mistook for the originals.

But dear oh dear, look at the long list, the very very long list, of ingredients for the copycat bars from Tony’s.

I hate to have to say it, but Nestle do have grounds for complaint, a publicity stunt by Tony’s passing off their bars of sugar and fat as the genuine article, albeit for a good cause to highlight slavery on chocolate plantations.

Bars of Tony’s sugar and fat can be found in Oxfam, supermarkets and zero waste shops.

Are they ethical? On the shelves of Oxfam no guarantee. A few years ago Oxfam were selling peanut butter bulked out with palm oil, sugar and salt, in a plastic jar. On the shelves until public outcry forced them to not stock.

Extra dark chocolate 70% 180g bar: Belgian FairTrade dark chocolate, 70% minimum cocoa solids, made in Belgium. Nothing exceptional about 70% cocoa mass. Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin).

Emulsifier is used as a cheap substitute for cocoa butter. Soya and palm oil are two of the worst additives in chocolate. Both sourced from plantations where once stood rain forest. Soya, unless organic, has high probability of being GMO.

FairTrade scam. The beans sourced not specified country of origin, and not likely if FairTrade. The FairTrade scam pay a a tiny margin above commodity price. No incentives for growers to improve quality, cocoa is cocoa. Growers maintained in poverty. A marketing ploy to make Middle Class feel good but not question who or where of what they buy.

Luisa deals direct with growers in Colombia pays a high premium for quality cocoa.

Belgium or Swiss plastered across a bar of ‘chocolate’ is no guarantee of quality, any more than gourmet coffee is a guarantee of quality coffee.

Quality chocolate

  • cocoa mass — sugar — vanilla
  • cocoa mass — cocoa butter — sugar — vanilla

The purists will not allow vanilla, others say ok if enhances the quality of the chocolate. A moot point.

Always check the list of ingredients.

Quality chocolate will be bean-to-bar. Anything that is not bean-to-bar paying a lot of money for someone to buy in chocolate and turn into bars.

The accolade for chocolate, an award from the Academy of Chocolate.

In 2020, Luisa, one silver, four bronze, an award for each and every one of her bean-to-bar chocolates. No mean feat.

Coffee and chocolate, speciality coffee roasteries, bean-to-bar chocolate makers, direct trade, not the FairTrade scam. Long term relationships with growers, higher price paid for quality. A win win for everyone.

From Bean to Bar, a whimsical tour of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Great Britain, is an excellent guide to quality chocolate.

Try

Buy chocolate direct from bean-to bar chocolate makers, coffee from a specialty coffee roastery, or from speciality coffee shops.

Steam Yard in Sheffield stock bean-to-bar chocolate in addition to serving excellent food and coffee, Imperial Tea and Coffee half way up Steep Hill in Lincoln purveyors of bean-to-bar chocolate, coffee and tea.

Nestle is an evil corporation, it exploits communities.

The only way to put evil corporations out of business, companies like Nestle and Facebook, is to stop using their services, stop buying their products, stop sharing your personal data.

Nestle owns Mindful Chef, a company that pretends to be ethical, makes no mention of Nestle.

Please sign and share the petition calling for an end to slavery in cocoa production. But remember the only way you can really help, is to buy bean-to-bar chocolate, speciality coffee, direct trade, transparency, where growers are paid a premium for a premium product.

According to a US Department of Labor report published in October 2020, an estimated 1.56 million children – some as young as five – are involved in harvesting cocoa in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the two countries which together supply 70% of the world’s cocoa beans. The proportion of children living in these countries who work on cocoa farms has increased from 31% to 45%.

Tony’s Chocolonely a Dutch chocolate company with around 20% of the Dutch market.

Ethical Consumer January-February 2021 has a feature on chocolate, the focus on industrial chocolate manufactures. A major omission, support local bean-to-bar craft chocolate not Big Businesses, superior chocolate and pay higher price to growers.

We all have a choice. We can sup undrinkable coffee at Costa (owned by Coca-Cola), Starbucks (dodge tax) or we can find an independent specialty coffee shop where they care about coffee, care where it comes from, and if we are lucky may have bean-to-bar chocolate on sale.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-one

January 25, 2021

Last two nights hard frost, this morning sunny day, frosty, by midday frost melted away in the sun.

Town centre deserted.

Pick up loin pork chop to pair with so-called Valentine steak from Mindful Chef.

Christmas cake from Curtis, a bargain at less than half price.

Hop on the Walk and Ride to Lincoln Cathedral. Too cold to walk down the side of the Cathedral

Half a dozen eggs from Redhill Farm shop. No ham, no sausage rolls.

Curtis no ready meals. Maybe Tuesday.

I forgot, pop back to farm shop. There will be not famers market on Saturday, no farmers market February.

Walk down Steep Hill. Not a soul to be seenn Steep Hill, The Strait, top end of the High Street.

One of the few places open Bookstop Cafe, but custmoers a rare sight.

I decide not to have a coffee from Coffee Aroma, I will then have time to pop in M&S Food Hall an catch a bus.

No sausgae rolls left in Pepperdine’s

Be careful what you wish for. On my way to bus station, I fancy a coffee. Be careful what one wish for. I am about to board the bus, realsie no glasses. Where are they? M&S.

Back to M&S, pick up glasses, then to Coffee Aroma for a coffee.

— to be continued —

A Spy in the Struggle

January 23, 2021

When you find out who you are, you will no longer be innocent. That will be sad for others to see. All that knowledge will show on your face and change it. But sad only for others, not for yourself. You will feel you have a kind of wisdom, very mistaken, but a mistake of some power to you and so you will sadly treasure it and grow it. — Lorrie Moore, A Gate in the Stairs

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. — Isaiah 43:19

“We’re all fools,” said Clemens, “all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.” — Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

The editing of your own soul. — Franz Kafka

Yolanda Vance an attractive Black woman, intelligent, successful, graduates from Harvard Law School, works for a corporate law firm, a Chelsea apartment, until six months after joining the law firm they are busted in an FBI raid, securities fraud.

Yolanda is the whistle-blower, when the FBI raided she handed over the papers she had been instructed to shred.

Now a pariah, no law firm will hire her, she decides to join the FBI. A follow up position not what she wanted, the salary is half what she was earning as a corporate lawyer, but two months behind with her rent, all other options closed to her, FBI is all that is left.

During her training she is on a firing range next to an asshole who brags about the guns he owns, he lets off shots before she had donned her ear defenders.

She complains, but to no avail. Told she has to learn to handle a gun in all situations.

Next time she is on the range the asshole is intimidating another woman. She shouts at the asshole. He cannot hear her and takes off his ear defenders. When he does she lets off a volleys of shots, the woman he was intimidating does the same.

Following training she is allocated white collar crime. She is about to show her boss what she has found on laundering dirty Russian money, when he introduces her to a colleague who wants her for an undercover operation in San Francisco. She is not their ideal person, too young, lack of training, but her background fits the profile they are looking for. Her target teenage activists.

Black teenagers join gangs, not because they wish to be gangsters or drug dealers, they join because it gives them a sense of belonging, something they lack in their lives.

Red Black GREEN is a gang of teenage climate activists, they are targeting a corporation. The corporation has been given land by the city to build a facility. No benefit to the city, no taxes paid, no employment, but the residents do have a problem of dumped hazardous waste, increased incident of cancer.

Planet Greener, a dodgy Big Bushiness environmental group, provided initial funding to establish Red Black GREEN. A PR stunt to distract from oil drilling on their land.

Yolanda finds a group of teenagers, not drug dealers, not jihadists, not domestic terrorists, a group of teenagers who wish to help their community, fight climate injustice.

FBI had described the teenagers as Black Identity Extremists. What Yolanda found was a group of teenagers who wanted decent schools, safe air and water, and not to get shot by the police. What was extreme about that? In other words she had been lied to and mislead by her superiors at the FBI who had asked her to go undercover.

She begins to doubt what she is doing, checks out COINTELPRO, learns Fred Hamptpon leader of the local Black Panthers was killed in cold blood by the police. Not a lot has changed.

She confides her concerns to a senior FBI agent who warns her to be careful, to assume she is being watched, document everything because when it all blows up they will be looking for scapegoats, will dump it on her as the rookie.

Thanks to Naomi Klein for the recommendation.

I would love to see A Spy in the Struggle dramatised by Jed Mercurio as a BBC and US network collaboration.

Aya de Leon is an American novelist who teaches creative writing at the University of California Berkeley.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-five

January 23, 2021

Friday Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-five.

 

Difficult to tell, at times more people around than last week at other times about the same.

Too many stupid people out on the streets, and that is why we are seeing record daily death toll far worse than the first lockdown, that and lockdown too late and the rules of lockdown too lax.

Why do people have to go around in twos and threes and more?

Pepperdine’s local family butcher. Limit of three people. Two covidiots walk in as a couple.

I looked at the steaks. The sirloin steak looked good. I will wait until late spring or early summer, steak with new potatoes and garden peas.

Curtis shelves almost stripped bare. I was pleased to see they have started bringing back their ready meals. Their Lincolnshire sausage mash and peas and cottage pies are excellent.

I was pleased to find fishmonger in Central Market open. Only open Friday and Saturday.

Soup mix from zero waste store. To form stock for tomato soup. I was advised soak overnight. Red pepper off fruit and vegetable stall and tomatoes. I already have tomatoes overripe and past their best, with these and the red pepper first roasted in the oven I will attempt tomato soup.

Two people hanging around fruit and vegetate stall, not wearing masks, then as I leave, woman hanging around in the doorway smoking.

Most of the market taped off and yet stall holders are still being charged rent. Why?

River Witham running very high, fast and muddy. Storm Christoph heavy rain for three days, though apart from Wednesday night missed Lincoln, but the catchment areas and the ground saturated.

Few people around in the High Street.

Walked through The Stonebow and up the High Street. Nothing open apart from Caffe Nero and Greggs, both empty. Do we really need another Greggs? Appalling the  poster in the window of Greggs encouraging people to party.

Madame Waffle closed since tier 3. No indication when or if it will ever reopen.

Popped in Curtis, They had what I wanted.

Coffee from Coffee Aroma. Drank in a sunny stop by The Stonebow.

To M&S Food Hall. Not crowded. But why only one till manned. People wish to shop and get out. To remain in store is a risk.

Coconuts shrink-wrapped in plastic.

Appalling large posting in the window promoting a Sale.

Denver steak with harissa chickpea and pea shoot salad

January 21, 2021

First impression on opening the Mindful Chef recipe box, too much plastic, second impression, recipes too complicated. Not separating out the steps leads to confusion, I had to read several times to ensure I had it correct.

One reason I do not buy meat from a supermarket, apart from the poor quality, packaged in plastic. I buy from a local family butcher, choose what I want.

Denver steak? I thought the dish. It is the cut, cf rump or sirloin steak.

I had to read the instructions several times as not all that clear. It would help if the various steps were laid out as separate steps, not jumbled together.

The instructions for cooking the steak are wrong and should be ignored. I would not cook a steak one side, then cook the other side, each side for three or more minutes.

A splash of oil in the frying pan. Use high quality olive oil or rapeseed oil. I did have picked up in Athens the very first green oil from Lesbos, first of the season, 10 euros a bottle. The rapeseed oil, extra virgin, cold pressed, is of similar high quality.

Keep turning the steak every minute, but first prepare the steak. Cover each side with olive oil or rapeseed oil, then rub into both sides salt and pepper. But first take the steak out of the fridge and allow to reach room temperature.

When steak half way cooked, add the chickpeas, which have been drained and rinsed.

A little before removing the steak, trail the coriander through the juices, brush the streak, then chop and add to the chickpeas in the pan.

Leave steak to rest, then slice.

Salad and dressing prepared in parallel whilst cooking the steak. The tahini aubergine mezze mixed in a dish with a little water and rapeseed oil added, seasoned with black pepper and salt. I did not add juice of half a lemon as what to do with half a lemon? Baffled why called a mezze, as a meze or mezze is a meal of several small dishes.

The steak I cooked too long, I prefer medium rare, which may explain why it was tough, though it was tasty.

The chickpeas I burnt slightly. Maybe cooked too long, maybe added a little more oil.

The tomatoes were of poor quality, little taste. I would have chosen a superior variety with taste for example piccolini.

The steak, the dish was for one person, not sufficient for two people. The salad was more than sufficient, and had left over half a baby cucumber and a few tomatoes.

I was going to wash down with Brew Dog Punk IPA but forgot to get a bottle out of the fridge.

If I cooked the dish again, I would wait until the spring, then modify the dish.

  • steak from a local butcher
  • Jersey or English new potatoes with lashings of butter
  • fresh picked garden peas

Comparable with a steak from Wetherspoon, where the cost would have been around £8-50 including a pint of real ale, though quality varies considerably at Wetherspoon.

Not comparable with steak at rooftop restaurant The Athens Gate overlooking The Acropolis and Temple of Zeus. But then the cost around 30 euros.

The recipe unnecessarily  complicated. Maybe that is part of the illusion, giving value for money when paying more than double the cost of the ingredients.

How easy could a steak and salad be than that cooked by Laura Angelia?

Mindful Chef recipe box DPD delivery

January 21, 2021

Service provided by Mindful Chef appalling. An order placed with Mindful Chef a couple of weeks ago should have arrived Sunday a week ago.

  • Mexican-style steak, avocado salsa & brown rice
  • Swedish-style pork meatballs & potato mash
  • Steak with salsa verde & parsnip fries

Nothing. I was given the run around. Friday I called, after being on hold for ten minutes whilst  insulted by a robot it’s quicker to e-mail, finally I had a human on the line. The lady apologised said I would have to order again, had the gall to charge me, and the order was no longer what I had originally ordered, the choices vary each week, though in reality a subtle variation.

  • Denver steak with harissa chickpea & pea shoot salad
  • Pork with colcannon and mustard sauce
  • Asian pork meatballs, kale & brown rice

Tuesday my second order arrived. A week and two days late from when I should have had a delivery.

The appalling service by Mindful Chef gets worse.

Tuesday morning a delivery, a delivery one week and two days late from scheduled Sunday a week ago.

Waiting all morning for a delivery. Will it arrive in time for lunch?

1225 I opened blinds to conservatory to see a large box sitting by the back door.

Not knowing it was there, had anyone opened the back door not expecting a parcel as a trip hazard, they would have tripped over, down three steps and smashed their head on concrete path, or worse, slammed head on the side of a low wall and split their skull open.

I was baffled, why was the plastic sealing tape covered in large drops of water, why was the box soaking wet? It was not raining.

I then found the card that had been left. Timed 0822. In other words, the large box had been sat outside for over four hours, sat outside in the rain.

Card left claimed I would find in porch, e-mail rear porch. There is no rear porch, there is no porch The parcel was dumped in the rain on the back doorstep. Whoever dumped parcel blatantly lied.

Weather forecast very heavy rain for next three days including Tuesday, Storm Christoph.

As yet I did not know if contents damaged. I left left sat outside on a bench to dry out whilst not raining.

Why ask for delivery instructions, if ignored?

A week ago, I asked this be escalated to CEO. I was still waiting.

Yet another complaint filed with Mindful Chef, to which I received a prompt, detailed response including an apology. A novelty on all three counts.

Opening the box a few hours later, the contents appeared to be undamaged, apart from a booklet at the bottom. of the box.

To me recipe boxes a novelty, I had heard of veg boxes though never used but not recipe boxes where all the ingredients for a meal contained in the box plus a recipe.

Opening the box when it had been left for three hours on a bench to dry I found

– three plastic packages with meat for each dish

  • three ingredient bags labelled with numbers which corresponded to numbers in the recipe booklet
  • a booklet about Mindful Chef
  • a recipe booklet
  • a Mindful Chef calendar

One of the reasons I do not buy meat from a supermarket, apart from the very poor quality, is that it is packed in plastic. I buy from a local family butcher, quality meat and they cut off what I ask for.

The meat was packed with two ice packs within an insulated bag. The insulated gags they ask to be returned to be reused.

The ice packs were rock solid. What to do with? I popped in the freezer. Would be cold in the summer unless delivered in a refrigerator van? Why use DPD, why not use food delivery service ocado?

Ingredients not yet examined. Box placed in a cool place for later examination.

The recipe booklet well produce, but if I expected to be easy , oh I was in for a surprise.

The recipes are not simple, not easy to follow, though with practice would not be a problem. That the recipes are complicated would appear to defeat the entire rationale of a recipe box to make home cooking easy.

What is missing and an absolute must videos posted on vimeo for each and every recipe.   Can make oneself and to make easy, order from Mindful Chef.

A criticism when ordering, no mention of extra equipment may need to prepare the dish. Pots and pans given, but not a  grater a potato masher , which  I do not have.

The recipe booklets useful if wish to go it alone without ordering a recipe box.

At £11 a dish, expensive. I could eat out cheaper, and not have to prepare, cook and do the washing up after.

Other dishes more expensive, salmon £12-50, venison £14.

A few dishes were cheaper, but with very cheap ingredients, for example beans and potato wedges £8 or chick peas and fried sweet potato wedges £9-50, although lentils and cauliflower £10.

To put in context, cod and sweet potato chips, with a tiny bit of salad £12, whereas if I pop along to High Farm fish n chip shop I can pick up excellent takeaway haddock and chips at a little over half the price, order on-line and ready for me to collect, or if it was open, Elite Fish Restaurant one of the best fish n chip restaurants in the country excellent haddock and chips and I am still paying less.

Note: Prices quoted single person per dish. If ordered for two or four, the cost would be lower, significantly lower, per person.

To also put in context compare with the disgusting lunch boxes shipped out to school children, not sufficient for a day, expected to provide five meals, and of very poor quality. These lunch boxes cost £30.  With Mindful Chef, only three meals but enough for two kids or a kid and an adult,  and as already noted the price drops significantly if for more than one person, and a bulk order would easily get costs down to £30 for a weekly delivery. Not that I am suggesting schools order from Mindful Chef, even though it would be better than what they currently receive in terms of quality and quantity,  I would prefer to see schools contract local pubs and restaurants currently closed  to supply delicious meals, local control, a lifeline to local businesses and the money is retained within the local community.

Whatever the quality of the meals, cost to one side, the ease or otherwise of the menus, what is hard to stomach is that Mindful Chef is owned by Nestle, especially when the founders had a choice, Nestle or Waitrose. A choice between a greedy rapacious corporation that destroys communities or a worker owned cooperative. A third option, was it even considered, the Brew Dog model, sell shears to customers.

The Hill We Climb

January 20, 2021

Amanda Gorman Poet Laurate reading of Inaugural Day Poem

The day started with Donald Trump leaving via the back door, a quick word with staff, Marine One to Andrews Airforce Base, a, subdued speech in front of Air Force One, incoming Administration wished well.

Joe Biden sworn in, a very powerful and moving Inauguration Acceptance Speech.

He said he works for the people. The people, not lobbyist, not Big Business, not Banks, not Big Oil.

To stop something worse than Trump, President Joe Biden must push through a Green New Deal, a radical progressive agenda, address genuine grievances of Trump supporters.

No partying, no celebrations, President Joe Biden got straight down to work.

Executive Orders to stop Keystone XL, re-joining WHO and The Paris Accord.

An executive order to wear a mask on Federal Property a step in the right direction to halt spread of Covid-19. 400,000 Americans have died, more than died during WWII.

A warning to White House staff during their swearing in. Anyone who shows disrespect to their colleagues will be fired. Bullying will no be tolerated.

Incredible and moving poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, 22-year-old Poet Laurate.

Press Conference later in the day by newly appointed White House Press Secretary a breath of fresh air.

French press compared with V60 pour over

January 17, 2021

Interesting comparison by James Hoffmann between French Press and V60 pour over.

If coffee cupping, standard weight, standard grind, quickly fill all cups from a large kettle of boiling waster, wait four minutes, remove the surface crust, taste.

If we assume four minutes between each brew, we are going to see a temperature gradient along the cups. What difference will this make?

We know if we allow a V60 pour over to cool, it improves as it cools. If we ignore the extremes, grind too course or too fine, then maybe the temperature difference can be ignored.

When were the beans roasted?

Maybe I should have bought a Gina. The tap I can close for immersion. And I can use as a cold drip tower.

It would be interesting to see how a Japanese syphon compares.

The conclusion to be drawn: With V60 a little leeway either side of ideal grind size for optimum extraction, with French press less fussy on grind size.

James Hoffmann demonstrating his French press technique.

Mindful Chef

January 16, 2021

I have come across veg boxes, though have never used, have not before come across recipe boxes.

I had not been out since New Years’s Eve, was not feeling well, I had been in contact with some one who was ill with coronavirus, food was running low. Mindful Chef seemed an option to consider.

A recipe box I learnt is a box of ingredients with a recipe giving instructions on the cooking.

I scrolled through the options, not sure how large the portion size, picked three meals for one person.

  • Mexican-style steak, avocado salsa & brown rice
  • Swedish-style pork meatballs & potato mash
  • Steak with salsa verde & parsnip fries

Late one night last week I tried to order. It would not progress beyond entering my post code.

Next day I tried again. This time I entered delivery address manually, all seemed to work, how to deliver,  credit card details.

Saturday an e-mail conforming delivery next day, or so I thought, I had scheduled Sunday. It was only later when I checked, it was junk meal offering frozen meals next day delivery.

Sunday I waited all day, night came, no delivery.

I posted on their facebook page, got nowhere. I sent an e-mail.

I was then given the run around over the following days.

Asked for details of my order. This I gave.

Next day asked for my post code.

I then volunteered my address, which I assumed they already had having given when I ordered. I clearly stated I required confirmation of delivery.

They had my details as how otherwise were they sending junk e-mails addressed to me personally?

Then nothing, a reminder each and every day, nothing. Request for e-mail of CEO, nothing.

In the meantime, to add insult to injury, junk e-mails every day, unwanted posts on facebook.  And just  when I thought could not get worse, I find posts on Facebook messenger.

I only have to open facebook, and there in my face unwanted junk from Mindful Chef, scroll a short distance, more junk from Mindful Chef.

Friday afternoon having heard nothing for three days, apart from unwanted junk. I called.

Ten minute wait to get a real person. Whilst waiting a robot message, get a quicker response if e-mail.

Eventually after waiting ten minutes a real person came on the line.  I am told the long delay, failure to deal with e-mails failure to deal with the problem, I am told a small team, too many queries. I was told the same story in one of the first e-mails. Clearly trained to trot out this pathetic excuse. And why so many queries? Many queries, people like me getting nowhere?

I place an order again over the phone, only now I cannot order what I originally ordered and have to pay again.

  • Denver steak with harissa chickpea & pea shoot salad
  • Pork with colcannon and mustard sauce<
  • Asian pork meatballs, kale & brown rice

A rotating weekly menu, but if compare with my original order, which was not delivered, variations on a theme.

At £11 a dish, expensive. I could eat out cheaper, and not have to prepare, cook and do the washing up after.

Other dishes more expensive, salmon £12-50, venison £14.

A few dishes were cheaper, but with very cheap ingredients, for example beans and potato wedges £8 or chick peas and fried sweet potato wedges £9-50, although lentils and cauliflower £10. To put in context, cod and sweet potato chips, with a tiny bit of salad £12, whereas if I pop along to my local fish n chip shop and pick up excellent takeaway haddock and chips at a little over half the price, order on-line and ready for me to collect, or if it was open, one of the best fish n chip restaurants in the country excellent haddock and chips and I am still paying less.

Note: Prices quoted single person per dish. If ordered for two or four, the cost would be lower, significantly lower, per person.

A reputable company would have not forced me to pay again, they would have apologised and sent out the order gratis.

Now the order not what I originally ordered will be delivered Tuesday. A week and two days late.

Every time I open facebook, unwanted junk posts from Mindful Chef.

Today in my face, Mindful Chef, smoothies for a delicious breakfast

Delicious breakfast not difficult.

  • muesli zero waste stall
  • unpasteurised raw milk farmers market
  • bananas fruit and vegetable stall
  • wholemeal bread local baker

Smoothies are hot healthy. Smoothies are very high in sugar content.

Sugar is a killer. Obesity, type II diabetes, heart conditions, tooth decay.

Are these smoothies even fresh?

Delivered in a pack, stored in a freezer, watered down to consume, sounds like dehydrated. Not very fresh. Big mark up.

Invest in a decent blender (need two) buy fresh fruit and vegetables off a decent market stall and make ones own.

Try

  • apple, orange, carrots and ginger

A juice not a smoothie. The ginger about the size of a thumb.

But, having not watched the video, and now watched, would still need a blender for the Mindful Chef packet, therefore what has been gained? Would still need a blender. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables off a market stall.

My contact details have been given for the sole purpose of fulfilling my order. My consent has not been given for any other use. Mindful Chef are in breach of data protection legislation. A breach ICO should look into.

Mindful Chef likes to masquerade as an ethical company.

we can’t just work with anyone. Look at our name – Mindful Chef – they have to fit in with us and our values and what we’re trying to achieve. We’re an ethical business trying to do things better which is a lot harder doing it that way; it’s more difficult to get really good margins. For example when you buy free range chickens or 100% grass fed beef then it’s a lot more expensive.

Mindful Chef is owned by Nestle.

And the food, the contents of the recipe boxes, does hype pan out in reality? I do not know, as come tomorrow, it will be a week has passed by for my original delivery. When it does arrive Tuesday, I will post again as to what was my experience.

But my experience to date, Mindful Chef a company with piss-poor service and appalling customer service when things go wrong.


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