Sarah Raven Recipe Box from Riverford
Oh I do love a recipe box: they take all the thinking and weighing and general hard work off you, leaving you to just cook a new, lovely dish that you would never otherwise have thought of. I've tried a few in my time, and Riverford (the nice people who deliver boxes of organic veg etc to your door) are definitely up there. They're currently doing a limited edition box filled with recipes from star gardener and chef Sarah Raven, and asked if I'd like to try one out*. Of course I did.
The good thing with Riverford food is that it's always completely organic - they're the oldest organic farm in the country I think - and always seasonal with a big emphasis on veg. The Sarah Raven recipes are no different; the three recipes I received were for a beautiful Tomato & Poppy Seed Tart, Sangria Chicken and Sweet & Sour Vegetable Curry. These may vary slightly depending on the week you go for, but all the recipes I've seen look delightful.
First up, the tomato tart. You can literally see the sweetness and quality of the tomatoes from this pic... the taste is so different to the hard, sterile bland tomatoes in the supermarkets at the moment that I can't even tell you.
All the ingredients are provided and weighed out so no faffing with scales etc, I just needed to make a quick pastry and then line a loose bottomed tart tin with the results. I don't have a tart tin so ended up using a basic pyrex dish. This is not to be advised as my pastry was not happy about it.
Luckily, the slow cooked tomato concoction atop some delicious layers of sheep's cheese and fresh basil just about rescued it and it turned out as a lovely summery little supper.
Next, the sangria chicken. Sarah says it's her version of an Ottolengi recipe for roast chicken with clementines. I haven't tried that particular recipe but I must say this sangria chicken felt like quite a departure from Ottolenghi's usual style.
Riverford sent some really good organic chicken which was then to be marinated in lemon juice, orange slices and zest, sugar, Dijon mustard, thyme and white wine along with chunks of fresh fennel and celery. See title pic for the whole shebang - it smelled incredible. Then, it's left overnight and simply cooked in the oven for an hour.
The citrus, chicken and fennel is a marvellous combination of sharp, sweet and juiciness but if I was to make this again I'd swap the white wine for red to give it a more Spanish sangria-like flavour. Served up with red rice (nice), it was a healthy and veg packed dinner and very generously portioned for two people.
Finally, the curry. I feel like the name of this dish is a little misleading, as 'sweet and sour' conjures up a few negative connotations of greasy, sticky, unhealthy Chinese style curries and this was nothing of the sort - thank God. Instead, there was lovely organic sweet potatoes, spinach and chickpeas all cooked down in an earthy, aromatic spice mix that you blend yourself according to the recipe.
I whizzed mine up in this, but a pestle and mortar would do the job just as well.
All the veg is cooked down with the spice mix, lots of lovely tangy lime juice and some organic coconut milk and it makes an absolutely giant pot of curry that is warming, nourishing yet still somehow feels virtuous.
If you'd like to get your hands on a Sarah Raven box then hurry, as they're only available for another couple of weeks. Three recipes for two people costs £36.95 - all you need to add is the odd dash of olive oil.
Pick one up here: http://www.riverford.co.uk/shop/recipeboxes?tldr=tldr/
*I was sent the Sarah Raven box on a complimentary basis. Thank you very much Riverford.