GIVEAWAY – Culinary Carton

January 6, 2016

Hello readers, and Happy 2016! If you’re anything like me, you’ve had an over indulgent Christmas break with many sleep-ins, R&R time and lots of nice meals, but this week you’ve been broadsided with a serious case of back to work blues. Damn blues. They’re simply the worst. Early morning are tough, but what really gets to me is the loss of lazy summery afternoons that blend into evenings, where you have plenty of time to work out what to cook and plenty of time to do it. For me and for many other young professionals I know, the mid week meal can be a real struggle to get right.

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For me, the real issue is time. Time spent planning what to eat, buying food, prepping food and cooking. On the weekend, this process is a real pleasure. I pour over my favourite cookbooks for recipes (at the moment I’m “Leigh-Sales-Annabel-Crabb-level-obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More), go to the Vic market, crank up some music at home and immerse myself in cooking. It’s an almost therapeutic process.

But mid-week, it can be a real fuss, particularly if I’m working late or I want to hit an evening class at the gym (usually the former). This is where Culinary Carton comes in. I tried one of their food boxes a couple of weeks ago and it was a really great experience! Culinary Carton delivers a chilled box of fresh ingredients and accompanying recipe cards to your home or workplace early in the week. I received a three-day box, and full disclosure, it was complimentary. More disclosure: Culinary Carton is offering a $25 discount off each person’s first two orders for anyone who uses the code “letmefeedyou”, for a total of $50 off. Read on if you’re interested to see what I thought of the food.

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I elected for the meat + fish box (there is also a vegetarian box available), and received three meals. A whole baby snapper with fennel and orange salad, pulled pork sliders with a Kansas City Coleslaw, and roast chicken breast with a caramelised onion, herb and mascarpone pearl barley salad. Each dish includes two servings, and the ingredients that are used for each recipe are marked with a coloured dot on the packaging. The recipes can each be completed in under 35 minutes, and are generally (with the exception of the sliders, perhaps) quite healthy.

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As you can see, the fresh ingredients come pre-prepped – cabbages and herbs trimmed down to the exact amount I need (to reduce wastage), fish cleaned and fennel fronds trimmed (to save time). A couple of components are already pre-prepared, such as the pulled pork, the coleslaw dressing and the caramelised onions. My inner neat-freak was geeking out a little at how organised and neat all the ingredients were in their little box, although I wasn’t in love with the large amounts of plastic being used. Perhaps this is something that could be minimised in future.

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But enough of the packaging – how did the actual recipes work out? For the first evening, I just couldn’t go past the whole baked snapper with fennel, orange and olive salad. A salad of freshly shaved fennel and orange is a “regular” in my home, but the green olives were a new and welcome addition!

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This was a brilliant meal and one that is incredibly easy to prepare – although you can’t go past fresh fish and a fennel salad, in my humble opinion. Fresh, healthy and above all delicious!

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The following evening, we tried out the pulled pork sliders. Pulling out my trusty mandolin (kitchen gadget of the year), I quickly sliced up some white and purple cabbage, carrot, celery, and chopped up some coriander.

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Nick separately heated up four little slider buns and warmed up the pulled pork in a saucepan. The whole thing took about 20 mins max. The sliders were great, especially when pimped up with a little squirt of sriracha.

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The following night we tried the final dish of chicken and pearl barley salad. Due to technical errors (camera going berserk) I don’t have any photos, but it was yet another delicious and easy to pull together meal. Overall, I was very impressed with the convenience of Culinary Carton’s food boxes, and the quality of the produce and dishes they have designed. I’d highly recommend giving them a go and save yourself some time out of a busy work week. Let me know how your meals turn out, and check out Culinary Carton’s insta page to see what recipes they have coming up each week!

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