I first tried Japanese curry back in 2004 while enjoying a complimentary buffet lunch as part of an organized tour in Kyoto. I remember reading the sign that read “Japanese Curry” sitting next to this brown thin goop & vegetables thinking “What the heck is Japanese Curry? Silly kitchen people trying to pass this off as curry. Teeheehee.” At the time, the only curries I knew about were Indian and Thai curries. I had no idea that Japanese curry was a thing. So I took a small spoonful of the mix (really just a sauce with some carrots and other vegetables) and a bit of rice, sat down and had a few mouthfuls. I remember being puzzled by the taste, not sure what to compare it to but I immediately enjoyed the flavor. It tasted hearty and comforting but was nothing like a Thai or Indian curry. It was closer to a gravy than anything else with a very concentrated, salty flavor but in a good kind of way. I went back for more and the rest is history…
Sometimes I like to make a simple hot chocolate at home based on the one you get at Bills restaurant in Sydney. Semi sweet chocolate chips and warm milk. That’s all there is to it. Perfect as an after dinner … Continue reading
On how to make hokey pokey ice cream with toffee bits from scratch.
Summer is on its way out so the need for cool desserts has begun to subside. Alas, it’s time to bid adieu to the ice cream maker attachment for a year. But a challenge was set by my husband two days ago. “Replicate hokey pokey ice cream” was the request. What the heck is hokey pokey ice cream? Well it depends on who you ask. If you ask my husband he will say that it’s vanilla ice cream with chewy toffee bits spread throughout the mixture. If you ask ANYONE ELSE ON THIS PLANET they will tell you it’s vanilla ice cream with hokey pokey aka honeycomb candy spread throughout. I found countless recipes online talking about preparing honeycomb and mixing it throughout vanilla ice cream. Ok, I might not be telling the full story here. There is this one product on the market in Australia that happens to be called hokey pokey ice cream which does reference toffee bits. Streets describes the flavor as “Creamy vanilla and honeycomb swirled with reduced fat ice cream with crunchy toffee bits. Made with wholesome dairy milk and a smile in every spoonful”. Ok, challenge set, no specific recipes with toffee bits around so it was time to get creative.
It seems like every conversation I’m having with people these days revolves around Blue Apron and just how awesome it is. What is Blue Apron you’re asking? Well, let me tell you all about it. By the way, my husband is probably smacking his head as he reads this. I think he’s heard me go on and on and on about it with too many people. I just can’t help it. I think they’re great!
So it’s basically a subscription based food service where you get all the ingredients you need to cook 3 delicious meals each week. You’re given the exact amount of ingredients you need to make the dish and nothing more so nothing goes to waste. All you need to have on hand is oil, salt and pepper. There’s a vegetarian and a meat plan. From a difficulty standpoint the meals are pretty straightforward to prepare with beautiful recipe cards that are easy to follow. You do have to be prepared to do some washing, chopping and peeling. Freshdirect meals, these are not.
The subscription is super flexible so if you need to take a break for a couple of weeks because you’re out of town, have visitors or just can’t possibly do anymore cooking for a while then that’s fine, blue apron have got you covered. Oh and another nifty thing they do is email out the menu in advance of next week to tell you what’s on the menu. So if you’re just really not keen on some of the recipes you can opt-out for that week too. The ingredients come beautifully labeled and packed in a box with ice packs to keep them cool and fresh till you get home from work to pick them up.
Having a vegetarian husband I saw this as a great opportunity to learn about cooking techniques and vegetarian recipes I might never have tried. Let’s face it, we all get into our ruts and just end up making what we know works. Blue Apron forces you to step out of your comfort zone, learn, try, succeed and sometimes fail. While blue apron isn’t necessarily cheap I do find it slightly cheaper than many dishes that we get delivered once you factor in taxes and tip for delivery. It also puts a cap on how often you might order in but more importantly how often you might eat out each week. For me, it’s those sit down meals at restaurants that can start to get expensive. Those glasses of wine with dinner or dessert to share really do add up. You’re not going to save a mint by subscribing to blue apron but every little bit helps right?
My only complaint so far are the time it takes to prepare the meals. They say it takes 35 minutes on average but it takes me slightly longer. When you’re trying to spoon ravioli mixture onto pasta sheets with tears rolling down your cheeks because you’re just so hungry or cut things up into the size of matchsticks you do question what the heck you’re doing. But more often than not it’s worth the effort and maybe I’ll get faster at those sorts of things as time goes on?
Here are some photos of the dishes I made over my first two weeks of blue apron. The featured photo is the Summer Corn & Vegetable Chowder, one of our favorites so far.
Good luck Blue Apron, I’m a huge fan and I really hope you stick around for some time to come!