Like many of us, I like to book in a babysitter and make a reservation for our favourite restaurant around Valentine’s Day. While I’m not keen on being told by commercial operations when I should be having a romantic meal with my husband, it is a good excuse to have some time to ourselves. Of course, Valentine’s Day 2021 had to be enjoyed at home (without a babysitter) and like everyone else we were faced with either a takeaway or cooking ourselves.
Kent’s foodie destination Macknade was offering something a little different, a recipe box which could be ordered online, collected instore (or delivered locally) and completed with a recipe to follow at home. Before I reveal my experience of this recipe box I ought to own up to the fact that I work with Macknade, but this was bought with my own money and I was genuinely interested to test it out.
Ordering online was a very simple process, with three recipes to choose from, created by the chefs at Macknade. We opted for the British Flat Iron Steak with Sauce Béarnaise, Roasted Vine Tomatoes & Fondant Potatoes, other options were Wester Ross Salmon or Beetroot and Goats Cheese Pasta. The steak recipe box came matched with a bottle of Californian Cabernet Sauvignon and was £40 for two people. For an additional cost we added a cheeseboard, but you could have chosen chocolate brownies if you prefer something sweet.
I collected my recipe box from Elwick Place and whilst there I also picked up some candles and chocolates to complete the meal. Having my two young children in tow, they kindly offered to help me to the car with the box. It was beautifully wrapped with tissue paper and shredded paper, all of which could be reused or recycled. Most ingredients were packed in greaseproof paper or paper bags, the figs came in a plastic pot which maybe wasn’t necessary, but I have added the pot to my Tupperware cupboard! I was thoroughly impressed with the generous quantity of ingredients in the box, although you only need 40ml of white wine vinegar you get a whole bottle. You only require a few herbs for the recipe but are given great big bunches which I have since dried and continued to use.
We found the printed recipe in the box quite easy to follow, although it had the method for cooking the steak, and then the method for the potatoes, of course the potatoes take longer so if you hadn’t read the whole recipe beforehand you might find that your steak is ready before your potatoes. Overall, we were very impressed with the quality of the food, the flat iron steak was tender and flavoursome. It’s all too easy to go for the cuts of meat we are most familiar with, so I will be more open to trying different cuts in the future. Unfortunately, the combination of a husband/wife cooking together led to the demise of the Béarnaise sauce, each of us thinking we could do a better job! We rescued what we could, and the flavour was still very good.
The cheeseboard was a highlight for me, it came with Smoked Stilton, Bowyers Brie, Lincolnshire Poacher, Quince Jelly, Spelt Crackers and two figs. My family will tell you that I don’t normally go for cheese, having quite a sweet tooth but I’m coming round to it, must be my age! The Smoked Stilton was superb and the Quince Jelly the perfect accompaniment.
We really enjoyed this recipe box; it was a real foodies experience. For anyone that loves food, bringing home that box packed full of top-quality ingredients was like Christmas day or being a kid in a sweetshop. The generous quantity of ingredients made this recipe box good value for money and the quality was exceptional. There is just the battle of the Béarnaise sauce to be won, maybe I will get some practice in when the other half is not looking!