Recipes, Reviews

Cirkle recipe kit review

Last month Cirkle kindly sent me a 3 recipe kits to try. If you haven’t heard of this company, they are a grocery home delivery service providing organic and artisan products. As well as that, they offer a free recycling service, aiming to ‘make it easy to eat well and do good’, a philosophy I can wholeheartedly agree with.

They have a wide range of products available; from fruit and vegetables to meat and dairy, lentils and pasta to baby food! Plus, they have a flexible, well-organised delivery service that enables you to find a day and time that will suit you.

With the recipe kits, you can choose to purchase each individually, or opt for a set of 3 predetermined recipes in their recipe package. Each recipe comes for either 2, 4 or 6 people and the prices (for 2 people) range from €6.24 to €20.07 per recipe. The package, to include 3 recipe kits, are priced as follows: €39.99 (2 people), €69.99 (4 people) or €99.98 (6 people).

I was very excited to get stuck in…

Warm mackerel and beetroot salad. (€15.73 for 2 people)

FullSizeRender2Firstly, the picture doesn’t do this food justice, the colour on this fruit and veg is simply amazing. But, I must admit, at first I wasn’t sure about this recipe. I’ve actually not cooked fresh beetroot before (I was put off from my mum always trying to get me to try the pickled stuff) and…warm lettuce?! But actually, this ended up being my favourite recipe of the lot. The smell as it was cooking was terrific, so mouthwatering, and the combination of colours looked appealing. FullSizeRender1
On tasting, the different textures from the raw onion, soft potato and crunchy lettuce was fantastic (you let the warm stuff cool slightly so the lettuce doesn’t wilt). The comfort of the warm beetroot was complimented by the subtle flavour of the celery and the stronger smoked mackerel. It was, quite simply, yum. And I will definitely be cooking this again.
FullSizeRenderIn terms of balance, there was plenty of veg *thumbs up*, and the meal contained a protein and potatoes as a starchy carb source – great! Also, mackerel is an oily fish, so good for poly-unsaturated fats and omega-3.
My only consideration was that I personally didn’t feel that the bread was necessary, I felt that the potato was sufficient. Especially given that this actually did us 4 meals – we both had it for lunch the following day – bargain!

Roast pork with pears and parsnips. (€20.07 for 2 people)

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This is a dish that sounded right up my street. Cooked using minimal equipment, and it contains some of my favourite vegetables and flavours. This recipe was very easy to put together, and the quality of the meat (sourced from Jack O’Shea) was obvious even before cooking.
Again, the combination of flavours worked really well. I love pear and parsnip and it was perfect with the pork, making a change from the usual apple. 20150925_222143We used all of the ingredients except half the cabbage, and there was still veg left in our pot for an extra 2 meals….I could get used to this!
I found this meal really satisfying, however, although you would be getting some carbohydrates from the vegetables, it does lack a source of starchy carbohydrate. It might also be worth tweaking the recipe slightly if you’re watching the amount of saturated fat in your diet, as cooking it all together means that the veg soaks up a lot of fat from the pork. All in all though? Another tasty recipe and I was loving all these leftovers!

Quick fresh tomato ragù with thyme. (€11.24 for 2 people)

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This dish is one of our favourites at home, and I usually don’t follow a particular recipe, so I was intrigued to try this one.
Call me lazy, but I tend to use tinned tomatoes with a handful of fresh in my ragù, so it made a nice change, and I did notice the taste difference. As with the pork, the meat was of excellent quality and really added to the dish. This is also the best wholegrain pasta 20150928_202954I have ever tasted!
With this recipe, the portion sizes were just right for 2 people (although we did have some Parmesan leftover!) Wholegrain pasta is great for slow release energy and fills you up, and the minced beef is a good source of iron. I personally would add a bit more veg in there; to include some mushrooms, courgette, aubergine or bell pepper would boost the vitamin and fibre content.
This recipe is definitely a good one for after a busy day, as it’s quick to prepare, filling and a true home comfort.

Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of the ingredients, and the recipes all tasted really good. Cirkle offer loose products as well, and you can purchase fruit or vegetable boxes, but I think that the recipe kits are definitely worth a go if you find yourself lacking inspiration in the kitchen. Given the quality and quantity you get, I think that they work out really good value too! I will definitely be using them again in the future, and look forward to trying some more of their recipe kits.

If you are one of my clients and want to give Cirkle a try…ask me about how you can get a free small fruit box in your order!

(Please note: I received this recipe kit for free, but all my opinions are 100% honest and I was not reimbursed for this review. Please see my disclaimer for more information.)

Recipes

Broccoli & Bacon Salad

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Think “salad” and I bet your immediate thought is lettuce, tomato, cucumber maybe some onion and pepper?? Well this does not have to be the case! Keep things interesting by varying your salads, and chances are you won’t get bored of them and will continue to enjoy them.

Summer is THE time for salads for many people. I think there’s something more satisfying about cold, fresh, crunchy vegetables on a hot day than having cooked vegetables. That said, I’ve always preferred raw vegetables, ask my nan, I used to live on raw carrots as a 2 year old! Anyway…I guess in summer having raw veg in salads saves us having a hot kitchen!

My SO introduced me to this salad, and it was one he discovered after a family friend made it for a BBQ. He was always going on about it, and, as I have a preference for raw veg, it wasn’t long til it became one of my favourites too. I’m not sure on the original recipe, but this is how we prepare it.

INGREDIENTS
1 head of broccoli
1 medium red onion
3-5 slices of thick bacon (cut into small pieces)
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons of creme fraiche & natural yoghurt (I use low fat versions)
Salt & pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Break the broccoli into small florets….and I mean small, like the size of your fingernail. Place this in a bowl to one side.
2. Chop the onion, also into small pieces, and add this into the bowl with the broccoli.
3. Fry the small pieces of bacon (or you can grill the whole pieces and cut them up afterwards). If you’ve fried, drain and pat the fat off before adding it to the bowl with the broccoli.
4. Scoop in the mayo with 1 tablespoon of yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche. Stir this in and see how it looks, it you feel it needs more “sauce”, add more creme fraiche or yoghurt.
5. Season with salt and pepper, and you’re ready to go!

NUTRITION (for 1/4 of above recipe):
CALORIES: 96 kcal
PROTEIN: 5g
CARBS: 7g
TOTAL FAT: 5g
SATURATED FAT: 1.5g

Recipes

Chickpea and spinach risotto

Risotto is a bit of a go-to for me. I like the whole one-pot thing it’s got going on, and I also find its gooey deliciousness indulging and comforting. Risotto is also easy to adapt by adding different vegetables and ingredients. This particular recipe is often one I use when I’ve forgotten to get meat out of the freezer, or one for meat free Monday!

IMG-20150304-WA0005Ingredients (serves 2):
100g risotto rice
100g chickpeas
1 large onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
100ml dry white wine
100g mushrooms
200g spinach
100g courgette
1 tsp oregano
Lemon zest
500ml stock + water
Salt and pepper to season

Method:
1. Heat the butter over a low heat in a large saucepan big enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add the chopped onion, garlic, oregano and seasoning. Stir the onions and keep cooking them till they become translucent, don’t let the garlic burn.
2. Add in the risotto rice and allow the grains to heat up slightly. Then, pour in the white wine. It will sizzle and smell amazing.
3. Let the rice take up the white wine, and when it is all absorbed add a small amount of the stock. This is where the continuous stirring comes in. Little stock, stir, let rice absorb, stock, stir, absorb…..
4. When you’re about half way through your stock, add in the mushrooms, courgette and chickpeas. Then, continue to add the rest of the stock little by little. (If your rice hasn’t cooked but you’re out of stock, continue the same process with water until the rice is cooked.)
5. For the final few minutes, add the spinach and allow it to wilt into the risotto before stirring in. I like to add a little lemon zest here too but that’s optional!
6. Taste, and season further if required. Serve and enjoy (a little Parmesan would also work nicely!)

The nutritional information below is per serving:
CALORIES: 430kcal
TOTAL FAT: 8g
SATURATED FAT: 4g
PROTEIN: 14g

Recipes

Mediterranean Hotpot

I’m a big fan of Mediterranean food because it’s healthy, tasty, comforting and, typically, easy to make. You can pretty much throw in any veg and it goes well together. When it comes to dishes like this, I tend to just use up what veg we have left. Consequently,this recipe probably isn’t one for those who like precise, follow-to-the-letter recipes. However, it’s quick, sooo easy and packed with vegetables, fibre and protein.

Serves 4

20150303_184130Ingredients

Chicken (I used 2 breasts, diced into bitesized chunks)
2 large onions
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 aubergine
1 courgette
Mushrooms (a couple of handfuls)
1 pepper
1 chili
2 cloves of garlic
Cherry tomatoes (a couple of handfuls)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Water
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

1. Add the oil to a large pan and heat on low.
2. Dice the onions, finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. Leave to soften for a few minutes.
3. Add the bitesize chicken chunks to the pan and leave for 5-10 minutes to cook. Meanwhile, chop all your remaining vegetables.
4. Put the vegetables (aubergine, mushrooms, pepper, courgette and tomatoes) into the same pan, along with the chili, herbs and spices. Season if desired.
5. Add the tinned tomatoes and water (I add a further tin full of water). Stir well and leave for 5-10 minutes with the lid on.
6. When the vegetables have begun to cook and the contents of the pan has reduced a little, add the chickpeas. Stir again, and leave for 10-15 minutes with the lid on, stirring periodically.
7. Check the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is piping hot. Your hotpot is ready!

HINT 1: If you want, you can use this dish as a ‘sauce’ for pasta (as pictured above)
HINT 2: A little crumbled feta tastes great on this dish!

The nutritional data below is based on the above ingredients yielding 4 portions (not including pasta):
CALORIES: 300kcal
TOTAL FAT: 9g
SATURATED FAT: 1.2g
PROTEIN: 19g

Recipes

One-pot chicken saag

I love curry! Be it lamb, chicken, prawn, spicy, mild…I just love how diverse they are. I enjoy making curries from scratch, but what I don’t enjoy is the amount of time and effort that it takes to make the paste (and the extra things you have to wash up afterwards!)

But, fear not!

I’m a one-pot dinner kinda girl, and this recipe can be made in one (or rather two!) pots as you can add the spices straight to the pan. No paste making = less washing up. AND it tastes amazing. It’s also up to 150 calories less than you would consume in a takeaway version of the same curry.

WIN WIN WIN!

Serves 4

curry1Ingredients

Chicken – (I used 4 breasts, but have also made this using leftover meat from a roast chicken)
Spinach – 300g
Onions x 2 large
Garlic x 5 cloves
Vegetable oil – 2 tablespoons
Fresh diced ginger – 1-2 teaspoons
1 tin of tomatoes
Splash of milk
1 fresh chili
Ground coriander – 2 teaspoons
Cayenne pepper – 2 teaspoons
Ground turmeric – 1 tablespoon
Garam masala – 1 tablespoon
Cardamom pods x 4
Cloves x 4
Bay leaf x 2
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

1. Add the oil to a large pan big enough to hold all of the ingredients. Finely chop the onions and the garlic, add to the pan and fry on a medium heat.
2. Slice the chicken into bitesized chunks, add into the same pan as the onions. While the chicken is cooking, place the spinach in a separate saucepan half full with water, boil for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
3. Once the outside of the chicken is browned off, add the ginger, chili, tinned tomatoes, coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves and seasoning (told you you’d need a big pan!) If there’s not enough liquid in the pan to cover the chicken, add a dash of water.
4. Simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the curry is piping hot. Meanwhile, drain the water from the spinach and roughly chop it.
5. Add the spinach and milk along with the garam masala and stir into the curry.
6. Cook on a low heat for another 10-15 minutes.
7. Serve with brown rice or baked potato! Yum!

The nutritional data below is based on the above curry ingredients yielding 4 portions:
CALORIES: 300kcal
TOTAL FAT: 12g
SATURATED FAT: 2g
PROTEIN: 33g