My week with “dinner twist”

As my food blogger alter ego, Perth Munchkin, every now and then I get emails with invitations to do cool food related things. I’m very spoilt and feel very fortunate that a few folks read my foodie musings. An email I received the other week was from a lovely lady who had recently started up her own “dinner twist” business. Now I’ll admit that the concept of dinner twist was foreign to me before I received the email, but speaking of foreign I was told it was huge in Scandinavia. So I was asked in the email if I was interested in sampling a dinner twist grocery bag and letting them know my thoughts. I am always happy to share any food related thoughts and hard to say no to someone saving you the job of a weekly food shop! Plus the whole idea of it had me more than a little interested, so sure I said…. sign me up please!

Ahead of the date my groceries were to be delivered I received an email outlining the few basic ingredients we would need – very usual cupboard products like salt, pepper, oil, stock cubes…. the only think I didn’t have was Sambal Oelek (chilli paste) so I visited the local IGA and got myself a jar and then it was all about waiting for delivery day! The lovely couple behind Perth dinner twist, we’ll call them Mr and Mrs Sweden drove all the way to my house to deliver our grocery bags. With dinner twist how it works is that they will bring you all the fruit and vegies and meat/fish/poultry that you will need to cook 5 meals for 4 people. So generally if you receive their deliveries regularly they’ll bring these sized bags once a fortnight, so it assumes that it wont be 5 nights in a row that you’ll be having then, you might have one every second night. They also include the recipes for 5 meals so all the ingredients you receive are to be used to make them. So the benefit right there is that it’s likely a few recipes you perhaps haven’t tried before. I know that generally for week day meals I stick with what I know…. chicken and vegies, steak and mash, spag bol….. now nothing wrong with these, but the thought of a few new meals was an exciting prospect.

So the lovely Mr and Mrs Sweden came around and dropped off our groceries and it was seriously so exciting looking through the bags – much more fun that when I just go to Coles myself – and then reading through the recipes! Everything sounded great and all the ingredients looked so wonderful fresh! My biggest challenge was finding room in the fridge for everything!

Our five recipes for the week were:

1. Rhubarb Chicken

2. Pasta Salad with Oranges

3. Herbed Fish

4. Pork Fillet with Oven Roasted Veg

5. Meatball Sandwiches

The recipes were all easily laid out and to provide further explanation there was a guide on the back as to what ingredients belonged with what recipe. They were making it too easy for us!

The first recipe we tried was the Herbed Fish.

Lovely snapper fillets from Catalanos were laid on top a bed of thinly sliced potatoes then sprinkled with a herbed bread crumb mix and baked in the oven. Spritz on some lemon at the end and you are good to go.

Oh and plus there was a simple carrot side salad that added to our daily vegie count…. Have you had your two fruit and five veg? 🙂

Our first taste of the recipes had gone well. We’d enjoyed the flavours, all the ingredients, from the spuds to the snapper to the fresh herbs they provide had all been really good quality and it was a nice, well-balanced meal. Quantity wise it was definitely more than 2 people could handle, but we had been told they were designed for four and were not disappointed to be taking such tasty leftovers to work.

Day two we tried the meatball subs. Ciabatta bread rolls from Ahbi’s Bakery were included in our delivery, so the most time consuming part of the preparation of this meal was in making the meat balls. Nice lean mince was provided and it wasn’t too tricky to mix it all together with a little garlic and a few of the herbs to create some really tasty meatballs.

Cook those up and they went on the lightly toasted rolls along with Jalsberg cheese and a red cabbage coleslaw style mix. It was a really tasty combo and any heaviness from the meat and cheese combination was well countered by the refreshing crunchy cabbage. And again a side salad. There was no going hungry with these meals! So yes, for us eating a meatball sandwich for dinner was something different and perhaps initially I had considered it more of a lunch food, but it was very tasty and incredibly filling and made for a pleasant dinner.

Day 3 and it was time for the rhubarb chicken. Now I’d never cooked with rhubarb before and while I’m sure I must have had it in something before I suspect that had been in something more desert based, where the rhubarb had been stewed in copious amount of sugar. So to see rhubarb as an ingredient in a savoury chicken meal had me intrigued.

GG and I worked together, he cut up the chicken and prepared the sauce, while I peeled and diced the rhubarb.

Now from looking at it I had assumed that rhubarb would taste like red celery. Definitely not though. Quite strong flavour with a really tart, zappy finish. Wowsers, how would this work with the chook?? So you brown the chicken and put that in a baking dish with the rhubarb, then pour on the sauce of cream, garlic and chilli paste and leave it for around 15 to 20 minutes.

I really didn’t know what to expect. This course was served with steamed rice and green beans.

I served mine (girl size)…

and GG’s plates (boy size)

and cautiously took a bite of some of the rice and sauce with a piece of rhubarb. It was delicious!!! Creamy with a little spice and the rhubarb was just the perfect inclusion. Plus cooking the chicken that way it was just crazy moist – oh the three meals this was definitely my favourite so far!

I wanted to space out the indulgent luxury of something having pre planned meals for me so we took a night off on the Friday and prepared our fourth meal on Saturday night, which was the pork fillet with oven roasted veg. Delightfully easy approach for the veg – cut them all up, including the corn cobs, splash on a little olive oil and put in the oven. Too easy!

Similarly for the pork, brown in a pan and remove, then mix up the creamy mustardy sauce and put the pork back in.

I had been convinced that nothing would knock off the rhubarb chicken as my favourite dish, but as I bit into the melt in your mouth pork fillet with its lovely sauce I wasn’t sure which was my favourite any more. Especially after I tasted oven roasted corn – how easy and delicious is it!! I think that it was pretty much a tie between these two for me. Equal favourites because of their beautiful ingredients and interesting flavour combinations. Though on the interesting front here, I would add that I had found the inclusion of cucumber with this meal a little different. Yes, it was very refreshing but it almost seemed a litte out of place with the roasted vegetables? Mixing it up I suppose 🙂

The final meal we had, I actually ended up preparing for our lunch on Sunday. It was the pasta salad with orange and i’ll have to say it was probably the one that I was least looking forward to. Not so much because of any type of fault with the recipe, I’ve just never been a creamy pasta salad fan. But I thought I’d liked everything else on the dinner twist menu so I cut up the black forest ham, diced up the fresh orange slices and the avocado and mixed it through the macaroni and the sour cream and cream with a little salt and pepper.

And I’ll admit that while I didn’t love it like I did the rhubarb chicken or the divine pork fillet dish, it was still very filling and not short of quality ingredients – balanced out carbs with protein and an interesting fruit and veg mix – all in one bowl! I suppose it reflects that the balance of recipes for our dinner twist bag had varied from fairly simple on the preparation front to slightly more time intensive.

So with our pasta salad eaten we had concluded our dinner twist adventure. I’d really enjoyed the experience. For GG and I we saw the key advantages being:

  • Quality – no doubt about the high quality of everything delivered – fresh and fabulous!
  • Convenience – not having to spend as much time food shopping with 5 dinners taken care of (and as many lunches for us, given everything served 4)
  • Variety – we got to try new recipes that we wouldn’t normally, especially my intro to rhubarb – very grateful for that!
  • Taste – following on from my variety comment above, there were some new flavour combinations that we had really enjoyed – especially some of the sauce

Now I was very lucky and was given a complimentary bag of groceries by Mr and Mrs Sweden of the Perth dinner twist team. GG and I were willing guinea pigs and very grateful for the opportunity to see how it all worked 🙂 I had spent some time looking through their website once I had heard about dinner twist – One aspect I had been curious about was cost. Looking on the website there are several options – all centred on the one bag containing 5 meals to be delivered on a fortnightly basis. If there is something you are interested in on a more regularly then you can pay $139 per fortnight, with your first bag being discounted at $99. Alternatively instead of the subscription option you can just pay for a one off bag for $139, where similary to the one we were given, it will include all the ingredients for 5 meals for 4 people. And for families of more than 4, there is always the double bag option, or if you are just keen on ensuring you have dinners covered for 4 for 10 days and they are $259with your first bag just $198. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sceptic on well everything these days and I wondered how these prices compared with the stores. As they outline on the website, “For the sake of comparison, we purchased all the products for the sample menu from a larger supermarket selecting their meat, chicken and fish. The price came to $109.89 .” So what that means is that for only 30 bucks extra you are getting your groceries delivered to your door and have all the dinner recipes provided. I think it’s that convenience factor that would definitely appeal to either busy couples or families or even individuals with big appetites 🙂

So if are keen to try it out then first best to head to the website and check if you are in the team’s current delivery area

It’s something new and different and GG and I say a big thank you for our chance to get our dinner twist on!

And if you head to the dinner twist facebook page (!/dinnertwist) they’ve even suggested that a dinner twist bag could be a good Mother’s Day idea – pretty sure many mums out there would be happy to have a few nights of dinner made easier for them with a few of the delicious dinner twist meals 🙂

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