Christmas dinner straight to your door… and one doesn’t even require turning on the oven! We try 15 festive meal kits (and reveal the boxes our tasters reckon you should avoid for the big day)
- Femail tested out 15 Christmas all-in-one boxes, costing from £12 to £197.50
- READ MORE: The great Christmas sandwich taste test! FEMAIL tries 45 sarnies and wraps from supermarkets – and a VERY surprising one comes out on top
A delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings is one of the highlights of December 25th – but the task of cooking the festive feast can result in a huge amount of stress.
Those in charge of serving up the highly anticipated meal are often found in the kitchen, sweating, agitated and elbow-deep in potato shavings, while their guests likely enjoy a relaxing winter walk or a mulled wine by the fire.
There’s every chance that by the time the chef sits down to eat the festive lunch – which they’ve probably had to shop for too – any possible enjoyment they could’ve garnered from the dinner has largely vanished.
Thankfully, it no longer has to be that way, as food companies and restaurants around the UK now promise to help the hassle melt away with their handy meal kits.
They offer all the ingredients you could possibly desire, delivered straight to your door, alongside easy step-by-step instructions, or better yet, already prepared options.
So which are Yuletide saviours and which are festive flops? FEMAIL tried out 15 kits (pictured) to find the best
Designed with even the most clueless cooks in mind, some kits, such as the one offered by One Fine Dine, require no prep at all and simply need to be put in the oven or even the microwave.
Other kits are less traditional, and more luxurious, including Cook’s Beef Wellington for £90.
So which are Yuletide saviours and which are festive flops? FEMAIL tried out 15 kits costing from nearly £3 per person to find the best…
Riverford organic roast beef with black garlic and root veg gratin
Jo sampled a Christmas meat box from Riverford Organic. The Devon-based company puts sustainably farmed produce at the core of its business, with its mainstay the weekly veg boxes it delivers nationwide.
The box includes 1x organic roasting joint (500g), gratin ingredients including: root veg, cream, thyme, black garlic, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, Dijon mustard, hazelnuts and bouillon stock powder, and leeks and sprouts.
Jo sampled a Christmas meat box from Riverford Organic (pictured)
The box includes 1x organic roasting joint (500g) and gratin ingredients. Pictured, the cooked meal
JO SAID: A sizeable cardboard box was delivered to my door, with the meat separated out in a foil bag for freshness, and the rest of the ingredients in a box within the box. The meat has been pre-frozen so this one needed to be cooked up soon, although we had a ten-day use by date on the meat, which meant there was some flexibility if we didn’t want to serve it straight away.
Billed as a ‘Christmas meat box’, this dish could definitely be served anytime from autumn; its flavours were seasonal but more winter feast than December 25th. A booklet with photos tells you how to do it all – and everything from the stock to the cream and chestnuts were measured out; it was super easy to follow.
The 500g mini roasting joint of beef is complemented by a hearty black garlic-infused gratin and a lighter sprouts and leeks side. The beef was actually really easy to cook, probably due to its size – a quick sear, rest, and then in the oven for 20 minutes, before resting again.
Peeling and cooking the root veg took the longer amount of time – they went in first for 30 minutes, layered with fresh sprigs of time, before the delicious cream-based sauce, darkened by the charcoal-coloured garlic, covered them – along with a chestnut/hazelbut/breadcrumb topping – and they went back in for a final 30 minutes. The leeks and sprouts, sliced thinly and ready in a pan in less than 10 minutes were a great way to add greens.
The beef, after resting, was perfectly cooked – a good medium (just leave in for another five minutes for well done). The root veg gratin was my favourite part though, an original take on parsnips, carrots and potatoes – although the spuds could have done with a few minutes more.
This is billed as a ‘serves two’ but we were two adults and two kids and were handsomely fed, with lots of veg and some slices of beef leftover. All in all, a really delicious seasonal meal – and at around £8 each for a family of four (if you can make it stretch), great value.
The Cornish Food Box Company’s Small Box with Free Range White Turkey
Serves: 4 – 5
This traditional Christmas dinner kit from the The Cornish Food Box Company includes a whole Free-Range Cornish White Turkey, a small vegetable box, free range Cornish streaky bacon, free range Cornish chipolatas, cranberry relish, Christmas pudding and clotted cream.
The company started in December 2010, with the ‘very simple aim of making it as easy as possible for people to buy Cornish food and drink’, according to its website.
This traditional Christmas dinner kit from the The Cornish Food Box Company includes a whole Free-Range Cornish White Turkey, a small vegetable box, free range Cornish streaky bacon, free range Cornish chipolatas, cranberry relish, Christmas pudding and clotted cream
JESSICA SAID: When the plethora of ingredients from The Cornish Food Box Company arrived at my door, my very first and overriding thought was, my goodness these items really are fresh.
With plenty of dirt still on the potatoes and scrumptious-looking vegetables that looked simply perfect (rather than the ones you often find at local supermarkets, that appear far past their best), I couldn’t wait to dive into cooking the meal.
From the start, the box had all the makings of an incredible Christmas meal, with everything you could possibly want – as long as you add in your own Yorkshire Puddings – sent right to your door.
Upon plating up the meal, the smells from the kitchen were that divine that I couldn’t stop the members of my household hungrily searching for the food from stealing a few pre-dinner pieces.
When I looked at the roast potatoes, especially, I noticed that the serving size had decreased dramatically thanks to the impatient relatives… and who could blame them, for they really were the star of the show.
Boasting a bite on the outside, and a creamy softness on the inside, they were utter perfection, only slightly placed as the favourite above the show-stopping turkey, which was juicy, moreish and oh-so tasty.
This meal didn’t rely on any fanciness or big flavours, instead it offered incredible, fresh ingredients – from the gorgeous parsnips to the crunchy carrots, every part had its time to shine.
Taking notes from the aforementioned household members, there was only one slight criticism… which most were hesitant to offer up when dealing with such a mouth-watering meal overall.
Some suggested the bacon was too thick to complement the sausage, making the pigs and blankets less enjoyable. In fact, most of us just separated the two products and enjoyed them apart.
Overall, this is a box that we’ll likely order again and again, and days later, was still being praised in my household. It was definitely worthy of the full five out of five rating.
HelloFresh Traditional Christmas Feast
Cost: £22.50 (per person)
The HelloFresh Traditional Christmas Feast includes a turkey crown, pork and cranberry stuffing balls, pigs in blankets, honey and thyme root veg, sprout and bacon gratin, turkey gravy, roast potatoes and the option for millionaire’s cheesecake Christmas puddings.
It also arrives with a booklet where you’ll find an ingredients checklist, step-by-step recipes for each dish and a timing plan, to make cooking dinner as stress-free as possible.
The HelloFresh Traditional Christmas Feast includes a turkey crown, pork and cranberry stuffing balls, pigs in blankets, honey and thyme root veg, sprout and bacon gratin, turkey gravy and roast potatoes
It also arrives with a booklet where you’ll find an ingredients checklist, step-by-step recipes for each dish and a timing plan, to make cooking the dinner (pictured) as stress-free as possible
JESSICA SAID: It’s fair to say, as someone who isn’t always the greatest cook, HelloFresh has come to my rescue once or twice before – and they didn’t disappoint this time around.
The brand’s Christmas box includes crystal clear instructions that even a novice like myself can follow – and, spoiler alert, you end up with a meal that surprisingly even leaves the more experienced chefs applauding.
Providing step-by-step orders to ensure you prepare and cook the dishes correctly, there’s not a lot that can go wrong with this dinner, perhaps ideal for Christmas Day when a cook’s stress is likely at its highest.
Not only was I delighted by the clear method, but equally impressed with the produce, that appeared fresh, with everything portioned out perfectly so that I didn’t have to worry about any waste.
I also didn’t feel like anything was missing, with everything I’d want from a traditional Christmas dinner covered. You had your pigs in blankets, your carrots, parsnips, sprouts, red cabbage, stuffing and roast potatoes, topped off with a turkey.
After trying my dinner, my relatives were full of praise – which is a win in my book. I couldn’t fault this meal and I’d definitely try out this option again, and especially for stressful occasions like cooking the Christmas dinner.
Abel and Cole The Vegan Christmas Feast Recipe Box, Organic
This festive feast from Abel and Cole comes complete with all the ingredients and instructions you’ll need for a vegan-friendly Christmas dinner, starring two Winter Root Veg Wellingtons.
There’s also homemade gravy, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts with sage and chestnuts, ginger and cardamom carrots, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes and cumin roast parsnips.
This festive feast from Abel and Cole comes complete with all the ingredients and instructions you’ll need for a vegan-friendly Christmas dinner, starring two Winter Root Veg Wellingtons
There’s also homemade gravy, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts with sage and chestnuts, ginger and cardamom carrots, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes and cumin roast parsnips
KYLE SAID: The vegan Christmas meal kit from Abel and Cole was extremely well packaged and nothing was damaged in transit. Thankfully, there also wasn’t too much plastic involved in the packaging, instead the vegetables, for instance, were wrapped in paper bags.
The meal was easy to cook, with a method supplied and the end result was really tasty. The wellington was without question, the real star of the show. A lot of the time, vegan options can be dry and tasteless if not done well. But this main was tender, flavoursome and moreish.
Even the sides – such as the sprouts, carrots and red cabbage – were impressive. The parsnips were gorgeous, and I don’t like them usually. In our eyes, it was just missing some stuffing. But overall, it was an incredible dinner and my family loved it. We’d definitely have it again. It was really good value and would’ve easily fed six people if not more.
Cook’s Beef Wellington
Cook’s Beef Wellington is a seared fillet of beef topped with a porcini and Portobello mushroom duxelle and chicken liver paté, wrapped in puff pastry and served with a port and red wine jus.
If you want to get all your Christmas dinner items from one place, Cook also offers sides such as dauphinoise potatoes, creamy mash, red cabbage and Tenderstem broccoli.
Cook’s Beef Wellington is a seared fillet of beef topped with a porcini and Portobello mushroom duxelle and chicken liver paté, wrapped in puff pastry and served with a port and red wine jus
Jess tried Cook’s beef wellington and said: ‘The wellington arrives with itself and a pot of red wine jus’
JESS SAID: I couldn’t hide my disappointment when Cook’s beef wellington was delivered to my door and, as I took the box from the delivery driver, I could feel the wellington itself sliding around inside it. No trimmings included for £90?
I thought that was a little bit stingy, but assumed I was being unreasonable (it’s not uncommon) and popped to the supermarket to pick up my veg.
In fact, the wellington arrives with itself and a pot of red wine jus. And perhaps I was being unreasonable, because the joint was actually enormous. The packet says it serves six people, but I think this could be stretched to more with a full table of roast potatoes, carrots and greens.
One thing to note if you order this product – it must be defrosted in the fridge for 36 hours before it goes in the oven. Unfortunately it arrived on Saturday afternoon and I needed to cook it the following day (who’s eating a beef Wellington on a Monday?) so I didn’t give it enough time to defrost.
The defrosting issue affected the pastry a little as more water seeped out, giving it a dreaded soggy bottom. Meanwhile the top came out a tiny bit burnt.
But thankfully, the meat wasn’t affected at all, and the joint came out beautifully medium rare.
Upon tasting the wellington, the beef was incredibly tender and juicy, with a hit of saltiness from the mushroom duxelle and the chicken liver paté. The pastry wasn’t perfect, but I think with enough time to defrost the results would be much better.
I went to bed with a full stomach and concluded I was definitely being unreasonable when I thought £90 was stingy for such a fantastic meal.
One Fine Dine
One Fine Dine’s Festive Menu lets customers pick from the Norfolk Bronze Turkey Paupiette wrapped in streaky bacon and crammed with chestnut & sage stuffing or the Fillet of Denham Vale Beef, complete with fondant potatoes, wilted spinach, and red wine jus.
For those who prefer a vegetarian option, there is the meat-free Pistachio & Chestnut Roast, with all the trimmings to satisfy that craving for a classic Christmas dinner. The kit also comes complete with both a starter and dessert for each guest, as well as a bottle of wine.
One Fine Dine’s Festive Menu lets customers pick from the Norfolk Bronze Turkey Paupiette wrapped in streaky bacon and crammed with chestnut & sage stuffing (pictured) or the Fillet of Denham Vale Beef, complete with fondant potatoes, wilted spinach, and red wine jus
JESSICA SAID: If you’re looking for a completely hassle-free Christmas dinner, one so easy that you can keep sipping your mulled wine and playing card games with your family, without constantly popping into the kitchen, then this meal kit is for you.
The One Fine Dine option is a super luxurious meal, with all the items packaged individually in clearly labelled trays. The best part? There’s no preparation time needed at all.
All you need to do is warm up the various elements – from a tasty turkey filled with stuffing to delicious fondant potatoes – either in a microwave or in the oven, and then enjoy a mouthwatering dinner that you’ll struggle to believe has arrived from your kitchen rather than a Michelin-star restaurant.
If you’re looking for a standout meal on the 25th December, without the stress of shopping and having to find different recipes, then this would be a great addition to your big day – as long as you accept that you’re paying the price for quality.
Chefs for Foodies Ultimate Turkey Christmas Dinner Recipe Kit
Rebekah tried the Chefs for Foodies Ultimate Turkey Christmas Dinner Recipe Kit, offering a convenient solution for those with busy schedules.
The Ultimate Turkey Christmas Dinner provides a comprehensive main meal for six, featuring a turkey breast joint, Parma ham, pigs in blankets, and sage and onion stuffing. The package also includes traditional trimmings, such as carrots, sprouts and roast potatoes, along with an indulgent bottle of red wine to complement the full course.
Rebekah tried the Chefs for Foodies Ultimate Turkey Christmas Dinner Recipe Kit, offering a convenient solution for those with busy schedules
The Ultimate Turkey Christmas Dinner provides a comprehensive main meal for six, featuring a turkey breast joint, Parma ham, pigs in blankets, and sage and onion stuffing
REBEKAH SAYS: This all-encompassing kit contains every single ingredient needed to prepare a decadent Christmas dinner, from the succulent turkey to cooking wine, butter and fresh parsley.
The items arrived well-packaged and clearly labelled, with a QR code for accessing the full recipe. Be sure to have a recycling bag nearby as there is a fair amount of packaging to dispose of.
Admittedly, I left my husband in charge of cooking the turkey breast joint, following instructions to wrap it in Parma ham and top with parsley, before placing in the oven. He recommends using a probe thermometer to make sure the bird reaches optimum temperature and doesn’t overcook.
The superior quality of the meat was immediately evident and we were highly impressed by the generous portion sizes. Bursting with flavour, it certainly stole the show at our dinner table.
While the turkey was cooking, we prepared the pigs in blankets using sausages and skewers from the kit. The process was straightforward: stack three or four sausages on each skewer and bake in the oven. These little bundles of joy turned out to be my favourite part of the meal and disappeared faster than you could say ‘Merry Christmas!’.
Next, we used the provided ingredients – butter, sugar, maple syrup and smoked salt – to create delicious roasted carrots. Although we left out the chilli flakes, we are confident the vegetables tasted just as great – the subtle smokiness and hint of sweetness elevated this side dish to new heights.
For the Brussels sprouts, the kit instructed dressing them in butter, lemon, vegetable stock, white wine, fresh thyme and garlic, adding bacon lardons for a mouth-watering contrast. The fresh twist on the classic dish brought a burst of brightness to our plates.
No festive dinner is complete without roast potatoes and these only needed a sprinkling of sea salt and oil to crisp to perfection. However, we chose not to include the garlic cloves.
The set came complete with turkey gravy and cranberry sauce, catering to different tastes. One disappointment was the limited quantity of gravy, barely serving four.
Despite this, the overall food quality was excellent, making this kit a convenient solution for those with limited time for ingredient shopping. So you can bid farewell to frantic dashes to the supermarket for that forgotten herb or crucial bottle of wine!
Unless you prefer plain food, a little effort is required in adding the various seasonings, but we found it to be an enjoyable part of the experience.
The Côte Christmas Chateaubriand Feast
Côte restaurants, known for its quality, French-inspired menu and decadent at-home dinner kits, has launched a range of festive feasts with a French twist.
Designed by Gordon Ramsey’s former Executive Chef, Steve Allen, the range includes three variations of Christmas dinners and Jessica tried the The Côte Christmas Chateaubriand Feast.
It includes pigs in blankets, spiced braised red cabbage, truffle gratin dauphinois potatoes, roasted parsnips with chestnuts, carrot and swede purée and cranberry & thyme jus.
Côte restaurants, known for its quality, French-inspired menu and decadent at-home dinner kits, has launched a range of festive feasts with a French twist
Designed by Gordon Ramsey’s former Executive Chef, Steve Allen, the range includes three variations of Christmas dinners and Jessica tried the The Côte Christmas Chateaubriand Feast (pictured)
JESSICA SAID: Beautifully packaged, clearly labelled and offering generous portion sizes, I was instantly impressed upon seeing the Côte Christmas dinner.
Despite my apprehension that I wouldn’t be able to do the luxurious ingredients justice, everything was easy to cook and smelt delicious.
Sent with clear instructions, it was sectioned into the different elements, with the portions all pre-made, meaning there was no preparation time needed.
The meat was succulent and tender, while the stuffing balls were a surprise hit amongst my guests. The juicy pigs and blankets were equally impressive. Everything had its place amongst the dinner and each part of the dish complemented each other well.
The only exception to this was the gravy, which was too rich for most of our tastes and overpowering with its thyme and cranberry flavours.
I also missed the addition of roast potatoes, with the truffle gratin dauphinois potatoes not proving to be a completely worthy substitute when thinking about an ideal Christmas dinner.
But overall, if you want to offer a slight alternative to a traditional roast on the big day, then this meal is a lavish substitute at a reasonable price for the fresh ingredients used and the portions offered.
Rick Stein’s Luxury Christmas Seafood platter
Don’t fancy a traditional Christmas dinner? A seafood lover who would prefer lobster over a turkey? Then Rick Stein has you covered with his Luxury Christmas Seafood platter. The box includes Cornish lobster, smoked salmon, cooked Prawns, smoked Mackerel fillets, smoked Salmon pate and sauces.
Don’t fancy a traditional Christmas dinner? A seafood lover who would prefer lobster over a turkey? Then Rick Stein has you covered with his Luxury Christmas Seafood platter
The box includes Cornish lobster, smoked salmon, cooked Prawns, smoked Mackerel fillets, smoked Salmon pate and sauces
JESS SAID: I adore seafood. I certainly enjoy eating fish more than your average roast dinner, so when I heard there was a Rick Stein platter up for grabs, I jumped at the chance.
But in a very inconvenient and unexpected turn of events, I came down with Covid just a few days before the platter was due to arrive at my door. And, as much as I love ingredients like lobster, crab and prawns, I wasn’t so keen to eat them while I had a throat like sandpaper and was coughing up my guts every five minutes.
So I had to execute plan B with the platter, and stuck every element in the freezer until I felt well enough to defrost and eat it all. It seemed a shame to freeze such fresh ingredients, but better that than letting it go to waste.
Thankfully, the fish was such high-quality that, even when defrosted, it tasted fantastic. Included in the platter were mackerel fillets, a whole lobster, enormous prawns, crab meat, smoked salmon and a silky-smooth salmon paté. It also came with marie rose sauce and aioli, and two lemons for freshness (although admittedly, I had to buy a new lemon to garnish the plate when I eventually sat down to eat it).
As it was just me eating the platter, I dressed up the plate with slightly fewer ingredients than what was provided (the platter gives you twice the number of mackerel fillets and prawns than I presented) but again, I didn’t want to be wasteful.
And boy, was it a treat. The prawns were juicy and sweet, delicious dipped in the marie rose sauce. The crab meat, too, had a natural sweetness and was perfectly light.
I’m not a great lover of mackerel compared to the other elements in the platter, but I still enjoyed the smoky saltiness of the fillers (and mixed the rest with some creme fraiche on toast later on). Although the lobster was the most majestic element on the platter, its taste didn’t live up to the other elements on the plate in my opinion.
For me, the standout element in terms of flavour was the smoked salmon. I didn’t expect it, but I think it was the tastiest smoked salmon I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Even better when consumed with a squeeze of lemon juice to bring a little sharpness.
Overall, a fantastic Christmas alternative. The price of £120 will be considered steep by many, and understandably so amid a cost-of-living crisis, but if you’re sick of turkey and it’s within your budget, I’d recommend this platter.
Pipers Farm The Christmas Turkey & Trimmings Box and Mash Direct Roast Dinner Sides
Jessica tried the Pipers Farm’s The Christmas Turkey & Trimmings Box (£42.20) and the Mash Direct Roast Dinner Sides (£20).
The Pipers Farm box boasts award winning free range rolled turkey breast and leg stuffed with a handmade sage and onion sausagemeat stuffing as well as pigs in blankets and turkey stock for gravy.
Meanwhile, the Mash Direct Roast Dinner Sides include mashed carrot and parsnip, cauliflower cheese gratin, green cabbage, mashed potato, red cabbage and beetroot and roast potatoes.
Jessica tried the Pipers Farm’s The Christmas Turkey & Trimmings Box (£42.20) and the Mash Direct Roast Dinner Sides (pictured) (£20)
The Mash Direct Roast Dinner Sides include mashed carrot and parsnip, cauliflower cheese gratin, green cabbage, mashed potato, red cabbage and beetroot and roast potatoes
The Pipers Farm box boasts award winning free range rolled turkey breast and leg stuffed with a handmade sage and onion sausagemeat stuffing as well as pigs in blankets and turkey stock for gravy
JESSICA SAID: For the Pipers Farm selection of meat, the pigs and blankets stole the show. They were a good size, fantastic taste and just the right portion of bacon and sausage in each serving. The turkey, meanwhile, was tender and melted in your mouth with every bite. It was succulent and carved like a dream.
The only slight fault that I could find, was the stuffing placed inside the meat was slightly soggy and soft after being cooked – and you wouldn’t achieve anything different without possibly ruining the amazing texture and taste of the meat itself. Some perhaps like their stuffing softer, but I’d prefer a little bite to it.
I paired the Pipers Farm meats with Mash Direct Roast Dinner Sides. The box of sides offered a wide ranging collection, from green cabbage to roast potatoes and an array of mashed options.
Perhaps too many mashed options for my taste, since a couple seemed puréed unnecessarily, such as the carrot and parsnips. But if you prefer soft options for your sides, then the box is definitely for you.
They’re labelled clearly, require no prep, easy to warm up and lovely to eat, having been cooked ‘fresh on the farm’.
Indulge dining beef wellington
Siofra tried out the luxurious Beef Wellington menu from Indulge Dining. It boasts a mince pie infused gin and ginger cocktail, a smoked salmon, crab, fennel and apple starter, as well as brie, cranberry and beetroot.
For the main, the beef wellington is paired with roast potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower cheese, red cabbage, Yorkshire puddings, glazed carrot, pigs in blankets, stuffing, Brussels sprouts with chestnut and pancetta and gravy. Finally, the sweet treat is chocolate, gingerbread, clementine and vanilla as well as mulled wine macarons.
Siofra tried out the luxurious Beef Wellington menu from Indulge Dining. It boasts a mince pie infused gin and ginger cocktail, a smoked salmon, crab, fennel and apple starter (pictured), as well as brie, cranberry and beetroot
For the main (pictured), the beef wellington is paired with roast potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower cheese, red cabbage, Yorkshire puddings, glazed carrot, pigs in blankets, stuffing, Brussels sprouts with chestnut and pancetta and gravy
Finally, the sweet treat (pictured) is chocolate, gingerbread, clementine and vanilla as well as mulled wine macarons
SIOFRA SAID: Whether you’re after a non-traditional Christmas feast just to shake things up or you’re having a small celebration and don’t want the effort of cooking a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings, it’s always nice to break the pattern and try somethings different. So I was keen to try this beef wellington meal kit as a change from turkey. Complete with purees, gels and edible flowers, it promises something really special made easy, and you even get canapes and petit fours for that really indulgent feel.
We started with beetroot tartlets with a creamy brie topping, although my initial efforts with the piping bag were a bit messy – a taste of things to come. Starter was smoked salmon and crab with chopped apple to cut through the richness, and it was tasty and light, which is a good thing prior to the feast ahead.
When it came to the main course things started to get a bit confusing with timings. I had to read over it quite a few times to get a handle on it, and some of the advice didn’t quite marry up. For example – the pigs in blankets were meant to take 20 minutes, but the Wellington needed 15 minutes resting time after cooking. So if you put them in at the time the recipe card advised they would have come out burned!
There’s no doubt that the array of sides on offer was really impressive – stuffing, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, braised red cabbage, sprouts, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, gravy – it was a huge feast that even my biggest dinner plates couldn’t quite contain.
The meat in the wellington was absolutely delicious – really tender and melt-in-the-mouth. I’d be more than happy to have this as the centrepiece of a Christmas feast. However, the roast potatoes were a bit disappointing and not particularly tasty, whereas you get a much better flavour when you cook them alongside a joint of meat.
Chocolate mousse for dessert was tasty but the unexpected hit was the macarons with mulled wine cream – it was a really tangy and memorable flavour and the purple colour was a fun touch. The portions were huge and we had enough left over to have a full lunch for two people then next day, plus a few macarons and a chocolate mousse there was no room for.
Overall, the kit is a bit fiddly and while the different gels and creams that you get to assemble the dishes are a nice touch, you are never going to achieve Michelin-star presentation in your own kitchen (or at least I am not!) without spending a great deal of time and care over it, which a meal kit is supposed to eliminate to some extent. I thought the wellington was really good quality but if I was having it on Christmas day, I’d probably rather just have this on its own and make the starters and sides myself with fresh veg and potatoes – even if it does mean a bit more chopping!
The Côte Christmas Vegetarian Feast
This feast from Côte includes individual goat’s cheese and butternut squash pithiviers served with all the trimmings including spiced braised red cabbage, truffle gratin dauphinois potatoes, roasted parsnips with chestnuts, carrot and swede purée and cranberry and thyme jus.
It arrives prepared and ready to place in the oven with clear timing and direction. From start to finish, all dishes will be ready to serve up in less than three hours.
This feast from Côte includes individual goat’s cheese and butternut squash pithiviers served with all the trimmings including spiced braised red cabbage, truffle gratin dauphinois potatoes, roasted parsnips with chestnuts, carrot and swede purée and cranberry and thyme jus
It arrives prepared and ready to place in the oven with clear timing and direction. From start to finish, all dishes will be ready to serve up in less than three hours
BRIDIE SAID: This was beautifully presented, nicely packaged and very easy to cook. It arrived in sleek navy packaging and easily fit in the fridge.
Unfortunately, it was lacking a real star in terms of the food itself. While each item was quite nice, it felt like an array of side dishes with no main.
What was suppose to be the main – the Goat’s Cheese and Butternut Squash Pithiviers – tasted very similar to Chestnuts, Carrot & Swede Purée. Overall it was missing a real umani dish to be the star of the show.
The portions were also strange, the Truffle Gratin Dauphinois Potatoes, were delicious, and big enough to feed a small army, while the portions of Carrot & Swede Purée and Roasted Parsnips with Chestnuts were much less generous.
I think this would be a great way to get a bunch of sides alongside a main – but there was no showstopper, centrepiece.
The Pithiviers were a bit anaemic looking, and the flavours were too similar. Despite a bit of flavour with Cranberry & Thyme Jus and Spiced Braised Red Cabbage it was a lot of the same.
A big pro was that it was incredibly easy to cook, apart from some struggles with oven space.
The dessert as Bûche de Noël (an extra £15.95) – a classic French chocolate yule log with whirls of moist chocolate sponge and rich chocolate icing with hazelnuts, served with brandy clotted cream was a saving grace. Rich, chocolately, perfection.
Overall, the Dauphinois Potatoes were fabulous too, creamy, earthy, garlicly joy – but it needed a good protein to hook it all together.
Gousto’s Turkey Christmas Dinner In An Hour
Cost: £47.85 (for a box of four recipes)
The Gousto Turkey Christmas Dinner In An Hour includes turkey, pigs in blankets, gravy, roasties, buttered parsnips, braised red cabbage and roasted Brussels sprouts.
The Gousto Turkey Christmas Dinner In An Hour includes turkey, pigs in blankets, gravy, roasties, buttered parsnips, braised red cabbage and roasted Brussels sprouts
Jessica tried the Gousto Christmas dinner (pictured), which includes stuffing, parsnips and carrots
JESSICA SAID: As a home cook who is likely to ruin dinner without clear instructions and exact ingredients, a Gousto box here and there is often a go-to of mine.
So, after experiencing the brand’s great quality meals plenty of times before (with their plant-based curries being a firm favourite of mine), I was excited to try out their festive offering.
It all started off rather well, with the box arriving with simple instructions that any novice cook could surely follow and vegetables and meat dishes that appeared fresh enough. Nothing was too difficult to make – or too time consuming, thankfully.
But my first hint that it wouldn’t be a Christmas dinner for the ages was when I couldn’t smell much of anything – there was also no relatives wandering into the kitchen to find out what foods were behind the delicious scents.
Upon plating up the meal and trying it out, I felt it was rather lacking any kind of wow factor. Everything was fine, but just simply fine. Even the turkey wasn’t a crowd-pleaser.
The biggest sign that it didn’t hit the spot with my family members was the plates of leftovers that I had to clean up after the dinner.
Overall, while it wasn’t offensive in any way, shape or form, it also wasn’t a masterpiece. It would be fine for an average Sunday roast, but is somewhat lacking for a Christmas dinner. But perhaps I had been expecting too much when it costs under £3 per person and takes only an hour to make.
Cost: £66 (for a box of four recipes)
Kyle tried a Mindful Chef festive box, specifically the Festive Nut Roast with Cranberry Gravy. It arrives alongside carrots, parsnips and broccoli. The nut roast is stuffed with almonds, chestnuts and pistachios.
Kyle tried a Mindful Chef festive box, specifically the Festive Nut Roast with Cranberry Gravy
It arrives alongside carrots, parsnips and broccoli. The nut roast (pictured) is stuffed with almonds, chestnuts and pistachios
KYLE SAID: I’ve been a vegan for several years, so as you can imagine, a nut roast is a staple of our house – especially at Christmas.
But to say this wasn’t the greatest I’d ever tasted would be somewhat of an understatement. The flavour was certainly lacking.
The delivery of the box started off well, with the instructions clearly spelled out and the ingredients all looking fresh and a good portion size. I also liked the fact that everything was already measured out so that waste was at a minimal.
But after serving up the dish, I found not only was the nutty flavour not very nutty, but it also didn’t look very appealing either and was quite dry.
I hoped the gravy being poured over the main, as well as the vegetables of parsnips, carrots and broccoli would help, but I found it far too rich and overpowering for the dinner.
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