I love cooking, genuinely. But I always struggle to keep ingredients at home. And often when I discover an awesome new recipe, I only have half of what I’d require, which can be very frustrating. But this is exactly where UCOOK comes in – a Cape Town meal kit service that delivers the best recipes and freshest ingredients straight to your front door every week, ensuring that you can whip up something delicious every night of the week.
The UCOOK promise?
Turning every bland home cook into a master chef!
Sounds pretty great, right?! Added to that, there is a very strong focus on ethically-sourced and organic produce, as well as the fact that UCOOK supports local purveyors and rural and urban farming projects, making it a definite winner in my books!
Now, in practice, is that even possible? Can anyone just whip out a restaurant-quality meal once given the right ingredients and a recipe to follow?
Turns out, it works really, really well.
We’ll share more of our UCOOK review below but, first, here are some more must-know details about UCOOK.
The UCOOK Meal Kits & Prices
The first thing that may interest you is the UCOOK menu.
While the actual dishes change weekly, there are a few staples that UCOOK guarantees, which are featured in their Meal Kit Plans options.
UCOOK offers three different plans:
- Easy Peasy: This is the standard, offering a selection of effortless recipes
- Vegetarian: The same ease, but all recipes are meat-free
- Health Nut: All of these recipes are for the carb-conscious
Plans begin from R265 but exact prices for each plan differ according to the number of recipes chosen per week and the quantity required.
Each week, UCOOK also updates its weekly dishes – from the creative culinary minds of the UCOOK experts and South Africa’s best culinary talent.
Look out for their featured dishes from some of the best restaurants around.
The chefs create 9 new recipes weekly, plus you’ll also get access to 3 new Hall of Fame favourites every week.
UCOOK Craft Meals: The Brand New Frozen Meal Alternative
Knowing that you won’t always have time to undergo the UCOOK meal kit adventure and create a restaurant-quality meal from scratch, UCOOK has now launched their Craft Meals, a frozen meal alternative.
The frozen meals are available online without a subscription or as part of your weekly UCOOK meal kit.
They’re also available at select Pick n Pay stores. I first spotted them at the V&A Waterfront PnP.
The UCOOK Craft Meals range has launched with 8 frozen meal options, designed by some of SA’s best chefs, and you’ll find vegan, vegetarian, and meaty options.
The meals are prepped and flash-frozen to stop ice crystals from building up, locking in tons of nutrients, and preserving those all-important textures.
And the taste? I was lucky enough to try these at a private tasting – and, yes, these goodies are definitely very yummy.
There are various portion sizes available, and prices start from R59.
Delivery is free of charge (i.e. included in your meal plan option), and takes place on Sundays or Mondays, depending on your location.
All ingredients are delivered to your home or work address in an insulated box with ice packs, which can stay cold for up to 12 hours.
Cape Town Suppliers
As mentioned, UCOOK collaborates with local purveyors and rural and urban farming projects.
This is a great initiative to support local and adds that extra emphasis on freshness and quality. We’ve worked with many of the UCOOK suppliers individually and can vouch for their excellence.
Some of the Cape Town suppliers include:
- Pesto Princess
- Green Fish
- Gay’s Dairy
- High Veg
- Ryan Boon
- Three Streams
They also have more supplier info online.
The UCOOK Promise
Yes, UCOOK promises to turn you into a master chef, and the I Love Foodies team has tried UCOOK both at media events and at home.
And, yes, it works.
With an easy-to-follow recipe and perfectly-portioned ingredients, UCOOK will turn you from no-cook to show-cook!
The I Love Foodies UCOOK Review
So, I recently tried out the UCOOK meal kit service and was thoroughly impressed.
The website is pretty easy to navigate.
To start off, all you need to do is set up an account and select the number of people in your household and the number of meals you’d require per week.
From there, you can browse the weekly menu and choose all the meals that you’d like to try. I opted for 3 recipes for 2 people.
The recipes I chose included:
- Epice’s fragrant hake with creamy chowder, sauteed leeks, and roast potatoes
- Gourmet caper-garlic pork with roast butternut & a pink lady apple salad
- Italian-style chicken breast with a ricotta, basil, and sun-dried tomato stuffing
Delivery & Ingredients
All ingredients were delivered, as promised, in an insulated box with ice packs.
Conveniently, ingredients for each dish were packed together in a brown paper bag, so I knew exactly what went where.
While unpacking, I simply placed all ingredients for the correct recipe in a Tupperware and sorted them according to ‘use by’ date.
Each recipe card indicates how long the ingredients can be kept for, which is super handy.
Then, I planned my meals for the week according to the use-by date.
All ingredients are supplied in perfectly-portioned packages.
While I’d need to confirm the environmental impact of this and am not 100% sure what type of packaging UCOOK uses, cooking in this way does make it easier on you. There’s no need to measure out any ingredients, and you can simply combine as recommended by the recipe.
The UCOOK Recipes
Epice’s Fragrant Hake
This recipe was probably my favourite of them all as it resulted in the most restaurant-quality dish BUT it was also the most complicated recipe to follow.
The recipe card suggested I’d be spending a total of 45 minutes preparing this meal but I definitely took a bit longer.
Perhaps this is because I’m a perfectionist or perhaps it’s because the UCOOK style was new to me and I wasn’t yet sure of which steps could be combined, etc.
This is definitely something I implemented in the next recipes.
Gourmet Caper-Garlic Pork
This was a much simpler recipe to follow, much quicker to complete, and also absolutely lovely.
I really enjoyed learning tips and tricks that I can apply to my cooking more generally – such as how to create the most delicious roasted butternut.
Italian-Style Chicken Breast
This recipe was probably the best in-between, more complex than the caper-garlic pork and yet much simpler than the fragrant hake.
The final dish was also absolutely divine, and something I will certainly try to recreate often.
Overall, I was beyond impressed by the quality of the dishes I had created. Cooking with UCOOK really made whipping up some amazing dishes super easy.
My favourite dish was probably Epice’s fragrant hake. What’s interesting about this one is that I wouldn’t normally have chosen a curried fish dish but thought it might be nice to try something unusual.
And I was super impressed. I followed the recipe to a T and, when eating, I couldn’t believe that this was actually something I created myself.
That said, my sister, who prefers more simple foods, wasn’t a fan of the curried fish at all. The flavours were too complex for her and she much preferred the other two recipes.
I still think the best in-between would be the Italian-style chicken breast. It was unusual enough to be exciting and yet still simple enough to be well-suited to everyone.
But this just shows that there really is something for everyone. And with weekly changing dishes, you’re guaranteed to find something to satisfy your tastebuds.
Get Cooking With UCOOK
We hope our UCOOK review has given you more information on everything you’d need to make up your mind about this South African meal kit service.
For even more information on UCOOK or to sign up, visit the UCOOK website.
You can also give them a call on +27 21 447 4424 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review Date: October 2020
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