The boy and I are making an effort to eat more fresh fruit and veg. We have tried a few veg boxes recently, where a box of fresh produce is delivered to your door each week, so an opportunity to sample the new service from Creamline dairies came at an ideal time.
Creamline was established in Manchester in 1945 and has grown from its roots as a doorstep delivery company in to one of the UK’s leading independent dairy companies. It is founded on ethical principles, aiming to reduce food miles by working with local farms and suppliers to source its produce. You can order pretty much anything from Creamline but I was invited to try the new fruit and veg service, which delivers fresh produce straight from Smithfield market to your doorstep.
The fruit and veg box
From the Creamline website you can choose the items you want in your box. Since I was offered the chance to try out the service for my blog, I was given a random selection of fresh fruit and veg. This suited me as I thought it would give me an opportunity to be a little creative with the meals I prepared.
The produce arrived in a very sturdy cardboard box with all the items wrapped separately in either plastic or brown paper bags. This immediately gave the box a more commercial feel than the veg boxes we have been ordering locally, which tend to come in fruit boxes or plastic crates.
Bag of potatoes
2 little gem lettuces
2 kiwi fruit
2 conference pears
Punnet of grapes
4 mixed apples
The first thing I do when I receive a veg box is work out the meals that I’m going to be cooking to make sure nothing goes to waste. This was a fairly standard selection of fruit and veg, without any of the less familiar offerings that turn up in our usual box which, while less exciting, made it easy to put a menu together for the week.
My aim was to source a few additional items to make sure that we had as wide a variety of meals as possible, including a few sweet treats.
What I cooked
Nigel Slater’s Lip Tingling Pork with Cool Pomegranate Flecked Yoghurt (recipe from Eat)
I served this with potato wedges made to my own recipe. All I do is mix Paprika, salt, and pepper with some olive oil in a bowl. I cut the potatoes in to wedges and stir them in to the oil to make sure they are evenly coated. I then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer before putting them in to the oven at about 180 degrees for about 45 minutes. It’s not an exact science, you can tell they’re done when they’re crispy and golden.
This was a great way to use lots of veg in a hearty meal that’s just perfect for the colder days that we are still having at this time of year. Served with a side of mash I used up some more of the potatoes too. The leftovers went in the freezer and tasted just as delicious reheated.
This is a very quick and simple dish to make either for lunch or as a light evening meal. It’s probably better suited to the summer months, but sometimes you have to look ahead. And having a lighter meal meant we could indulge in…
I chose this recipe because it used a mix of eating apples and pears as well as the Bramley apples, which I bought separately. I played around with the quantities of apples and pears to use what came in the box rather than sticking too closely to the recipe.
I adapted this recipe to accommodate the absence of cauliflower and it worked just as well as when I have made it with both vegetables. I think it would also work well with pasta stirred in before it’s baked.
I’d not made this dish before and chose it for the express purpose of using up the remaining potatoes from the veg box. It was a great store cupboard meal and tasty. Much better than letting potatoes go to waste at the bottom of the veg rack, which is something I’m guilty of – turns out we don’t eat potatoes all that often in our house and it’s hard to get them in anything other than huge bags.
Plums are one of those fruits that I love when they are perfectly sweet and ripe, but any other time of year they can be a bit disappointing. Cooking them slowly in sugar makes them in to a tasty pudding – although the sugar content in this recipe could probably be reduced somewhat and it would work just as well. I’ve made this before without the orange juice, but it was all the better for it.
What happened to the rest
I am pleased to say that I was successful in using up every last item in the veg box. Well, truthfully there’s still 1 1/2 lettuces in the bottom of my fridge, which I have been adding to ham and cheese sandwiches. The fruit that has not been cooked in to puddings has been eaten, although I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed with the bananas. They took ages to ripen and lacked the sweetness I would usually expect.
Would I recommend Creamline?
I was impressed by the assortment of fruits and vegetables provided in my box and for the most part the produce has been good quality. There’s a reasonably wide selection available to choose from online and I definitely prefer buying fresh produce this way than from the supermarket.
Where I’d say the Creamline fruit and veg box is lacking in comparison with some of the more local services I have used is that it doesn’t provide such unusual varieties. I quite like receiving vegetables I’ve not tried before and working out how to incorporate them in to our meals.
I’ve added up the price of the fruit and veg that I received and it totals just over £13.00, which is comparable to my regular veg box and I am sure much better value than buying from large supermarket chains.
If you like the idea of moving at least some of your shopping away from the supermarket and want fresh fruit and veg delivered to your door, then I would recommend giving Creamline a try. Even more so if you want to choose your order as opposed to receiving a random selection each week. And, if you need to top up on household supplies at the same time, it could hardly be more convenient.
Do you use a fruit and veg service? If so, what are your favourite recipes for using up all the veg? Let me know in the comments.
I received the fruit and veg box from Creamline in return for writing a review on my blog. Views are, as always, my own.