Monday 15 June 2009

I sold my soul, for some Abel & Cole

Well, that's not exactly true.

Abel & Cole asked me if I would like a free box of goodies, in exchange for a review. Now this threw me into a bit of a ethical quandary. Y'see I am essentially a no good dirty whore who will sell myself to the highest bidder for a pittance. But my blog, that's a different is as yet unsullied by advertising or links, it is pure and is innocent.

After much pacing and beard stroking, and after soliciting the advice of some fellow bloggers, I decided to resolve the question thus,

Free Stuff is good.
Free Food is even better.

I'm happy to write a review in exchange for a freebie, but - In order to maintain my blogs pure as the driven snow reputation I will state that I was given said item free in exchange for a review - and I reserve the right to rip the product to shreds if it's rubbish. I'd just like to point out Abel & Cole made no demands, just provided the freebie and asked for a review.

And here it is.....

The box arrived on Wednesday - it was delivered around 7.30am, which is pretty impressive.

I was incredibly excited, it felt like Christmas,....except....errrr..... it involved vegetables, anyway, I just couldn't wait to find out what was inside the box.
I folded back the lid, and this is the organic goodness that greeted me....

We have, Apples, Carrots, Courgettes, Green Lettuce, Melon, a Punnet of Nectarines, Potatoes, a Red Pepper, Spring Greens and White Onions. Everything was suitably fresh and organic looking, dirt on the spuds etc. I was happy.
On the other side of the receipt tucked into the box, there was a very handy selection of recipes and tips to help me use the vegetables.

I had a quick look at the Abel & Cole website, and they list even more recipes for every conceivable piece of veg or fruit - so, it's all very well thought out and organised.

This was a week ago, and I've more or less eaten everything in the box apart from the spring greens. Everything tasted good, the produce was fresh and there's the virtue of it being organic, as local as possible and seasonal.
There's also the excitement factor of not knowing what your getting, and the stretching of your cooking skills as you ponder how to cook some unfamiliar vegetables. (Would you believe I've never cooked Spring Greens?).

The only problem I would have personally with a weekly organic box is that I plan my meals around what I fancy cooking that week, not around which vegetables turn up in the weekly box. But that's probably just me.

The Abel & Cole website lists that particular box as costing £15.95

I leave you with this final, but extremely important thought, If anyone would like to send me free stuff (The more expensive, the better), In return for my opinion, then feel free to drop me a line.

Abel & Cole


Ollie said...

Ah yes, your last paragraph is crucial! :)

Danny said...

Aha, I too have been the recipient of a delivery from A&C this week and will be blogging about it. Have the feeling that we are just pawns in some greater scheme. Or is that prawns?

The Ample Cook said...

Some of us with a conscience turned them down Dan ;)

I agree with you about having to plan your meals around a box of veg. Like you I plan my food, then buy the ingredients. I would find it a bit inhibitive actually.

The most shocking line in your blog was the fact that you've never cooked spring greens! I can see we're going to have to invite you round for dinner young man :)

Oh, and ditto your last paragragh

Graphic Foodie said...

Lords a lordy... A&C really are going for it in the blogsphere. This is the 5th blog post i've read this week reviewing their boxes!

I think these boxes are a great idea if you are unfortunate not to live somewhere with a good greengrocers or farmers market but I agree, I like to pick my own veg for the week depending on what I feel like cooking.

Good (and honest!) post!

Anonymous said...

And there was me thinking they'd taken pity on a prole! I didn't realise they'd done the "rounds" :)Hahahaha! Anyway, doubt they'll be sending me much again after my little write up...(p.s. I wish they'd sent me veggies!)

Hollow Legs said...

I also sold my soul. I'm taking delivery next week, but like you - I will rip the hell out of it if it's not up to scratch...

Dan said...

Thanks for the comments people.
Blimey, seems like everyone's been approached by A&C. I was thinking about this, and it's genius marketing really. It costs them in real terms a pittance, and they get some word of mouth advertsing targeted at exactly the right audience. Impressive.

Oliver - yep- the last paragraph is perhaps the most important thing I've ever written on this blog!

Dan, agreed we are indeed Prawns in the big scheme of things.

Jan - Dinner round yours eating Spring Greens - shurly there needs to be some cooked hoofed critter on the menu as well?

Foodie - Thanks - being a product of East London and Essex I am indeed honest as the day is long, just never buy a car off me or leave your purse/wallet/valuables laying around.

Gastrogeek - they hinted at an 'organic meat' box - I thought I'd hit the jackpot!

Lizzie, I'll look forward to reading your review!

Unknown said...

Classic - I have also just got a box. Mine has spring greens too - do tell me what you did with yours as I admit that I also have never cooked them - I think they are an English thing perhaps as haven't seen them in Oz.

Dan said...

Gourmet Chick - I haven't cooked the Spring Greens yet, and like you haven't cooked them before. But, on Twitter Graphic Foodie suggested cooking them thus:-

"Love to steam then fry off in olive oil, garlic, chilli and sea salt".

So, think I'll give that a go.

Mike Lok said...

Hi Mate, we used Able and Co for a few years, from Islington to Surrey. But the last few months with them, we found the quality wasn't that great. Some items bearly lasted a day. We switched to, which is cheaper, has a more local vibe and the quality is definitly better. Able must have improved since, I guess. Mike

Unknown said...

You can tweak the boxes to suit you if there is something you dont like

Hollow Legs said...

Oh, and spring greens are also great stir-fried with mustard seeds, garlic and ginger for a side to curries/

Shaheen said...

Eer do they Abel and Cole deliver in Scotland?

Never mind, I have their cook book, it will do. The contents in the box do look rather good though. I like being able to create recipes around whats in the box, rather than plan before, but that's just me.

Anyway, nice to make your acquaintance.

Helen said...

I've been ordering from Abel and Cole for about three years now but recently I got really bored with the veg box and now I just get the fruit. They are a very good company though, great service. Once I posted a picture of an unidentifiable green veggie on the blog and they phoned me up to tell me what it was!

franmouse39 said...

Huh! No free box for me because I've been an A&C veggie box customer for a few years now. Once I even got a free organic snail, who'd curled up in a cabbage.
Dan - if you fancy a lazy cooking day, I can recommend A&C's pies.

Dan said...

Mike, Victoria, thanks for the info!
Lizzie, thanks for the recipe.
Mangocheeks - thanks for your comment.
Helen - Thats pretty impressive that they contacted you to identify a vegetable.
Fran, I can do without the snails LOL - Pies!!! thanks for the recommendation, but blimey - pies - I'd have to increase the excercise regime to keep pace.

As for the Spring Greens, I cooked them last night as Graphic Foodie suggested on Twitter...

"Love to steam then fry off in olive oil, garlic, chilli and sea salt".

And they were bloody gorgeous. I ate a whole plate full. So, Thanks for that GF!

Kavey said...

Heh, looks like those of us who accepted all said same - yes please, we'll take it, we'll review but no guarantee of a good one, it'll be honest, warts and all!

I'm in odd position of having been a long standing customer of theirs but having stopped because of quality control issues, so it'll be interesting to me to see whether they have resolved these.

Anonymous said...

Average Quality Food Way Above Average Price.

I will stick to the local farm and Sainsburys where I can get 5 times as much for the same price.

I mean, £50+ per kilo for Fillet Steak ? Am I missing something here ? Fillet steak is about £18 a kilo at my butchers.

Fresh Tuna - another of my favourites, £14 a kilo max in Sainsburys/Tesco but over double that with A&C

So, my suggestion is that if they want my business - as it is quite nice having stuff delivered to your door, then please rethink the pricing.