Sunday lunch can be a mammoth task for those at the helm of the kitchen. Julia Bryce took on the challenge to cook up a roast dinner which comes ready prepared in a box.
There’s something I find almost religious about my friends’ obsession with religiously cooking up Sunday lunch.
Without doubt, you’ll find some of them every weekend preparing the veg, setting the table, lighting the candles and serving up a feast to their families which has taken hours to make.
In my household growing up Sunday lunch was never really a thing, so this ceremony of slaving over a hot stove for an afternoon once a week is almost alien to me, almost.
While I am not afraid of a challenge, the thought of pulling a plethora of dishes together every weekend seems rather tiresome.
But thanks to Scottish food delivery firm Home-X, I can now order everything I could ever need for a Sunday roast (including boujee sides) to my door.
Teaming up with The Loveable Rogue team in Glasgow, the box makes cooking a roast seem much simpler, and requires a lot less effort than making every element from scratch.
There are two boxes portioned for two to pick from, one with a whole roast chicken with garlic butter and chicken sauce and the other with a joint of Speyside beef sirloin.
The website is really simple to use when ordering, with available delivery dates easily identifiable.
My box arrived late afternoon on the Saturday and like some of the other Home by Nico experiences, it was massive.
The postman struggled with it through our communal door, and I struggled with it just as much taking it up three flights of stairs. Alas, once it was in the door, we were good.
Opening the box you’ll find your roast (I opted for chicken), a whole heap of sides, a starter, dessert for two and some marketing materials which have a QR code on them, making it easy to access a video to help show you how to cook each of the elements.
I will say that while the video was excellent, some of the oven temperatures and timings didn’t marry up with the marketing materials as they were slightly different. However I watched the video for some top tips and decided to follow the marketing materials for cooking method.
My boyfriend and I decided we couldn’t wait until Sunday to try the food out, so decided to have Sunday lunch on Saturday evening instead.
Included in the package to start was a caramelised cauliflower and apple veloute with curry oil and fresh apple.
This was super easy to pour out of the recyclable container it came in and only required heating in a pan. Once piping hot I poured into two bowls and added the fresh apple in curry oil and croutons on top.
The veloute was very thick and quite salty at points, but the flavour was incredible. There was a lot of cauliflower in it and it was very, very rich. For all the food we had lined up I did think it was rather filling – and large – for a starter, but we both polished it off in no time and really enjoyed it.
The croutons were crisp and crunchy and the acidity of the apple helped balance out the salt – the apple was cut into smaller chunks which allowed you to savour it for longer and had a slight bitter Granny Smith taste to it.
Onto the main. We had pre-heated our oven and had actually placed the roast chicken (which takes around an hour to cook) in before we commenced our starter preparations. This meant the bird would be cooking as we were enjoying our first course.
When we had finished it gave me time to prepare the Yorkshire puddings – which took the second-longest time to cook – and prepared the rest of the dishes which just needed placed in the oven.
The Yorkshire puddings came as a mix and all I needed to do was fill a shallow four-hole muffin tin with a little oil and pour the mixture into the hole. This was my first time cooking Yorkies so I watched the video carefully at this point.
The rest of the veg and sides were oven jobs varying from around eight minutes to 20. Once everything was ready I plated it up and called my boyfriend through to help carve the chicken which was now rested and covered in garlic butter – as per the instructions.
The legs of the chicken were incredibly succulent, however, I think the breast was a little overcooked, probably down to my heavy hand on basting it in oil. The chicken sauce, which only took a few minutes to heat in a pan, was delicious, and while it was a little more watery than how I would usually have my gravy, it was packed with plenty of flavour.
The Yorkshire pudding was very fluffy, and, although it wasn’t as crisp as I’d usually like it, I was pretty chuffed with myself with how easy they are to make.
One of four sides, the cauliflower cheese was one of my favourites as it was so creamy and the veg was still a little al dente. It was rather mustardy and almost had a wasabi taste to it, too.
The honey glazed root veg consisted of Chantenay carrots and tender stem broccoli, both of which were lathered in the honey, were very sweet as a result. I like my veg a little al dente and both the carrots (purple and orange) and broccoli had a nice crunch.
The vegetable ecrase with celeriac, carrot, chives and carrot crumb was by far both of our favourite sides. It was packed with flavour, easy to plate up and the crumb on top had been lightly toasted giving it a crumbly texture when consuming it. The flavour was full and it wasn’t as heavy eating as it looked.
As for the roasties, while you can’t beat potatoes smothered in beef fat, they were a little oily and as a result didn’t go as crisp as I’d have liked. The beef dripping flavour was phenomenal, but the potato was a little wet and very soft in the end. However, we still ate every last one.
After our main we were completely stuffed and had plenty of leftovers for Sunday lunch the next day which we found quite amusing – having decided to eat it a day early!
We waited a few hours until tucking into the pear and vanilla custard trifle which was in individual pots.
The dessert was delicious and very moreish. Topped with crunchy thin slices of almonds, the pear paired perfectly with the smooth vanilla cream layered on top of the custard dessert which tasted of Cherry Bakewell and Disaronno. It was a delight in a pot.
All in all I think the Home-X Roast experience is one I would most certainly try out again. There were a few teething issues like the chicken not being as juicy on the breast and the tatties being too oily, but nothing that would put me off from trying to perfect them again.
The value for money is excellent and the fact the packaging is recyclable makes life really easy for getting rid of the massive box.
There is definitely more than enough food packed away within the box and it is very easy to pair with a nice red or white wine you have in the house.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.