At the beginning of May, Daily Dish (www.dailydish.co.za) approached me to test out their services. Although I had never heard of Daily Dish before; probably because it was only available in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I thought the concept was brilliant. I am very much for cooking at home and opting out of too many take outs. Daily Dish brings the idea of convenience and wholesome charm of home cooking in week day meals with their unique service.
With their service now available in Durban, I was quick to jump at this opportunity to review them. Knowing how rushed many families are during the week with running kids around or just having a hectic work schedule; I think there will be many people glad to know this service is around.
What is the Daily Dish
Daily Dish is South Africa’s first weekly meal kit delivery service which started in 2013. Don’t get the wrong picture here; it is not already made meals, in a more simpler way of explaining; it’s home cooking made dead easy! Every Monday Daily Dish deliver a meal kit for four days, with super fresh ingredients and recipes to use. It is a convenient solution for people who hate having to do last minute dashes to the supermarket in between the weekday madness, and also helps eliminate the stress of what to make for dinner.
The menus and costs
There are four different menus you can choose from that provide four meals in a week. There is the Classic, Low Carb, Vegetarian and the Budget menu. Each week they provide new options in each category to avoid repetition. Each menu and its pricing is designed for either 2 or 4 people. Unfortunately, when ordering you can only choose from one menu, you can’t swap a dish from the Low Carb menu for one in the Classic. When you choose your menu, you will be provided with the four set options presented.
The big question I am sure you are asking; how much is it for this convenient luxury? Each menu plan varies; for two people you could pay around R570 – R700 (really depends on the menu you go with), and for four people it varies between R750 – R1000. These costs also include delivery; so you won’t be paying any additional fees for the menu you choose. Signing up for the Daily Dish is also free, so besides your menu plan you decide to go for, there are no other fees to worry about.
You don’t have to sign up for a contract either. You can pause or resume as you see fit for your lifestyle, and needs.
At first I was rather confused by the whole concept; perhaps because it is something new-ish in South Africa. The signing up to the website was super easy; there is no place for error.
Deciding which menu I wanted to go with was probably the hardest part of the entire process! There are some really yummy ideas and recipes; I did notice that the recipes are fun, interesting and are far from boring. In my everyday weekday meal making, I can honestly say I never considered making some of the recipes listed. Before I was under the impression there would be way too much prep involved or it would be a mission to find some of the ingredients listed.
The delivery of the meals were delivered smack on 8am! There was no messing around. When opening the box, I was so surprised at how well the box was packed. Firstly, they have a polystyrene box within the cardboard box, keeping in the “freshness and coolness” for the ingredients; kind of like a make shift refrigerator for traveling. Everything was neatly packed, ingredients were in specially designated plastic packets with labels saying when to use the ingredient by, where to store it and the quantity within the packet. Freezer gels were placed in the bottom to keep the meat and other ingredients fresh while being transported and until stored properly. The recipes were also neatly packed within the box in a plastic sleeve with a suggestion of which recipes to begin with according to the freshness of ingredients supplied. This alone was so super impressive, for once I didn’t have to think of what to use before when or what to do; everything was laid out for me, all I had to do was follow the instructions and use the recipes really. The week I tested this was quite a busy one, where time really was of the essence, and having Daily Dish having delivered the ingredients, and packaged everything so well, my life was made really simple.
When it came down to cooking each recipe; I would say each one took between 30 – 45 minutes to make (including prep time). I have a demanding cat and a few things I have to do when I get home, so doing the dinner in between the rest didn’t take long; so I can imagine with a family, demanding children, animals and the likes; this will still make life that much easier. My suggestion would be to have a good read through the recipe before you even get started. With distractions, mistakes can be made; even with a recipe in front of you.
I started with the Thai red chicken and noodles recipe. I had never ever attempted Thai food, mainly because I am not certain about good quality ingredients for these meals and finding them as well. In my mind, in a normal case, this recipe would be difficult to put together; but with all the ingredients and the right quantities set out for me, it was made absolutely dead easy! For my first attempt, it went super! The quantity for the two of us was perfect; we felt full after eating; so if you are wondering if the portion sizes are good; they are!
Day two, I made the meatballs and garlic bread. At first glance I thought the amount of meat and bread would not be filling enough for Shane and I; we do have rather large appetites. Although initially I thought the meat was scarce, I was wrong; we each had four healthy sized meatballs to eat. I’ve usually baked my meatballs, so doing them in a frying pan was a new method; it was a lot quicker. I was taken aback by using olive oil for the garlic bread instead of butter; and as I had imagined the olive oil didn’t really stick to the bread, so the garlic came out a bit burnt and dry. I do think instead of olive oil, Daily Dish should recommend using butter; it’s easier to apply on the bread as well. My other suggestion would be for Daily Dish to pre-make the garlic loaf and tinfoil it, much like the supermarkets do for us. I wasn’t so sold on this dish; it didn’t feel as wholesome as the other three.
Day three, I made pork sausages with a carrot, apple and potato mash. I was really looking forward to this one, as I’d never tried apple, carrot and potato mash before. Again, prep and cooking time was really quick; in some cases I do think you need to refer to the times allocated as an estimate.
The last evening I made stir fry sirloin and mushrooms. This was one of my favs. This dish also had me use an ingredient I would probably never really have used before. Oyster sauce! Although it gave the meat a different taste, it was certainly a pleasant change.
With my experience with Daily Dish it opened me to working with new ingredients, which made dinner time exciting for me. It took away the mundane, routine like meal plans we all end up getting into. There was a sufficient amount of food served; I really think the portion sizes are reasonable; they aren’t too little or too much. When you think about it, it helps with portion control and adds a bit of a healthy aspect to dinner time with the family.
For families that work on a week-by-week or day-by-day aspect Daily Dish would probably make life a lot easier and cheaper. For those who buy meat for the month, it could be an extra expense. I do think it helps families become more organized, opens their palettes to new food (but not too new they wouldn’t want to try it), and is convenience on wheels! I was thoroughly impressed by the service, quality of food, amount of food (as I anticipated that I was going to starve), and recipes. This service is a definite must try!