Time-strapped Joburgers can now have what the Capetonians have been enjoying since the end of 2014 -a gourmet food delivery service for those who like cooking and food, but don't have the hours to look for recipes and buy and coordinate all the ingredients.
uCook allows you to do the fun stuff – cooking and eating – so that you get delicious meals designed by chefs each week, and avoid the frozen fish fingers, cereal and expensive takeout (not that there's anything wrong with this, since this features on my "menu" at least twice a week, but it's not always ideal).
How it works
On the website, you simply register and create a profile. Then choose from three plans: Bachelors, Couple and Family, and from three types of menus: Rustic, Low Carb and Veg. The average price per meal is around R75, depending on the menu. You can choose four or more of the nine dishes displayed on the weekly menu as well as how many portions.
The ordering period runs from Monday to Thursday and the produce is packaged and delivered the next Monday. You can choose between two delivery periods, from 8am to 4pm, or from 6pm to 8pm. Delivery of orders can be tracked online.
If you want to pause your subscription or change menu, you can do so via your accounts page
Every meal comes in pack that has the exact quantity of every ingredient you'll need (yay – no more measuring!), plus recipe cards.
I got one dish from every menu to test out, and loved how ingredients like spices, herbs and condiments came in the correct quantity in easy packaging. The ingredients arrived at my work in a coolbox, and it was only around six hours before I put everything in the fridge, at which time the ingredients were still cold.
I cooked three meals over the weekend – eggplant & chickpea salad with mint yoghurt, chicken pita heaven, and chicken with creamy sauce and wilted spinach and rosemary. The uCook promise is correct – the recipes are easy to follow. The chicken with creamy sauce was my favourite dish, and my only "cheat" or shortcut was using readymade pitas for the chicken pita heaven, as I didn't have the inclination to make them from scratch.
Would I try uCook again? I'd love to, but I would plan the nights when I'm at home, and even arrange things around when I have guests over. In fact, it's actually an incentive to have more people over, especially during the week when I get home in the late evening.
Food images via uCook