I have a confession to make: I can’t cook. I can bake cakes, brownies and biscuits but ask me to put something vegetable or meat related in a frying pan / saucepan / roasting dish and I panic. I just don’t have what my husband calls ‘food intiution’. Improvisation ends in tears (usually mine) and it’s getting to the stage where my toddler son can tell when mummy’s made dinner and when daddy’s made dinner.
But now, mummy has a secret trick up her sleeve. It’s called Independence Market. I’ve only used it once but I can tell it’s going to erase a lot of stress from my life.
You see, I have tried to cook, I really have. Not being able to do something makes me feel frustrated. I wish I was the sort of person that could chop a few vegetables in seconds and then season them appropriately (not too much, not too little), then make a stew or roast a fish without burning myself or under-cooking so much I give myself food poisoning. Yes I have poisoned myself and my husband twice, yes I have overcooked an omelette so much that it congealed on the bottom of the pan, I managed to burn potatoes while I was boiling them and yes I did put nutmeg and paprika in a chicken stir fry when my husband complained that my cooking was bland. In my defence, I don’t know much about herbs – I just reached for the closest ones on the spice rack.
So while I do want to cook healthy, nutritious meals for my boy, my worry about poisoning him and giving him a disgusting dinner outweighs my goal to cook and so I rely on pre-made organic meals or good old M&S.
I’ve never been fully satisfied with those as they can taste salty and I don’t really know where they’re made but they saved me time and my family would finish them. But with Independence Market, they didn’t just eat the dishes – they devoured them!
How it works is every week, the Independence Market team decide what they’re cooking in terms of adults meals, kids meals and sides and post that list of dishes on their website. If you order before 1pm you can have food delivered to you that day or you can do what I did and order a few meals to spread out throughout the week. Just keep them in the fridge and you’ll have a nice surprise when it comes to dinner prep time when you realise that you don’t have to prep at all – you already have a nice meal in the fridge.
Ok, nice is an understatement as these are fresh meals cooked with vegetables that haven’t been flown half-way across the world and frozen / pickled to ensure they look the right colour. They are home-made and you can taste the nutrients in each bite. But that’s not to say that they’re dull and boring as the fish pie had adequate cream and butter and the moussaka was also devilishly creamy. In fact, the moussaka was so good that I ate three-quarters of a two person portion and didn’t even tell my husband that I had it (because he was out for drinks that night and I wanted the rest of it for lunch the next day). I’m no food stylist, I’m just a mum who wants to feed her family something nutritious and this I think you can tell from the pic that this is hearty, home cooked food full of goodness.
It arrives by courier in a smart paper bag – these guys have got their branding bang on – and the food comes in equally stylish packaging. As it’s so minimalist, it just looks healthier than an M&S ready meal and the instructions for both dishes that I ordered were simple. Just put it in the oven, with the added bonus of that making your house smell as if you’ve been cooking, then take it out 30 – 40 mins later and serve up.
I ordered a mix of vegetables on the side – kale, carrots, peas etc – and all I had to do was microwave them. As I did that, butter melted all over them so they tasted divine, which is a great way to get your vitamins.
The next day, I decided to be a tiny bit kinder to my husband who was suffering after the previous nights drinks and tell him that I’d made a fish pie. Technically, I contributed to the making of it as I warmed it up in my oven for 40 mins…
Could he tell it was home-made? He said it was the best fish pie I’d ever made and to do more like that in future. So I think he’s giving me the green light to order more meals, don’t you? When it’s cold and dark in January and the children have gone to bed, wouldn’t you rather soak in a long bubble bath when the dinner cooks than chop veg? To be fair, I’m more likely to use that time to write a blog post / do some freelance writing than laze in the bath but I can dream, right? And to be able to cross ‘cooking’ off my never-ending To Do list makes me very happy indeed!
To think that I struggled with cooking for so long, when I could have just downed tools and ordered food online from Independence Market is annoying, but now that I know there’s no going back. They’re currently looking for investment to make their company grow even bigger and deliver fresh food to more London Boroughs and even outside of London. This will make life easier for more mums like me whatever their postcode, so do check out their Seedrs page for more info. Here’s a little video explanation of what they do and how they do it:
Make sure to visit The Independence Market website to see what they’re cooking this week. Try it once and there’s no going back – you’ll be so surprised by how cheap it is to feed your family nutritious meals without any meal prep and without any long-term commitment. If you like the sound of something that week then order it. If you’re away / visiting people then don’t bother and just use it whenever something tickles your fancy whether that’s lasagne, spaghetti or good old fashioned chicken pie – there are certainly a lot of options!