I’m constantly looking for lunch ideas that are quick, portable and tasty. Despite the fact that I work in the centre of Cardiff and often have people telling me how fantastic it must be due to all the choice of places to buy lunch, the idea of pre-packed sandwiches and salads is generally better than the reality, and on the days that I don’t take a packed lunch with me, I often find myself staring blankly at a wall of sandwiches in Waitrose, Boots or M&S feeling distinctly uninspired – not to mention the time it takes to actually go out and get your food.
I try to take my own lunch in to work as much as I can. In my office, we’re lucky enough to have access to a fridge and microwave, so this means I can keep things fresh and also have hot food as it’s meant to be, rather than kept warm in a food flask all morning. I sometimes take in leftovers or food that I’ve pre-made and frozen, but I also go through phases of being completely disorganised and that’s where COOK’s new pots come in!
I was really impressed with my first taster of COOK’s delicious, home-cooked frozen meals, which are a world away from supermarket frozen meals and really do make an excellent substitute on nights when life conspires against you and you don’t have the time, energy or ingredients to make dinner but still want something with a homecooked feel. So, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to try their new pots.
The pots are small(ish!) portions of food for one person, perfect for a light lunch or quick supper. Quite a few of them are low calorie options too, coming in at 350 calories or below, which is less than a lot of pre-packed sandwiches.
Between us, Mr W and I tried Caribbean Chicken with Rice and Beans, Orecchiette Pasta with Pork and Fennel, Trofie Pasta with Mascarpone and Mushrooms and – from the Skinny Pots range – Chicken Noodle Laksa, Sweet Chilli Chicken and Pad Thai. All of the pots cook from frozen in the microwave, taking around 5-6 minutes. I kept mine in a cool bag with an ice pack during the morning at work so they hadn’t defrosted too much by lunchtime, but if you wanted to keep them in, or even out of, the fridge, you could just reduce the cooking time.
We really enjoyed the COOK pots. My favourite was the Chicken Noodle Laksa which was deliciously rich and tasty and I couldn’t believe it was one of the low calorie ones! Mr W really enjoyed the pasta with pork and fennel. I felt I was having a delicious and nutritious meal that focused on flavour and good ingredients, rather than convenience and preservatives (although convenience was a massive plus point too). And I didn’t feel guilty – or deprived – because I hadn’t brought in something home cooked. They all come in COOK’s signature packaging. I love their brand and the fact that each dish tells you the name of the person who cooked it (emphasising that these are not made on a production line but in small batches in a proper kitchen) and with a bit of a quirky message talking about their ethos. My only minor gripe was the strong chicken theme running through most of the pots we tried. There are a few others in the range, some of which are vegetarian or feature other meats, but if you weren’t a fan of chicken you would struggle to have a variety of different pots.
The pots can be purchased in any of COOK’s shops (there’s one in Wellfield Road in Cardiff) or ordered online for home delivery. They’re a great idea to keep in the freezer for those days when lunch-related organisation escapes you. I also think that if I still lived on my own, I’d keep a few of them in for evenings when I arrived home late and didn’t want a big meal but still wanted to eat something warm and tasty.