Cook gourmet frozen meals is not something I'm about to give you directions on how to do, instead it's a chain of shops called Cook that sell the most amazing and delicious frozen meals.
I was first introduced to their delights by a close friend of mine. We were having a gathering of close friends with young children in tow and she presented a totally stress free and scrumptious home cooked dinner. Except it turned out the complete lack of stress was because the dinner had been purchased from their Oxford Summertime store, one of Cook's sixty shops.
You might wonder why they taste just like your Mum made them and popped them in the freezer until you needed a home cooked meal but didn't have the time to cook.
The formula is simple. The chefs at Cook do all the time consuming work by hand, with the best of ingredients and without the machines that churn out mass produced supermarket meals.
You can't have great food without great ingredients and the chefs are Cook are very fussy. They personally check all ingredients from suppliers as they are delivered. The second secret to success is preparation by hand. When you prepare a meal at home you make sure you carefully trim your meat and throw away any bits of vegetables that aren't up to scratch. At Cook, it's all done by hand, even peeling the vegetables. The magic then comes together in the cooking and that's where the experienced chefs come into play. Meals are cooked in small batches and even the potatoes are mashed by hand. Finally, these handmade meals are frozen but without additives or preservatives so you don't lose any of the good stuff.
Cook have a really wide selection of meals to purchase. These range from home comforts like macaroni cheese to a very delicious Moroccan Spiced Lamb from their Classic Range. On my last visit I bought a Roasted Vegetable Lasagne. The vegetables were chunky and smothered in a rich creamy cheese sauce and topped with tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Alone for the evening while my husband was away on business, this was just what I needed to feel looked after.
The range from Cook is not limited to what you might imagine from frozen meals. You can also indulge in pies, canapes and mouth watering puddings. My husband can highly recommend the Chocolate & Amaretti Pavlova. I have to be quick to make sure I get a decent sized slice. I have friends on a gluten free diet, which can pose a challenge when entertaining. Cook is the answer, with a range of food that everyone will enjoy, even puddings.
If you're looking to feed a family, they have a great range where you can "eat together for a tenner". Alternatively enjoy a sit-down Sunday lunch with the family and it won't break the bank. Their slow roast Belly of British Pork with Fennel seeds, Parmesan Parsnips, Honey-Roast Carrots and Goose Fat Roast Potatoes feeds 6 for only £4.50 per person. Feeling hungry yet?
With my first son, I prepared, whizzed up and sweated over the cooker to make the perfect food. Now with my second child soon to be weaning I expect to be doing more of the same. However, I know I won't have as much time. Cook have a range of meals for kids and for smaller ones they stock the So Baby range. So Baby is a small business producing frozen baby food that locks in all the nutrients which are so important.
While Cook predominately focus on frozen meals there are other tasty treats for you to try as well. I can't write this review without giving a little mention to their mince pies. I tried these one afternoon with a group of mummy friends. They are "handmade to a 20 year old family recipe" and they really do taste homemade. We taste tested them versus a leading supermarket brand and they won hands down. Melt in the mouth pastry, a delicious filling and a light dusting of icing sugar on top made these the winner.
At the Oxford store there's a great range and you'll be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff. They even offer a private tasting evening for groups and clubs, just ask in the store for details.
If you're looking for a handmade delicious meal for one, two or a whole party then look no further. Cook take the stress out of cooking and leave you feeling very satisfied. Take a visit to one of their shops or stockists or enjoy being lazy and just arrange for a delivery from their website.