Domesticating With Daily Dish

I enjoy cooking and I used to cook regularly. But in recent years, for reasons I don’t completely understand, cooking vanished from my life. It happened gradually — I started eating out more, food-shopping less, and eventually couldn’t find the time or motivation to cook anything other than scrambled eggs, toasted cheese, and Woolworths’ veggie burgers.

So when I was invited to review a service called Daily Dish, which delivers food ingredients and recipes for a week’s worth of dinners right to your door, I eagerly accepted. Daily Dish seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of my cooking rut.

Beef stroganoff ingredients

Daily Dish ingredients and recipe card for Beef stroganoff.

Here’s how it works. You sign up for Daily Dish online and choose between the classic, vegetarian, and low-carb menus. You can order for either two people or four people. Prices vary depending on which menu you choose and how many people you’re ordering for. (Meals cost around R70-80 per meal per person for the two-person menu, and R45-55 for the four-person menu.) Daily Dish delivers all the food and recipes for four weekly dinners to your house on a Monday. Then you cook, and eat.

Chopping

Chopping mushrooms. I had a bit of a reality check at first: Daily Dish delivers the food and the recipes, but the meals don’t magically cook themselves. There is still work involved.

Veggies cooking

OMG, I’m cooking.

 The first week I ordered the classic menu, which included:

  • Haloumi and chickpea pilaf
  • Chicken with cheese and mustard stuffing
  • Chipolata paella
  • Beef stroganoff

The second week I tried the vegetarian menu:

  • Spicy veg pasta
  • Chickpea curry rogan josh
  • Caponata on ciabatta
  • Shakshukka

Here are my general impressions.

I enjoyed the Daily Dish experience. It was fun to get my delivery on Monday, tear open the box, and see what was inside. (By the way, I’m not sure what you do if you can’t be home on Monday to receive the box. I guess you could have the food delivered to your office but keep in mind that much of it requires immediate refrigeration.)

One of the things I dislike about cooking, especially in Joburg, is the amount time it takes to go food-shopping and find all the right ingredients. So Daily Dish is a great time-saver in that regard.

I also like following recipes and I like that fact that I can use the recipes again later. And Daily Dish is a great motivation to bond with family and friends. I cooked several times with my boyfriend, which was fun, and one night I took all the ingredients to a girlfriend’s house and we cooked together. I even enjoyed cooking on my own and eating the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Beef stroganoff

Completed beef stroganoff, which I made with my friend Erin. (Daily Dish also motivated me to work on my food photography.)

Caponata on ciabatta

Vegetarian caponata with ciabatta bread.

However, I had a few issues with Daily Dish as well. First, I didn’t love all the recipes. A few of them were lacking in flavor, and if I made them again I would jazz them up with more spices.

I also found in several instances that the recipe instructions were unclear or incorrect. Ingredients often took significantly longer to cook than the recipe said, and sometimes I had to improvise when steps were missing or specific amounts — especially how much water to use — weren’t specified. This wasn’t a big problem for me, but I think novice cooks might struggle a bit. Recipes are supposed to take 30 minutes from start to finish but I averaged about 45 minutes.

Chicken breastChicken with cheese and mustard stuffing, one of the meals I didn’t love. I struggled to stuff the chicken breasts and they came out dry.

In the first week, I also had problems with a few of my ingredients losing their freshness before I had the chance to use them. I alerted Daily Dish to this and they were great about it, offering me an extra week to compensate. I had no problems in the second week and I actually enjoyed the vegetarian menu much more than the classic menu.

I loved the chickpea curry rogan josh so much that I’m planning to cook it again this weekend for some friends. This will be the first time I’ve invited friends over for dinner in about three years. So Daily Dish has done its job for me. I’m domesticating.

Chickpea curry small

Chickpea curry rogan josh with lemon pickle and papadums: the big Daily Dish winner in my book. 

Overall I would recommend giving Daily Dish a try, especially if you’re looking to kickstart your domestication skills. The service is available in Cape Town, Pretoria, and Joburg.

Speaking of giving it a try…I’m doing my first-ever 2Summers giveaway. Daily Dish has given me a free week of meals (for either two people or four) to give away to three 2Summers readers in Joburg or Pretoria. Want to win? Here’s what to do:

Take a photo of the inside of your refrigerator and send it to me, either via Twitter (@2Summers) or Facebook. You can post the picture on my feed or send me a direct message if you want to remain private. Or you can post your photo on Instagram and tag @2Summers. I’m not providing any parameters for what the photo should look like. Just be creative.

One week from now (25 Sept.), I’ll choose the three best fridge photos as my winners. The only condition is that you must live in Joburg or Pretoria. Before submitting your photo, check the Daily Dish website and click the “Where we Deliver” tab to make sure they deliver to your area.

Veggie pasta

Go forth and domesticate.

Looking forward to your entries.

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10 Comments

  • Reply MiaMusings September 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I am definitely going to try Daily Dish…my biggest problem is deciding what to cook! It’s not easy to come up with different dishes everyday. Phew. Thanks for sharing Heather.

    • Reply 2summers September 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks Mia. You should enter the contest!

  • Reply all-TIM-ate September 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Impressive food photography 😛
    I’ve heard about Daily Dish before and am now keen to try out a few of their product offerings.

    • Reply 2summers September 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Ooh, Tim please enter the contest! I want to see the inside of your fridge 🙂

  • Reply MiaMusings September 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Will do, thanks!

  • Reply writersdream9 September 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    This makes me wish that I live there!!

  • Reply Sine September 19, 2014 at 7:02 am

    ooooh, I love that you’re doing a giveaway, will have to learn from your experience!
    Oh, and I also have a Trudeau wooden board as in your first picture. I special reminder of South Africa…

    • Reply 2summers September 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I love that cutting board! I’ll let you know how the giveaway goes.

  • Reply Wendy September 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Darn! No winner for Cape Town 🙁 I was SO going to enter

    • Reply 2summers September 26, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Sorry! Daily Dish is trying to promote their service in Jozi/Pretoria so that’s why the contest was only available for this area.

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