The Handbook
The Handbook

I probably shouldn’t be allowed to do the big shop. Every time I venture out, I come back with yet more hummus when what we really need is milk. At a time when ordering online at the supermarket means waiting in until mid June for your delivery slot, or a Mad Max trip to Lidl where every third person’s shedding corona while you try and score a block of cheddar, there is another way…

Delivery boxes, where ingredients or fully assembled meals are sent to your door daily or weekly, are nothing new but the coronavirus outbreak has given new life to the concept. After all, there’s something incredibly reassuring about knowing your meals are all taken care of when everything else is seemingly in flux.

However, with such demand the real challenge is finding services that are still delivering. The wonderful Cook, for example, has stopped deliveries for all but the vulnerable and NHS while other favourites such as Abel & Cole are simply not taking new customers. Nevertheless, there are some excellent food delivery boxes that are still available, here are the best…

Mindful Chef

Mindfulness is all about knowing what’s going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. So not only is the Mindful Chef seizing on the idea of the moment, they’re now in the industry of the moment. Which is a bit of a mindful.

As per their branding, the ingredients in a Mindful Chef dish are no Maccy-D’s, think super-fresh ingredients and a promise of ‘no cheap fillers’.

Their weekly boxes include two to give healthy recipes, more than enough to be going on with (you can be too mindful, buy a couple pizzas to balance things out).

Offer ends 25/04/2020. New customers only, one redemption per customer. Excludes Fridge Fill, Veg Box and Flexi Meal Plan products. Not valid in conjunction with any other offer.

Prices from around £9 per meal per person
Delivers: Nationwide
Website: www.mindfulchef.com

Detox Kitchen

We love a ‘does what it says on the tin’ and the name says it all. Detox Kitchen is an ideal way to stay healthy, without all the fuss. And, of course, they deliver to your door and they’re still taking orders.

Choose from ten simple meal plans and take delivery of your weekly intake carefully prepared by chefs and ready to cook.

Want to get £10 off your first box? Just quote HANDBOOK10 in the code section at checkout and receive this yummy offer!

Prices from around £30-£35 a day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, pudding, a juice, snack, ginger shot and a teabag
Delivery: Most M25 postcodes
Website: www.detoxkitchen.co.uk

Pasta Evangelists

These guys genuinely are the Billy Graham of pasta! Pasta Evangelists deliver great quality pasta straight through your letterbox (albeit in packaging).

These guys genuinely are the Billy Graham of pasta!

The result is fresh, restaurant quality pasta that can be ready in five minutes flat. Delivered across the UK, they’re still taking new customers and orders and each week reveal a new set of menu items to keep your pasta obsession in check.

Pasta Evangelists, alleluja!

Prices from around £7 a meal
Delivers: Nationwide
Website: www.pastaevangelists.com

Hello Fresh

G’day Hello Fresh (because ‘hello Hello Fresh’ just sounds like you’ve got a stutter), the meal-kit specialists are no startup, based out of Germany they’re the biggest foodbox players in the US and they’re massive here too, a supply chain and distribution expertise  that have seen them avoid some of the pitfalls their competitors have stumbled into in this hyper competitive, resource-short COVID-19 market.

The meals are well priced and the recipes are relatively simple to follow, with customers able to curate their own meals online before deliveries are sent out on a weekly basis.

Prices from £3.44 (per person) per meal
Delivers: Nationwide
Website: www.hellofresh.co.uk

Love Yourself

It turns out that fish and chips, takeaway curries or whatever emerges from the batter at Chicken Cottage are not the same as loving yourself. Or so say Love Yourself, and they should know. Because they’re called Love Yourself. Though, in fairness, so’s a Justin Bieber song and a line of ‘intimate pleasure devices’.

Love Yourself (the diet boxes, not the other people) are all about tasty, calorie controlled diets, and you can take your pick which you go for, from the Balanced Diet, Vegetarian Diet, the Performance Diet or the Keto Diet. So not only can you emerge from this period of isolation a new person, but a healthier and thinner one too.

All ready to eat or warm up, this is the perfect way to diet healthily.

Prices from around £20 a day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks
Delivers: more-or-less, within the M25
Website: www.loveyourself.co.uk

Gladwin Brothers

Three brothers, a farmer, chef and restauranteur have proved adept at creating great food in the restaurant setting (they’re behind Rabbit, The Shed and Nutbourne) have re-tooled their offering for a coronavirus world and they’re now delivering food boxes to all-and-sundry with the same quality produce that you’d expect to see on the chef’s table in Notting Hill.

Delivers: To Westa and South West London, minimum order £60 of meat and veg
Website: www.gladwinbrothers.com

By Ruby

If you’re unable to get your fix of Cook, then By Ruby are basically the same thing, but a lot more personal. For a start, Ruby’s a real person who, along with Milly, set up ByRuby as a frozen food delivery with a difference.

The food, made from locally supplied, ethical ingredients, is of course brilliant.

Prices from around £6-7 per person per meal
Delivery: Nationwide (with obvious exceptions if you live somewhere that’s, like, totally inaccessible)
Website: www.byruby.co.uk

Vegan Apron

None of yer animal killing aprons please, this is a slaughter free zone, but one where fresh vegan ingredients combine to create some brilliant vegan dishes.

The recipe boxes include family vegan recipe boxes, containing everything you need to feed your vegan family a full vegan menu, at an affordable price.

Also, there’s nothing stopping you adding a bit of bacon on the side, we won’t tell on you…

Prices from £4 per meal per person
Delivery: Nationwide (via DPD)
Website: www.veganapron.com

Of course, now you’ve set up your meal deliveries, there’s just the matter of having the right beer, wine or cocktails to accompany it. Fear not, The Handbook has some specially curated options just for you…

The Handbook has teamed up with The Grill at The Dorchester for an exclusive competition. Entrants will have the chance to win a dinner for two at The Grill at The Dorchester when it re-opens! www.dorchestercollection.com