Abel and Cole veg box

For the last year or so, every two weeks we’ve been getting a veg box delivered from Abel and Cole. I signed-up when a man from Abel and Cole came to our door asking if we’d be interested in getting a box and offering some good incentives – a free bottle of wine and our fourth box free (the second offer being their regular offer for new customers). We’d had a veg box before from Riverford when we lived in Cambridge, but could not quite justify the expense and never seemed to eat everything in it, but I thought it was worth giving it another go. The fact that we’ve continued to order the boxes probably gives you an indication that we stuck with it and are big fans!

So, what’s so good about getting a veg box, and from Abel and Cole in particular? Well, the main thing for us is that the fruit and vegetables are such good quality. Everything always tastes so nice! It’s partly down to the fact that we wouldn’t normally buy organic fruit or veg from the supermarket, but I do genuinely think the the produce from Abel and Cole is just of a really high quality. Apart from the taste, everything lasts for WAY longer than anything you get from the supermarket or grocers – I don’t think we’ve ever thrown anything away, even if we’ve had it for weeks. We also like the fact that you often get something you wouldn’t normally buy – although you get your basics as well – which forces us to be creative. Highlights have included chicory, which I wasn’t keen on at first but then turned into a favourite (try it griddled and drizzled in balsamic vinegar. Yum…), and celery, which tastes about a million times better than any I’ve had before.

Because of how long everything lasts and how great it all tastes, we think that the Abel and Cole veg box is really good value. We usually get a Large Fruit and Veg box, which costs £25 every other Tuesday, but sometimes we swap around. To be honest, we haven’t quite worked out what the best box for us to get is – we always run out of fruit in the first week but like the variety of the big box. We used to get a small fruit box in the in between week, but had to remember to order other bits as well to make it to the minimum order price of £10. We’ll get there.

The other thing I really like about Abel and Cole is the customer service. Whenever you call them there is always a human on the other end who is actually able to answer your questions, a rare occurrence I’m sure you’ll agree. We had our veg box stolen from our doorstep twice in a row (I know!) and not only did they refund the cost both times, they helped us think of somewhere else to keep it, even calling me back to make sure it had arrived the next time.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to record what we do with the veg that we get from one box, partly to see whether I can be a bit more imaginative, to hopefully inspire some of you to try something new (and to give me some suggestions), but mainly because I thought it would be fun to try a little bit of food blogging. I’ll start off with what we got this week and what we had for dinner on the first night and then will update you next week. Maybe this will be awful, sorry in advance if it is…


Our box this week

I meant to take some arty pictures this morning, but my helpful husband had already unloaded our box and put everything away by the time I got downstairs. So here are some of the things we got today:

So, in case you can’t tell, this is: a red cabbage, some beetroot, some courgettes (got 3 I think), some plum tomatoes and some white mushrooms. Not in the picture, but we also got some potatoes, some carrots, some white onions, a lettuce, some peaches, red currants and some pears.


So, first evening:

Vegetable pasta

Featuring carrot, celery (left over from the last box, or even the one before), an onion, courgettes, mushrooms and beetroot.


Make a tomato pasta sauce, by sauteing diced carrot, celery and onions until soft and then adding tinned tomatoes, salt & pepper, tomato puree, a pinch of sugar, red wine and fresh oregano.

Chop the random veg into similar size chunks, toss in olive oil and bake with salt & pepper and rosemary until soft.

Simmer the sauce for as long as possible, and at least 20 minutes. Add more fresh oregano and diced garlic.

Mix the vegetables into the sauce and serve with pasta and grated Parmesan.

I will admit that I have never used beetroot in a tomato pasta sauce before and was a little apprehensive that it would not be good. Tom’s verdict?: ‘It tastes like normal pasta sauce but is more pink’. Result! I think this would have been nice with some feta or goats cheese on top as well.


The challenge

We already have half a red cabbage in the fridge, some beetroots from our allotment (woop! Something grew!) and some more courgettes coming from a friend who is experiencing a serious glut at the moment, so this is going to be a vegetable filled week. Here are my thoughts of what to do with it all:

  • Beetroot brownies, a la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
  • Braised red cabbage cooked and then put in the freezer (the other half of the red cabbage went into a delicious coleslaw with carrot, orange and balsamic, but you can have too much of a good thing).
  • A frittata with mushrooms and cold cooked potatoes.
  • The red currants will go on top of a summer fruit cheesecake I am planning for this weekend along with the other berries I already have in the freezer.
  • Erm, something else with courgettes…?

So, what do you think? A pointless exercise? Might be fun to read about me eating red cabbage six days in a row? Any suggestions for a recipe? Do you get a veg box? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Abel and Cole. I paid for this veg box like I do every time and did not receive anything from Abel and Cole (although if they want to give me something, I’ll be here…). I just really like their boxes :o)



12 thoughts on “Abel and Cole veg box

  1. We get a small fruit and veg box from Abel & Cole and it’s worth every penny – it lasts ages (to the point that last week I made frittata with potatoes we got in early May), we very rarely buy any extra and we get lots of things we might never buy otherwise. I also love the recipes they give for anything unusual. My other half made chutney with the rhubarb (so tasty!) and courgettes are good for roasting with tomatoes and onions – we also followed the A&C recipe for courgette chips although it didn’t really work. I need suggestions for the fruit side of things as we seem to build a stockpile of apples and pears very quickly!

    • Thanks for the comment, Frances! Courgette chips sounds good and roast veg is always a winner.

      We’re about to have a massive stockpile of pears as the fruit on our pear tree is almost ripe, so I will have a look for some recipes. A good quick one for when you’re bored of plain pears is to poach them in water with a bit of sugar and have with cream and florentines – yummmmmm.

      • Ooh, that sounds delicious! We have a pear tree too so I expect an influx of fruit shortly. Pear crumble is always a winner but I am going to have to hunt out some more ideas I think…

  2. Courgettes are also good for baking, make for good, moist, savory (or sweet) muffins and sponges. Try searching online. Or they also go well in turkey or chicken patties – although you do need to find a butcher that has turkey or chicken mince, which we found quite a feat even in diverse Bristol!

  3. Hi Esme … used to get Abel & Cole, lasted about 8 months I think – as you say the variety and quality of produce was outstanding but I really struggled to be inventive each night when cooking for family of four (that is trying to create something that everyone liked). The lucky dip boxes were just too challenging. I swapped to actually buying the stuff from Abel & Cole that I’d buy if I went to a supermarket but the price was just too high this way. So back at the supermarkets now (of course trying to buy organic and local as much as possible). One recipe I did with beetroot when I was a customer of theirs is here http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes/beetroot#recipe30 – sounds odd but tastes delicious.

  4. I tried a new recipe last week and it went down really well – beetroot risotto. I found it on the BBC Good Food site and it is really easy, cooked in the oven and very tasty. I added some feta to it as well at the end as I think it goes really well with beetroot. And apparently beetroot is really good for you, apart from the pink wee…

  5. Hi Esme – long time no speak!

    Facebook procrastination when I’m supposed to be writing an essay led me here 🙂

    I get a weekly veg box too – from Riverford – and love it. One of my favourite things to do with beetroot is a salad with red onion, puy lentils and feta. Recipe is here http://www.riverford.co.uk/feed/wash/in:recipes/red-onion-salad-with-beetroot-lentils-feta-and-mint/ but its so simple you don’t really need a recipe!

    When we lived with my boyfriend’s sister she always used to make beetroot gratin which was yummy. Lots of double cream though so less healthy!

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