On Thursday night, the buzzer rang. Thinking it was a delivery for a neighbour, I let them in. My name was said, a paper to be signed was thrust forward and two large bags were handed over. I frantically flipped through the empty rolodex in my head trying to find the words to say “This is not for me!” But the man was already gone.
Then I remembered, the email from Kochhaus letting me know they would be sending over some food. I was sceptical about the concept but nothing like a load of free stuff to change your mind. Ha! No, I’m kidding (kind of, you might think the guy who sent over a drink, sitting at the end of the bar is a total sleaze but secretly you’re pleased that he went to the trouble because even from way down there he thinks you are wonderful – that or he has money to burn and he’s been pulling that stunt all night hoping someone will bite.)Kochhaus is doing in Berlin what premium online supermarkets in London have been doing for years: thinking up a recipe, photographing it in a flattering light so that it gets your juices going, working out portion sizes and sending the food over. By providing this service in Berlin (where most bricks and mortar supermarkets look like they’ve been hit in the face with a sack of ugly and the idea of an online service shopping service seems decades away) Kochhaus have found their niche.A few things niggle me, namely an over reliance on the stove top (I use my oven where I can to avoid smelling like a line cook) and that their meat and two veg approach means you end up using a lot of pans. Although I was thinking that perhaps if they had sent me over a pasta bake scenario, I might feel hard done by whereas the way they are building up the meal there is more value in all the individual parts.I stayed true to the recipes for the steaks and the sausages. What came out were sophisticated bistro style meals, 3 components per dish. Not one for doggedly following recipes or generally sticking to the plan by the time I came to ingredients for the roast pear salads I thought “No, I’m going to do this my way.” So I pan-fried the fennel in some butter, added a splash of white wine, a cube of home-made chicken stock, a trickle of cream. Boiled some tagliatelle until it was 2 minutes away from being al dente, added it to the fennel pan and let it finish cooking, ladling in pasta water if it started to look dry (much like you would do with a risotto). I crumbled in some bacon which I had cooked in the oven, warmed through the walnuts and chopped those up too and diced the gorgonzola. The pasta went in to a warm dish with a few good turns from the pepper mill: the bacon, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese scattered on top and that was lunch. And it was delicious.While I had assumed I wasn’t the target market for this kind of scheme, it turned out that a delivery from Kochhaus benefited me in an unexpected way: by making my fridge and pantry less predictable and forcing me to use up ingredients (including lots of fresh herbs, yay!) I wouldn’t typically have.
Main: Merguez sausages with a potato pumpkin mash and field lettuce salad
Main: Beef fillet with thyme pan roast potatoes and bacon with a side of eggplant puree
Main: Udon noodles with Bok Choi
Starter: Salad of roast pear with fennel, rocket, orange segments, walnuts and blue cheese
Dessert: Roast quince in cream with fig and hazelnuts
Three Main Courses 17 Euro per person (€5.6 per course)
Three Main Courses, 1 Starter, 1 Dessert 25 Euro per person (€5 per course
Three Main Courses, 2 Starters, 1 Dessert 39 Euro per person (€6.5 per course)