The finest Yorkshire produce, recipes from a top chef, and the ambitions of two local brothers are the ingredients for a new mail order food business which we put to the test

IF you like the convenience of a ready meal but prefer to do a bit of cooking yourself, then the recipe box is a tempting idea.

The concept is well established with several businesses offering "meal-order" services, where you choose the dishes you fancy and all the ingredients are delivered to your door for you to cook from scratch at home.

Born & Bred is the latest business to enter the recipe box market, focussing on delivering Yorkshire produce and recipes from award-winning local chef Stephanie Moon, a familiar face on The Great British Menu.

Yorkshire-born brothers Charles and Geoff Allen are the face of Born & Bred, based in Sowerby, near Thirsk.

The brothers said they saw an opportunity to develop the product thanks to the wealth of home-grown produce on their doorstep, including Yorkshire chorizo made from pigs outdoor-reared in the Yorkshire Dales and Wolds, to Yorkshire Fettle – the county's version of feta cheese – handcrafted in the Vale of York.

Charles said: “For us, discovering local independent suppliers who are specialists in their field and passionate about their work is a real treat." Many of the suppliers are award-winners, he added.

Geoff said: “Yorkshire has a wonderfully rich history and culture; food is naturally a very big part of that, and we’re excited to be able to share the best produce of our region with the rest of the country.”

Born & Bred boxes are delivered monthly and customers can choose three meals (out of a choice of nine) for two (£39), four (£65) or six (£92) people. The recipes are designed to be easy to cook.

Our reporter Maxine Gordon put them to the test; here's how she got on...

I've used recipe boxes before, with mixed results. One time, the box arrived at work and I unpacked it to carry the produce home in a bag. Unfortunately I inadvertently threw out all the meat and fish before leaving the office because it had been wrapped up in unmarked packaging that I mistook for a cool pack.

I wasn't going to make that mistake again, and checked all my ingredients before heading home and straight into the kitchen.

It was Friday night and it was good to have enough food to cover meals over the weekend, which would save me the chore of having to go to the supermarket.

The three meals I ordered were: Hake Fillet & Cannellini Beans; West Indian Pork Curry, and Thai Steamed Salmon Parcels. A big plus of these recipe boxes is that they provide everything, all you are expected to have are store cupboard basics such as salt, pepper and cooking oil. It does mean there is a lot of packaging, with the teeniest amount of sauces, herbs and pastes delivered in a variety of plastic tubs.

The produce looked fresh and good quality; and I was particularly impressed with the fish, supplied by Ramus of Harrogate (the recipe cards include the local supplier for each of the ingredients).

Of the three dishes, I liked the hake the best. It was really delicious, and the rice was full of flavour on account of the bacon, tomato, garlic and chicken stock. It was filling like a risotto, but much cleaner on the palate, which I preferred. And much quicker to cook, and more forgiving too. I'd make this again. The only hitch was the recipe said to cook the hake for 6-8 minutes (which wasn't long enough) - it should have read, six or eight minutes on each side.

The pork was also a good dish – how could it not be with superstar ingredients such as coriander, coconut milk and and mango?

All the recipes were easy to follow, so much so that my 15-year-old tackled the final meal: steamed salmon parcels. Again, these were tasty, but I would have liked it to have had more of a punch from the curry paste.


Hake Fillet & Cannellini Beans

serves 2


1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

2 smoked bacon rashers, finely sliced

75g white basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear

2 large ripe tomatoes, diced

500g chicken stock

100g cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 hake fillets (skin on)

1 courgette, trimmed and grated into ribbons

1/2 lime, zested and juiced

5g fresh chives


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/180 fan/gas mark 4.

2. Lightly sauté the onion and garlic with the smoked bacon for two minutes on a low heat, add the rice, tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid by half (this should take about five minutes).

3. Once the stock is reduced, add the cannellini beans, season to taste, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer. The sauce should start to thicken while you cook the fish.

4. Rub the fish gently with a little oil and lightly season. Place on a baking tray in the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side.

5. Once the fish is nearly cooked, place the courgettes into a hot pan with a little oil and sauté. Add the zest and juice of the lime and lightly season. Sauté for 1-2 mins then remove from the pan.

6. To serve, ladle some cannellini stew into deep bowls. Place the fish on top with the courgettes on the side. Garnish with chives.

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