There seems no doubt – ready-to-eat meals are here to stay. We’re a busy bunch, so for many who want to eat well and get some variety in their dinners, having food made to order is a lifesaver. There are quite a few on the market now, some of which are better than others!

One I was keen to try, though, was Fed, a relatively new concept made in Auckland, in which meals are delivered to you, not in ingredient form, but fully made up and ready to cook, in idiot-proof stick-in-the-oven recyclable boxes.

As you know, I’m a cooking person. However, even cooking people can run out of juice, and it so happened that yesterday was one of those days. From about 2pm (OK, maybe more like 11am!) I was looking forward to getting home, pouring myself a glass of wine, chucking the food in the oven, and calling it a day. Maybe it was the full moon – whatever it was, it was not a day I wanted to be regaled with ‘what’s for dinner?’.

The menu at Fed is seasonal, and options change regularly, which I like – the whole point of this for me is to try something different. I ordered beef & chunky vegetable cottage pie, with steamed broccoli and herbed butter – and yup, it was exactly what I wanted. Comfort food.

I’ll be honest – my kids were sceptical. They love home-cooked food, and the thought of food arriving in a tray ready to go in the oven isn’t something they are used to. It was going to be interesting to see if they could be persuaded!

My delivery arrived mid-afternoon, and even cold, it looked appetising – that was a good start! Recipes are made by a lovely chef called Beckie, and having tried some of her tasters before at a couple of food shows, I know she can seriously cook.

20 minutes in the oven, and dinner was ready – and I was delighted with the result. The chunky beef and vegie mince was a unanimous hit – Charlie even said it tasted like it had been made at home, which I think both Beckie and I should take as a compliment! The kumara potato topping was a bit of a surprise, and while I loved it, we had one dissenter around the table who said she’d have preferred potato mash. That being said, every plate was empty at the end, every belly was full, and I had no dishes to do.

So, at the end of it all, would I buy FED again? Yes, absolutely. The meal was by far the best pre-prepared meal I have ever had – it was delicious, it tasted homemade, it was simple from start to finish, it was no hassle at all, and at $13 per plate, it was easily budget-friendly. The kids vacuumed it up and so did I; the packaging is carefully thought-out so you don’t get a mountain of plastic in the bin. All in all, I really got FED. In every sense.