DIY Devon Food Kits from Austin Gosling, Co-Owner and Head Chef of On The Rocks, Torquay and Brixham
So what do you do when both your successful restaurants, that have been open since 2014 and 2017 respectively, have to close their doors due to the current lockdown situation? Initial panic, the boredom and quiet at home as opposed to the buzz of the kitchen, gathering of thoughts – great things can come when you are forced to think outside the box and diversify.
A perfect example is DIY Devon Food Kits; Austin Gosling has come up with Restaurant Food At Home – a wonderful box full of prepared fresh food for you to have a restaurant quality meal at home, perfect for a night off cooking or a special celebration meal.
We were delighted when we were offered a box for one to try, and this worked well as I was in the area on a well planned social distanced trip to the Torbay area.
As On The Rocks is an independent business, it’s also good to know they support other local suppliers including fish from Brixham Sea Fish, Mussels from Kingfisher, vegetables from Roots Greengrocers, cheese from Quickes and meat from LG Palk.
The menu offering is updated weekly, normally consisting of one starter, dessert and cheese option, but then a choice of mains (fish, meat, vegetarian) plus you can add on a bottle of prosecco if you fancy some bubbles. Boxes are available Wednesdays and Saturdays for collection, or delivery in the Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and Newton Abbot area although Austin is hoping to widen this area. They have only been doing the kits for a couple of weeks, and they have been flying out the door – once they’re gone, they’re gone!
Our lovely box of well labelled and packaged goodies contained:
- DIY N’duja Bolognese Arancini Kit
- DIY Monkfish Tagliatelle Kit
- DIY Sticky Toffee Pudding Kit
- DIY Quickes Mature Cheddar Cheese Kit
- Plus a separate bottle of Stelle D’Italia Prosecco
There was also an info sheet with details on how to cook the Monkfish dish (the one dish that needed a few more processes of cooking, but it was easy peasy.) It even had Austin’s mobile number and said if you had any problems to just text or call him! I tested this as I wanted to know about whether to cook the chorizo off separately for my monkfish dish and he was very helpful. You could just add it in, but I preferred to have a crispier chorizo rather than soft to add another texture to the main and release the oils. Let’s dive in….
The Starter – N’duja Bolognese Arancini
The N’duja arancini came with parmesan shavings and truffle mayonnaise. Pop the in the oven for 8 mins, and voila! The label tells you everything you need to know, even how best to plate it. This was a delicious and really felt like a restaurant starter – good start!
The Main Course – Monkfish Tagliatelle
The monkfish kit contained a monkfish fillet topped with lemon and a slice of butter, fresh squid ink tagliatelle with tenderstem broccoli, the sauce containing mussels and sundried tomatoes, a pot of chorizo and a pot of basil oil. The instructions were nice and simple; fish in the oven for 10mins, boil pasta and broccoli 2 mins before end, all the while gently warming that silky looking sauce til the mussels open. Sprinkle your chorizo on and drizzle the basil oil with flair like Jamie Oliver or Ainsley Harriott (you’re imagining it, right?).
Bish, bash, bosh – you have got yourself a beautifully layered bowl of scintillating seafood pasta. The monkfish was perfect, it’s a slightly meatier fish that can take flavours, and I love that this would work for someone who is not necessarily confident in cooking fish or shellfish. As mentioned earlier, I decided to pan fry the chorizo a bit to crisp it up and release its oils. The sauce was light, fragrant, creamy yet didn’t overtake the fish and the mussels were plump and delicious. This was a really good sized portion for one, you’re certainly not short changed here.
Dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding
This sticky beaut comes with a pot of vanilla mascarpone cream and only needs a minute in the microwave. I don’t own a microwave so transferred it into a ceramic dish and popped it in the oven for a few minutes til hot and bubbling slightly. This really was a superb pud! I ate dessert at On the Rocks Torquay as part of the ‘7 Chefs from England’s Seafood Coast’ event back in September 2019, it honestly was one of the most incredible desserts I’d ever had so I was delighted that my high hopes for this sticky toffee pud were absolutely met – super soft sponge and a naughty rich toffee sauce.
Did someone say CHEESE…? Yes, a generous wedge of Quickes mature cheddar cheese, with organic honey from a local stallholder in Totnes and crushed coffee beans. An interesting combo you might think – although I have had truffled honey before with cheese which absolutely worked but coffee was a new one… well it did work. The cheese is earthy, the organic honey was incredible, and the coffee beans added a smokey bitter note to the very sweet gold liquid, yum! (I even had enough coffee left to sprinkle on my espresso liqueur I had on the drinks shelf…bonus!)
DIY normally means Do It Yourself but this offering could be translated as Dining In Yours, Dine In Yumminess… whatever other anagram you can come up with, it spells out one thing: DIY Devon Food Kits really does what it says on the tin, I mean…box, and more. In fact I expected it to be even more recipe based, so was very glad there was less work to do than I anticipated.
I realise some may notice the use of plastic tubs – it does keep everything contained, fresh and tidy – plus I have dishwashed them and popped them in my tub cupboard for reuse and they are recyclable as is the cardboard. The pricing is very close to restaurant prices but this is the real deal – local produce, high quality restaurant food in your home (just no lovely front of house team to serve you…you can’t have it all!)
It was all absolutely delicious and I would definitely order one in future; as this is a new concept thanks to lockdownm it was a pleasing experience and a delight for the palate, plus minimal time and washing up thanks to the few processes required. I honestly loved this kit – very well done to Austin!
If you fancy seeing the box and it’s contents in more detail, visit our instagram highlight to see the unboxing video.
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I was gifted my DIY Devon Food Kit in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect our opinion. Views expressed are independent of the business and has not been seen or approved before publication.