/ Food & Drink

Are you getting a takeaway tonight?

Takeaway Indian food

It’s Saturday, which probably means your day will be filled with chores or DIY. So have you thought about what you’re having for dinner? Will you be cooking, eating out or getting a takeaway?

Despite the forecast, I’ve set aside today to spend working on my garden – it’s a race against the clock now to try to finish my landscaping project before autumn sets in.

I’ve actually been organised and prepared a butter chicken curry to simmer away in the slow cooker for tonight. This is a money-saving move as gardens are expensive projects, and the rest of my home-renovation project has meant I’ve totted up a fair few takeaways in the past year.

In fact, if there was such a thing as a Deliveroo loyalty scheme, I’d be winning.

Saturday night takeaway

It would seem that I’m not alone in my recent over-reliance on takeaways – and restaurant delivery apps, in particular.

According to a survey carried out by the loyalty scheme Nectar, around 43% of us are eating out less as a result of apps such as the aforementioned Deliveroo, plus Just Eat and UberEATs. And nearly half of those surveyed said they’d rather order takeout from a restaurant via an app than visit it in person.

Having moved to a small commuter town last year, I’ve witnessed the explosion of these restaurant delivery services in my local area first-hand.

If I fancy a takeaway, I no longer just have the option of pizza, Chinese or Indian. Now, thanks to these apps, I can order from multiple places and have a restaurant-style meal from a local gastro pub, restaurant or favourite chain. I can even pair it with a delivery from my favourite wine bar… how fancy!

And when I’m covered in splatters of blue fence paint and not exactly in the mood to get ready to go out, these hybridised restaurant-style nights in the comfort of my own home are most appealing.

Dining out

When it comes to dining out, though, it isn’t necessarily the food that draws me to an eatery, but the experience of good service and nice food. That sentiment also rings true for 65% of those surveyed in the Nectar study.

And when you consider that, for some people, eating out isn’t always a pleasurable experience, and the fact that it all starts to tot up once you’ve paid for drinks and service, it’s not wonder that 42% of those polled said they prefer to entertain at home.

So are restaurant delivery services more appealing to you than dining out? Or do you still prefer to go out for dinner? Will you be ordering a takeaway tonight? Will that be directly from the restaurant or via an app such as Deliveroo, Just Eat or UberEATs?


Are we becoming a very LAZY lot of people wanting to sit around while someone or something else does all the work for us ?

This Saturday I ordered Pizzas for delivery online for 4 adults from Dominos and paid £72.18. I got a call later saying they couldn’t fill the order because they were out of gluten-free pizza bases; so I cancelled.
I made an identical order by phone to another Dominos, just as close, who insisted I collect; which I did and paid £47.46.
I calculate this is a 52% surcharge for delivery!!
When I complained to Dominos I got a polite “we try to encourage collections” email. I won’t be ordering food for delivery again!

I will be spending most of the day walking in the country with a visiting walking group, showing them some of the work done by our charity. After the walk, I will be joining the group for a meal at a local pub. I have not eaten there for a couple of years but have heard good reports.

I eat out mainly when I am on holiday, though there is a local restaurant and a couple of pubs that I visit occasionally. On Sunday I will invite a friend round for a meal.

Takeaways don’t appeal to me and the environmental health officer that I met recently was not keen either.

Lauren is right in planning what you are going to eat if you are going to be busy.

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We’re thankfully immune to all this, as there isn’t a takeaway within 17 miles, so no ordering in for us.

But you could have a pretend take-away, Ian.

Buy some ready meals or ‘dinner-for- two’ boxes [you can probably get them on-line and Yodel will deliver them for you], heat them up, put them in a big cardboard box, strap them to the back of a motor-bike and ride around for half an hour, fall off in your drive, then ding-dong the doorbell, and hey presto! you have a gorgeous take-away.

Not recommended on Wedding Anniversary night.

Yodel might even save you the bother of putting them in the bin. 😭

Wonderful! 🙂

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I used Yodel as the example as I had read Ian’s opinion of them and knew it would get him excited.

My goodness Mr Ward. That sounds like trawling – fishing for an emotional response. 🙂

We regularly have a small selection of part-prepared meals in the fridge, partly to save the hassle of cooking from scratch if we are busy, and partly because for two people they are quite good value. These days, more importantly, they are particularly good quality (depending where you buy them, of course). So Haddock Mornay (half an hour in the oven), Shepherds Pie, pizza, beef stroganoff, chicken casserole and dumplings, chinese, indian, ……oh, and the £10 meal for two with a couple of bottles of cider or soft drink if you don’t want wine. Adding some vegetables is no chore. A bit like a restaurant at home, without the larger expense, and without the worries about hygiene and quality.

When you pass through the kitchen, Lauren, after staggering in from the garden, visit the fridge, turn on the oven, and when you’ve had a well-earned shower your dinner for two will be well on its way – and you won’t be interrupted in the shower by mr deliveroo.

It’s Mr Deliveroo and his ilk that puts us off the whole experience. We have occasionally had a take-away from a very good Indian establishment that only does take-aways because it is on an industrial estate and has no passing trade. The food has been excellent, and service and delivery by van very good – and it’s cash on delivery which is good as well. If we want fish & chips it has to be Thursday evening between 4:30 and 6:00 when the van turns up next to the church and community centre. It’s only a five minute walk but we rarely use it.

We used to do that, but then found we were not very good at inspecting the contents of our freezer, so food got overlooked until too late. We have now become more lazy.

We try to avoid dining out or getting a takeaway on a Saturday or Friday night. They are their busiest nights and food can be rushed and not at its best although it probably depends on the type of food. Dining out locally means a very long walk, a £20-£40 taxi or one of us doesn’t drink so we don’t dine out that often.

We get an Indian takeaway every week or two, phone up and collect 30 minutes later. We are not likely to use a delivery app as you probably can’t adjust the menu to suit your taste like you can over the phone. Can you ask for no fresh coriander on the top but it is ok cooked in the dish or you’d like that madras hot using an app?

Anyway, Saturday night is steak, jacket spud and coleslaw night with a glass or 2 of red wine.

alfa, assuming you buy the coleslaw this, like many meals, is simple and relatively quick to prepare. We cook our steak in a very hot pan, but use a mesh cover to contain the splattering, and a cooker hood to remove the fumes. Oh, and a dishwasher afterwards, otherwise washing up can detract from the experience.

Our Beef Stoganoff (delicious) last night took 10 minutes to cook but we (mrs r) did cook rice. If we’d been really lazy we could have bought a microwaveable pack.

Never tried microwaveable rice. Seems to go against the grain…

Sometimes we make the coleslaw but we can get a very nice dairy-free M&S coleslaw at a local garage so M&S usually wins.

A very hot pan is the trick of a good steak. We bought a table top grill when we didn’t have a kitchen and still use it for steak. A wipe with kitchen roll when it is hot then wash the griddles next day (when it has cooled down is my excuse) and the rest in the dishwasher.

Jacket spud in the microwave, then put steak and spud on rack over tin to catch drips in low oven for 20-30 minutes to brown/rest/check out the wine and yes, a tasty meal (better than any restaurant steak) with very little work involved.

We get the Tilda (steamed) microwavable rice, handy to have in the cupboard, usually £1 on special offer, lots of flavours and one pack is enough as I don’t eat a lot of rice.

Coleslaw turns up in unexpected places and I hate it. I’ve been served a ‘ploughman’s lunch’ that included coleslaw. I doubt that any self-respecting ploughman ate coleslaw with his lunch.

A few happy minutes chopping, peeling and browning gets you a pot full of goodness that freezes in portions and comes out when cooking is a chore or time is short. Likewise a ‘shepherd’ or ‘cottage’ can be cooked in a large dish and divided for later. turkey and chicken can be portioned in the same way and added to fresh veg. Salmon only needs twenty minutes from frozen as do chipolatas in the air fryer with potatoes added. We are not into highly spiced food so avoid curries. Chinese can be bought locally, but not delivered. I enjoy these more when actually in a restaurant. Starter kits are available in the supermarket but I’ve never been tempted. It’s a numbers game, which amuses me. I also suppose that at our age, there isn’t such a thing as Saturday night, with the thought of the eight fifteen on Monday getting closer. I haven’t used a take-away for years and a few locally have “interesting “cooking areas and back yards. Battered fish and chips are delicious and cause indigestion. I forget the last time we had these. So, an equivocal viewpoint here, but probably not a typical one.

Please explain “portions”, Vynor. This would be an alien concept to me. If it comes out of the oven it goes on the plate and is consumed at once. I don’t think I could cope with “portions”. It would be too distressing to see something put in the freezer. What if . . . No, I won’t go there.

If I make a stew or cook up some mince, I always do a big batch and freeze some for further quick meals. Same with a roast, make enough gravy to freeze some roast meat in it for a quick meal.

Not exactly sure what there is to explain John. I thought a portion was an individual (or in my case two or three) meals-worth of food, separated into packages and frozen for later use. Am I missing something here?

But…but you’re cooking Shepherds?

I have a vivid image of you, Alfa, labouring over a huge cauldron on a vast open fire…

Only in portions John. I was trying to hide our cannibalistic tendencies. A good shepherd takes some beating. And that’s another ambiguous statement if ever there was one. Cannibalistic with sado-masochistic tendencies. I’m doing well here. Not sure about the cottage though, unless my name happened to be Hansel.

Thanks, Vynor. I understand the literal meaning of “portion” but I find it hard to come to terms with cooking something and not eating it all immediately. I am a gourmand, rather than a gourmet; or pig if you want the technical term for it.

I find that, generally, a batch cook tastes better than a small cook, designed to be eaten all up. More ingredients and a better combining in the oven. Also if enjoyed straight from the pot, one can anticipate the next one from the freezer, without the effort of cooking from scratch. If one makes a mistake, however, this might be one that stays in the freezer for a while so it pays to be careful. Likewise a whole chicken may be too much to eat at once and it can be carved and frozen for use with a tasty sauce or as a pie. The carcass is then ready for soup/stock. This too can be frozen in ice cube trays and used for gravy. One would cook quantities for a dinner party too.
I’m reminded of a wacky sci-fi story by Saki I think. Food came in the form of a small tablet. When added to water it produced a delicious dinner for six. On one occasion the tablet was left unattended and the dog ate it…… I think it’s time for bed.

Having harvested 114 cherry tomatoes yesterday morning my wife is experimenting with ways to store them so that they can be easily used before next years crop.

So she has dried a sample , with some larger tomatoes, in the oven [9hours], washed and placed them direct in the freezer, and roasted them. They will form the basis of many a meal. However the cooked ones are highly nibbleable …

Cooking larger meals and freezing some portions makes good sense. Curries, mild and creamy float my boat so we have pasandas and kormas.
” Although pasanda is usually served as a meat dish, it may also be prepared in kebab form. Reflecting the dish’s flavour and its connection with the almond, pasanda also refers to a mild curry sauce made with cream, coconut milk, and almonds.”

We could easily dine out or have takeaways as we have 6 restaurants within walking distance. Admittedly the furthest does involve a round trip of three kilometres and a significant elevation change.

However there are some nice things to be had from the supermarket including chilled pressed chicken milanaise and a vegetable mix of salsify and beans. However overall I suspect we will eat out 40 times a year, eat some shop bought mains around 50, never order take-away, and do our own cooking the remainder.

I used to enjoy lamb pasanda in a local restaurant but it changed hands and the version produced by the new owners is pretty average. At least it is helping me to explore the many other alternatives on the menu. My own efforts at pasandas have not impressed me either.

I think we need to be clear that there are takeaway establishments and then there are restaurants from which services like Deliveroo, JustEat and UberEats take food away from.

The way they work is the services do all of the delivery work so that restaurants, often ‘posh’ ones that service sit down meals can cook exactly the same quality food as you would sitting down but put it in a ‘doggy bag’.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of takeaway, but being able to get access to restaurant quality food (though sitting around on the back of a cyclists’ bike and in a plastic container) has somewhat transformed the experience.

The most dramatic example of this is how when UberEats came onto the market, they clearly wanted to dominate by having a £10 referral reward. Each time you got a friend to order once they would get £10 off, and you would also get £10s off. That’s £20 of ‘free’ food. One Saturday I had four friends over – we were playing boardgames – and I shared my referral code with them. Each of them ordered a meal from 4 different places for under £10 and got their dinner for free… I had £40 for next time. It’s a funny world we live in…

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Very interesting, Duncan. I also read this over the weekend. Here’s a link to the story, for anyone who hasn’t yet read it: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/doner-kebabs-could-soon-be-banned-across-europe-a3708631.html

I’d be really interested to know everyone’s thoughts on this.

It would be interesting to look at the scientific evidence behind this decision. I suspect there are greater health risks that could be tackled.

Although I have a had a few in my time I am not a great lover of doner kebabs and it’s a long time since I’ve had one. I’ve had a few upset stomachs as well after eating them and I think this might have been because the meat was not properly cooked thoroughly on the spit, or because it was frequently cooling and then being re-heated so was not in satisfactory condition. I was unaware of the heart disease risk other than knowing they contained a lot of fat and salt. Eating one or two a year did not seem too risky. I seem to recall there was concern some years ago that the meat was not always what it was supposed to be and contained all sorts of different mechanically recovered animal parts and other bits that are then ground down and reformed into the large cone-shaped lump that revolves on the spit. I wasn’t too sure about the safety of the accompaniments either – lettuce and other bits of salad that might have been sitting around in uncovered bowls for some time.

Every town seems to have one or more doner kebab take-away shops, especially near any bars or night clubs, and they proliferate in holiday destinations too, so they must be quite popular. I would be glad to see the back of these smelly and grubby-looking outlets but I expect there would be widespread objection to banning this product and it makes me wonder what the vendors of doner kebabs would come up with as an alternative. It could be worse. I can appreciate the Turkish community would see this as an unfair attack on their livelihoods. Perhaps we should leave the question to the Germans to deal with – they have a lot of doner kebab shops and I never had any bad after-effects after eating them there.

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Shops can sell a wide range of products here so long as they are correctly and properly described. There is nothing wrong with selling orange juice from a carton, whether ‘pressed and never from concentrate’ or ‘from concentrate’ so long they don’t say it is ‘freshly squeezed’. There was a time when a lot of cafes had a glass container full of orange liquid with plastic oranges floating on the top; that had to stop, but ‘freshly squeezed’ is still open to interpretation as to whether it is done there and then on the premises or is done in a food factory, piped into cartons, and then chilled. To remain ‘freshly squeezed’ It needs to be kept refrigerated all the way through to the point of sale. Many establishments in the UK do now use whole oranges and squeeze the juice out before your very eyes. Most people who ask for an orange juice in a pub or restaurant get juice made from concentrate. There is nothing wrong with it but it will have been homogenised and have little evidence of any fibre.

I suspect selling freshly squeezed oranges in the USA is a matter of commercial choice and not a food safety requirement. With good oranges from Florida and California being ten a penny in the States there is no need to sell juice made from concentrate or out of a carton – that juice can be pressed from imperfect fruits and exported to Europe at greater profit. Or perhaps in America there are laws to protect home grown production. That’s irrelevant in this context here – we can’t grow oranges so they are going to be imported in some form or another. In the UK the food inspectors probably do not routinely examine the orange juice supplied in establishments but I hope they make a hygiene inspection of any appliances used to make ‘freshly squeezed orange juice’ on the premises. They should also be checking for correct labelling and dealing with any incorrect description at the point of sale, and should follow-up any complaints about the product.

On the orange juice, it certainly is a commercial decision, as many smaller outlets sell it straight from a chilled bottle. The other aspect of the US diet is its delight in sugar. Almost everything has sugar added, which makes breakfast rather hard to take in our case. One reason why they keep a firm hand on food inspections, however, is because of the average temperatures in much of the USA. The southern states, popular with visitors, become very hot at times, and therefore food storage and safety assumes a much higher priority than it does in places like Iceland.

America also has a rich history of shysters and was quite late on the food safety and hygiene scene.

“We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths.” [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 1999 – wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/5/5/99-0502_article]

I used to believe Doner Kebab was a Turkish pop star… or Russian pop Tsar?

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Having eaten in many an American eating establishment, I can’t say I have noticed a particularly high quality of hygiene and food standards.

We usually avoid cheap all-you-can-eat establishments but sometimes don’t have a choice especially for breakfast, and the orange stuff they serve up certainly is not pure orange juice and I don’t know how they get away with calling bits of fat – bacon. Scrambled eggs are a strange consistency so it is best to ask for a fried egg – over easy.

Then there all the faded label Heinz ketchup bottles on tables that are refilled with cheap ketchup.

And if you have been in a busy kitchen, there is more food on the floor than on plates. I have never seen rats, but plenty of cockroaches after dark. 😖

I don’t think so, Duncan. It should not include the pith and the peel and any pips. Concentrated orange juice is made by drying and later rehydrating the juice, or by concentrating the juice and later adding water to the concentrate. Before drying, the juice may also be pasteurised and have oxygen removed from it, necessitating the later addition of flavouring, generally made from orange products which could include some of the pulp or fibre from inside the orange rendered to a liquid form and integrated with the juice.

It is almost certain that eating an orange is better for you than drinking just the juice because ingestion of the high sugar content is slower and the natural fibre provides roughage. I eat two oranges most days. I also have one drink a day of pressed pineapple juice not from concentrate. A couple of gins and bitter lemon makes my five-a-day! [Not true – my current fruit intake includes apples, banana, grapes and soft fruit if I can find good quality produce – some excellent South African peaches last week].

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It’s easy to consume a large amount of sugar as a result of buying fruit juice. I stopped buying juice years ago and just eat the fruit. It’s more time consuming to peel fruit, which helps to limit consumption.

As far as I know, Orange juice is just the juice (and vesicles or juicy bits in some). According to Wiki “Commercial squeezed orange juice is pasteurized and filtered before being evaporated under vacuum and heat. After removal of most of the water, this concentrate, about 65% sugar by weight, is then stored at about 10 °F (−12 °C). Essences, Vitamin C, and oils extracted during the vacuum concentration process may be added back to restore flavor and nutrition (see below).

The vacuum concentration process removes volatile components and I don’t think they are restored, judging by the rather flavourless nature of juices made from concentrated juice.

Duncan: cockroaches are endemic in most of the southern states in the US. They do try to stop them getting into diners and use a lot of fly screens for the airborne season, but they still get in.