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The premise behind Housebites is simple: good, local chefs cook up a storm and deliver to your door, for the same price as a takeaway. Entrepreneur Simon Prockter set up the site last year, after deciding he was sick of the greasy offerings from his local Dominos/Indian/Chinese, that often failed to deliver, literally.

Visit the website to see what (and who) is cooking in your area – different chefs cook on different evenings, and set their own menu and price. It’s a good bridging gap between those who are amazing chefs or cooks but can’t yet or choose not to run their own kitchen, and those who want restaurant-quality food without leaving the house. The only downside is that the popular chefs occasionally sell out – twice I logged on at 7pm (admittedly, on a Friday and Saturday night) and one of three chefs cooking in my area had nearly sold out his main dishes. So perhaps not so great for late-night take out, but brilliant if you’ve got guests coming for dinner after work and don’t have time to cook – get it all out of the (compostable) packaging and you could probably pass it off as your own!

From left to right: Risotto cakes, root vegetable salad, two dressings, regular side salad, tomato salsa, sticky toffee pudding, the root veg for the salad and vanilla whipped cream.

I ordered Risotto cakes with tomato salsa, fresh green salad and mustard dressing (£8.95) and Root Vegetable Salad (£4.95) from Danny Jack, a chef who’s recently moved to the area (to the delight of his new housebite regulars!). An hour later, Danny himself turns up on my doorstep, with his pushbike and a big brown bag of steaming hot, delicious food. The risotto cakes have a hint of lemon and are crunchy on the outside, hearty on the inside – not at all claggy or stodgy as risotto is sometimes wont to be. The tomato salsa shows off both Danny’s knife and seasoning skills with the perfect balance between sweet, salty and the heat of the red onions… very moreish! Even the mustard dressing on the mixed salad leaves is buttery, peppery and the perfect amount to properly dress the leaves.

To top it all off, Danny even included a free sticky toffee pudding and vanilla cream to introduce himself… I can’t think of a better way to say hello! The pudding itself was lovely – not too cloyingly sweet, full of fresh dates and made all the better with the mound of fresh cream. Sorry it was eaten before I took any photos!

At the moment Housebites is only available in London, but it’s launching in Reading and Brighton later this month. Visit www.housebites.com for more details.

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