Review: Gousto #2

I tried Gousto a while ago when the recipe box delivery service was first introduced, and liked it. Having made some changes to their offering in the last few weeks I was given the opportuity to try the company out again. If you follow me on twitter or facebook then you’ll have already seen some photos of my Gousto creations, and this is the blog post that goes with those.

The courier delivered my parcel during the day, and didn’t seem to take a lot of notice of the “fragile” sticker (nothing new there!), but thankfully the food had been packaged well enough that it didn’t leave me with any unusable ingredients. The store cupboard ingredients were in a cardboard box, while the fridge food was inside a wool-insulated bag with freezer blocks inside. Everything was labelled with the name of the ingredient, amount, and the recipe code so you can instantly see which meal they go with.

The selection of recipes I was sent offered a nice variety – one chicken, one pork and one fish; one rice, one potato and one pasta. I did’t choose them myself as this was a PR sample, if you buy this yourself then you are able to choose meals from ten new suggestions each week offering all kinds of cuisines. Thankfully all three recipes sounded great and I didn’t have any worries about whether I’d enjoy them or not. We had Poached Salmon Linguine, a quick 25 minute meal using ready poached salmon cooked with pasta in a light garlic and chilli sauce; Stilton and Pork Steaks, using pecan nuts, pears and potatoes to create a meal with lots of texture and flavour; and Chicken Satay, a Thai inspired dish of marinated chicken skewers served with rice, home made satay sauce and a quick cucumber pickle. The packaging note gives you an “enjoy-by” date so you can plan when to have each meal.

Each of the recipe cards provided information on the meal, giving a appetite-whetting description as well as some factoids about an ingredient or two, or perhaps a little history of the dish. What you need from your box of ingredients is listed and there’s a short list of any special equipment (e.g. pestle and mortar – gave me a reason to use my Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker again, fabulous little gadget) and additional ingredients  (e.g. salt, oil, sugar) you need to provide to make the meal. Then on the other side you get step by step instructions telling you exactly what you need to do to create your dinner.

I found the instructions very easy to follow, on the whole. Gousto is not necessarily providing you with quick and simple meals here, but the time they expect it to take is clearly marked so you know in advance and the instructions and accompanying photographs provide enough details to make it very possible. There were a few questions I had that the instructions didn’t answer – such as “how thick” for the peanut sauce for the satay and “why remove the seeds” from the cucumber. All three meals made it to the dinner table looking and tasting good, and that’s always the proof of a good recipe.

The best thing about Gousto, apart from it providing a selection of different and tasty meals without me having to go to the supermarket or come up with my own ideas, is that the ingredients provided are all weighed and measured in advance. You aren’t left with mostly full pots of spice or packets of peanuts when you only need a teaspoon of this or a handful of that. Yes there is the preparation of ingredients still to be done; some crushing and peeling, some chopping and dicing – but you are starting with everything you need in the right quantities and ready to go. Oh and you are getting good quality too – it was good to see the little note at the bottom of the packing list saying that Gousto is a certified processor of organic products, which includes all their vegetables, and only provides “high animal welfare” meat.

While my three Gousto meals were really good and I could definitely get used to receiving a box like this every single week, it is important to note that this is not a cheap way to eat. Gousto claim to be cheaper than a supermarket but at £34.99 for a box similar to the one I received it’s difficult to see that. You are saving time and most definitely waste, but I rarely spend over £10 on a meal for two at home (including buying meat from the butcher and fresh vegetables from the farm shop). What Gousto is, is an incredibly convenient way to encourage you to cook from scratch at home and try different meal ideas without having to trawl recipe books, and for that it can be applauded.

Check out the Gousto website for more information and to give it a try yourself.

Thank you to Gousto for sending me one of their latest boxes to try out. We ate well!

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