I was kindly asked by Gousto to try out one of their recipe boxes and post my efforts on my blog.
Gousto deliver weekly boxes to your door with (*almost) everything you need to cook three healthy meals for two or four people. There are 10 recipes to choose from each week and you choose the three recipes that take your fancy, these are then brought to your door pre-weighed and measured ready for you to cook. The ingredients are fresh from British farms, the veg is organic and they promise to only deliver quality ingredients.
Each meal comes with a recipe (with pictures and YouTube tutorials), detailing the cooking time, the calorie content, the cuisine and how many of your five-a-day it contains.
So what did I get in my Gousto box?
Pomegranate Glazed Kofta and Couscous
This was the first meal I made from my box. The lamb mince came pre-weighed out to the recipe specification and vacuum packed from Birtwistle Butchers, a quick google search tells me this is a family run catering butchers in Manchester. It was the most fiddly of the three meals as it had a few components, the koftas, the roast veg, the couscous and the dips. I struggled a little to follow the instructions and I'm sure one of the steps made reference to the wrong future step. It took a little common sense, cooking knowledge and deviation from the steps to get everything made and ready at the same time. Had I followed the recipe step by step I would have been left out of sync.
The end result was good, the couscous turned out perfectly and the kofta were good but I struggled to pick up the pomegranate from the pomegranate molasses, I could have done with a little more to cover all for koftas.
Steak and Creamy Leek Mash
The steak provided was minute steak, I've never chosen to buy this cut before. I tend to only have steak on a weekend and meticulously choose the best piece(s) of beef I can find. Minute steak is a cheaper cut of steak and usually chopped up in sandwiches, stewed or braised rather than cooking it as a big slab like you would a fillet or ribeye. The steaks came vacuum packed from a butchers in Lincolnshire.
I was insistent on following the recipe, which is rare for me as I tend to think I know best and change steps, add ingredients or take them away, not to blow my own trumpet but invariably I'm right, because I know what I like.
I added the premeasured amount of cinnamon to my carrots and whacked them in the oven thinking "I wouldn't have added that much". When they were done I was right, they could done with a little less cinnamon and maybe a bit more honey, which wouldn't be an option if you only had their premeasured pot of honey to hand.
I did make a deviation with the mash, after tasting it, I decided that it needed to be creamier and added some milk. This might be to my own (and D's) taste but I definitely thought that a dash of milk made it taste a whole lot better, I guess it would have been hard to provide a dash of milk in the box. It did introduce me to leeks in mash, great combination and I will certainly be making it again.
The steaks turned out well, I should have cut them to show you the pinky redness inside but unfortunately I was too eager to try them out and just ate them instead. Picture quality of this dish is appalling it was hard to make it look attractive.
Listed as Russian and providing 1 of my five a day I had this to myself split over two days. I was also on the verge of getting some horrendous cold on the night I cooked this too with concentration low and exhaustion levels at an all time high. This recipe was fairly easy to follow even for my shaded and cloudy mind.
Again I tried to follow the recipe to the word and I found that there was far too much thyme and the sprinkling of it on top as the picture suggested on the recipe card was a bad idea. Thyme overload. It was a real comforting meal and there was a little bit of sour cream left over to freshen it up again the next day.
Cost = £34.99 for two people (£5.81 per portion), £49.99 for four people (£4.16 per portion)
At the time of writing you can get an introductory £15 off your first order, £20 for 3 meals for two people works out at £3.34 per portion which isn't bad.
10 recipes to chose from per week, includes at least 3 vegetarian recipes.
Most of the recipes take between 30-45 minutes to make.
Recipe cards need a little bit of work. They need to be 'idiot proof'. Some of them were a little confusing and it you're a novice and just following the steps you won't read ahead unless you're told to. For example one card told me to put the onions in the oven for 20 minutes and that was the end of the step. What it should of said is, put the onions in the oven for 20 minutes and whilst they are cooking start on the lamb, then proceed to the next step on how to cook the lamb. I didn't know whether timings would be out if I left the onions for 20 minutes before I started cooking anything else without reading through the whole recipe to check.
For me I would find it hard to pin myself down to cook 3 meals consistently in the week every week before the ingredients were passed their best. For those with a more regulated timetable this would probably work a little better. My box was delivered on a Friday and most of the meals needed to be eaten by Monday, which meant I ended up having two meals in one day as I was eating out Friday and Sunday night. Think about when you want your box delivered.
A great way to get in to cooking (if the recipe cards are improved), it appealed to my cooking novice friend as it was all laid out before her pre-sourced, pre-measured and pre-planned. It introduced me to some recipes and ideas, such as leeks in mash, and I will definitely be keeping hold of the mushroom recipe.
I have my own favourite spices such as paprika, in comparison the one provided didn't meet the quality of the one I already owned. I also already owned a few staple ingredients, such as paprika, cinnamon, honey and couscous. I would hate for these to lie redundant in my store cupboard.
*Almost all of the ingredients are provided, you need things like butter, olive oil and seasoning but most non-cooks and cooks alike will have these things.
You need some cooking equipment, such as a pestle and mortar, a garlic crusher etc I know not everyone has these as my housemates use mine.
It's a great concept for those with busy working lives who are looking for the convenience of having it all there before you ready to cook.
Have you tried Gousto or a similar company? What did you think?