I consider myself lucky that I have both the time and the inclination to explore the culinary world on a daily basis: I enjoy searching for or inventing new recipes and I love sourcing ingredients. But what happens if you don’t have the time to do either, yet you would love to have something new and exciting for dinner each evening? The answer lies in Gousto: an exciting, innovative company who deliver quality, farm-fresh ingredients along with easy to follow recipe cards, straight to your door on a regular basis.
The Gousto menus include a fabulous range of cuisines, inclding Moroccan, Mediterranean and Asian, plus more homely family favourites, and their portions are well balanced and of a very good size. They also offer some wonderful vegetarian meals, making it very hard to decide what to order. All of the meals we trialled took around 30 minutes to cook, and required only basic cooking implements. The skill level involved in preparing most of the dishes is fairly basic, although they do offer video links for you to follow if there’s something you’re not quite sure about. All in all, Gousto meals are the perfect solution for anyone who is regularly tempted to reach for the take away menu, or for anyone looking for inspiration each evening, or for anyone who’s just plain busy. You simply arange for your box to be delivered on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday; choose your meals from the current week’s menu and away you go. It really couldn’t be any easier.
Last week we were the lucky recipients of a box of Gousto meals, so that I could test drive them on your behalf and report back – and I have to say I was chuffed to bits with the whole thing. I deliberately opted to go for a ‘lucky dip’ box so that I wouldn’t be tempted just to go for my usual produce, and I can say hand on heart that I wasn’t disappointed with any of the meals we recieved. Had I had to choose from their weekly menu, I would probably have found it quite difficult as everything sounds so good, and the menus are constantly being updated with new recipes popping up all the time.
The box arrived in pristine condition: the goods were neatly packaged and the packaging was extremely well thought out. The inside of the box is divided into two compartments: one for dry goods and vegetables; the other containing the chilled goods which are insulated with a recyclable wool lining and plenty of icepacks to keep them at the optimum temperature. Almost all of the packaging is recyclable, which is excelent news for the environment – and for the famiy pets: the felt lining inside the plastic bags has already been adopted by one of the cats. It will also be great insulation for any tender plants in the greenhouse. I’m all for a bit of waste-not-want-not.
Onto the food. What can I say? Each and every one of the meals we cooked was a gastronomic delight. We had some foods we’d never eaten; some we’d never considered; and some of our regulars, some of which we will adapt our own way of cooking to that suggested by Gousto. The variety of food was amazing: we had fish, chicken (thighs and breasts), sausages, bacon, cheese (feta & goat), a variety of different vegetables and spices, and lots of different carbohydrates (rice, bulgar wheat, ciabatta, potatoes and rice noodles). A great many of the dry ingredients as well as the vegetables were organic and all the meat was Red Tractor standard.
On the whole all the meals got the thumbs up, although a couple were slightly lacking in greenery for my own personal taste – I like my meals to be slightly vegetable-heavy. But having said that, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the nutritional content of the meals – they were all extremely well-balanced and healthy.
The meals do represent good value for money if you’re the kind of person who will waste any excess ingredients or someone who doesn’t cook from scratch reguarly enough to use up a jar of pomegranete molasses or a bottle of sesame oil. If, however, you’re like me and like to use up every last morsel from the fridge or storecupboard, they’re probably not for you as you’ll get better value buying ingredients in bulk. On the other hand if your time and energy for finding recipes, buying ingredients and cooking is in short supply, they’re absolutely ideal.
Having said that they’re not for me, I would definitely consider keeping my subscription open but on hold so that I can order a box to be delivered when I fancy a break from constantly thinking about food, or if we go away for one of our many self-catering weekends. That way I know I will have the correct ingredients, without forgetting anything or using up any valuable car space; and we will be able to dine in style every night without resorting to a frozen pizza or a chip butty.
Here’s a gallery of all the meals we prepared (yes, AlphaMale had a go too just to prove they’re idiot proof…). I hope they inspire you to give Gousto a go.
And if you do sign up for gousto meals, don’t forget to enter their amazing competition to win an Apple i-pad. Simply photograph or video your meals and post them on social media adding the hashtag #Gousto!oments . Full details here:
Disclaimer: All the ingredients used in this review were supplied free of charge by Gousto. All views and opionions are my own unbiased findings, based on my own personal taste and capabilities.