Although I usually revert to a takeaway at least once a week, I love to cook most of our meals myself at home, avoiding ready-made sauces and using individual herbs and spices to get the flavours I’m looking for.
I was recently asked if I would like to try Gousto, a company that delivers weekly meal kits containing everything you need to cook three dinners from scratch at home. I received the ingredients to make Chicken Pad Thai, Persian Lamb Couscous and Parmesan Crusted Pork. Everything came in just the right quantities to cook dinner for two people, although you can order the dinner kits for 4 people too. There were icepacks in with the meat and refrigerator items so they stayed cold and everything, including the herbs looked very fresh. I was even impressed by the reusable and sustainable wool packaging.
The pack included clear step by step instructions with pictures including exactly what to do at each stage of making the meal. Even as a more experienced cook I found them useful and feel that they would really help a more novice cook feel confident about cooking the recipes. The fact that everything comes in just the right quantities is also fantastic for someone who may want to have a go at say a pad Thai but not have ingredients like tamarind paste or fish sauce at home. This way you don’t need to buy a whole bottle or jar which may end up going to waste later if you don’t use it up.
Of course, the most important thing is the taste. Are the meals any good? Well, I was impressed. I especially liked the Pad Thai and the Persian Lamb Couscous. I followed the recipes exactly and the pad Thai contained more sugar than I normally put in it but I actually liked the sweetness. The only thing it lacked was a few crushed roasted peanuts. Of course, I could have added a few from my own supplies if I’d really wanted.
The Persian lamb was very easy to make. I loved the flavours in the baharat spice mix and the crispy bits on the lamb mince. It’s definitely something I’ll be making again at home and using this method but varying the types of mince and seasonings.
The final dish was the parmesan crusted pork and this was good too, but it wasn’t something I’d rush to make again. This was the last dish I made and I made it on the ‘enjoy by’ day. I found the parsnips had gone a little soft and bendy but they still tasted fine as mash. The other vegetables and herbs were fine.
So overall, the pros were:
- Great tasting meals that were full of flavour as well as balanced and relatively healthy
- Easy step by step instructions
- Quality ingredients including organic vegetables
- Exact quantities are provided so there’s no food waste, no need for weighing or measuring and of course no need to go shopping for everything yourself
- 10 varied meals to choose from each week, including vegetarian options
- It encourages home cooking as once you’ve bought the meal kit you are less likely to resort to a ready meal or a takeaway
- If the week turns out to be busier than you expected, you might not have time to cook the three meals before the best before date.
- It could work out expensive, although there is an introductory offer so you save on your first box. The website claims that it is cheaper than using a supermarket but I’m not sure how this has been worked out.
- You still have to be willing to spend time preparing the meals including washing and chopping up the vegetables.
Would I use it again?
Well, I’ve looked at the choices for this coming week and there are three things I would love to eat: Baked Chicken Tikka, Ras el Hanout Chicken and Mexican Beef Tacos. So am I going to? Well, as a food blogger I also have lots of other food plans so I know I just wouldn’t have time to eat these as well. I also have a fridge and cupboards full of half-used jars and seasonings which I enjoy experimenting with. However, were it not for this, I would be seriously tempted.
If you’d like to win a free Gousto box then Gousto are running a selfie competition at the moment. Just tweet a foodie selfie using the hashtag #GoustoGorge