A while ago I reviewed a newly launched home meal delivery service that simply didn’t cut it.
So when I was invited by newly launched home delivery service Gousto to give their product a try, I was hesitant. One look at the sample recipes on their website changed my mind and I agreed to receive a trial delivery.
They duly delivered a box containing recipe cards and ingredients for my four chosen recipes, with items needing refrigeration (mostly) separated into a silver cool bag. Given the heat, we kept the beansprouts, spring onions and tomatoes in the fridge too.
The first thing we noticed, an improvement on the other company we tried, was that the recipe cards each had a Best Before sticker on them. This made it easy for us to work out which meal would be best to cook on which date. Delivery was on a Wednesday evening. One recipe was dated to use by Friday. Two were dated for Saturday and one for the following Tuesday.
In addition, most of the ingredients were clearly labelled with both their name and the recipe they belonged to, which was particularly useful for the various ingredients in small plastic pots, and the sachets of spices. We think it would also have been helpful to label the udon noodles and linguine, for those less familiar with the difference and also the two lumps of ginger, as we had to check both recipes to see which one required the larger piece.
The only ingredients we ever had to add from the store cupboard were oil, salt and pepper.
On one side of each recipe card is the recipe name, an introduction, which includes mention of any unusual ingredients, a difficulty rating, preparation time required, calories, fat and protein contents, a photograph of the ingredients and an ingredients list which gives the weight for all items, so you can easily repeat the recipe by buying the ingredients yourself. (The other service provided weights for most but not all items, making it difficult to re-use the cards, had we wanted to).
The other side provides an 8 panel set of instructions. We found most instructions straightforward, with just a few cases of ambiguity or error.
We found all four recipes we trialled very straightforward to prepare and cook and really enjoyed eating all four. We also liked that they were the kinds of dishes that we would probably not have tried otherwise, but may well make again now we’ve seen how easy and delicious they are.
Here’s my feedback on the four individual recipes we made:
Tahini Crusted Cod With Tomato Salad
We thought the recipe very quick and simple. All we needed to do was to peel and chop some vegetables and parsley, mix the crust ingredients and spread them onto the fillets of fish and bake in the oven. Half the vegetables went under the fish to be cooked and half were mixed into a salad to have raw alongside.
The ingredients were good quality.
Overall, we liked the dish very much, but felt the volume of onion was too high. At first, I thought it was just that we’d been sent such a huge onion, but we noticed that the photograph of the ingredients on the recipe card included an equally enormous one. The cooked portion was fine, as it developed a lovely sweetness in the oven, but in the salad it was too much. (In the image of the plated dish, we’ve left a fair bit of onion behind in the mixing bowl).
Oh, can we just say how much we like the illustration used for step 2 – turning on the oven?! (Zoom in above or check it out on the website).
Japanese Udon Noodles And Chicken In Spicy Soup
Although our broth didn’t come out the vivid red orange colour in the pictures, this was another delicious dish. (We did expect the colour to be somewhat reduced, as we used half the chilli rather than the whole but had thought we’d get a little of the orange they showed).
The recipe included rice vinegar and shaoxing wine but I’d say most of the flavour came from the chicken and mushrooms. The chicken was good quality but could have been trimmed better, we cut out several stringy bits of sinew. I was glad to see the more flavoursome chestnut mushrooms listed rather than blander buttons.
The portions were generous, and having a carb included made this more filling than the cod and salad.
This was not the kind of thing we’d have thought could be so quick and straightforward to make at home.
Black Pepper Spicy Tofu On Coconut Rice
The instructions to make this were very clear, though oddly the panels were incorrectly numbered.
At first, we were a bit concerned that the rice would either be done too quickly, or not finished cooking when the tofu stir fry was ready to serve. We should have trusted the recipe though – we followed the instructions in order, without leaving any gaps between, and rice and tofu were both ready at the same time.
That’s clever recipe development and not as easy as it may sound!
The dish had plenty of flavour and texture and again, was something we’d never have thought to cook. We really liked it and will likely make both elements again, together and separately.
Wild Boar Ragu With Linguine
We struggled a little with the prep for this dish, for one major reason – that dried wild boar sausage is really, really, really tough to cut, and yes our knives are properly sharp. I wouldn’t want Gousto to swap this ingredient out, as the flavour was superb and integral to the finished dish, but perhaps provide it ready diced, if that won’t shorten the shelf life too much.
In addition, the instructions for prepping the leeks were confusing: “Cut off the top of the leeks, leaving behind the white parts and 2 cm of the green parts“. We assume what the recipe intended was for us to remove a small slice from the root end and as much from the green end as required to retain only the more solid part of the leek and then, to cut the whole thing into thin disks (this step being missing completely). We worked it out from the pictures and later steps.
Both those things said, the dish was still very easy to make.
Again, the timings worked out well, and putting the pasta on to cook at step 5 meant it was cooked just right by the time we finished step 7 and were ready to mix the cooked pasta in to the sauce.
Like the tofu rice and chicken noodle soup dishes, this was a filling dish. Like all four, it was delicious and something we’d make again.
As you can see, we really enjoyed our four Gousto meals. They were quick and easy to prepare and cook, the ingredients were good quality and they were all very tasty.
We particularly liked that we were able to choose the recipes we wanted from a shortlist of eight and we understand that a new set of recipes are offered each week, ensuring that regular customers continue to be inspired by something new.
Price wise, our Gourmet Box of 4 meals for two people is priced at £52. That works out to £6.50 per meal per person.
(Per meal prices drop a little if you buy for 4 or 6 people instead of 2, though none of them drop as low as £5 per meal, as claimed on the website. The prices are also lower if you select the Veggie Box in lieu of the Gourmet Box we trialled).
At the time we trialled the other service, the pricing also came to £6.50 per meal per person. For the meals we trialled with them, and the ingredients they included, Pete and I felt the price was far too high. We just couldn’t imagine ourselves paying £13 for an average spagbol, an average shepherd’s pie and an average Thai curry.
However, we are agreed that we can imagine treating ourselves to a Gousto box now and again, especially when we need an injection of new ideas and flavours. We realise we could do the same dishes for cheaper if we bought the ingredients ourselves, but appreciated being sent just what we needed rather than ending up with half-used jars of tahini or almost-full bottles of different vinegars and sauces.
Kavey Eats received a sample Gourmet Box courtesy of Gousto.