Friday, 12 May 2017

Trying the Gousto Food Box – Is It Worth It?

I love spending time in the kitchen and I cook most of my dinners myself from scratch, but I do sometimes feel I'm making the same dishes over and over again. While I have shelves full of cookery books and I love flicking through them, salivating over the scrumptious imagery within their pages, they rarely inspire me to actually cook outside of my comfort zone right then and there, because I don't have all the necessary ingredients at hand. Gousto perfectly solves that dilemma by not only having enticing food photography on their website and recipe cards, but by also providing you with everything you need to recreate the dishes in one handy box, delivered straight to your door. I'd heard a lot about this foodie subscription service before and I was keen to put them to the test myself. Is cooking with Gousto as effortless and delicious as it sounds?


The Ordering Process

First things first, before you get the box of foodie goodies delivered to your doorstep it's time to pick out your favourite recipes. Each week there are different ones listed on the website, so you can choose those that sound most enticing to you. By being given choice of recipes, which changes every week, you can be certain that you'll be making something that is to your taste. My choice was based on ingredients I don't tend to cook with yet, as I wanted to experiment and try something a little different.

Once you've decided on your recipes it's time to order the box. You can pick a box from 2 up to 4 recipes for a week, for either a 2-person household or a family. I'm by myself and so opted for 2 recipes for a 2-person household, meaning I'd actually be cooking 4 dinners for a single person. The best thing about ordering the box is the flexibility in the delivery options, you can even get it on the weekend so there is no need to either work from home a day and wait in, or getting it delivered to your work address and lugging it home.

Unfortunately the delivery slot is for an entire day, rather than a more specific time slot, so you would potentially be waiting all day, but I did get a notification on the day to make me aware of the delivery. You can also include a neighbour or safe place as a back up with your order, so you don't actually have to be at home for this. The products are packaged very well and can be in the box for 24 hours, but of course this does mean you need to have a safe place or neighbout for the delivery person to leave it, neither of which was an option for me.




My Gousto Delivery

I expected a massive box to arrive on my doorstep, filled with half a grocery store but it wasn't quite like that. It was compact and everything within it was meticulously packaged and wrapped up for safety, so all the ingredients arrived in top condition. The veggies, herbs and spices all looked like they were excellent quality, they were vibrant, without any dents/bruises and smelled delicious.

The meat was in a special pouch surrounded by frozen ice packs (which are recyclable and I now have in my freezer for future use), so it stayed nice and cold on its journey. While upon first impression I thought that the ingredients laid out were very few for four full meals, I was absolutely wrong, as each of the dishes I cooked was a big plate full and I even struggled finishing them off (though I did manage in the end 😉).




Cooking My Hand Picked Dinners

Following the recipes in the box was super easy because they were laid out clearly and wrote in simple terms what to do. My first meal, Chicken, Red Pepper & Lemongrass Curry, went absolutely flawless and the only thing that was slightly off is that it took me 10-15 minutes longer to cook than was expected, but that was more because I was checking and double-checking everything, rather than that the meal took a long time to cook. It looked almost exactly like the recipe card and tasted incredible. While enjoying my dinner I honestly felt that it was the best meal I'd every cooked - and it'd been so simple!

As I'd made two portions of the same dish, I reheated the second portion a few days later and it was still just as good. I was really, really impressed. It has also inspired me to cook more with ingredients such as fresh ginger and lemon grass, as they make such a difference to the flavour of the dish.

My second dish, Spiced Pork Tenderloin & Peanut Sauce, was super delicious too, but slightly different from what it was supposed to be. Getting a bit cocky after my huge success a few days prior, I skim-read the recipe card, not double-checking everything as much, and I missed a step along the way that told me to marinate the meat in the curry spices before cooking. Oops. I managed to rectify my error by putting the curry in the sauce instead, and it still tasted absolutely delicious, but the final picture didn't look quite as much like the recipe card.

I unfortunately don't have any images from my cooking process, because my camera died the day before (bad timing or what?!), but I hope that my phone pictures of the final result do the amazing dishes justice.




Gousto: The Pros

One of the Gousto Food Box's biggest selling points is the convenience with which anyone can create a delicious home cooked meal in a short space of time, and they 100% win on that front. I'm an okay cook (even if I don't experiment much) and I found the instructions very simple, easy to follow, and I created my fragrant and delicious dishes in no time at all.

Receiving all the necessary ingredients in one handy box also saved me the headache of trying to find good quality produce myself (after all, there is always something sold out when you go grocery shopping), making the process of home cooking a lot more easy than it would normally be. The recipes themselves were also surprisingly quick to actually make, and I only cooked for about 30-45 minutes each time and produced some amazing dinners I'd be happy to show off if I had guests coming over.

I'm already planning on making the Chicken, Red Pepper, and Lemongrass Curry again, because yum! Getting not only the ingredients but the recipe cards too, means you can build up a collection of favourites you can make again and again; it's not just a one time thing.

Another thing I absolutely loved about the box is that it pushed me out of my comfort zone. Having the opportunity to handpick which recipes to cook is great not only to pick something that matches your taste but also (in my case) to choose things that have ingredients you don't normally cook with. It really expands your culinary horizons and makes cooking dinner a lot of fun.

Finally, big props to the delivery options being super flexible and including weekends. For a full-time working, single household deliveries usually are a nightmare but this was absolutely painless and very convenient.




Gousto: The Cons

The biggest thing that has been holding me back from trying Gousto before has been the price point and that hasn't changed. The four meals I cooked retail at £27.49, which means they are £6.87 per person per dinner (the price goes down if you order a bigger box but the cheapest option in a family box is still £3.75 per person per dinner, and that box is far too big for a single household to order). Perhaps affordable if you're used to takeaways or eating out, but for someone who does most of her own cooking it's a steep increase from normal dinner expenses.

Having said that, I completely understand where the cost comes from; the box being delivered with very flexible delivery options, packaged exceptionally well and the ingredients being of a good quality too, but it simply isn't affordable for the average household on a regular basis. Creating a slightly cheaper option, if possible, for a single household would be very welcome.

The one other thing I'd like to comment one, but shouldn't be too had to rectify from Gousto, is the individual packaging of the smaller items in the box. All the spices in their own small plastic wrappings for example, isn't very environmentally friendly. I'd like to see less packaging and the packaging they do use to be recyclable. There is already so much plastic and other packaging polluting our planet, we shouldn't be adding to it to such an extent in a single box.




Would I Order Gousto Again?

Absolutely! While the box is too expensive for me to buy on a regular basis, I'll definitely keep my eyes open for special offers to treat myself. Big bonus when the recipes that week sound particularly delicious and would help me push through my cooking boundaries by using ingredients or techniques I don't usually try in the kitchen – I love experimenting with food.


Exclusive Discount Offer For You...

Has my blog with my experience of Gousto wet your appetite to try this awesome box for yourself? Then you're in luck! I've kindly been given a discount code so you too can try it without breaking the bank.

Just enter the code TORNADO when ordering and you'll receive a £20 discount on your 1st and 2nd Gousto orders, on any sized box, meaning the 1st and 2nd boxes could cost you as little as £7.49 each (which equates to less than £2 a meal, which is an absolute steal for the quality of the dinner you'll be having). Enjoy!



Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity to try my first Gousto recipe box for free, without the obligation to review. However, my experience was so positive that I wanted to share it with you all and I hope you enjoyed reading my blog!



4 comments:

  1. We have similar services over here, and I've used Green Chef (which takes the environmental impact into account) a couple of times now. The prices seem quite similar, meaning a bit steep but as you said, still within splurge range if the scheduled recipes are especially enticing or I'm having a lazy week or something. Honestly I've loved it for the simplicity of prepped and measured out ingredients. Plus the recipe cards ensure you can still attempt to re-create a recipe later, with ingredients you've shopped for yourself.

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    1. Ah that is so cool you have something similar Stateside! I agree, one of the best things is the ease with which you can make some delicious dinners with a box like this! (And I too love the recipes as I'm already planning making one of the dishes again, this time for my parents.)

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  2. It sounds like a great idea, and it's good to hear that they package things well and use good quality ingredients, but for me the price would be too big of an issue. I cook almost all of my food myself from scratch too, and although I like nice food and give myself little treats each week, my food budget is £30-40 per week including eating out. A box like this just wouldn't work for me.

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    1. I definitely agree it's a large expensive as I am on a similar budget like you. But I think it's worth it for the occasional treat and when the price can be lowered (like the above offer, which equates to just £7.49 for 4 meals) it's most definitely worth it and fits in most budgets!

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