Last Friday I took delivery of my first Gousto box and while I've had vegetable boxes in the past, it was the first time I'd had a food box like this, and I was keen to see how it all worked. I've seen similar boxes, and learnt more about one during our visit to Taste London in the autumn.
Sea Bass on a smoky chorizo chowder
Yes, this was the recipe that I was braving, I knew I liked all of the ingredients individually but I'm not sure I've had them together before, and usually I'll delegate fish cooking to MOH. But not this time. Almost everything for this recipe is provided - butter, oil, flour and milk were the storecupboard ingredients needed, and this made a lot of sense, although I was amused to receive one small shallot and a single clove of garlic in the box for this recipe.
My first impressions were that it looked a small portion, and then I wondered if my portion size was out of control so decided to reserve judgement until we'd eaten. On reflection, it was a tasty meal and I wasn't hungry afterwards and so my first impressions were unfounded. The recipe card was easy to follow, but like many recipes I think the time taken - 35 minutes in this case - is optimistic. I know my way around the kitchen and it easily took me fifty minutes to cook this dinner.
But it was great and I was totally sold on Gousto at this point. It was a slightly more adventurous meal for a weeknight than normal, and as somehow we both had white tops on, we also decided to eat at the table too - and that made a really nice change. It was also a good move as it made it easier to juggle the knife, fork and spoon that I think were needed to eat this.
Sticky chilli beef burritos & lime mayo
This was the recipe that was more like a meal I would cook, and buoyed by my success the previous night I tackled this one the next evening and it had a lot to live up to. For this one I struggled more with the packaging of the ingredients. The individual mayonnaise portioned sachet especially, it just felt odd. MOH wasn't so sure about the small pot of Tiptree honey, probably because he knew that the jar wasn't going anywhere once it was empty (and he was right) and he was right.
We ate this meal five days after the box was delivered - I'd frozen the meat once it was clear we wouldn't be eating this immediately - and I was disappointed that the tomato was showing clear signs of deterioration on the day I cooked this. It was easy to replace as we regularly have tomatoes, but that was the only concern I had. Well apart from rescuing the little gem lettuce from an untimely end in MOH's sandwiches...
For the cooking on this one I had trouble with the rice. The recipe uses the "cook in a drop of water" method and I struggle with cooking rice this way, I've no idea why. The recipe card said to turn the heat down low, but my heat was too low and so after twelve minutes or so wasn't cooked at all. Which impacted on my tortillas, which were already in the oven, warming up and becoming a little too crispy. So I took them out of the oven where they promptly went super crispy. Oops. I rescued them a bit with a drop of water and a short spell in the microwave but by the time I'd dished up, there was no chance of rolling these.
This meal tasted great though, but was messy for us to eat. There were some nice touches, and things I wouldn't have thought to do, such as adding lime juice and olive oil to the mayonnaise, which according to MOH "brought the dish together" - can you tell we've been watching Masterchef?!
Apart from the rice, the rest of this dish was easy to cook and it was much closer to the expected 20 minutes. If my rice had gone to plan I think I'd have come in around 25 minutes, but as it turned out it was closer to 35.
So overall it's a thumbs up from me for my first Gousto box, I'd definitely be up for trying one again with different recipes, as I think they would be really handy in those weeks where life is busy, but you still want to eat proper food. And quite often, we have weeks like those!
What do you think? Have you tried a food box delivery such as this? And do you manage to cook rice successfully this way - what am I doing wrong?! Let me know, I'm interested to hear your views.
Try Gousto for yourself
If you'd like to try this for yourself, Gousto are offering my readers £20 discount on your first and second orders, on any sized box. This offer means your first two boxes would cost £7.49 each, to take advantage of this offer please use the code TORNADO on checkout.
* I was sent this recipe box free of charge with no requirement to post a review. As usual all views and opinions are my own.