Normally, I write reviews for products and services after I receive them, and yet, I was confident in Gousto’s ability to deliver that I planned to write today’s review as we went along. Unfortunately, for the first time in ever my box was eighty minutes late and delivered by a very flustered and embarrassed courier. Not to worry, today I’m going to be giving you a look at this week’s Gousto box, twenty four hours after I originally planned!
I first got into Gousto boxes in the middle of the Coronavirus lockdown. Normally, I purchase my groceries online from Tesco and get them delivered, and yet, because of the numbers of people shielding in place during coronavirus, my consistent weekly shop has been exceptionally difficult to do. I’m a disabled person so visiting the store is difficult for me as I struggle to lift and carry items, but Tesco’s delivery guys and girls are normally so good and so pleasant that I almost forget why I get my groceries delivered at all! Fortunately, my disabilities aren’t so great that I’ve been under any instruction to shelter at home and so as such, I’ve had to battle on with buying my shopping just like the rest of the non-sheltering people in the UK. However, as I struggle and Wolfie doesn’t (and most stores only allow one person per home at present), usually Wolfie does the shopping. Wolfie works 40 hours a week and has been doing a lot of overtime in lockdown, so it’s been really hard for him to get to the grocery shops at a time that is both convenient to his schedule and conducive to us eating dinner at a sensible time.
Around here, there isn’t an awful lot of choice for groceries within walking distance. We have an Aldi, a Tesco and an Iceland, but Aldi and Iceland were nearly always cleared out by the time Wolfie got to the shops and the Tesco Metro had little, if any choice. We made do for a while, but more often than not Wolfie simply didn’t have the time it would take to find all of the ingredients for a meal (Tesco currently uses a one-way system) and so in the end, we simply ordered a takeaway in the evening instead. Takeaway may be tasty, but it is also costly and unhealthy.
“I was thinking..” I began, “how about we give Gousto a go?”
Let it be known, anytime you start a sentence with ‘I was thinking..’, your partner immediately goes into a panic. Wolfie is already prone to anxiety, and so any such suggestion for spending money on trying something new was going to need to be backed up by solid reasoning.
“We already pay about £25 a time for a takeaway” I said, “plus they have fresh salads with the meals and it’s £36 for 4 meals, not one. It’ll be healthier and ultimately cheaper in the long run”. An excellent projection, now I just had to seal the deal.
Before ordering our first box, I compared three of the biggest competitors, Gousto, Wiltshire Farm Foods and Hello Fresh. Wiltshire Farm Foods only sell microwave meals (and the minimalist over here got rid of her microwave!) so they were eliminated and Gousto had much better reviews than Hello Fresh. Mind made up, I set about choosing my first four recipes.
Boxes range from £15.88 to £47.68, depending on the number of people served and the number of meals ordered. Some meals also incur an additional charge for premium ingredients, including steak or truffle oil. Boxes can be delivered (free of charge) on a Saturday or Monday, depending on your personal choice. Fancy something extra? Gousto also has a range of desserts available in the marketplace (at checkout) for a small additional cost.
For our first week, Wolfie and I chose chicken goujons and wedges, balsamic sausages and roasted vegetable couscous, chicken chow mein and chicken katsu curry. Three of these are dishes that I’ve never cooked before, but the instructions were so easy to follow that we didn’t hesitate to order a box the following week, and again, and again..
This week, Wolfie and I have to look forward to:
- Extra Special Bangers ‘N’ Mash
- Beef & Green Pepper Stir Fry
- Homemade chicken goujons and cheesy beans (again! we love this recipe cos those beans are the best!)
- Simple Naan-Topped Lamb Rojan Josh Pie (which smelled and tasted divine!)
For this review, I’m going to be making some wonderfully comforting bangers and mash.
On the day before you receive your box, you will receive a text from Gousto with a tracking number from Yodel. You can’t do too much with it (you can’t ask for the parcel to be delivered to a neighbour, for example) but it does allow you to track your box. On the morning of your delivery, you’ll also get a text to confirm an estimated delivery time.
My estimated delivery slot was 15:00-17:00, so I was a little disappointed when a very flustered driver turned up more than an hour later. It was the first time this had happened though and wasn’t too much a hindrance, so I decided to let it slide.
I can’t deny that, even four weeks after starting our Gousto boxes, there is always a bit of excitement that mounts up when the Gousto box arrives. You just know that you’re about to go on another culinary adventure, perhaps with dishes you have never tried before. Wolfie and I try and make it a habit of trying at least two new somethings each week. Even though we’ve had bangers and mash before, we wanted to try out a different recipe this week!
The box that your order arrives in is sturdy and slightly cool to the touch. Thanks to the way these boxes are packaged, the chilled groceries are in a five-walled box of their own and so the condensation isn’t seeping through the cardboard. All that’s inside this outside box is vegetables, bags and recipe cards.
Pop the lid off of the cool box and the first think you discovered is a recyclable ice pack. The great thing about these packs is that they can be reused (sports injuries and such) or recycled. To recycle, simple wait for the ice to melt, cut a corner off of the bag, tip the water down the drain and separate the plastic bag from the paper bag for recycling. Simple!
NB. The base isn’t stuck on the bottom of the cool box so don’t try and lift it out, whatever you do!
All of the meat inside Gousto’s boxes is British raised and slaughtered. There are vegetarian and vegan dishes too, but to date, I’ve had a bit of a hard sale trying to get Wolfie to eat something that doesn’t contain meat, now that it’s back on the table. I’ve not given up yet and we’ve got to choose next week’s recipes soon too. You just never know what I might get to agree to try next 😉
One of the most impressive things I find with my Gousto boxes is the health and state of the vegetables that I receive. I have never received an ageing onion, a blackening carrot or a squished tomato. They smell fresh and they’re dirt-free. Okay, so my spring onion looks like he’s seen better days, but he’s been bouncing around on his journey to me with all of those other veggies, so we can allow it. Because Gousto only send you what you need loose in the box, there is also less plastic waste. You still have some plastic waste, but Gousto themselves have said that they are looking for alternatives, and I really believe them.
Each of the four recipes comes with a recipe card and a brown paper bag which has been number-matched to the number on the recipe card. Inside each bag is the added “bits and bobs” needed for the recipe. Again, because Gousto cut down on food waste, they only snd you as many garlic cloves as you need, not the whole garlic. Pieces of ginger are the norm, too, along with packets of spices, oils and vinegars. This is where the plastic has a nasty habit of creeping up, but again, Gousto are trying to work around that.
There are some ingredients that Gousto expects you to have in your home. Common examples include vegetable oil, olive oil, salt, pepper and flour. This recipe also calls for ‘a splash of milk’ and a ‘knob of butter’, which Gousto doesn’t provide.
Before I begin, I like to lay out all of my ingredients in front of me. That way, I can just work a sort of system of opening, chopping and so on. I’m very lucky that under our chores management agreement, I do the cooking and Wolfie does the cleaning up and the dishwasher afterwards. I should probably share the joy of cooking, but… 😉
The first step of this recipe is topping, tailing and chopping the carrots at angle. The next step is popping them on a baking tray, drizzling them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Give them a toss, lay the sausages alongside and put the whole lot in the oven for 20 minutes. That’s it! Cooking with Gousto is just that simple. The instructions are so easy to follow, even a novice cook can manage it!
With about half a dozen other easy steps (which included making gravy with a stock cube, a bit of flour and some water), this dish was ready to eat. I’m still trying to work out what was actually ‘extra special’ about this dish as it’s more gourmet builder food than anything too fancy, but it’s good, it’s tasty and it’s certainly a lot healthier than another pizza. At 677 calories per serving for a meal that leaves you feeling pleasantly full, it’s certainly a much better choice!
So Is Gousto Any Good?
It’s easy just to base this on whether or not the meals taste good or save money, but to get to the bottom of my argument, I wanted to do a bit of digging around. Most particularly, I wanted to know A) how much money I could save by shopping with Tesco and B) how much food waste I’d be throwing away in the process, all of which contributes to our carbon footprint. To do that, I did pages upon pages of maths.
After crunching lots and lots of figures< I discovered that in t, wehe end, we would have only saved £13.28 this month by shopping with Tesco. Not only that, but by cooking the recipes from Gousto and using the ingredients from Tesco, we would have generated £31.06 of food waste this month, so Gousto’s claim of cutting down on food waste is true!
But there is more..
Since becoming part of the Gousto Gang, I’ve also made connections with some great, fun, food-loving people. The Gousto Gang aren’t just suppliers and consumers, there is a real sense of community in our shared love for delicious, sustainable and easy-to-cook recipes.
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