I’ve been looking into all these new recipe box ideas recently and, in particular, the Gousto scheme, which I signed up for at Taste of London. I’d chosen this as there are options to choose your recipes from a selection, rather than just receive what is sent, and the fact that I got a great offer at the festival – first box half price, third free, so essentially. first three boxes for half price, making it just £1.88 per portion if you chose four meals for four people. Now, the Ella’s Kitchen baby food pouches are £1.40 each so this seemed a brilliant opportunity to give these a try.
Each week you choose from the selection of recipes. There are some tried, tested and rated recipes, and some brand new ones, meaning you’re not always cooking the same things every week. You can also put your subscription on hold and just log into order when you feel like it with no obligation to reactivate it. This seemed like a good idea to me so opted for this as soon as I signed up so I didn’t need to remember to cancel it, if you see what I mean!
The box arrived, finally, at just after 6pm, which is absolutely no good if you want to use it for that evening’s tea, especially if you have little ones who’re hungry, even though the box sticker said delivery by 5pm. Therefore, I’d advise you plan an alternative meal for the delivery day. The meat and products do last past the 4 days worth of meals – my delivery was on the 1st and the date on the chicken breasts was not until the 8th, so it does give you flexibility as to when to have them during the week.
Meats, fish and perishable items were stored in one half of the box in that lovely wool keep cool packaging, while veggies and other items were in the second half. Everything is pre portioned in sachets or bags which makes it really easy but does create an awful lot of plastic waste. Surely its not that important to have exactly 100g of carrot – one medium carrot would do the job, and be fine on it’s own in the box without the need to be wrapped in a plastic bag. Me and Effie had great fun un-bundling it all to see what we had, then decided to re-bundle it into meal kits as all the ingredients for all the meals come in one package, so you’ll need to sort out what foods belong to which recipe, which is made much easier by the inclusion of the recipe cards for each chosen meal.
We chose a Persian Lamb Quinoa Pilaf, BBQ chicken, Haddock Linguine and Bacon Wrapped Chicken. Cooking times varied from 20 minutes to 45 and, I timed as I cooked each one, were fairly accurate. All the recipes were tasty and pushed me to try flavours and ingredients I wouldn’t usually choose. The ras el hanout added to the the Persian lamb was absolutely delicious, and we enjoyed the Gentleman’s relish as part of the BBQ chicken sauce too. It certainly stopped me from cooking the same things week in, week out and meant I didn’t have to buy a whole jar or spice just for one recipe, as is so often the case if cooking Indian, Asian and African dishes. It was also brilliant not having to even think about what we would be having for dinner. I simply got our pre-prepared bag out from the fridge and followed the instructions. Yes, you still have to chop and actually do the cooking, but it’s easy. Either follow the recipe cards or use the app, which is well designed and intuitive.
And there’s no waste. Not one bit.
Effie ate them all, as did CC – I just made sure I kept a smaller pan aside, or removed stuff before adding salt, for her, then mashed or blended into a rough, textured puree. I chose recipes for 4 people to include the children and because I have a husband who eats double portions. I was a little worried that 1 chicken breast was sent as a serving for two people, but each one was huge and fed us adequately, especially with other ingredients padding it out, such as the huge amount of coleslaw and potato wedges! I had enough Lamb Pilaf for two huge adult meals that night, plus we both had second helpings, and two lunch portions the next day.
Will I be using this after my three half-price boxes? Probably not on a weekly basis: at full price (£60 for four meals for four people, £3.75 per portion) I feel that I can do similar much cheaper myself. But throw in the time taken to shop, the idea that you don’t throw anything away, the new recipes each week and the fact that you don’t have a three year old pot of ras el hanout in the cupboard, wondering what to do with it, I will certainly be using it on those busy weeks, especially when I return to work at the end of February.
And they sent me a big bag of free popcorn too!
If you want to try, simply click this link and get £25 off your first box…
Or go to the website and click the ‘have a special code?’ link under the menu button on the homepage and paste in this code: HANNAH188010