So, I fell for it. I subscribed to Gousto – you know, one of those middle class recipe and ingredient schemes. A rather lovely girl knocked on our door and before you know it, I was set up for four of my half-term meals.
The way this system works is thus: You pay for however many dinner times you want (we plumped for the “four for four” option – four portions of four meals) and Gousto sends you the unprepared ingredients and recipe cards. There’s lots to choose from: vegetarian, child-friendly, Chinese, curry… If you’re like me, and find yourself returning to the same old meals like Groundhog Day, then this is a winner from the start.
A few days after signing up (you have to give a minimum of three days’ notice) a rather smiley delivery chap from Yodel handed me a huge cardboard box, packed with all the raw materials needed for my four culinary challenges.
As I unpacked the goodies, two things happened: Firstly, I was struck by how much packaging there was. Rice was neatly weighed out in 75g plastic packets. Sauces came in lovely little plastic pots. Anything likely to leak was wrapped in plastic bags. Perfect amounts for two meals, so for a family of four, double the amounts of everything. Despite Gousto’s boast that 93 per cent is recyclable or biodegradable, surely it’s better not to produce it in the first place?
My second problem was that I was one ingredient short of a chipotle burger (or two). A man at the end of the phone explained he couldn’t send out the extra beef – which was integral to the meal – but he would refund the cost of the meal and add the credit to our next order. I suppose that will have to do, but not a good start to my first order!
Barney (the nine-year-old-boy) was eager to cook, and after a small tantrum about chipotle burgers, he decided to try out the Cowboy Bean Bowl and Crispy Tortillas. With my help, he chopped, grated, stirred, dissolved and strained the range of healthy ingredient. And as he sliced, he bravely nibbled a red pepper for the first time ever, and then we nearly ran out, because he loved them so much.
The recipe was easy to follow and reasonably quick, and I served the spicy beans with the included Greek yogurt, chopped spring onions, grated Cheddar and aforementioned tortillas.
Barney scoffed his bowlful like he’d just spent the afternoon herding cattle on the range. The girl (Grace, 11) moaned. We knew she was unlikely to like this meal, but give her her dues: She tried a spoonful and – after retching dramatically – it was decided that she would only eat the tortilla, cheese and spring onions, which was a first for her, so still a result.
All-in-all, a delicious meal. I’ll blog about the others when we’ve cooked them, but so far, so good on the food front. My only reservation is the packaging, and it’s a big enough problem to prevent me from ordering again, so the other meals need to be more than delightful…