Gousto (Part Two)

Chipotle burger, with stewed onion, in a toasted brioche bun, served with oven-baked fries and a little gem lettuce side salad. Ok, not a mind-blowingly difficult dish to prepare – in fact we always make our own burgers and Marc is frequently lecturing me on how easy it is to make your own chips. But the chipotle mayo was a twist I would never have considered for our picky children and, what do you know? Barney asked for more!

burger 2

Gousto brags that its beef is 100 per cent British, but this isn’t actually difficult to achieve if you shop in a regular supermarket. It’s one of the few meats which is difficult to farm intensively and our farmers produce it rather well. What does make a difference to the quality of the mince is the fat content: Too much fat and you have a greasy mess; too little fat and there’s no taste to your dish. Interestingly, Gousto don’t reveal the fat content of their well-packaged beef, and anyway, we were one 300g pack short. (They’d already refunded the cost of the dish with an apology for not including it in the delivery.) We used our own 500g of supermarket mince instead.

Barney loved helping with this dish. There’s something satisfying about squeezing beef into patties with your (clean) hands. I’ve just got to un-do all the good work I did when they were toddlers, warning them how hot the hob is, because now they are scared senseless and wouldn’t stir the onions as they stewed!


Although I had looked disparagingly at the ingredients before we started cooking, claiming that it was certainly not enough for all of us, I was wrong. Two burgers each and one brioche was plenty, and there was nothing left at the end (poor Pete the Dog skulked off to his bed).

The children wolfed it down, I left some and Marc didn’t complain, so everyone’s a winner! Next up, Tandoori fish – which could be a miserable fail according to the children…


Gousto with Gusto

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, IMG_0954and 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.IMG_0951

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…