I signed up to Gousto at the London Marathon Expo as I wandered around the stalls in a bit of a daze, sampling energy bars and protein shakes and generally not being able to see past Sunday - if I can run 26.2 miles I can do some cooking, right? Each week there are recipes to pick from and I picked the three vegetarian ones - partly because cooking meat is a whole new level of terrifying and because I've been gradually cutting down on meat and actually love eating a 90% veggie diet (but that's for another time, folks).
My first box arrived last Friday - all perfectly packaged and ready to go. I love how everything is portioned and there's no wastage - no need to buy a bag of onions when the others will turn to mush in the fridge or to buy a whole jar (does it even come in a jar?) of chipotle seasoning when you'll only need it for one recipe.
1. Lebanese Halloumi
My first recipe. Very quick and easy and I absolutely loved this. It helps that I love halloumi anyway and am pretty familiar with Middle Eastern flavours. The second portion of this kept really well for a super speedy dinner the next day (I did feel smug coming home from a long day out knowing that I had a nice meal all prepared - maybe this is why people do this "cooking" lark...). I'd definitely try to recreate this as it was easy, healthy and looked like something I could serve to guests without embarrassment.
2. Mexican Eggs
I invited my parents over on Sunday and so we shared this for dinner - the portions are all for two people but this recipe ended up making so much food that it was fine to split between three people (two eggs for daddy bear and one each for mummy bear and I!). My dad helped me out as this involved using the oven and required quite a bit of multitasking. I loved the crispy potatoes and this was lovely and spicy - it would be perfect for brunch, too. None of the recipes require too many pots and utensils - I only have a two ring hob and tiny microwave/oven gadget and I managed just fine. (And yes, it does massively bother me that the yolk of one of the eggs broke while being cooked).
3. Nutty Asian Noodles
I love noodles but rarely attempt them myself. This recipe looked tricky, especially as I got home at 9pm from my bookclub absolutely starving and knew I had to cook it that night before the ingredients went off (part of me berated this whole cooking lark at this point - cooking while hangry is not ideal - aim to start about 45 minutes before you actually want to eat I have learned!), but it was easier than it looked and did only take 40 minutes as promised. The roasted broccoli was a revelation and definitely something I'd do again. This made two generous portions - I kept the second half and ate it for lunch in the week, I actually love cold noodles despite them not looking particularly appealing after a day in the fridge!
I'd definitely get a box again although I think I'd order one if I had a friend coming over as six meals in three to four days is a lot to fit in (its clearly aimed at couples - sob!). I eat out a lot socially so I'd be worried about the ingredients going to waste and I don't think all the meals work as leftovers (the Mexican Eggs definitely needed to be eaten on the day they were cooked). I think the range of recipes cater well to veggies and the tips were easy to follow - if you're a novice cook its a great way to improve your skills and if you already love cooking it'd be a great way to get new ideas and expand your culinary horizons.
My only complaint is that by Sunday the broccoli provided in my box was looking rather sad when the recipe claimed it would be good until Tuesday - I popped out and bought another one and maybe if I'd been more experienced with buying veg I'd have noticed it wasn't going to last and used it on the Friday. The ingredients were otherwise all really high quality and despite the packaging everything is recyclable - including the sheeps' wool wrap that the cold items came delivered in.
If you'd like to try Gousto then use my code LILY54604 to get £20 off your first box.
What's your favourite meal to cook?