Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Cooking with Gousto . . .




















Those of you who have been reading my blog for a number of years now might remember a few years back when I did a review of this food company called Gousto.  Gousto is a London based company which is devoted to ensuring that families enjoy quality food in the comfort of their own homes, even after a busy day.  They have a professional team of chef's creating delicious recipes weekly.  All the shopping and measuring has been done for you.  All you have to do is to pick what you want to eat, and order it . . .oh, and cook it, of course, but if you are like me that's the easy part!

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They contacted me again several weeks back and wanted to know if I would be interested in doing another review for them.   They said that they had made some improvements since my first time reviewing them and they were keen to have me do another review.   They did not have to ask me twice.  I remember really enjoying my past experience with them.

First of all the packaging was slightly different.  The box was extremely well packaged, the contents being divided and separated so the herbs and vegetables didn't spoil by getting too cold by being too near the meat and poultry. The meat and poultry were packed in a special woolcool bag which kept them perfectly cold.  ( This bag is biodegradable and can be put in the compost bin when taken out of the plastic.)    95% of the packaging materials Gousto uses are recyclable. Cardboard boxes can be disposed of in your recycling bins.

The vegetables are and Soil Association certified organic and Gousto use meat and poultry from high quality animal welfare British farms.  They have also lowered their prices by 17% and now offer meals costing between  £5.00 to £7.00 per portion, which includes delivery.  When you are talking about high quality, farm ingredients, this is pretty economical and on average that is substantially better than most supermarkets.   Gousto have worked really hard on making improvements and have passed on any savings to their customers.

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Included in my delivery was everything I needed to make three main course meals, two (two serving) ones and one (four serving) one . . . fresh organic produce and meats in perfect quantities for each recipe, plus essentials such as stock cubes, herbs, etc.  There are only a few things that you might need to come up with yourself at home . . .  things such as olive or vegetable oil, vinegar, milk, butter, salt, pepper, sugar and flour . . .  the rest all comes in the box.  Also included are step by step recipe cards, a folder to keep your recipes in and a letter telling you exactly when you need to enjoy your meal by so that you don't risk things going out of date.

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The first recipe I made was the Moroccan Chicken & Lemony Couscous.  The directions were very easy to follow.   They had sent the wrong almonds, sending me ground almonds instead of whole, but thankfully I had whole almonds in the cupboard.   The lemon was a bit on the green side, which doesn't really affect the flavour of the lemon, but was not as asthetically pleasing as a pure yellow one.   Also the onion was not fresh, having begun to spoil a bit, but I just trimmed off the bad part and used the rest.  I was a little bit surprised by that as, knowing it was going out for review, they should really have made sure everything was as it should be.

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The dish however was absolutely fabulously delicious.   We both enjoyed it very much!  I would make it again.

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*Moroccan Chicken & Lemony Couscous*
Serves 2  (for 4)

Ingredients for doubling the recipe are in brackets.
4 (8) thicken thigh fillets
1 TBS (2TBS) ras el hanout
1 (2) red chilli
1 (2) medium onion
1 (4) garlic cloves
1 (2) chicken stock cube
12og (240g) couscous
50g (100g) dried apricots
60g almonds
1 (2) lemon
You will need - salt, pepper, olive oil     

Preheat the oven to 180*C.350*F/ gas mark 4.  Place the almonds on an oven tray.  Put in the oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove and set aside. 

Peel and slice the onions finely.  crush the garlic with the side of a knife, peel it and chop coarsely.  Remove and discrd the stem and seds of he chilli.  Then slice it finly.  Boil the kettle for a bit later on. 

Add the ras el hanout to a pan on a medium heat and cook for 1 minutes, or until the aroma is released.   Add 1 to 2 TBS of olive oil, the onion, the chilli, garlic and salt to taste.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is caramelized, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't catch.   Meanwhile chop the chicken into strips.  Chop the apricots coarsely.  Add the chicken and apricots to the pan.  Dissolve the stock cube with 300ml (600ml) of boiling water and add to the pan.   Grate the zest of lemon and cut the lemon into quarters.   Add 2 (4) pieces of lemon to the pan.  Place a lid on and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.   Once the chiucken is done, squeeze out the pulp of the lemon over the sauce and discard the rind.


Add the lemon and couscous to a bowl.   Add 200ml(400ml) of boiling water to the bowl, cover well and set aside for 8 minutes.  Coarsely chop the almonds.  Fluff th ecouscous with a fork.   Serve the couscous on a plate with the chicken strips on top and the remaining lemon pieces   Drizzle with the sticky sauce and sprinkle with toasted almonds.  Enjoy.

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The next recipe in the box was for a Lamb Moussaka with a side salad.   I have made moussaka many times myself and so I was really excited about trying their recipe.  It used potatoes, which I had never done when I had made my own.

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Once again the instructions were very easy to follow.   All of the ingredients for this dish were fresh and present.  No mistakes there.   The finished dish was quite delicious.  I think I will add potatoes myself the next time I made moussaka.  The salad was a nice touch as well.   I liked the simple dressing of olive oil and yoghurt with some seasoning.  This was really good.

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*Lamb Moussaka*
Serves 2 (4)

Quantities for four servings in brackets.  


180g (360g) lamb mince
1 (2) aubergine
2 TBS (4) tomato puree
1 (2) medium onions
2 (4) cloves garlic
1 tsp (2 tsp) ground cinnamon
1 TBS (2 TBS) dried oregano
1 (2) beef stock cube
125g (250g) natural yoghurt
300g (600g) potatoes
1 (2) little gem lettuce 
You will also need
one oven proof dish
salt, pepper and olive oil

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Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F. gas mark 7.   Bring a pot of 500ml (1 L) cold water to the boil.   Slice the potatoes into round discs, approximately 1cm  inch thick.   Add the lamb mince to a pan on medium high heat.  Break the mince apart and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until broken down and cooked through.    


Meanwhile add the potatoes to the pot and boil for 7 minutes, or until soft with a slight bite.  Peel and dice the onion and garlic finely.  Add the onion, cinnamon and oregano to the lamb in the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Meanwhile slice the aubergine into round discs, approximately 0.5 cm thick.  Add to an oven tray and coat with 1 TBS w(2 TBS) olive oil and season to your taste with salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway through. 


Once the potatoes are done, drain well and add to another oven tray.  Coat well with 1 TBS (2 TBS) of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 10 minutes, or until starting to brown, turning halfway through.  Add the garlic to the lamb pan and cook for one minute.  

Add 200ml (300ml) of water, tomato puree, and the beef stock cube to the lamb.   Mix well, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.   Season to yoru taste with salt and pepper. 

Meanwhile remove the ends of the lettuces and tear into bite sized pieces.  Transfer half of the yogurt into a bowl and mix with 1 TBS (2 TBS) of olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.


Once everything is done, use half of the potato slices to line your oven proof dish.  Layer with half of the aubergine slices, followed by half of th e lamb mince and repeat until layering is complete.  Top with the remaing yogurt and season with black pepper to taste.  Put in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden.


Allow th moussaka to cool slightly before eating.  it will improve the flavour and stop you from burning your mouth.   Toss the dressing over the salad and work into the leaves.   Serve the moussaka with the salad.  Enjoy!























 The third recipe was for Stilton & Pork Steaks with Pears and Pecans.  I actually have not made that recipe yet.  I froze the pork and cheese so that I can do it another time when I have more time.  But it does look very good.  If you want to know more about that recipe you can check it out on the Gousto Blog.

I have to say that one of the great things about this service is that there isn't any waste.  Often in the ships it is impossible to get exact amounts of what you need to cook a dish, more often than not leaving you with an acess of ingredients which may or may not be used in time.   Everything in the Gousto box gets used in order to make each recipe. Even the spices are measured out so there's no mystery, guessing or waste involved.

Gousto have recently launched a new website, so you can now easily make choices on your mobile phone. You can rate your recipes too and they're launching a few dozen new  features over the next few months. Have a look at their menu - with 10 recipes to choose from each week there's something for pretty much every taste. There is also no comittment, so there is  no monthly cost involved . . .  just a whenever you fancy ordering a box to make life easier way of doing things.  This is a fantastic option for those of you who are keen cooks, but don't have the time to faff about.  With this service all the faffing is done for you.  You simply have to throw everything together and enjoy the end results.   

At the moment you can get meals for as little as £3.30 with the order of your first box.   Also I have a code which you can use (which is only valid for 30 days) at the checkout.  You can use the code friends25 and get £25 off of your first box. 

 

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Many thanks to Gousto for sending me this box to use and enjoy.   The food was really tasty and I could not really find much fault with it, except for the two things I mentioned, which was really not all that bad in the scheme of things.  Although I was sent a box to use free of charge, any and all opinions are my own.


2 comments:

  1. These sound delicious! There are similar offers available stateside. Two companies that come to mind are Plated and The Blue Apron.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What innovative names Nellie! xx

    ReplyDelete

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