Tuesday, 23 October 2012
I was recently contacted by a company called Gousto and asked if I would like to try out their service. 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!
I had heard of them before, and had longed to try them out, but they hadn't delivered to my area at that time. I am happy to say that they now deliver to the whole of the UK.
Each week they provide you with a fresh variety of recipes to choose from. (Their resident chef's are always working on new ideas and recipes!) I was allowed to pick two and I have to say there was such a delicious sounding variety that I really had a difficult time choosing. I wanted to try out all of them! After much thought I whittled it down to two . . . "Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta" and "Pork Fillet with Italian Style Butter-beans and Potatoes." Both sounded innovative and like something we both would enjoy eating. This was an experience I was looking forward to.
I was told they would arrive on Thursday morning and at about 8:00 am on Thursday morning, a box did indeed arrive. I was intrigued . . . how would they be able to pack everything so that it arrived fresh and cold. Chester is a looooooong way from London!
As you can see, everything arrived . . . beautifully chilled and perfectly fresh. They use a very unusual wool packaging that is not only sustainable, but also bio-degradable and completely recyclable. I was impressed!! Inside there were ice packs as well, which had not melted and everything was in perfect chilled condition.
Everything that I would need to create two delicious meals for Todd and myself was included with the exception of a few store cupboard ingredients (olive oil, salt, pepper, water, honey and balsamic vinegar). It was clear that we would be having a very delicious weekend.
There was everything in that box . . . fresh herbs, garlic, spices . . . beautifully fresh vegetables, organic free range meat and poultry . . .
Also included were two recipe cards, which outlined exactly, step by step everything anyone would need to know to make the meal. Included was a rate of difficulty. I am a fairly experienced cook, so I chose recipes that would be a little bit of work . . . but there are recipes for cooks that are not all that experienced or that don't want to put in a lot of work time cooking when they get home tired at the end of the day. Prep time and Kcal/fat/prot amounts are also included for each recipe.
They are also dated so that you know exactly when you need to use your recipe by. Mine was the 21st of October, ample time for me to cook and enjoy them.
The first dish I decided to cook was the Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta. I laid out all of my ingredients and got to work. This had been rated medium difficulty, requiring about 45 minutes of cook time. I changed out a few things as you will see in my written recipe, but only because they were a better way of doing things in my opinion, but this was such a lovely dish and would have tasted fabulous their way too. They were only simple changes that I made. I was a bit disappointed that instead of receiving two chicken breasts, I received one large one, but I coped and adapted and it worked out fine. I just cut the breast in half on the diagonal to serve.
I opted not to pre-brown my chicken for several reasons. One there was only one breast and so the stuffing was quite abundant and I felt it would fall out in the browning process. I saved myself the calories of 1 TBS of olive oil in doing so. I also baked the chicken at the same time as I roasted the tomatoes, saving 25 minutes of cook time and making one less dish to wash. It worked perfectly that way and I simply dusted my chicken with some paprika to give it some color and spritzed it with a bit of low fat cooking spray before baking.
As you can see the chicken turned out fabulously moist and delicious. We both really enjoyed this, and it is something that I would make again on my own.
*Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta*
Moist and delicious chicken, stuffed with cheese, tomatoes and basil, served on a dish of a porridge of fresh corn and more cheese.
300g of chicken breast (about 2 medium sized breasts)
125g of fresh mozzarella cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)
175g of baby plum tomatoes (about 20)
4 ears of fresh corn
1 cup of water
15g (a medium handful) of fresh basil leaves
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and black pepper to taste
3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS honey or sugar
(I added about 2 TBS cream to the corn)
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Have a baking tray with sides ready.
Prepare your ingredients. Chop the garlic very finely. Wash the tomatoes. Cut 4 of them into quarters. Place the others on the baking tray. Wash the basil, remove the stems and then coarsely chop. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes.
Combine half of the mozzarella in a small bowl with the chopped tomatoes and about 1/3 of the basil. Add 1 TBS of the olive oil and season with some salt and black pepper.Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the garlic, the remaining basil, 1 TBS of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, the honey (or sugar) and a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Dry the chicken breasts. Rub all over with some salt and pepper. Slice a 1 inch wide pocket into the side of each chicken breast. Stuff each with half of the mozzarella mixture. Heat a saute pan over high heat and add 1 TBS of olive oil. (I did not do this, and saved myself 1 TBS of oil and the calories of 1 TBS oil. I placed the chicken breasts onto the baking sheet, and dusted them with some paprika and a spritz of low fat cooking spray.) Toss the remaining tomatoes with the garlic mixture and then place them onto the baking sheet with the chicken. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. The tomatoes should just be slightly softened and caramelized. (They suggested baking the tomatoes first and then the chicken. I baked them all at the same time and on the same baking sheet, saving myself an extra piece of washing up.)
While the chicken is baking, take your corn and grate the kernels into a large bowl. (This has a tendency to fly all over the place, so when they say use a large bowl, they mean use a large bowl. You don't want to be scrubbing corn kernels off the wall paper.) Place a pan on medium heat along with the grated corn and 1 cup of water. Bring to a quick simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Stir in the remaining mozzarella and allow it to melt. Add the chili powder and season with salt and black pepper. (I stirred in about 2 TBS of cream to make it a bit richer. It was really good.)
Spoon half of the fresh corn polenta into each of two heated serving plates. Top each with a chicken breast and half of the tomatoes. Serve immediately. Delicious!
The next recipe was the Pork Fillet with Italian-Style Butterbeans and Potatoes. It, too, came with all of the ingredients needed with the exception of some olive oil, salt, pepper and water, as well as a card which had expert directions as well. This was also a recipe of medium difficulty and reckoned to take 45 minutes cooking time. This time there were two pieces of meat, so one for me and one for the Toddster.
Here you see the pork fillets, beautifully rubbed with a spicy paste, and laid out on a bed of fresh onions and surrounded by par-boiled potatoes cut into wedges, ready to go into the oven. While they were roasting, I got to work and prepared the butter beans, which were very easy to do, as simple as heating the beans and sauteing the potatoes and mixing the two together.
This turned out fabulous too!! The potatoes were perfectly cooked and beautifully flavored. The butter beans were delicious, as well . . . the meat was moist and tender, also perfectly cooked, although it did take me a bit longer than the suggested time in the recipe, and I found the amount of chilies used to be a bit hot for my taste, but Todd thought it was perfect. (He likes a lot more heat than I do.)
Altogether I would have to say that my experience with Gusto was quite a favorable one, one that I could not fault in any way. Everything arrived on time, in perfect condition, properly chilled . . . and responsibly packed. The ingredients were of an exceptional quality. The recipes were well written, with photos accompanying each step . . . easy to follow and execute. Organic, fresh and seasonal produce, reasonably priced, and delivered right to your door.
About Gousto (from their page):
Gousto provides you with all the ingredients in the right proportions to cook delicious meals at home. The produce is organic, fresh and seasonal. Gousto’s recipes are developed by a team of passionate chefs and tested by all our friends and families first (very picky people). You get to choose the recipes online and every week the selection is updated to make sure there’re plenty of new recipes for you. The recipes are delivered right to your doorstep once a week so you decide when to cook. Whenever you’re on holiday or just don’t have time, simply place the subscription on hold – it’s easy.
Gousto was started in 2011 by two friends who share a passion for food and cooking. In their previous lives, Timo and James loved cooking but didn’t have much time to go to various grocery shops. They found it difficult to cook recipes from online databases or follow cook-along TV shows. Ready-meals from supermarkets do the job but the quality isn’t great, they have lots of additives, and they get boring very easily. One day, James and Timo decided that there must be some way to make life easier and the idea for Gousto was born.
The first recipes were offered at market stalls and from there the concept has grown into what you see today. Of course, all of Timo and James' friends are Gousto guinea pigs. Today, Gousto has a team of professional chefs and passionate amateurs (thanks mum), making sure that the recipes cover all cuisines and styles.
For more information including this weeks recipes on offer, pricing etc. do check out their homepage here.
You can also choose to follow them on their Facebook Page, or on Twitter.
Many thanks to Teresa and the rest of the Gousto family for affording me this opportunity. I rate them 10 out 0f 10!