'Free from' kitchen 'Free from' kitchen


In a previous life, I worked in the City. Before making the move to working full time in food, as a food company director and also as a food writer, I worked for two very large multinational financial institutions. Working both in the city and in London gave me my first taste of just how hectic life can be. Before I took the plunge and left work to make the move into food full-time, I really did struggle with work-life balance, and particularly when it came down to cooking.

I’m sure I am not alone when I tell you that I genuinely need to cook. Okay, not every day, and sometimes I am very glad of a break from cooking. However, even after a couple of days off, I feel as though I need to cook. I need to cook for my sanity, to cook for the enjoyment of cooking, and because there is nothing quite as good as homemade food. In fact, even after eating at top restaurants, I crave the simplicity of home cooked food. I also find cooking extremely therapeutic and a very pleasurable way to start my evening. However, what I do not find enjoyable is having to traipse around the shops on my way home sourcing ingredients for a recipe, particularly when I am tired and hungry, and especially when I am on public transport and have to carry my heavy bags back with me too.

I was therefore very interested to try Gousto, a new home ingredients delivery service. Established only this year, Gousto offers an interesting new service, which aims to make cooking fresh meals at home more simple, convenient and interesting. The service works as follows: you log on to their website, choose from a weekly selection of main meals, and Gousto deliver the fresh ingredients required to make the meals, along with a recipe card to accompany each meal right to your door.

Gousto was established earlier this year by two friends who struggled with the work-life balance in a similar way to me, and decided to set up the company, to try and find a way around this daily dilemma so many of us face. All the ingredients supplied are very fresh, and as much as possible is organic and produced in Britain. The recipes change every week, and are listed on their website. They aim to feature recipes from a great variety of cuisines from all over the world.

I received a sample box to try, which contained the ingredients to make three recipes: lamb, rosemary and almond ragu, edamame, prawn and sesame noodles and chicken with raspberry and basil sauce with parsnips. All recipes were gluten free, dairy free and egg free apart from the lamb ragu, where we subsitutued the spaghetti provided with our own gluten free pasta.

The ingredients arrived bang on time via courier to my door. I was delighted to see that the packaging they used to insulate the box was all eco friendly and recyclable. The ingredients were very fresh and transported at the appropriate temperature, which was reassuring, given the fact that they send me fresh chicken and prawns down to my home in Dorset.

My Gousto box unpacked

The recipe cards were well laid out and easy to follow. All our dishes were on the table in roughly half an hour, although some were easier than others to make. What took the time with some recipes was the mise en place.

Gousto prawn noodles


Gousto lamb ragu (made at about 11pm!)

We all enjoyed the meals we sampled. We liked the fact that the food delivered to home is very fresh, of a high quality and thoughtfully sourced. We also thought the dishes were interesting, featuring a number of unusual combinations of ingredients we had not tried before. The meal service was very handy the week we had it. One evening, I was busy making and wrapping cakes for my friend’s wedding the next day. The following day, Tony didn’t turn up till 11pm after a long day at work, and on both occasions, it was good to know we had a quick, tasty and wholesome supper prepared, which would not take long to prepare when frankly, I was too exhausted to contemplate much in the kitchen.

We’ll definitely be logging on again to place an order to get us through a busy week. 

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