I’m a rubbish chef. I over-cook food to ‘make sure’ it’s done, my pasta always sticks and I leave pans unattended so they end up burnt. In spite of all my Pieday Friday baking, I don’t always get it right and I’m often disappointed by my own cooking. The problem is two-fold: I have a poor attention span so I wander off while things simmer or start cleaning the kitchen while water comes to the boil. The only guaranteed result of these actions is boiling water bubbling over onto the hob and crispy bottoms of pans. And the second problem with my cooking is that I’m not at all adventurous. I’m reluctant to add herbs, don’t like spiciness and hardly ever season the recipe ‘to taste’. My husband is great at this – he’ll throw in herbs, spices and stock-cubes with abandon – but I’m not confident that I’ll get the flavours right so I just don’t do it.
Any time that my cooking is successful, it’s because I’ve added some flavours and then some to replicate my husband’s adventurous recipes. But good results for me are few and far between so I like to let hubby take the lead in the kitchen because I know I’ll enjoy my meal if he makes it for us. If you too are a little shy about flavour like me, read on because I’ve got the secret to becoming a good cook: Gousto.
This food delivery service has turned me into an excellent chef. Or at least, that’s how it has made me feel. With every recipe I completed, I was surprised and thrilled that the food was edible, flavoursome and fresh – and my meals impressed my husband no-end.This is all thanks to Gousto providing everything you need to create three whole dishes in one box – and there’s no guess-work here, all the ingredients have been measured out (so you can’t get the flavours wrong) and each recipe is accompanied by a simple step-by-step cheat-sheet. I first came across this service when they were featured on Dragon’s Den a couple of years ago and while watching Duncan Bannatyne prepare a dish I thought to myself that this is exactly the kind of service I’d like to try. Thank goodness Timo and James stuck with the Gousto project and have grown it into the successful business it is today. Having never had a food box delivered before, I didn’t know what to expect from the Gousto delivery when it arrived last Friday. I was surprised to find a well-packaged selection of fresh organic produce. The meat and dairy products were cushioned inside a wool-insulated pouch with ice packs that remained frozen inside the wool-bag all weekend, so I was confident that all the products had stayed safely chilled in transit. Brown paper bags enclosed fresh-from-the-field potatoes and Gousto had even included a potato scrubbing-brush to clean off the organic dirt! What impressed me most what that there was absolutely no waste. Everything included in the Gousto box was used up in the recipes so I didn’t end up with a fridge full of wilting spring onions and mushy tomatoes at the end of the week. Even the little tubs of harissa and tomato paste, the packets of spices, the fresh herbs and bags of lentils were all measured out to create the perfect portion size and ideal flavour combinations. So at the end of a recipe I was only recycling a tiny tub, and no other waste. Pretty good, huh? This service allows you to choose three recipes from a selection on their website (the recipe options change each week) so you can pick out things that you know you’ll enjoy. I skipped the fish dishes and went for a warming harissa chicken curry for my Saturday night ‘takeaway’, a meaty Cumberland sausage cassoulet for Sunday lunch and a lamb biryani for Monday’s tea. These were three recipes that I probably wouldn’t have ever tried if left to my own devices, but knowing that I had all the ingredients to hand made me confident that I would at least be able to assemble the meals according the recipe. Whether or not they would be edible was another matter! Thankfully, the dishes turned out pretty good. Actually, they were awesome! This is some of the best cooking I’ve ever done, and I actually impressed myself when I sat down to enjoy my lamb biryani and literally couldn’t get enough of it. For any particularly difficult parts of the recipes, the cheat-sheet pointed me towards Gousto’s tutorials on YouTube, so I actually have become a better cook after learning new knife skills and cooking techniques online.Honestly if you follow the recipes you really can’t go wrong, so it’s perfect for an amateur like me. Getting three recipes completely right has boosted my confidence in the kitchen no end, and I’ll be keeping the cheat-sheets to hand for the next time I’ve got guests coming for dinner because I know they’ll love my harissa chicken curry!
If you too want to improve your skills and gain confidence in using different flavours, I’d recommend organising a Gousto delivery and spending a fun weekend cooking up a storm. I’ve now got three amazing dishes under my belt and I won’t be stopping anytime soon – just call me Chef Cassie.