Now we have been released from lockdown part 2 we can visit cafes and restaurants – hooray! .. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy some great new products and services from home too.
Restaurant meal kit delivery service Plateaway was launched in July with 10 restaurant partners. A variety of food types to choose include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, so something for all. Restaurants include Patty & Bun, Sushi Dog and Yummy (Plant-Based). Kits have the ingredients needed for the chosen meal and require only basic cooking and assembly at home. We tried one from Yummy – a plant-based kit that was a delicious feast: A falafel kit with tomato sauce, houmous, tahini, pickles, red cabbage salad, pittas (nice, fluffy ones) and seasonings. Full instructions are given and we were impressed. Our Plateaway kit was £21 and would comfortably feed a family of four. Delivery within the M25 for many products and for some delivery is nationwide. Gift vouchers are to cheer someone up in these miserable lockdown days.
Beef It Up!
Jack Links Beef Jerky is a very tasty way to add protein to your diet, or just enjoy a healthy, low calorie snack. Made using select rump beef, ultra thinly sliced, the strips are seasoned, then dried and smoked the traditional way in hot air. At less than 80 calories per serving, I enjoy them with an aperitif, to whet the appetite but not fill you up or pile on those calories. Available in three flavours: Original; Sweet & Hot and Teriyaki these little bags of protein are widely available at around £1.50 a pack.
Chin up! Gin Up And Help A Charity
After a recent week or so of Remembrance services and programmes to pay tribute to our war heroes, I thought you might like to raise a glass or two and help The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. Simply buy a bottle of delicious multi award-winning Hawthorn’s London Dry Gin(which, take it from a gin aficionado, is very good indeed) and a donation will go to the charity. At £26.95 a bottle, with free P&P in the UK, this classic gin is inspired by the recipe of the grandfather of one of the founders, a much decorated war hero who distilled his own gin and smuggled it aboard ship to share with the ‘ratings’ and boost crew morale. Check out the website hawthornsgin.com for the whole story and some great cocktail ideas.
New Divine Winter Warmer
Just the thing to warm you up after a winter walk is a delicious salted caramel hot chocolate. Vegan friendly too, this is a perfect balance of creamy caramel with a touch of sea salt. It joins Divine’s equally yummy winter spiced hot chocolate. Use hot milk or your favourite milk alternative for a ‘hug in a mug’. It also makes a divine banana split sprinkled on top of banana and cream. Around £4 from Divine, Wholefoods and when they reopen, Oxfam.
Onion (and other foods) keeper
That awkward half an onion can now be safely stored to keep it fresh and stop its odour contaminating other foods in the fridge. Reusable, silicone Cut & Keep Produce Savers from OXO are specially designed to store any round fruit or veg, keeping it wrapped tightly for longer lasting freshness. Better than cling film, they can be used and again. From Amazon, in two sizes at £8 and £10.
Gressingham: The Recipe Book
Gressingham is THE name when it comes to duck. Widely stocked by supermarkets and chosen by top chefs, the company also produces other fowl such as turkey, goose, poussin and guinea fowl. But not content with supplying us with top produce, it also now shows us how best to cook it. To celebrate Gressingham’s 50thanniversary the company has produced a 192-page hardback cookbook. With recipes for all occasions, it retails at £22 and is available from Amazon, bookshops (when they reopen) and online from publisher Meze
And here’s a tasty, warming recipe from the book that’s perfect for a cold December evening!
Chilli con Canard
A delicious twist on the classic chilli con carne, using shredded cooked duck legs instead of beef. You can use kidney beans or black beans depending on your preference, and serve this with rice, tortilla chips or both. Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 60 minutes
2 large Gressingham duck legs
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
100g cooking chorizo
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ tbsp chipotle paste
1 tin of kidney beans, drained (400g)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 lime, halved
Preheat the oven to 200°c or 180°c fan. Pat the duck legs dry with kitchen towel. Prick the skin all over with a fork or sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper. Place them on a baking tray and into the preheated oven. Cook for 45 minutes then remove from the oven, leave until cool enough to handle and shred the meat from the bones with two forks.
Meanwhile, gently fry the red onion with a little oil in a pan over a low to medium heat until softened. Add the garlic and chorizo and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Next add the cumin, oregano, paprika, tomato purée, chipotle paste, kidney beans and chopped tomatoes. Turn up the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the shredded duck and a little water if the sauce is getting too thick. Cook the chilli for a further 10 minutes, then finish with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste. Add a sprinkle of paprika if you like, then serve the chilli alongside all your chosen accompaniments.