Hickory@Home Launches*

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When it comes to lockdown living, one of the things I’ve most missed is going out for a great meal. Catching up with friends over some fabulous food is one of my favourite past-times, and 11 weeks of lockdown have seen me cooking every.single.night. Whilst I’ve enjoyed learning a few new recipes, and eating hyper-local, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t dying for a night off! So, when Hickory got in touch to see if I’d like to try a trial-run of their new Hickory@Home service, it felt like perfect timing.

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Hickory is an award-winning food and events company, so it’s so wonderful to be able to enjoy their delicious dishes at home. The Hickory philosophy is all about celebrating the incredible produce we enjoy here in Scotland by using it to create inventive dishes. Talk about a match made in heaven! As of this week, Hickory@Home will be delivering to homes in Edinburgh and East Lothian – so if that’s you, I’d highly suggest you get your orders in quick!

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The meal comes portioned out in labelled containers, and I was emailed over the menu with cooking instructions the day before it all arrived. After popping dessert in the fridge, I got to work, laying everything out, and getting everything organised. Rather delightfully, there are even nibbles for the cook to enjoy whilst they get everything prepped!

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Since dinner was a team effort – we popped the homemade focaccia in the oven to warm for five minutes and got to laying the table. Served warm with cultured butter and seaweed salt, it was such a delicious start to the meal. We nibbled on the beetroot crisps too – dunking them into a creamy edamame hummus and  garlicky ajo blanco, chilled almond soup.

Starters were as tasty as they were easy to assemble – English asparagus and new season Scottish potatoes were sautéd in the pan, the served with a rich and creamy Berkswell cheese custard and topped with a Parma ham crumble. The perfect start to a summery supper – I’ve already got the ingredients on my next shopping list so I can recreate it again!

The main course was equally fantastic – Miso and onion roasted chicken, served with truffled mac n cheese and herb salad. Truly, a dish to fall in love with. Arriving butterflied in its own roasting dish, we popped the chicken in to the oven whilst we were enjoying the starter. The chicken itself was heavenly – covered in a sticky miso sauce, it was pretty much the roast chicken I dream about each Sunday. Cooked alongside shallot petals and spring onions, it was a real treat to enjoy. Served alongside the richest, creamiest truffled mac’n’cheese and a zesty dressed salad, it was a perfect balance.

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I could go on (and on) about the chicken (seriously high-quality, cooked to absolute perfection, still dreaming about it), but dessert was just as spectacular. A decadently rich chocolate and green tea fondant served with a rather indulgent clotted cream ice cream and pistachio crumb. The mix of hot and cold, chocolate and cream was really delightful, and I just loved the molten green tea filling – talk about a show stopper!

As if all that wasn’t enough, the meal comes with a fabulous red wine – Somelieri Dolcetto Monferrato DOC 2017. It was such a clever choice, as it really went well with each and every course. 

The quality of the meal was so impressive, and following the instructions meant that we got to enjoy a restaurant-quality dinner at home. During a time like this, it’s these kind of of treats which really stand out, and really make a whole weekend.

The set-menu and wine is £65 for two people and you can order your own at https://hickoryfood.co.uk/home-delivery/

 

 

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide: O’Ndina Gin*

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Buying gifts for Father’s Day can be a bit of a hassle. By definition, fathers can be super hard to buy for – by definition they always seem to have everything they could ever want or need. A few years back, I resolved only to buy gifts which are both a treat and are useful. Happily, O’ndina Gin ticks both those boxes.

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A small-bath gin inspired by the spirit of the Italian Riviera, this couldn’t feel more perfect to enjoy during balmy summer evenings. Incredibly fresh, with notes of thyme, fresh basil leaf and black pepper, there is even a hint of lemon verbena in there – perfect for summer supping!

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It’s a wonderful, quite sophisticated choice – so if your dad is a bit of a gin aficionado, this is a fabulous choice! It’s the perfect option for an update on the classic G&T – mixed with an Italian tonic water and garnished with basil, it’s an absolutely delicious (and easy!) cocktail for warm summer evenings. It’s incredible in an Italian Negroni too – just mix 25ml O’ndina, 25ml Campari and25ml Cinzano 1757 Vermouth Rosso in a tumbler glass over ice, stir until cold, then garnish with a basil leaf or some orange peel. We might not be able to visit the Italian riviera this summer – so I think O’ndina might just be the next best thing!

O’ndina Gin is priced at £34 and is available here (UK)

Wine Home Deliveries with L’ART DU VIN

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As lock-down continues, it weirdly feels like every day is Sunday. It’s nice in a way, especially on sunny afternoons, where hours seem to absolutely disappear and and you can get on with all those tasks you never seem to have time for (I’m now the proud owner of the most streamlined cupboards you’ve ever seen).  Despite the positives, it’s just a bit weird, so in an attempt to keep Friday feeling a bit special, we’re going to be enjoying a bit of a picnic, with some refreshment care of L’Art Du Vin.

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One of Scotland’s premier wine suppliers – they work with a selection of incredible restaurants including Michelin-starred establishments and now L’Art Du Vin have launched a home delivery service! Earlier this week, I was the very lucky recipient of two glorious bottles – Fleur de Charlotte and Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.

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The home delivery service is perfect if you need to stock up for the next few weeks, and it’s contactless, so you’ll be safe to enjoy your wine too! With over 400 wines to choose from, simply head to the L’Art Du Vin website and select your wines. They have a particularly impressive selection of organic wines, and they were the first Scottish wine merchant to become certified members of the UK Organic Soil Association.

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Customers can enjoy around a 2 working day delivery time (perfect for getting prepped for the week) and if you live in Fife or Edinburgh – you’ll get a personal visit from the L’Art Du Vin van!

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As if that wasn’t enough, L’Art Du Vin is giving customers a straight 12% discount on all their wines, and orders over £100 benefit from free delivery!

Thank you so much to L’Art Du Vin for my wonderful bottles – to say they’ve made our Friday night special is an understatement!

If you’re keen to enjoy your own bottles, you can find L’Art Du Vin here.

Yacon Viva Organic Cacao Nibs*

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When it comes to healthy habits, there isn’t much better than incorporating a healthy breakfast into your routine. Honestly, I’m not someone who tends to get hungry in the morning, but over the past few months, I’ve been trying to incorporate a healthy morning meal or fruit smoothie to get the day started off right.

DSC_0200One of the easiest and heartiest meals I like to have in the morning is some Greek yoghurt with a little granola. It’s something which takes only seconds to assemble, and it keeps me going until well into the afternoon. To keep things interesting, I love to add a little something each morning – berries, banana, and now I’ve discovered Yacon Viva’s organic Cacao Nibs, they’ve become an integral part of my breakfast routine.

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Injecting a great dose of crunch, and an indulgent hit of chocolate, are perfect to add to my granola. The nibs have no added sugar, and they’re completely natural too. Vegan-friendly, as well as gluten free, they also work well on top of smoothies too!

Yacon Viva Cacao Nibs are priced at £9.99 and are available here

Pollen Soothe You Gummies*

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Sundays are a day to get everything together and prepare for the week ahead. I’m not sure that there’s any feeling better than heading to bed on a Sunday evening with that to-do list checked off, and all your plans for the week laid out ahead of you. Obviously, at the moment, those plans are more ‘clean out the garage’ than ‘meetings with X or Y’ but hopefully we’re heading towards a little more normalcy (fingers crossed). I’ve definitely been feeling more anxious since March, so I’ve been introducing as many positive habits into my routine as possible, and one of my favourites has to be Pollen’s rather adorable Soothe You CBD Gummies.

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Suitable for vegans, each of the 6g gummies contains 60mg CBD, and most importantly, they taste delicious – like real gummy sweets rather than those weird vitamins they give to kids. These ones are soft, sweet and full of flavour – you can choose from Grapefruit & Honey, Cherry & Orange or Strawberry & Citrus, and truly, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Although you can enjoy up to three in a day, I really only felt the need to have one per day to keep me feeling balanced. There’s no after-taste or a hint that these are anything other than a sweet treat, in fact, I loved this starter pack so much, that I went ahead and order the full-sized 30 packet.

Pollen Soothe You Gummies are priced at £35 for 30 and are available here (UK)

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