Make coming out of lockdown all the easier with top entertaining ideas from our national trainer Jo Underhay
In the best possible way, this is all rather familiar. The UK’s third (and hopefully final) lockdown continues to ease, as the government’s roadmap to freedom advances. Last month, saw the return of indoor hospitality and entertainment, larger groups outdoors, and selected gatherings indoors. However stage 4 of easing was supposed to take place on 21st June, but as we are all aware, this was unable to happen. To some, this wasn’t much of
a surprise and plenty of people are understandably apprehensive about coming out of lockdown. The past 12-18 months have been genuinely traumatic for most. So, anxiety about what’s coming next is perfectly normal. However, the key is to take everything at your own pace, stick to what makes you comfortable, and don’t be afraid to say no. In fact, just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. Be kind to others and especially yourself!
We’ve all had plenty of time to reflect about the things we’ve missed the most. If spending time with family and friends is at the top of your list after coming out of lockdown, the chances are you’re ready to re-embrace entertaining. Connection is, after all, a core human need. Contact, friendship, and company are vital for good mental health.
Not many of us are ready for a full-on rave in a warehouse full of strangers. But hosting a select dinner party, with good food and fine wine, will feed both body and soul. So, our nutritionist Jo has sourced a selection of delicious recipes and wine pairings that are perfect for a post-lockdown celebration:
In the beginning…
I love this BBC Good Food recipe for Yakitori chicken. It’s a simple, speedy crowd-pleaser that requires minimal preparation. It’s reasonably forgiving re. timings, too, so it’s a great way to easy yourself back into cooking for others. There are few things finer than a glass of good red Burgundy, and Pinot Noir is a perennially popular choice. It’s a flexible food wine that pairs particularly well with chicken. But do make sure you store it properly.
Our new luxury wine cabinet: WC1800
If you’re keen to treat yourself to celebrate coming out of lockdown, why not splash out on our new Sense Premium WC1800 In-Column Triple Zone Wine Cabinet? This appliance features a special frame so your kitchen designer can simply design one to match your kitchen cabinetry. It fits 70 Bordeaux-style bottles, within three independently controlled temperature zones. Yet this quiet cabinet operates at only 43dB – so it’s ideal for open-plan living and entertaining.
If you’re catering for fish aficionados, a classic Moules marinières starter is hard to beat. This version, from Olive magazine, is ready in just 30 minutes (and it’s gluten-free, too). The aroma of this classic French dish instantly transports me to the Riviera. It’s made with fresh, inexpensive ingredients that still seem celebratory – perfect for long-awaited, post-lockdown reunions.
Moules marinières is made with dry white wine, so I would serve something similar to drink. Picpoul de Pinet is fresh and crisp wine, and pairs perfectly with strongly flavoured seafood dishes with rich cream/butter sauces. You can store yours at the perfect temperature in our Classic WC6401 In-Column Single Zone Wine Cabinet. This affordable model features no-frost compressor cooling technology to maintain a consistent temperature. It can also store up to 21 750ml Bordeaux-style wine bottles.
The main event to celebrate coming out of lockdown
I think stews and curries are excellent main courses for coming out of lockdown gatherings. Steer clear of fussy, fiddly food that requires constant supervision. Save the soufflés for another time! This quick fish stew recipe is tasty, nutritious – and so simple it practically cooks itself. I’d serve this with lots of good, crusty bread to mop up all the juices, and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. The saltiness of seafood dishes evens out this wine’s acidity, and the light texture works well here too.
If you want to make a strong style statement in your kitchen, I’d recommend our Sense WF1553 Freestanding Wine Cabinet. It has an impressive black glass frame for a more luxurious finish. And its three charcoal filters ensure the wine inside is kept in optimum condition as it prevents undesirable odours from penetrating the cork and impairing the flavour.
Another classic main course that’s an ideal coming out of lockdown dish is Thai Green Chicken Curry. Jamie Oliver’s version really packs a flavour punch – and smells divine while simmering! Serve with lime wedges, steamed rice, and an off-dry Riesling. This flavoursome grape produces a floral wine that really complements this curry’s herbs and spices. A little sweetness will balance the chilli too.
Our new luxury wine cabinet: Wi6161
Serious wine buffs: brace yourself. This month we’re launching our new Sense Premium Wi6161 Integrated Undercounter Dual Zone Wine Cabinet. A seamless addition to any designer kitchen, this upscale new model can be customised with a bespoke frame or full door, to match the rest of your cabinetry. It can accommodate up to 35 Bordeaux-style bottles, which should keep you going as you and your friends celebrate coming out of lockdown.
Or if you fancy a Thai beer with your curry, this wine cabinet can easily convert into a can chiller with optional glass shelving. There are four programme functions, including eco. Light functions include a timer and brightness, which you can set to suit your personal needs.
Just desserts for coming out out lockdown
There’s been precious little fun and frivolity this past year. So don’t skimp on the sweet treats when you next get together with family and friends. This No-Churn Mango-Berry Ice Cream, from Good Housekeeping, comprises just three ingredients (plus a dash of salt). All you need to do is pulse, mix and freeze. Maximum impact for minimum effort: I can’t think of a better combination for coming out of lockdown!
Ice cream isn’t always easy to pair with wine, but I think a Vinho Verde Rosé would work well here. Our Classic WC6511 has two independently controlled temperature zones, which is brilliant if you’re serving two different wines, such as white and red, at your soirée. And if Champagne is your drink of choice, the slatted shelf design allows you to store larger bottles, for plenty of those long-awaited toasts to freedom.
But perhaps my all-time favourite dessert is cheesecake. This no-bake summer berry recipe looks and tastes amazing. It really is a showstopper that deserves an admiring audience. Muscat is often served chilled as an apéritif, but this sweet wine really comes into its own with fruit-based puddings like this colourful cheesecake.
Luckily, being short on space doesn’t mean having to compromise on the quality of your bottle storage. Our Sense Wi3126 Undercounter Single Zone Wine Cabinet proves that good things do come in small packages. This model is vibration-free, to prevent any disturbance to the sediment balance (which affects flavour). And it offers a choice of UV and heat-free white LED lighting, which you can turn on and off, as you prefer.
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