Back to School

It’s been a long (almost) six months but finally – finally! – the children have gone back to school. And just like that the house is quiet. Messy, but quiet. Obviously I’m really happy they’ve gone back but it does feel very weird not having them in the house after all this time. A bit like when you come out of the cinema after watching a really intense noisy film and you step back into the quiet foyer at the end and it takes you a moment to readjust (and brush bits of popcorn from your jumper). In other news I was on Saturday Kitchen at the weekend via video link from home and the guest chef was Yotam Ottolenghi. Probably a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t in the actual studio because I was properly chef-star struck. His dishes included ridiculously good spicy potatoes and the most delicious mushroom lasagne from his new book Flavour. Picking wines to go with them was a complete joy so I’ve included my favourite, a bargain Pinot Noir, in this week’s recommendations along with a fantastic non-alcoholic ginger switchel that also featured on the show. Right, I’m off to pick stuff up off the floor. Quietly.

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Current red in the rack: Sorcova Pinot Noir

Price: £5.84 - Buy From Waitrose

Currently on offer (it’s normally £7.79) this is an outrageously good value Pinot Noir from Romania. It’s really juicy and fresh with lots of brilliant berry fruit flavours, the kind of wine that makes you smack your lips after drinking it. Worked a treat with mushroom lasagne, especially the one made by Yotam (as I call him), thanks to its supple character. Get in while it’s on offer if you can.

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Current non-alcoholic in the fridge: Mother Root

Price: £19.00 - Buy From Mother Root

Founder Bethan Higson created this ingenious ginger switchel when, pregnant a few years ago, she couldn’t find anything interesting to drink in place of her usual glass of wine. It’s based on an old ‘shrub’ recipe – namely apple cider vinegar, honey and ginger – and she’s fired it up a little with a touch of chilli too. Add a generous dash to a glass with lots of ice and top up with tonic or soda water (or still or sparkling water) and you’re done. Absolutely delicious.

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