Wines To Serve At Different Dinner Occasions

So you’re hosting a dinner party for a few friends. You’ve sent your invites out, confirmed the menu with everyone’s dietary requirements, sorted the playlist and cleaned the house from top to bottom. That’s everything right? Yes. But wait…what drinks are you going to provide?

Choosing the right wine, to serve at the right time, can really help add to the atmosphere and make a really good evening, become great. If you’re like me though and sometimes struggle to tell your Sauvignon Blancs from your Chardonnays then never fear as we have teamed up with Hard To Find Wines who have helped put together this handy little guide of what to serve and when.

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Things I like to cook at home

Because I eat out so much during the week, I like to keep things simple when I’m at home. For dinner I usually stick to some nicely seasoned salmon, gilled over my Argos cooker so that the skin is super crispy and the flesh is moist and still pink. I’ll serve this with some fresh crispy salad, lightly dressed with some olive oil and balsamic. Or if I feel like something with a bit more punch, I might go for one of my favourite dressings which is made with honey, wholegrain mustard, garlic, parsley, and of course some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

When I’m craving a bit of meat I often like to make rustic wholesome dishes like beef and pork meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. I add lots of herbs to the meatballs which I brown in a saucepan before cooking them off in a thick reduction of tomato sauce. I then serve this with a zucchini pasta rather than wheat pasta which is so simple to make!

Meatballs

Meatballs

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Eight Delicious Alternatives to Meat

Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean giving up flavorful food, or missing out on needed nutrients that normally coming from consuming meat and seafood. There are numerous delicious meatless vegetarian options packed with everything the body needs.

Portobello Mushrooms

The caps of Portobello mushrooms are easy to disguise as burgers, and may actually taste even better than the real thing. They are dense, juicy, and very meat-like, but  much lower in fat and cholesterol. This type of mushrooms is also very easy to grill and may even be mistaken for a regular burger while being cooked.

Eggplant

When searching for meat substitutes, be sure to check out eggplant. This purple skinned vegetable has a consistency similar to that of meat and is chewier than the average vegetable. It is a perfect ingredient for meatless lasagna. Instead of chicken parmesan try eggplant parmesan for a tasty vegetarian meal.

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Häagen-Dazs – The Craft of Real Ice Cream

Häagen-Dazs Choc choc chip

Häagen-Dazs Choc choc chip

Last week Häagen-Dazs organised an exclusive event to celebrate the craft of real ice cream, which was hosted by the lovely Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman, and Mecca Ibrahim of Great British Chefs. We were treated to a selection of especially created savoury canapés including a delicious prawn wonton with sweet chilli, smoked trout with pickled cucumber, and a wonderful fig, mascarpone, basil and balsamic dressing.

Prawn wonton with sweet chilli

Prawn wonton with sweet chilli

Smoked trout with pickled cucumber

Smoked trout with pickled cucumber

Fig, mascarpone & basil

Fig, mascarpone & basil

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Walk on the Wild Side at Embassy Gardens by Ballymore

The Embassy Gardens by Ballymore

The Embassy Gardens by Ballymore

The Embassy Gardens by Ballymore is hosting a five-day pop-up event at its stunning venue in Nine Elms on the South Bank called ‘Walk On The Wild Side’. The event is being run by The Radical Dining Society, an outfit that organises culinary adventures for foodie thrill seekers. Walk On The Wild Side runs from July 22 to 26 and features a seven course-tasting menu of foraged food and Harvey Nichols Own Label Champagne and wines. The menu is based around a theme of wild flowers and gardens and draws its inspiration from the linear park that will wrap around The Embassy Gardens by Ballymore, stretching from Vauxhall to Battersea Park.

In charge of proceedings is Chef Toby Cartwright who began his career at Coworth Park under 2 Michelin star chef John Campbell. As diners feast away, DJ Tony from Raffles nightclub will entertain guests by spinning some cool Ibiza tracks. And all this is set against the backdrop of The Embassy Gardens, a rooftop location that offers lovely views of the Thames and the emerging Nine Elms district.

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Easy Homemade Low Fat Mac and Cheese With Three Fusion Variations

While most people are familiar with this classic comfort food from boxed versions that combine pre-packaged cheese powders with plenty of butter, making lower calorie mac using fresh, low fat cheeses is a lot easier than you might think. Making your mac from scratch also makes it easy to prepare some incredible variations that will feed your craving while tickling your taste buds.

A Basic Guide to Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

The three basic stages for making homemade macaroni and cheese include: cooking your pasta, preparing a cheese sauce, combining everything (along with some bread crumbs and extra shredded cheese), then briefly baking in a casserole or other oven-safe dish. For no-frills mac your basic ingredients for an 8-serving recipe are:

• 2 cups dry pasta
• 3 Tbsp. flour
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 cups low fat milk
• 8 oz. shredded low fat cheese, divided (about 2 cups)
• 2 oz. Neufchatel cheese
• 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
• Cooking spray

To prep the pasta, simply cook to an al dente finish, thoroughly drain, and set aside. At this point you will also want to coat your baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350˚F.

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A taste of traditional Maltese cuisine

Malta is a hugely popular Mediterranean island with a beautiful climate, as well as pretty beaches and the friendliest of people. The Maltese definitely have a lust for life and this is reflected in their eclectic mix of dishes.

Malta attracts approximately 1.5 million visitors every year, which is a lot considering the island’s small size; the population is only 370,000. The island is an inexpensive holiday option and its popularity has grown in recent years, partly due to the many last minute holidays to Malta deals available.

The climate is conducive to outdoor activities and the beaches are a part of daily life while the restaurants with open air garden terraces are ubiquitous. If you’re a lover of long leisurely dinners with the friendliest of locals then you have picked the right destination.

Image of Maltese fruit market by John Haslam, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

Image of Maltese fruit market by John Haslam, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

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Tribeca Café – New York Style Coffee in Glasgow

If you love the energy and vibrancy of New York City and wish for a taste of the Big Apple closer to home, then Tribeca Café provides a good imitation of the New York experience. Tribeca Café is a relaxed coffee bar located at 102 Dumbarton Road in Glasgow and aims to replicate the essence of the famous city of New York with its grungy, downtown Tribeca vibe. Furthermore, it celebrates the essence of New York by specialising in one of the city’s most favourite pastimes – brunch with great coffee.

Tribeca Cafe

Tribeca Cafe

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