THE BAKING HACK: Doughlicious Frozen Cookie Dough
You’ll find the London Dough Company’s wares on the shelves of Planet Organic, Whole Foods and Selfridges Food Hall. Alongside its selection of savoury biscuits (I love the charcoal, black pepper and miso flavour) and its recent take on mochi/ice-cream hybrids, our favourites are its frozen cookie dough balls. Ideal for anyone who can’t be bothered to bake, these Great Taste Award winners just need to be squashed flat and cooked in the oven for 12 minutes. My pick? The earthy matcha cookie dough dotted with white Colombian chocolate.
THE LOW-ALCOHOL SIP: Italicus Italian Bergamot Aperitivo
Beautifully bottled Italicus is an award-winning Italian aperitivo that’s made it onto my radar. A bottle that’ll look good as part of any home bar, the spirit comes in at just 20% ABV – ideal for anyone wanting to sip on something a little less punchy than gin or vodka. When it comes to taste, expect fresh tones of ripe bergamot balanced with a light bitter and floral spice. The spirit can be used in cocktails like a classic spritz or – for an easy but show-shopping pudding – in a sgroppino: simply pour over a scoop of lemon sorbet and top with sparkling wine.
THE WEEKEND BREAKFAST TREAT: Tarla
Tarla is a new collection of pastry kits I’ve come across, which can be delivered through letterboxes across the UK. Each box contains everything you need to create fresh-from-the-oven bakes without the faff of making your own pastry. The range currently includes all-butter croissant, almond croissant, raspberry danish, apricot danish, pain aux chocolat and pain aux raisins. All you have to do is roll the pre-cut pastry, proof it, pop them in the oven and they’re ready to go. Each pack costs £12 for six pastries.
THE DRINK LAUNCH: Shima
Sparkling saké spritz brand Shima has launched a second flavour – Yuzu & Elderflower. Now joining the Plum & Hibiscus original, both products are naturally low in calories, vegan and gluten free – and come in at just 4.5% ABV. The sleek canned drink comes with a rich, floral saké aroma, as well as notes of elderflower and slightly citrusy zing from the yuzu. Finally, a green tea note balances out the richness, without any of that sugary sweetness. A nice, complex option for anyone like me looking for an alternative to their at-home G&T.
THE COOKBOOK: Cooking With Scorsese… & Others
This unusual new cookbook is right up my street. With wonderful design, it features a collection of recipes created by 46 acclaimed chefs in response to the food moments on film that bring them joy. Its pages are illustrated with screenshots from the films that inspired each recipe, bringing each scene and dish to life. From Wes Anderson’s delicate pastries in The Grand Budapest Hotel to pistachio pie from True Romance and ragu served in Goodfellas, this is a must-read for food and film fans alike.
THE SPEEDY DINNER: Japan Centre DIY Ramen Kits
One of my go-to restaurants, the Shoryu team has now partnered with the Japan Centre to create a range of DIY ramen kits. The delivery packs come with everything you need to make one of the restaurant’s signature tonkotsu soups – without sweating over a hob to make the 12-hour stock. You’ll also get hosomen noodles, a beautifully cooked piece of pork belly, all-important toppings like pickled ginger and step-by-step instructions. Best of all? It comes together in just ten minutes
THE HANGOVER CURE: The Bloody Box
If you’re looking for a fun present or feel like kicking off the weekend in style, I recommend picking up Bloody Drinks’ ‘Bloody Box’. Strikingly packaged, the box has everything you need for a perfect bloody mary, complete with garnishes and bar snacks. Inside you’ll find four 250ml cans of ‘Bloody Classics’ (which contain an all-important glug of Amontillado sherry and a dash of soy sauce – a perfect combination); one tin of bloody mary salt for the rim of your glasses; a can of the best olives around (that’s Perello Picante Olive & Pickle Mix); and one jar of spiced nuts. Also great for hangovers (um, apparently).
THE NEW OPENING: The George
After a five-year closure, The George in Fitzrovia re-opened at the end of last year following a takeover by publican Dominic Jacobs and cool restaurant group JKS (the team behind Bao, Gymkhana and Lyle’s). Happily for this ale lover, the extensive renovation pays homage to its history as a proper boozer (think dark wood panels and a mirrored bar), while it serves inventive cocktails and modern interpretations of classic pub grub. In March, a new restaurant by James Knappett (of Michelin-starred Kitchen Table) will launch upstairs, alongside a dedicated English sparkling wine bar and private room for 20. I can’t wait.
THE COFFEE ALTERNATIVE: Jing Organic Dragon Well
I’m a bit of a caffeine fiend who’s been on the hunt for something a little lighter to replace those endless cups of black coffee. Enter Jing, a British company that produces beautifully packaged bags of organic tea alongside a collection of stylish teaware. Its newest launch is Organic Dragon Well – one of the most prized green teas on the market – which is grown in Luocun Garden in Zhejiang, China. Packed with antioxidants, just one cup provides enough of a caffeine kick to jolt me into action. Expect vivid grassy notes with a light citrus aroma and a sweet hint of lightly roasted hazelnuts.
THE KITCHEN GADGET: Our Place Stainless Steel Kitchen Knives
Our Place is the much-hyped kitchenware brand behind the Instagram sensation ‘Always Pan’, a multifunctional pan that combines eight pieces of cookware in one. After launching in the UK last summer, the company has since added to its range via a collection with Selfridges. I love its trio of kitchen knives (4in paring knife, 8in chef’s knife and 9in serrated knife) which come in three colourways. Each has an ergonomic grip, polished finish and sharpened tips – ideal for anyone looking to improve their kitchen skills without spending a fortune.
THE MEAL KIT: Makes Miso Hungry
Created by Yoko Nakada during the first lockdown, Makes Miso Hungry is something any fan of Japanese food should know about. The meal kits, which can be ordered through Big Night, offer everything you need to make authentic, restaurant-quality Japanese feasts at home. While I’ve found the menus change often, expect to sample the likes of raw red prawns in a spicy ponzu; grilled yellowtail on buttery miso leeks (a Japanese magnolia leaf ‘plate’ is included); miso soup; fresh pickles; and matcha brownies made by Matchado.