I knew, when I volunteered to test Sorelle non-alcoholic wine, that my timing was off. I was in the middle of wedding plans which, of course, were rapidly spiralling out of any semblance of control, and if anyone had offered me booze with more alcohol than usual in it, I would have ripped the bottle out of their hands and had the screw top off before you could say secure mental unit.
We have now, however, entered calmer waters. The wedding is done and dusted, the thank-you letters have been posted, and things have returned to blessed normality at TL Towers. But I still can’t say that I sit down, of an evening, and think, ‘hmmm, I’d like something really alcohol-free round about now.’
So I had a brainwave. I took the bottle of Sorelle Rose to my book club’s last meeting before the summer holidays. I knew that at least a couple of people would, like me, have to drive home, so would be glad of some boozeless booze.
We were reading The Emperor’s Babe , by Bernadine Evaristo, a rather brilliant evocation of the short life and turbulent times of a Nubian beauty in London during the Roman empire. Ahem, it’s in verse, but don’t let that put you off – I think it reads swiftly and beautifully (though there was a bit of disagreement on this!). Anyway, after we’d had a tiny bit of fizz which I’d brought to celebrate my marriage, we turned to the Sorelle, and I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it was after the champagne, but I thought it tasted rather good. We had loads of ice cubes with it, which I think helped. I’m not really a rose fan but unfortunately they didn’t send me the Sauvignon Blanc version. Anyway we finished the bottle and everyone got home safely – result!
If you’re looking for a light-hearted, easy read over the holidays and an epic poem sounds rather like hard work, why not try my own book, Hot Chocolate? The perfect accompaniment to your sun lounger and blue skies, I promise, and only a couple of quid. It’s got four five-star reviews so far. In fact, if you promise to review it for me on Amazon, I’ll even send it to you free.
Back in the kitchen, I was very happy to be asked to test out Ainsley Harriot’s cous cous range. In fact, I was cheating a bit, as I already knew I liked them – they’ve become a really quick store cupboard standby when I haven’t left enough time to cook potatoes or rice. The ingredients look like those freeze-dried astronaut meals, but they plump up with water and contain no msg or other baddies and, best of all, the children like them. The Thai and Moroccan varieties are our favourites and they take no time at all. Yum.
I’ve also been asked to try Maggi’s So Crispy Chicken, but I haven’t got round to it yet …. the chicken on the front of the packet looks as though it’s been on a very hot beach holiday all by itself, it is so brown …. I will report back as soon as I’ve cooked it, I promise.