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Life in Lockdown

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

We are all coming face to face with a new reality. Life in lockdown. There are definite perks, and certain drawbacks… more for those poor souls living in city flats with children, my heart goes out to you all. I am very luckily at home in Dorset with my boyfriend in a child free environment with a sunny garden and a full cellar. I am counting my blessings every day.

I find working from home is far more productive than the office environment (as fun as the office is), although on day one I saw there were two ways the days could pan out if I wasn't careful:

Option 1) start with a sneaky glass of wine at lunch time (well-earned by then I am sure) surreptitiously continuing all day. While sorely tempting, I realised this was going to be expensive, unhealthy and increasingly unproductive. Militant rules about drinking times have been self-imposed.

Option 2) A focused, tea drinking working day broken up by yoga at lunch time (this sounds like I am some zen guru, I’m not and have always avoided yoga like the plague as it was boring ie I can’t do it as I am about as flexible as a steel girder) and a bracing run to the beach after work. From there I am to embrace my inner 1950’s housewife; cook beautiful dinners each night, light the candles, set the mood. The feminist inside me was screaming profanities at such a thought, however 10 days in and I have to say I am loving it. Independent, career woman by day, doting house – girlfriend by night. A love of cooking definitely helps in this scenario.

Another upside is having my 4-legged son with me full time (he usually spends week days with the in-laws while I am at the office). It is wonderfully therapeutic having a dog around, although I have to say, much as I love him, mine is a bit of an oddity. He point blank refuses to go running with me, the moment I get my trainers on he climbs into his bed and won’t get out. I have tried explaining we only have one opportunity to get outside so we have to work together on this. He remains unmoved by my protestations. Today in the garden, he managed to poke himself in the eye with his stick and is currently walking around looking like a pirate.

In lieu of hosting champagne masterclasses and wine dinners in the evenings as per my pre-corona life, I am now let lose in the kitchen, trying to create a culinary masterpiece from the odds and ends left over from the somewhat limited supermarket shop. Today I even managed to forage wild garlic on my run. At least I hope it is wild garlic. I looked pretty special running up the road clutching a rather bedraggled bouquet of smelly white flowers. Undeterred I have been having a grand old time, picking wines to pair with the food.

A few highlights so far:

Slow cooked lamb shanks in red wine, balsamic and rosemary with sweet potato and chilli mash. I had to think long and hard about this one as it was sacrificing nearly half a bottle of wine to the cause. I paired it with one of my firm weekday favourites: the Thymiopoulos Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes 2018 from Nemea in Greece. I am a huge Greek wine fan and this gorgeous, silky, perfumed and fresh red from the greek mainland offset the rich fatty lamb shanks and the sweetness of the potato. A dream combo. Wine from The Wine Society

Seared duck breast (no chicken or sausages on the shelves in Lidl but duck aplenty – making hay with that one!) on a butternut, sage and crème fraiche puree paired with Le Serre Nuove del Ornellaia 2014 from Bolgheri. Taking a bit of a punt on this pairing, mainly because I fancied drinking it! A lighter vintage of this impressive wine but with vibrancy and acidity which cut through the duck, though the depth of dark spiced fruit slightly suffocated the ducks perfume, it married well with the rich butternut however. The wine was slightly short on the finish which is a shame and likely vintage related. Wine from Armit Wines

Asian marinated pork tenderloin with bok choy and sugar snaps paired with the Delas Domaine des Genets Vacqueyras 2016 from the southern Rhone. I won’t lie, I might have been a touch heavy handed with the soy sauce, but the fabulous velvety Grenache rich wine was undeterred and was in its element dancing with the Chinese 5 spice on my palate. Stonking value and a lovely comforting hug of a wine. Wine from MMD

Seared salmon with imam biyaldi and tenderstem broccoli – there seemed to be a profusion of aubergine at the supermarket so I thought, why the heck not. Feeling I was not showing the white wines enough love, and paying homage to a beautiful sunny day I paired this with the fabulously rich and spicy dry Prince Abbes Pinot Gris 2016 from Domaine Schlumberger in Alsace. With the spicy imam biyaldi the pairing was, if I do say so myself, a match made in heaven. Wine from Four Walls Wine Company

Dog update – he seems to have forgotten his sore eye, bought me his bone to throw, put it at my feet, looked up at me and belched. Charming

Yoga update – half crow is not for humans. Or crows for that matter. Nearly nutted myself on the floor trying. Can however almost just about touch my toes

Run update – feels weird with no dog, feel like he is punishing me but not sure why

Wine update – currently sipping a glass of divine Domaines Faiveley Mercury Blanc Clos Rochette 2017as I write this – this is my ultimate ‘house wine’ as I have a deep and abiding love for white burgundy without the bank balance to support it. This is a seriously classy example of what the Cote Chalonnais can do in the correct hands, pure and fresh yet concentrated and textured with perfectly integrated oak. Wine from Davis Bell McCraith Wines.

PS it is gone 8pm, I am allowed to drink before you judge!

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