Staying in is the new going out. It’s also the old going out and indeed, right now, the only going out.
I can’t say that I’ve gained a great deal from lockdown but, on the plus side, I have been cooking a lot more than I used to. I’m a lot better at it than I thought I would be but…on the downside, I’m still not great. With this in mind, there has to be some sort of middle ground between ruining yet another Nigella recipe and having to resort to the reluctant, depressing scroll through Deliveroo once again.
Enter Archies, one of a small but growing number of providers who promise to send restaurant-quality food that you can cook at home on your own terms. And I’m pleased to say that they kept their promise. My box of goodies arrived just after midday on Friday with clear, idiot-proof instructions for what said idiot (me, I’m talking about me) needed to do to store and prepare the various dishes so he wouldn’t inadvertently sabotage them later through incompetence.
“The prawns are already cooked and best eaten chilled,” the menu card stated so I put those in the fridge alongside the main course of rosemary milk infused lamb rump, cannelloni bean mash and roasted Mediterranean vegetables with Salsa Verde. The Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Tart was to be served at room temperature but I should chill the accompanying creme fraiche.
‘It can’t be that easy’ I thought, there must be some catch here. But come evening I took the prawns out, heated the oven in preparation for the lamb and got stuck in. It was that easy and, I’m glad to report, very good. 15 minutes of combined cooking time for the lamb and vegetables provided restaurant quality food without having to leave my flat. Delicious. The service (I was filling in as waiter as well as chef) may have left a little bit to be desired but that’s on me.
After the (superb) dessert there was a further treat, a pre-mixed Espresso Martini. The first proper drink I’ve had in what seems like years! I’ve always been a bit sceptical of pre-mixed cocktails so I would love to know what brand of witchcraft these guys used to turn out such a good one, I’ve had worse in proper bars. So, if you’re bored (and I expect you are very, very bored as of late), of cooking the same thing for yourself over and over and want something a bit more creative than deliveroo, I’d recommend you give Archie’s a go.