IT was only a matter of time, really. UCOOK has been delivering meal kits to our doors since 2014 – measured ingredients and recipes to turn even the most hapless cooks among us into impressive home chefs. Now you can order your meals with perfect wine pairings, making it even easier to impress your friends and loved ones.
The plan is more than a year old, but thanks to Covid and all the lockdown restriction ups and downs, it’s finally been implemented. Every month, UCOOK will pair with a wine farm to provide you, me, us with gorgeous wines to complement the delicious meals – 12 to choose from every week. Order by Monday, pay by Wednesday, and delivery is the following Sunday or Monday.
UCOOK co-founder David Torr says that customers can also look forward to pairing notes and exclusive content about each farm and varietal. “Expert sommeliers and cellarmasters from each farm work with our chefs to pair each and every dish on our menu with a wine that brings out the meals’ flavours best. It’s a special synergy that we can’t wait to bring into the kitchens of people who love new experiences and who want to elevate their weeknight cooking even more – no matter what the occasion.”
I’ve been a fan of UCOOK for a long time. I love the convenience of it, and I especially enjoy being yanked out of my comfort zone of cooking the same (still good) meals over and over, because it’s all too easy to fall into that comfortable groove. This week I tried three dishes with three wines, and as always, everything turned out wonderfully. Even if I did add some elements where they weren’t initially intended by the chef-creator.
The first month’s wines were from Warwick, and in April, the featured estate is Delheim. And not just any old wines, mind you; they are top notch, like a 2017 Pinotage to go with the Zippy Beef Bobotie by Kate Gomba. I first made bobotie from my ex mother-in-law’s recipe when I was in my unsophisticated 20s, which included white bread soaked in milk, and apricot jam.
This one doesn’t use those ingredients; in fact, it’s even simpler. No wonder it’s in the Easy Peasy category. The hands-on time was 15 minutes, and the total preparation time a mere half an hour. Spoiler: all the dishes were delicious and I’m so inspired to make bobotie again now.
The Classic Smoked Trout Fishcakes by Tess Witney were possibly the quickest and easiest peasiest dishes I’ve had from UCOOK thus far, and that’s saying something. The fishcakes were caramelised in a pan and basted with sweet chilli sauce, and served with sweet potato mash and green beans zested up with lemon and the pan juices. Utterly divine and paired with Delheim’s Pinotage Rosé.
My third dish was a fabulous piece of lamb rump with quinoa salad, roast butternut and mint-infused yoghurt, created by Samantha Finnegan. The vast amount of kale was not initially disclosed, and I’m not really a fan of it, but it reduces a lot in the oven, I’m happy to report, and once it’s mixed in with the red quinoa and feta cheese it’s not too bad. Okay so I mixed the toasted nuts into the mint yoghurt but by Jove, that lamb was perfectly pink in the middle. I absolutely adore a recipe that calls for a knob of butter for basting to finish off the protein, which occurs quite often with UCOOK. And you wonder why I love them? The wine was a 2018 Merlot. I confess I drank the whole bottle that night. It happens.
There’s more good news: customers will also have the option of purchasing wine from UCOOK without the need for a meal kit subscription. Fans of UCOOK can also be the first to access special discounts and offers when it comes to wine. Whether paired with a meal kit or ordered on demand, each wine will be available at cellar door prices. How cool is that?
“Our product range has extended to include UCOOK Baby food as well as UCOOK Craft Meals, our blast-frozen prepared meal selection. UCOOK customers have more options than ever before when looking for food solutions, and can now choose between ready-made meals, Meal Kits, wine and options for their little ones – all in just a few clicks,” says Torr.
Now all we need are the desserts…just saying, David…
For more, click here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bianca Coleman ©