With restaurants closed, special occasions, from birthdays to birthdays, must currently be celebrated at home.
One way to set them apart from the everyday is to purchase a “home finish” meal kit, which allows you to use your cooking skills a little.
Promising a refined dining experience in the comfort of your own home, such a kit was created by MasterChef: Professional Finalist and All-Star Chef Marianne Lumb. The Leicestershire chef, whose Notting Hill restaurant was rated London’s best dining experience by Harden’s Guide in 2017, has partnered with the Finish and Feast gourmet meal kit delivery platform.
Marianne – who has cooked for celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Joanna Lumley, Pink Floyd and Jude Law – is in good company, as Finish and Feast also works with Michelin-starred chef at Muse restaurant Tom Aikens, 2020 MasterChef champion Thomas Frake, and Dean Banks, chef at Restaurant Haar on the east coast of Scotland.
Marianne, who grew up in Long Clawson near Melton, has created two gourmet meal kits which are available for delivery throughout the UK.
Explaining why she decided to launch the kits, Marianne told LeicestershireLive: “We tried a few ‘home kits’ and they were so much fun.
“We are all – even me! – running out of inspiration for cooking at home.
“We found the kits to be a bit of a ‘silver lining’ during the lockdown.
“I especially wanted to work with Finish and Feast because they work hard to find the best ingredients. Plus, and more importantly, there’s only 10 percent left for the cook to do at home, which means that’s practically a night off and hopefully a romantic night for both of you! “
What is on the menu?
There is the winter menu, which begins with a classic Piedmontese dish of vitello tonnato, consisting of slices of poached veal and caper berries in a tuna and caper sauce, as well as artichokes in Marianne’s version.
This is followed by a main course of baked stone sea bass, with mashed blackened celery, brown butter and raw broccoli and fennel, and a dessert of Yorkshire rhubarb, pistachio macaroon and cardamom.
There is also a vegan menu, which includes a starter of winter tomato consomme, aonori seaweed, slowly roasted beets, rhubarb, sumac, horseradish and pickles, followed by a main course of ratatouille. celeriac with artichoke and Bramley apple, kale and pearl spelled salsa verde.
The dessert is a coconut and mango creme caramel with macadamia and tangerine.
The winter menu kit is priced at £ 90 and the vegan menu is priced at £ 80. Both typically serve two people.
What do you have in the kit?
Finish and Feast gave us the opportunity to try one of Marianne’s new kits, and we opted for the winter menu.
Arrived in a large cardboard box, the food inside is kept cool thanks to the ice packs and Woolcool insulated packaging.
Each course is in a separate brown paper bag, inside which the components are in individual containers.
Finish and Feast aims to source the highest quality ingredients possible, with meat supplied by butchers HG Walter, fish from Reach Seafood, fruits and vegetables from Pale Green Dot and dairy products from The Estate Dairy.
There is a smart little booklet that accompanies the food, detailing how to prepare (and in the case of the main course, reheat) the food. There are also some great photos that you can use as a guide when organizing your food.
How does the food taste?
Of course, a small part of how food tastes depends on your cooking skills, but luckily 90% of the work has been done for you!
I wouldn’t usually order veal, but the starter won me over in large part thanks to the creamy and tangy tonnato (tuna and capers) sauce which added incredible flavor to the dish.
The double bass main course was simply breathtaking. The generously sized fish fillet tasted fresh and succulent, and was perfectly complemented by the wonderfully nutty and sweet-tasting brown butter and creamy, earthy, darkened celeriac puree. Fresh broccoli and crunchy raw fennel wings, with their distinctive anise flavor, completed the dish.
The lovely dessert was deliciously different, with layers of pistachio macaroon, rich cardamom cream and tangy Yorkshire rhubarb. Freeze-dried raspberries and chopped pistachios sprinkled on top added a nice crunch to the dish.
There’s no denying that this is an expensive box of food, but it was created by a highly regarded professional chef, who showcases the culinary experiences of his impressive career.
It’s not a meal for just any old weekend, but if you really want to please someone while the restaurants are closed, this could be a perfect way to do it.
To find out more or to place an order, you can visit the site here.