Unwined At Tooting x Airbnb Experiences

Disclosure: I was invited to test out this experience. All opinions are my own.

I recently discovered that Airbnb offer experiences with local guides all around the world. When I was asked to review one here in London, wine tasting with food pairings by Unwined In Tooting immediately caught my eye. Tooting is a wonderful neighbourhood in this city, known for its authentic Asian eateries and markets. Just look at the art deco entrance into an Aladdin's cave of foodie treasures!

Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug

We were greeted by Laura from Unwined At Tooting, our guide, and were shown to an adorable kitchen table to sit around with the other diners. All the wines and dishes (by chef Matt Osborne) were individually superb, but we were given the challenge of rating each course based on the suitability of the pairing.

Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug
Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug
Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug

My favourite pairing was the cured mackerel, cucumber, radish with a Thai curry powder along with the Clip Vinho Verde 2015. I'd tried a few Portuguese green wines before but this was on a whole new level, and complimented the starter perfectly.

Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug
Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug
Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug
Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug

This dessert wine (Innocent Bystander Moscato) was my favourite tipple of the experience. There's only 5.5% alcohol and it has a fruity, candyfloss-like sweetness without being too sickly.

Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug
Unwined In Tooting x Airbnb Experiences | Skillet & Shutterbug

The whole thing was fantastic and I'd definitely recommend it to all my food and wine-loving friends. The resident chef rotates every 6 weeks, so I'm already plotting a return soon to find out what the next experience will be!


Some other foodie delights I've experienced lately:



Curry Goat with Rice and Beans

I was recently asked to support #MyLondonDish, as part of the Mayor Of London's wider #LondonIsOpen campaign. This social movement aims to challenge the misconceptions of London food held by tourists. Our food scene continues to evolve, enriched by immigrants and those that have been here for generations mixing to create new communities. Brixton is one of my favourite neighbourhoods so, when I was asked to share a dish that evokes London memories, curry goat immediately came to mind. Brixton Market is the place to find all the ingredients you'll need... or you could cheat and grab a portion from Fish, Wings & Tings or Bamboula

Just hearing the words 'curry goat' and my mouth starts to water. Meat so tender that it slides from the bone, sticky spice-infused yams and that inimitable heat of Scotch Bonnets. My boyfriend makes huge pots at a time, with 2kg of goat shoulder, which gives us around 14 generous portions. With these bad boys in the freezer, I know I'm never more than 20 minutes away from the heartiest of dinners.

Curry Goat with Rice and Beans | Skillet & Shutterbug

Curry Goat – 14 portions

2kg goat shoulder
1 tbsp all-spice berries
1 tbsp black pepper
Juice of 6 limes
4 tbsp mild curry powder
4 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
3 inch piece of ginger
Olive oil
2 Scotch Bonnet peppers
4 spring onions
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
Bulb of garlic
200ml vegetable stock
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
450g yam
Fresh parsley and coriander

Ask your butcher to cut up 2kg of goat shoulder into chunks around the size of golf balls. Wash the goat and pat dry. Toast 1 tbsp of allspice berries and 1 tbsp black pepper. This will only take a minute or so. As soon as it starts smoking, it's done. Crush using a pestle and mortar. Create a marinade using the juice of 6 limes, 4 tbsp mild curry powder, 4 tbsp all-purpose seasoning, grated ginger and the crushed pepper mix you've prepared. Coat the goat well and leave in the fridge overnight.

Add olive oil to a heavy casserole pot then pour in the goat along with its marinade. Cover to let the goat cook in its fragrant steam, checking every few minutes to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Thoroughly deseed 2 Scotch Bonnet peppers – make sure you remove all seeds and the white membrane with a knife. When the meat is cooked through, add 4 roughly chopped spring onions, 2 sliced bell peppers and the deseeded Scotch Bonnets. Cover again to sweat for 5 minutes, then add a chopped bulb of garlic.

Cook the garlic for 3 minutes. Before it burns, add 200ml of vegetable stock and 2 tins of plum tomatoes. Bring the curry to a boil, then turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 2½ hours. Check on it every 30 minutes to top up with water if needed.

The last ingredient to add is the yam, cut into bite-size chunks. The starch will thicken the curry but take care because the yams will become sticky and can easily burn against the side of the pot. Stir it often over 35 minutes. The yams will be cooked when you can stick a fork through a piece easily. Serve the curry goat over rice and garnish with fresh coriander and parsley.

Curry Goat with Rice and Beans | Skillet & Shutterbug

Rice And Beans – 2 portions

1 onion
Olive oil
1 cup white rice
4 cloves of garlic
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
½ x 400g tin red kidney beans
Salt

Dice 1 onion and fry in olive oil until soft. Add 1 cup of white rice and 4 cloves of garlic and stir for 3 minutes. Pour in 1 tin of coconut milk, 1 cup of chicken stock and ½ tin of drained red kidney beans. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Give the rice a good stir to make sure none is sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, then cover on a low heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat with the cover on, and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Curry Goat with Rice and Beans | Skillet & Shutterbug


In Fair Verona, Where We Lay Our Scene

When the boyfriend and I take weekend trips, it is all about food. We rarely bother with 'things you must see/do' lists and instead go straight for food markets (wherever the locals get their fresh produce) and our Airbnb host's recommendations for restaurants and bakeries. This trip was a last-minute spontaneous get away. We chose Verona because flights were cheap and it is a great city to explore by foot.

Actively avoiding Juliet's balcony, it was wonderful to wander through this beautiful city. We successfully fulfilled our two goals – to eat our body weight in fresh pasta and pizza, and to carry home a suitcase worth of cured meats and cheeses.

In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug

The pizza at Pizzeria da Salvatore was so good that we visited twice in one weekend. We also sampled as many local speciality dishes as we could: horse ragu gnocchi, donkey bigoli, braised rabbit with polenta, etc. I recommend trying the local red Amarone wine – grapes are harvested and left to dry for 4 months, before fermented and aged in oak barrels. This results in a dry, rich, deep wine. Gorgeous!

Pizzeria Da Salvatore | In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug
In Fair Verona | Skillet & Shutterbug

It was fortuitous for us to visit during off-peak season. Verona is no less charming in February or March, but there are significantly fewer tourists. The folk were kind, helpful and had great senses of humour. It's easy to see why ol' Bill Shakespeare was so obsessed. You can bet we will be back!