After a snap poll of Standard Issue staffers, we came to the conclusion everyone has a signature dish they’re willing to brag about. Juliette Burton has gone slightly off piste (and might be getting quite pissed).
I Make the Best… Glass of wine with romantic ambience
Fuller dish description: A glass of wine, poured lovingly into a large wine glass, with candles, fairy lights and general romantic ambience.
Sometimes with added Cards Against Humanity as a side dish; usually added to the recipe when made for more than two ‘diners’.
When enjoyed alone, it is best consumed in pyjamas after a warm shower, with either a Bowie album playing or a favourite TV programme on in the background.
When did you first make it? I first properly made this when I lived in Edinburgh, in a flat with a living room which had no overhead lighting, so in the dark winter nights, the only lighting available was a plethora of candles and fairy lights stuffed into the fireplace. And of course, Edinburgh has excellent wine.
When did you realise it was the best? (and who has certified it as such?) I first realised I made the best glass of wine with romantic ambience late last year when life became increasingly stressful, and yet nights in alone would still be relaxing.
A year ago I moved from Edinburgh to near London and into a flat with a generously lit living room. And yet, come nightfall I still opt for cracking open a box of matches, grabbing that large glass (given to me as an 18th birthday present, just a few – ahem – years ago) and pouring a tension-easing tipple.
Even loved ones and friends who have joined me for a glass or two have commented on how relaxing my specific mix of ingredients can be.
How often do you make it? A few times every week, depending on stress levels and work schedule. It takes a great deal of care and cannot be made as an afterthought when you come home from a late night elsewhere. This dish needs dedication. One must really commit to the relaxation.
Have you ever tasted anyone else’s version of this, which had you worried? No. Never. Bars have better wine, but copious hustle and bustle. Friends may have decent wine and even throw this so-called ‘cooking’ malarkey into an evening. But no one has even come close to touching the level of relaxation I can master when it’s just me, my fluffy slippers and soft, flickering lighting.
Is this the only thing you make well? Having a history of eating disorders has slightly warped my experience of kitchen-based experiences.
For a few years I was obsessed with cooking every single day, while never eating anything I cooked or baked. When I cook actual food nowadays I keep things very simple.
I love making soups and pairing tapas and picnic style food. But even though I, like all of us, might be capable of creating something edible and tasty, for me that taste disappears and dissipates into sawdust in my mouth thanks to the stress of being around food in its preparation.
So, I may make other things well but my ‘Glass of Wine With Romantic Ambience’ is the, er, dish (are we going with that phrase? It’s less of a dish and more of a flute, particularly if one selects a bubbly wine) I enjoy the most because I’m stressed the least.
Large wine glass – if it has sentimental meaning, all the better. Use a champagne flute if bubbles are on the menu.
Tea lights. Plenty of tea lights. I recommend cheaper varieties; bulk buy. The joy of tea lights is that their beauty has nothing to do with their cost. A flickering flame is simple and stunning, whether it’s £10 for three essential oil-infused natural wax candles or a bulk buy of plain white Ikea own-brand.
Fairy lights – optional. Best enjoyed, I feel, in simple clear glass vases.
Flowers – optional
Cards Against Humanity – optional. Best enjoyed with friends.
Music – optional
Relaxing television viewing – optional. Can be anything from a pinch of Panorama, a smidgen of Strictly or a dash of Downton.
Wine – any wine. Any budget. Any colour. For those who are teetotal, good news! Just combine all the above ingredients with your preferred juice or mocktail; equally relaxing and possibly wiser given the naked flames.
Turn off your cooker, shelve the microwave, pop those utensils back in the drawer.
Switch off your overhead lights (if you have them). Select your preferred music option or TV channel.
Place your preferred choice of tea lights or candles around your dining area.
Safely strike your match and carefully light tea lights or candles. Children must be supervised by an adult and drunk adults must be supervised by less drunk adults.
Switch on fairy lights.
Sit down in your favourite comfy seat.
Slide feet into fluffy slippers.
NOW open bottle of wine. Pour into wine glass. This step can be repeated later.
Sip. Repeat until heart rate lowers and you feel as elegantly decadent as you truly are.
This dish can be enjoyed alongside any and all of the other dishes featured in Standard Issue’s I Make The Best series. In fact, I would recommend eating something with this dish; whether it’s a takeaway, tapas or toast.3429 Views
Juliette Burton is a docu-comedian, actor, writer, thinker, dreamer, doer and person. She has a history of mental health problems and loves The Muppets. These two things are in no way linked.