Covid restrictions have largely disappeared, but so has the dogma that one must go out to have a good time. Pre Christmas, the nation stayed in learning TikTok dances and watching box sets, while restaurants pivoted to deliver special meals to doorsteps.

This week, we’re sampling Norma’s veggie-laden offering, indulgent enough to tempt the most dedicated carnivore home for a TV dinner…

An ode to Moorish and Sicilian culture spread across three characterful floors, we’re longtime fans of Norma. Headed up by celebrated chef Ben Tish, you can count on a special meal in the Fitzrovia outpost – or let the meal come to you.

OK, sell it to me…

Norma Feasting Boxes combine the finest seasonal ingredients to create dazzlingly colourful dishes. Think free-range chicken spiced ceremonially at the table, followed by cannoli stuffed with roasted peaches and marsala dolce, then drizzled in orange flower water. Just like you usually whip up at home, right? 

Do they deliver everywhere?

Available for delivery across the UK, except the Scottish Highlands & Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Channel Isles or Isles of Scilly.

Deliveries are on Fridays, with orders taken until Tuesday 4pm. For delivery that week, orders placed Wednesday-Sunday will be delivered the following Friday.

So, what’s in the box?

The offering changes monthly, as the chefs have fun dreaming up new flavour combinations. We love this concept because it suits a small crowd (it’s almost impossible for two people to finish everything in one sitting – particularly if they’ve gorged themselves on crisps minutes previously. Oops). Add some extra breads and dips, and you’ve got amazing party bites for three or four.

Another point to note: vegetarians are well-suited, as most of the dishes are meat-free, leaving meat lovers to go wild on the likes of spiced lamb chops, unctuous meatballs or juicy steak – no bothersome sharing required.

Here’s an example of a box’s contents, for £125:

  • Two hunks of homemade focaccia, plus Nocellara olives
  • Spaghettini fritters and parmesan sauce
  • Smoked anchovies with pork fat toast
  • Fresh spacatelli pasta with ricotta and pistachio pesto (phwoar)
  • Grilled beef bavette, courgettes, mint, chilli and Gremolata
  • Summer frittella (light and airy fried pudding)
  • Watermelon, chicory and Pecorino salad
  • A cannoli kit (what fun!) with whipped Ricotta, candied fruits and pistachios
  • Almond biscuits – because you needed biscuits, after all that

Oh, and don’t forget a truly lovely bottle of plonk – this month it’s a Sicilian Costadune Frappato. Yum.

What will I need?

The usual kitchenware – some baking trays, a saucepan… and some booze to kick things off. We like to start the evening with a mean cocktail or two – try making Pisco sours with some properly authentic Barsol Pisco Quebranta.

You might want to make the box go further (or cater to the last-minute vegan invitee) by cooking up some veggies. Try Oddbox, the delivery service that sources wonky fruit direct from farmers to help save the planet by cutting food waste. Absolutely delicious fruit and veg, that would have been thrown away for being slightly misshapen or the ‘wrong’ size for supermarkets. Everyone wins!

No dinner party is complete without a cheese board drunkenly proffered circa 10pm. We love the Truly Great from Paxton & Whitfield, featuring five artisan British cheeses, hand-cut and hand-wrapped in wax paper by artisan cheesemongers.

Anything else I should know?

Your delivery box is accompanied by a cute little card with a QR code, which takes you to detailed cooking instructions for each dish.

Most plates are super simple – you serve the olives and focaccia cold (obvs), while a pasta might need heating through, or lamb chops just a few minutes of flash frying. The difficult elements of dinner parties have been removed, so you can truly kick back and relax. Buon appetito!

Buy a Norma Feasting Box now!

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