Wednesday 1 April 2020

Keep Calm and Cook from Scratch

How our lives and perspective have changed in the past few weeks, as Covid-19 continues to barrel around the globe. Everything has been turned upside down. Suddenly we realise how vulnerable we are, day to day life as we know it can no longer be taken for granted. For many, the realisation of how deskilled we have allowed ourselves to become is a wake-up call - we take for granted that others will provide for our basic needs.

Limiting our social interaction and staying at home can be boring for sure but is probably the surest way to delay and beat this virus and speed up the journey to ‘normal life’ again. Meanwhile, let’s just use this time to catch up on lots of projects that we haven’t been able to reach in our busy lives. 

As far as possible self-isolate at home, you might want to binge watch all those films and TV shows or cook some of those new dishes you’ve been wanting to try… Let’s not fight the containment measures, there is no point in whinging. Let’s just keep calm, stay safe, follow the advice from reputable sources and avoid public places, especially crowded indoor venues.

When one finds oneself in voluntary isolation, who will fix the heating, a burst pipe, the washing machine or dryer, the cooker…?

Many of us are no longer ‘handy’, here’s where DIY skills really come in to their own. If you haven’t already put contingency plans into operation, time for a Plan B and where better than the kitchen.

A slow cooker is a brilliant bit of equipment. A separate electric or gas hob depending on what you already have is another fantastic standby at any time, even during power cuts or breakdowns.

Don’t forget the barbeque, another fantastically versatile bit of equipment that will see you through. I can turn out irresistible pizzas and flat breads on my covered barbeque as well as succulent roasts and grills.

In the current situation, those who can’t cook are feeling extra vulnerable. If Deliveroo stops delivering and the ready meals are scarce or unavailable, what then?

It’s back to basic ingredients and what to do. If you haven’t already done so, stock up your cupboard or larder with nourishing wholesome non-perishable ingredients (see suggested list).

Basic Store Cupboard:

· Porridge

· Potatoes, onions, garlic

· White and brown flour

· Rice

· Tinned tomatoes

· Bread soda

· Eggs

· Salt and freshly ground pepper

· Olive oil / butter

· Honey

· Cannellini beans

· Chickpeas

· Haricot beans

· Tuna

· Salami, chorizo

· Cheddar cheese. ..

Next find a cook book with clearly written basic recipes.

And if you haven’t already got it, buy some basic kitchen kit to make the task easier and more enjoyable.

· A chopping board
· 1 or 2 sharp knives
· 1 loaf tin (12.5cm (5in) x 20cm (8in)
· 1-3 saucepans with lids
· 1 heavy frying pan and egg slice
· A large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon
· 1 slow cooker and or a casserole
· 1 swiss roll tin or roasting tin