Well, 2021 didn’t exactly start how we planned, did it?
Due to government restrictions, we’ve sadly had to close the school again and postpone all our January courses and some of our February ones. (If you were due to attend one of our classes during this time, we’ll be in touch to arrange an alternative date for you!)
BUT — that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your foodie fix in the meantime. We’ve put together some of our top lockdown food tips to make it all a little bit more bearable and ensure you don’t go without.
- Get planning
Are you constantly trying to come up with exciting dinners on the spot? Or spending a fortune on frequent last-minute food shops? Then why not give weekly meal planning a go?
Set aside a day each week to sit down and set out your menu for the week ahead. And to help mix things up a bit, try coming up with themes for each day — such as ‘meat-free Mondays’, ‘quick-and-easy Tuesdays’ or ‘slow-cooking Sundays’ — that work around your weekly routine. Once you’ve got your menu sorted, it’s much easier to put together your shopping list, and it means you’ll only have to pop out to the shops or place your food order once a week.
Plus, it’s a great way to get the whole family involved. Schedule in some time each week for a fun cooking activity, such as baking or pasta making, with the kids. Or, depending on their age, why not let them choose a meal each week that they can try to cook?
- Put an end to food waste
If you often find yourself throwing away food, now is the time to break the habit. You’ll often find it lasts longer than you think! People also tend to throw leftovers away because they don’t know what to do with them. But there are tons of things you can do with leftover food.
Fruit can be turned into sweet crumbles, gloriously sticky marmalades, spiced chutneys or punchy cocktails (is anyone actually doing Dry Jan this year?!). Leftover veg — cuttings and all — can be transformed into sumptuous soups like this curried coconut and roasted root veg recipe from Capers at the Yard. And discarded cheese rinds add a great depth of flavour to silky sauces and comforting pasta dishes.
- Make the most of your freezer
Always tempted by those three-for-two deals in the meat and fish aisles but don’t think you’ll be able to eat it all? Chuck it in the freezer! Just be sure to divide up the food into portions you’re likely to need it in.
Vegetables are always great to have in the freezer, too. Frozen spinach is fantastic for popping into stews or curries, and you can never go wrong with a bag of peas. A few scoops of sofrito mix also make a good base for lots of recipes; create your own by chopping up equal quantities of raw carrot, celery and onion together and freeze.
You can even freeze batches of mashed potato (just make sure there’s plenty of butter in it), pasta sauces, soups and (grated) cheese. Most recipes also only call for half a bunch of herbs, so if you often find yourself throwing the other half away, try freezing them. Simply chop up your leftover herbs and pop them into an ice cube tray with water and freeze so that you can easily pop out an ice cube when you are in need of some herbs.
With a good selection of food in your freezer, you’ll always be able to throw a meal together.
- Take it away
Many of us are also missing dining out at our favourite restaurants. Luckily, we can still indulge in takeaways! As well as ordering from your usual establishments, why not set a goal of trying a new place each time you get a takeout? There are so many local independents offering excellent food and drinks at the moment.
If you’re based in Surrey and need that caffeine fix, KOJA by Surrey Hills Coffee is excellent. Waffles and Stuff also does great coffees and delicious, decadent waffles.
For those of you pining for the pub, Withies Inn in Compton is currently doing a takeaway service. What could be better than a Sunday roast with all the trimmings? A Sunday roast that you can eat in your PJs… without having to do any washing up.
You can never go wrong with an authentic stone-baked pizza, either — just ask Ye Olde Ship Inn! Vaporetto’s pizza truck also serves up delicious artisanal Neapolitan pizzas five days a week in various locations around Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire. So, there’s no need to wait for the weekend! And if you fancy a tipple (perhaps to celebrate a lockdown birthday), why not try Tattam’s home cocktail kits?
- Bring the restaurant to you
There are also lots of restaurants offering at-home meal kits so that you can recreate your favourite dishes at home. We’re telling you — Cin Cin’s five-course chef’s menu is a real treat if you’re after a restaurant-quality feast with simple instructions and minimal effort. An absolute must for those living in the Sussex area!
Or if you’re feeling brave, why not create your own fakeaway — like our beef Panang curry — from scratch? It’s much simpler than you think but packs a real punch when it comes to flavour. Plus, it’s much cheaper than a takeaway, and you can easily make enough for leftovers.
We’re always in a rush, but the past year has shown us all the benefits of a slower pace of life. So, take time over your food and enjoy every last morsel of it…
And make sure you tag us in all your cooks and bakes on Instagram and Facebook — we’d love to see what you’re getting up to in lockdown!