One of the themes of lockdown has surely been the importance of a good meal. With most entertainment venues closed for the foreseeable, the emphasis on creating joy through food has become all-consuming.
During lockdown, which one of these Instagram and TikTok trends have you tried?
Dalgona coffee – the South Korean coffee treat that was everywhere when coffee shops shut their doors. Mix two tablespoons of instant coffee granules and two tablespoons of sugar and start whipping until you get a thick whipped cream-like mixture, which you can add to cold or hot milk. It will only really work if you use an electric whisk despite what the internet tells you.
Pancake Cereal – using the hashtag #pancakecereal, bowls and bowls of miniature pancakes slathered in various types of syrups have been popping up across all social media platforms.
Banana bread – it’s not the chicest of recipes but it certainly kick-started the cooking trend of lockdown. Fairly straightforward and doesn’t seem too indulgent if you want something sweet, it was hard to escape a banana bread post.
Sourdough starter – get this right and you are truly winning at lockdown. From a sourdough starter you can make bread, bagels, pizza dough, pancakes, waffles, cookies, muffins, crumpets and many more. A few days of feeding, kneading, resting and proofing will give you the starter that you need.
Focaccia art – we’ve reached a level of new boredom on lockdown and now people are turning their focaccia bread into beautiful artistic creations and sharing their bakes on social media.
Learn to cook
It’s all very well longing for lovely food but if you are not used to cooking, you may need a little help. During a health crisis, it is also important to fuel yourself with good food which is where sisters Lauretta and Sharon Gavin step in. Cook Along in Lockdown has been created as a spin-off from The Detox Barn, voted one of the best wellness retreats in the UK by The Evening Standard. The sisters host small, interactive classes on Zoom to teach you how to cook a healthy vegan meal every Monday. All the recipes are plant-based, nutritious and focus on boosting your immune system. As well a cooking your evening meal, you will pick up lots of healthy tips and nutritional facts. Check out their Instagram @thedetoxbarn or email to book your spot on email@example.com. Classes are just £5.
Cronut creator Dominique Ansel has been called the ‘world’s best pastry chef.’ He’s launched a series of masterclasses online where he teaches his techniques to create perfect pastries. The 17-lesson course covers a range of both sweet and savoury treats, beginning with Madeleines and fruit tarts, going onto chocolate cakes, bonbons, croissants, and finally delving into the famous cronut. More information and prices: https://tinyurl.com/ydgoybgf
A taste of China
Chinatown London is one of the best places to spend a late night in London, soaking up the sights, smells and tastes of some of the most sumptuous Asian dishes. Whether it’s the weekly dose of laksa at Cafe C&R or that sumptuously tender Monga Fried Chicken, many Londoners are feeling the lockdown loss of the area. Helping to recreate some of the experience is the hashtag #BringingChinatownHome, challenging you to recreate some of your favourite Asian dishes at home. To help you along, there are cook-alongs with chefs and notable foodie influencers on Instagram with past recipes including Chinese dumplings, followed by Plum Valley’s sea spiced aubergine, and TPT’s chicken and salted fish fried rice. @chinatownlondon
Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. Fill your home with delicious aromas with London-based bakery Bread Ahead, who is hosting a series of live bakes every day. From delicious sugary doughnuts to soft no-knead sourdough, check out the website and gather the listed ingredients and get baking. The bakery has also launched a number of online courses on their website, including gluten-free baking, Scandinavian baking and doughnut-making. For more info: www.breadahead.com/live-bake
Virtual supper clubs
If you are missing the fun and companionship of having friends or family over for dinner, do the next best thing and host a virtual supper club. Put some thought into your table setting and make sure there’s plenty of light so people can clearly see you and what you have prepared. Make sure your laptop is positioned in a good place for filming, without interfering with the actual cooking. If separate households are cooking the same thing, don’t choose hard to find ingredients and give plenty of replacement options so people can use what’s in their cupboards. A virtual brunch with friends can all be prepped the night before if you create overnight oats with fruit and a smoothie.
How to shop for food
- Make a list
- Plan out a weekly menu
- Don’t go when you are hungry
- Clear out your larder and replace essentials
- Buy frozen fruit and vegetables as staples
- Keep junk food or impulse buys to a minimum
- Buy ingredients for one new meal idea a week
- Keep a notebook in the kitchen to list what you are low of
- Start a food diary to note waste and where you could improve your diet