Have you found yourself cooking (and baking) a lot more during lockdown? I know I have! My oven has never been used so much – and neither has my sink. I swear our tiny sink is now always full of pots, pans and cutlery…
In some ways it’s been really freeing: with access to my oven in the mornings and in my lunch breaks, I’ve had more time to experiment with different recipes. I’ve also been trying to cut down on the amount of food waste, meaning I’ve had to get a little creative (and a lot more organised).
Seeing as my home life is revolving around food so much right now, I thought I would seek inspiration from my favourite bloggers. I asked them what their go-to recipes are at the moment and they delivered in the form of easy lunches, comforting evening meals and tasty desserts. Let’s kick off with a sweet treat from the queen of substitutions herself…
Super Easy Vanilla No-Bake Cheesecake – Roma from Roaming Required
- Preheat the oven to 170C
- Blend the biscuits in a food processor until fine then add the butter and blitz until the mixture looks like wet sand
(Don’t have a food processor? Me neither. Throw the biscuits into a ziplock bag and pound it with a rolling pin – or similarly heavy object – until sand-like. Add to a bowl and mix in the soft butter until you get the wet sand look)
- Press the biscuit/butter mixture firmly into the bottom of a tin no larger than 20cm in diameter. Bake for 10 mins.
If you haven’t got a tin that size, use a muffin tin and make mini cheesecakes. For ease, use cupcake cases/liners and press the biscuit mix to the bottom. Bake cautiously for 6 mins or until brown.
- Remove bases from oven, embrace GBBO and set your biscuit base like this or simply set aside to cool
- In a bowl, stir the soft cheese and the caster sugar to mix, then gently add the double cream, continuing to stir until combined.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture in the tin(s) on top of a cool biscuit base, and smooth with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
- Leave to set in the fridge. The longer the better, minimum 3 hours or better overnight.
- Serve with fresh berries, or top with a piquant coulis.
Fish fingers, brown rice and beans – Keri from Ladies What Travel
Fish fingers, ‘brown rice’ and beans might sound like an odd grouping of foods but stay with me – this meal is super tasty and filling (it’s carb-tastic!). This is one of my comfort meals, and actually originated as a school dinner. I loved it so much my mum asked the dinner lady for the recipe!
‘Brown’ rice isn’t actually made with brown rice – it gets its name from the colour it turns when cooked. You can use either long grain or basmati rice and instead of plain old water simply cook it – either on the hob, or like me, using a rice cooker – with a tablespoon (or more!) of Marmite, a couple of beef oxo cubes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. It’s super yummy and tastes great mixed with Heinz baked beans and some fish fingers.
Tangy Beef Tacos – Sophie from Sophie’s Suitcase
My ultimate go-to cuisine during lockdown has been Mexican. It’s easy, it’s fun and super tasty! Here is my recipe for tangy beef tacos…
- 12 corn taco shells
- 250 ml beef stock
- 500 g quality minced beef
- 1 onion
- 1 red or green pepper
- olive oil
- dash of lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 pinch of paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 ripe avocados
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 1/2 lime
- 1/2 lemon
- Half an onion
- Peel and dice the onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms.
- Then add to pan with oil over a low heat.
- Add the paprika and cumin, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the beef and stir until cooked.
- Pour in the stock, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until reduced
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC
- For the guacamole, halve and destone the avocados, then mash the flesh with a fork and add in all the gauc ingredients
- You now need to lightly crisp the taco shells, spread the taco shells out on a baking tray and place in the oven for 3 mins.
- Fill the shells with the meat and guacamole or lay it all out buffet style!
- Drizzle an additional lemon over the top of everything for that fresh feeling!
Halloumi salad – Sophie from Luggage Tags and Ticket Stubs
I turned veggie almost a year ago now and still struggle with finding something interesting to eat for lunch.
But now that I’m working from home, I’ve been making fresh halloumi salads. They’re delicious and perfect to make during the lunch hour. Some people find salads a bit boring and not filling but I add some couscous to mine which keeps me going until dinner.
First, I prepare the couscous – usually I just use a packet mix from the supermarket as it’s cheaper. Then I cut up some lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and put it in a bowl. Next I add some beetroot and the couscous. And then I fry about three slices of halloumi in a pan until it’s golden on both sides. Add the couscous to the bowl and the halloumi and then you are ready to go! Sometimes if I’m feeling flashy I’ll add some olives.
I find the ingredients for this dish tend to go a long way which makes it good value for money – plus it’s delicious! The perfect lockdown treat!
And a few recipes from me…
I’m going to win zero prizes for originality here, but during lockdown I’ve jumped on the overnight oats bandwagon (inspired by Roma from Roaming Required).
What I love about overnight oats is the fact that there aren’t really any rules. As long as you’ve got some rolled oats, you’re good to go. I’ve only tried a few variations of recipes so far, including:
- Half a cup of oats, half a cup of oat milk, 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 3/4 tbsp of chia seeds. Topped with fruit (banana/blueberries/strawberries) in the morning.
- Half a cup of oats, half a cup of oat milk, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a tablespoon of honey. Topped with blueberries and strawberries in the morning.
There are plenty of other recipes on Google, so I’m planning to make my way through as many as I can with easy (and cheap) ingredients.
Vegan panang tofu curry
Recipe: Running on Real Food
I saw my friend make this the other week on her Instagram Stories and quickly shot her a message to ask for the recipe. This one’s by Deryn at Running on Real Food (which has a whole variety of delicious plant-based recipes!). You can find her vegan panang tofu curry recipe here.
Usually a recipe with more than 5 ingredients terrifies me, but what I like about this recipe is the fact it uses a lot of fridge/cupboard staples. None of those random spices that you may use for one recipe and then never again! This makes it a lot more economical than it might look at first glance.
I love this recipe so much – I’d go so far to say that it’s probably the best curry I’ve ever made. It’s also the first time I’ve been able to use tofu at home and make it taste vaguely flavoursome!
Cream roasted swede soup
Recipe: BBC Food
I have a confession to make: before lockdown, I’d never even attempted to make soup before. Never. However, all that changed when I panic-bought a root vegetable pack from Sainsbury’s, complete with a random swede.
OK, I have a second confession to make: I didn’t even know what a swede looked like. But thankfully the people of Instagram were quick to let me know…
I set out to find an easy swede recipe that didn’t involve too many other ingredients and ended up settling on this cream roasted swede soup recipe from BBC Food. Just like the tofu curry, it uses a lot of fridge and cupboard favourites, which means I can use up my vegetables easily.
Spoiler: this is one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted. Even my boyfriend loved it! I ended up making a second larger batch (doubling all the ingredients) and it kept us both going for a few days.