I think I’d vaguely imagine writing a blog post about now about some batch cooking I’d been doing. But as cooking has now become a major feature of our lives (that and gardening, and attempting to WFH with LO around) I thought I’d carry on with the intended post. How are you all doing? We seem to have thoroughly settled into life under lockdown. We haven’t actually left the house at all since Wednesday (or was it Tuesday?), as we’ve got the garden to play in so don’t always need to go further to exercise. We’ve now been at home for 3.5 weeks, although it doesn’t feel like that long as it’s gone incredibly quickly.
We’ve been lucky as far as food is concerned. We already had meat and veg box deliveries from Abel and Cole, and these have continued. They seem to have dealt with the crisis very well, with excellent communication, and have simplified their range of veg boxes to make them quicker and easier to pack under social distancing rules. I must admit that we’re looking out for how responsible companies have been both with their customers and staff and this will be informing choices we make about where to buy in the future. We’re now receiving a large fruit and veg box each week (this is now the highlight of the week!), as well as a meat box with three fish/meat items in. I’m planning meals around the contents of these (under normal circumstances they allow subs to be made on the veg box, but understandably not at the moment) and it’s quite exciting seeing what turns up. We’ve also rejoined the milkman delivery, as we were struggling to get hold of enough milk (we get through about 20 pints a week) and are now also getting deliveries from him on behalf of some elderly neighbours.
Although in many ways I have less time than usual, I do have more flexible time at home than normal, so making something that takes a while or has various steps is now an option. I’d never normally bother making a lasagne, for instance, but decided it would be a good way of using some mushrooms and onions from the box, along with the beef mince that arrived. So one night I made the bolognaise sauce, and the following night turned it into lasagne. Apparently it was very tasty (I don’t eat meat but the two resident meat eaters liked it!) so I’ll be making that one again.
I’ve been through the cupboard and the freezer to find anything out of date or needing to be used up. This packet of couscous predates LO and I have no idea why I bought it originally, but it tasted OK made up and then used to stuff peppers that arrived in the veg box with some cheese sprinkled on top.
I found some puff pastry in the freezer. It wasn’t out of date and I’d remembered it was there, but it seemed sensible to get it used up to make room in the freezer for bread and for batch cooking. There were two blocks in the pack, so I still have one to go. I used about a third of a block to make a stuffed veggie thing for me – this is random leftover cooked vegetables and some cheese wrapped in puff pastry (very tasty), and the other two thirds to make pesto salmon en croute (recipe from the Organised Mum blog) as we’d had some salmon turn up in the meat/fish box.
Some stuff I’d bought pre-lockdown for a different lifestyle, so it needed using up. This included a pack of fresh pasta ravioli, which would have been a speedy meal for OH and I on a work night. We no longer have those as LO is present at every meal (I know we could eat after she’s gone to bed but I am not cooking any more meals than I absolutely have to!) and the pack wasn’t big enough for three, so I roasted a butternut squash and some courgette (thanks veg box!), added some extra pasta and cheese and split it three ways. I’m beginning to think the answer to many problems is to sprinkle cheese on top? Also, if you’re going to roast veg, roast a huge pile of it and bung anything you don’t need that day in the fridge as it makes the next day or two much easier.
I also emptied the freezer of the last frozen fruit from last year’s harvest – so we had a lovely gooseberry crumble. By the next week we had fresh rhubarb ready to be picked in the garden, so LO picked a kg of it and we had a lovely crumble and custard for our Saturday night pudding – treat night pudding!
How are you finding cooking (and getting hold of food) in the current circumstances?