Well, here we are. Hunkered down in our houses, trying to work, or wrangle kids, or both, or figuring out how we’re going to get any Children’s Nurofen, or if our parents will be ok, or how safe are we when we head out to work, or how are we going to get our families to like beans all of a sudden, or how we’ll feed our children who have allergies, or how we’ll pay our bills now that our businesses are going under, or how our immunocompromised friends will stay safe, or that we have to go work a double shift in the ICU, or how our elderly neighbours will fare, or how to teach grade 6 maths to kids who’d rather watch TikTok, or will there be any milk when we actually do get to the shops, or quieting squabbling siblings, or any number of cares weighing on us at the moment, above and beyond the cares we were already labouring under.
These truly are frightening times and I worry about us all. Not to mention the long term impacts this will have on everybody for years to come. We all had nightmares here last night and that’s from a family who are healthy, safe, level-headed, and will more than likely get through this crisis relatively unscathed. My stomach is in constant knots thinking of the struggles the people of the world are facing, all while being lighthearted and calm for the children’s sake.
The thing that is getting me through is the thing that always gets me through: home and hearth. This is where we are together as a family, where life goes on, where good food is made, music is always on, and cosiness is paramount. I take my position as chief nest-featherer very seriously and it certainly helps to feel in control of the things I can control, and keep our family traditions going. We all need them right now.
I’ve never been more grateful that I can bake a loaf of bread, can a tomato harvest, knit a blanket, and make a meal out of nothing. These sorts of things suddenly seem more important than anything.
With that, here are my favourite things. I hope they become your favourites too. I cannot overstate the importance of your home smelling like something delicious from the oven when the world outside has gone to shit.
My number one piece of advice to you in breadmaking is get yourself some bread improver, if you can find it. I stubbornly avoided it for years, but honestly it’s the only way you’ll make that soft white bread you grew up on in any kind of hurry.
Plain white bread (recipe is for garlic bread, but bake it without the garlic butter and in a bread tin, if you have one. Otherwise go rustic in a big slab on a tray!)
Traditional brown soda bread (swap wholemeal for white flour to make regular soda bread or damper, excellent for when you can’t get yeast)
Southern buttermilk biscuits (good for when you only have self-raising flour, or if your loaves keep failing and you need a break – it will happen!)
Crumpets (this has just reminded me I’ve never blogged the English muffin recipe – stay tuned)
Wraps/flatbreads: Mix one cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 150ml of water together in a bowl. Leave to rest for about 20 minutes. Then divide into 12, roll out flat as you can, and dry-fry in a hot pan until brown on each side.
Sweet baking basics
Vegan pancakes (helpful for when you can’t get your hands on eggs!)
Vegan French toast (ditto!)
Raspberry jam cake (can sub jam with whatever tinned fruit you have on hand, or frozen/fresh)
Biscuits, Crackers, Slices and Muffins
Puddings and Desserts
Peach cobbler (excellent with any kind of tinned fruit you have, really)
Storecupboard Staple Meals
Risotto – pumpkin and fennel – goat cheese and tomato – mushroom – pumpkin and pea – millet risotto – substitute literally any veggie you have on hand – its a good way of eating the ones you don’t particularly like, and may even save a canned veg situation that’s not that palatable on its own or in another dish. Desperate times!
Pasta – find all my favourites here.
Beans – spicy black beans, vegetarian ‘fish’ cakes using cannellini beans, white chocolate blondie bars using white beans, smoky baked barbecue beans, homemade refried beans, black bean and corn salsa, pumpkin and cannelini bean salad, Disney World bean chili, black bean quesadillas, spicy black bean quinoa bowls –Mexican bean dip.
lentils – chipotle lentil tacos – lasagne – balsamic lentil bolognese – Vegetarian Meatloaf – lentil curry – spiced lentil soup – Sprouted Lentil Salad with Lemon and Feta – Sprouted Lentil and Roasted Beetroot Salad with Goat Cheese – crock-pot kitchari – sweet potato and red lentil bisque – vegetarian shepherds pie – other goodies in this post.
Quinoa – Miso roast pumpkin and quinoa bowl – quinoa and raw veggie salad with green goddess dressing – quinoa, goat cheese and antipasto salad – quinoa “meatballs” – veggie quinoa bites – lemon quinoa salad with herbs and feta – carrot and avocado quinoa bites – quinoa fritters – roasted veggie quinoa burgers – roast vegetable and quinoa salad – quinoa tabbouli.
Cheesy Veggie Soup – fabulous if you’re having to use frozen or canned
Stocks and Sauces
Other posts that might be useful
The Coronavirus Homeschool Diary: Day One – things to do
Go well out there. May the force be with you x