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Dishes you never had time for before

Sat, 18 April, 2020

You know what’s a totally brilliant idea? We all should bake a Battenberg cake this week. A glorious, cheerful, bold and crass Battenberg, with as lurid pink and yellow squares as what food colouring we can muster (or beg or steal). Battenberg which is so dearly old fashioned it’s a National Treasure. Battenberg that was (almost) the colours of rainbow before unicorns invaded Instagram.

And it’s much easier to make than it looks, no special moulds are needed but a square cake or brownie tin. And you build it from sponge squares like Lego blocks – guess who’s going to enjoy helping? And if you shy from making marzipan from scratch but get hold of the wonderfully sickly ready-rolled fondant icing, you can wrap your Battenberg in that. Nobody will take exception.

That will be our bit of cheer, but what about dinners and lunches? Well, I have another idea: all those dishes that you’ve always promised yourself to make at home from scratch but there never was enough time? So now there is, and you can make a tray of moussaka – swapping lamb and beef for pork if that’s what you have in the fridge. Or make a whole king size bed of lasagne, with spinach and ricotta perhaps?

You can cook ragù Bolognese and freeze portions for normal times. Or braise a big joint of gammon for homemade ham sandwiches. Try your hand, finally, at risotto, asparagus or mushroom depending on what arrived in the recent Tesco delivery. Make chilli con carne and have it with nachos, or perhaps a parmigiana: aubergine, cauliflower or pork. Bake a batch of scones and I dare you to clot your own cream!

This is also the best time to see what the fuss is about homemade granola or brioche, or vanilla ice cream churned at home. The weather here in the UK says you definitely should do the latter.

Stay safe and keep cooking!