One of my local restaurateurs has posted a question on FB, asking the community how enthusiastic they will be about going out to eat again once it’s permitted. Predictably varied responses were returned, with some declaring they will eat out like there’s no tomorrow and a discernible majority expressing caution about effective distancing arrangements or, tragically, admitting they’ll no longer be able to afford restaurants.
Obviously, the poor guy was trying to sense his chances re-opening his business and I despair for him, but can’t promise to support local businesses before I know for sure what the setup and practicalities will be like. Which obviously is a vicious circle: the restaurants won’t have much business unless proper restrictions are in place and those may mean they don’t get enough business to thrive.
For now, we keep on cooking at home and we’ve found it is not as scary as we’d thought. Shall we try something a bit fancy this week, a bit more restaurant-style just to cheer ourselves up? Why not – and I promise none of these are too challenging. Veal pojarski for instance, are basically meatballs but with fancy texture and fancier name. Ordinary sea bass fillets can shapeshift into a cool lemongrass salad with samphire (if you can get it… if not, maybe some late season asparagus tips?). And for want of an Italian trattoria experience, make scaloppine al vino bianco – with turkey steaks instead of veal for ease of supply.
Make pork gyros if you miss your local Greek, and bulgur wheat pilaf to go with it. If you’re bored of eternal chicken fillets, turn them into chicken rarebit – it’s seriously a restaurant-class dish if I say so myself. General Tso chicken will be better than your usual Chinese takeaway and ebi fry, deep fried breaded prawns, or miso haddock in case even Nobu struggles to reopen.
Your own summer fruit and oats breakfast bowls will be better than those from Pret, and I’ll eat my hat if these blueberry muffins won’t beat Starbucks’ by a mile. You can make a posh patisserie-standard cherry cream dacquoise or a matcha sponge with scented cream. You can find more ideas in my content pages and subscribe to the newsletter as I keep dishing out new recipes because that’s all we do now – cook and stay safe.