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This week's seasonal recommendation

 

What to cook this week?

Sat, 21 March, 2020

What worrying times! Nobody knows how and when the pandemic will end but we have to have faith in our services and lawmakers whether we approve of them or not. But we need to be aware they are all, all over the world, simply firefighting: this had not happened before and we have no precedent to draw lessons from. The wars, the Spanish Flu, financial crises – all either of different times or with different fallout.

This is where I stop trying to be clever and talk about what I know – cooking. We all need to cook now. Anxiety cooking, boredom cooking, isolation cooking – we need structure when times are bad and cooking gives you structure: a list of ingredients and instructions step by step. Plus we can’t go out and cooking at home is the safest now by far.

Baking could be your thing now even if it never was; and baking bread is the most therapeutic activity I can think of in the current situation. If you’re new to it, start with no knead bread or the cheat’s sourdough; if you can find granary flour, bake the easy Malthouse loaf.

Biscuits next – get the children baking; there are only benefits of that, nutrition at the back burner at the moment. Snickerdoodles are an easy classic, Breton biscuits could be a new discovery and the oatmeal raisin cookies make you feel they’re good for you too.

If you want to treat yourself and your family, you could try your hand at breakfast baking: braided chocolate bread for example, or sourdough honey buns if you’re a dab hand at sourdough starters (if you’re not, here are several start-from-scratch recipes for sourdough).

And pantry cooking - what we have in our store cupboards obviously varies so much that it’s impossible to label a bunch of recipes thus but here’s my twopence of it. Pasta with crispy capers and breadcrumbs or mac leek n cheese might catch your fancy; there are rice dishes too in my archives: Persian baked rice or the dried mushroom risotto. And if you want to throw meat in, there’s chicken rice pilaf.

Cook, bake and stay safe.

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