So it’s another lockdown. What better time to try out all those foodie projects you’ve been putting off? Not to mention that it’s a great way to keep calm and take your mind off things!
2020 was all about the sourdough and the banana bread, but we reckon 2021 is the time to get a bit more creative in the kitchen. We reached out to our community over on Twitter to see what you lot had to say about it. Let’s make this year more exciting without even leaving the house! Here are some of your top lockdown cooking projects to try.
1. Jams, Chutneys + Curds
There’s nothing more wholesome and rewarding than making your own preserves. Lots of you commented that you want to try it out this year, whether it’s jam, chutney or lemon curd! Try it with anything from strawberries to apples to rhubarb, depending on what you can get your hands on – but remember, good jam comes from good fruit, so pick something that’s in season if you can. A cheap sugar thermometer is also a great shout for perfecting your jam. And if you do happen to have some of that sourdough lying around, jam makes an excellent spread!
Check out our top jam recipes in the A.M. Menu Cookbook!
Die-hard pizza fan? Skip the takeaway and try making your own dough using a simple combo of flour, yeast, water, salt and olive oil. Then mix up your toppings once you’ve nailed the dough – sun-dried tomato, caramelised onions and goat’s cheese are tasty options for veggies, while meat-eaters can experiment with ham, chorizo or trendy ‘nduja!
Try our Saus Pizza recipe from the CBA2 Cookbook for ultimate fakeaway vibes!
If you were into the sourdough craze, why not apply your fermenting skills to a new lockdown project? @MazzyJ has been busy making fermented fruits and veggies using Chinese cabbage and nectarines, but there are plenty more options if that doesn’t tickle your pickle (pun intended). There’s kimchi, kombucha, kefir… Or try our fermented hot sauce for something that doesn’t begin with the letter ‘k’! The deep, tangy flavour is second to none.
Grab the recipe for Fermented Hot Sauce from the How We Cook Cookbook!
Dumplings have a reputation for being tricky, but they don’t have to be! Not to mention that there are so many different types to try out – from Japanese gyoza to Polish pierogi, there’s bound to be something you like. @makeitwithme is going for pot stickers this year! A few top tips? If you’re scared, buy dumpling wrappers from your local Asian store. A teaspoon of cornflour in the filling will absorb excess moisture and make them a little more ‘silken’. And make sure you get yourself a good dipping sauce – we like chilli oil for ours. Because let’s face it, what could be more comforting than… dough?
Give our Wonton Mee a go! Recipe from the Bucket List Cookbook.
Egg custard tarts are rumoured to be the next big thing for 2021. These sweet Portugese tarts make a great lockdown cooking project – just make sure you keep your oven low and cook ‘em nice and slow for guaranteed success. If you’re not a fan of custard, keep things fresh with fruit tartlets instead like S_Kearney16. Pastry skills not up to scratch? Hack it with pre-made pastry and go to town on those toppings instead!
Check out our recipe for these Fresh + Fruity Tartlets in the Desserts in Duvets Cookbook.
@TheGeoffLinton wants to perfect his arancini teckers this year, and we are so on board – the Sicilian deep-fried rice balls are pretty much the stuff of dreams. Make a risotto and double the recipe so you can use the leftovers for your arancini the next day. Then get creative with your fillings! Try beetroot, sun-dried tomato or even get some leftover bolognese in there. Just make sure you load ‘em up with mozzarella too.
Nothing beats a classic, and there’s no denying that a batch of hot homemade cookies is great for the soul during a lockdown! @briannab_baker is hoping to perfect her choc chip cookies, while @brown_curl plans to try out a variety of different ones to use up leftover flour from Christmas! Make a batch and freeze the rest for later on… if you can resist.
Level up your cookies with our Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookies! Recipe from You Are Sorted.
8. Grow Your Own
Spending more time at home means more time to spend tending to your garden – or a community garden, like @michhanaford. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of using your own homegrown products in your meals! Chillies, herbs and cress are a great place to get going, and you can even grow ’em indoors if you don’t have a garden. Want to go big? A bay tree is ideal. They’re perfect on a balcony or inside all year round, and fresh bay leaves will add incredible depth to your food.
9. Try Something New
Don’t know about you, but travel is one of the things we’re missing the most right now. Though we may not be going anywhere just yet, there are always places to explore from your own kitchen! Lockdown is the perfect time to start experimenting with different flavours and different cuisines – we love @Libbsy_Liberty’s idea of cooking a meal from a different country each month. Fancy trying something new? Make sure you check out our Meal Packs app for loads more recipes that’ll help get you cooking up exciting new meals.
Want more foodie inspiration?