Whilst not wishing to make light of this incredibly serious situation we find ourselves in, there may just be some positives to take from this lockdown.

Staying at home, I haven’t had this much unpunctuated time with my family, time in which we share our fearful emotions and learn to live, laugh, cry and, of course, cook together. This forced time together will, I’m sure, make us even stronger as a family unit – we faced this together.

Cooking Together

Of course we cook together, teaching my son simple dishes that will stay with him into his university days and making cookery fun and educational for my daughter with daily home economics classes.  Who would have thought!

We shop, we plan a whole series of meals – one which relies on another.  For example, a roast chicken will then deliver a fine chicken stock that will give us a delicious ramen, the roasted legs a perfect lunch of chicken Caesar salad – cooking like this, with planning days ahead, is wonderful and how cookery should be.

We have a brisket (beef belly) in the freezer that is destined to be poached for several hours to provide a dish called bollito misto, an Italian pot au feu with large format vegetables and vibrant salsa verde.  The stock will become the base of a spring minestrone of quick cooked green vegetables with Fregola pasta and toasted nuts. The leftover brisket (of which there will be lots) will be get roasted low and slow, marinated in a sticky glaze to become a crispy beef Thai style salad as well as a pulled beef barbeque lunch. The options are endless and I love cooking like this, it feels so real.

We’ve also been making our own bread and this recipe for soda bread is one of our favourites.

Lockdown opportunities

The days are full of opportunity to conquer lots of those jobs we all put off forever punctuated with three meals a day for my three guests in a restaurant that never closes and the guests never leave.

There is, of course, the opportunity to self-learn, take pleasure in acts of kindness and connect as often as we really should with those that matter most.

I wish not to waste this time, I am assuming this won’t come around again anytime soon and want to walk away, get back to my real kitchen in my real job and look back and know that I came out of this fitter and stronger, closer to my family and with those bloody fence panels painted!

Here is a little list of the suppliers I am trying to support who have switched to home deliveries – you may find useful:

I A Harris – fruit and veg
Lake District Farmers – meat
Unchartered Wines – wine
Moxons Fishmongers – wet fish