To make light of the current lockdown in SA (July 2021) I have written this blog on the food cooked and consumed during this lockdown. Because I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to do every time we get stuck at home, EAT, and enjoy every single mouthful.
WARNING: This is a random collection of things we ate based on what we like and what was lurking in the back of the cupboard/freezer/fridge and didn’t require a trip to the shops.
This list is not exhaustive, I knocked off all the additional snacks, cheeses, chocolate, biscuits, and random purchased food that was in the cupboard and got eaten. No better excuse than let’s clean out the cupboards during lockdown excuse.
Turns out we didn’t have any bread in the house, so Tanya started a “World’s easiest yeast bread recipe” dough that she left overnight in the fridge so there was fresh bread on the morning of day 2. It made amazing crusty bread that we ended up making again and again all week it was so good! Highlight recipe of the week for us!
Cheats Strawberry Mousse
I’m not tagging the recipe, it was disgusting. I don’t think that it really worked as the texture was weird and there was a layer of liquid on the bottom but either way it tasted FOUL. Forget about that effort and not the best start to day 1.
Baked fresh in the morning from the dough prepared the night before.
NOTES: recipe was a little dry so added a bit more water and after proving for the 2 hours stated we placed it in the fridge overnight for fresh bread in the morning. Tanya used our cast iron camping oven as that is what we had at home to use that was closest to the Dutch oven the recipe uses.
Winter Napolitana sauce
I prefer a sauce day at the end of summer when the fresh tomatoes are ripe and plentiful, but we didn’t manage to do it this year. As a second best we have used tinned tomatoes to make our sauce this time, so we have a quick and easy base for pasta and pizza. It makes quick dinners so easy mid week when you can just throw something together and you know it is healthy, natural (without preservatives) and delicious.
This makes about 12 litres – yes, we are very serious about the sauce. Tanya bottled half of it for the cupboard and portioned the other half into 700ml containers for our deep freezer.
6 large brown onions
2 heads garlic (yep, the whole head not just cloves)
2 cups olive oil
2 tablespoons dried basil
4 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
10kg tinned tomatoes – diced
- Finely dice the onion and the garlic (or use a garlic press), this can be done in a food processor by pulsing in batches if you don’t have Tanya’s knife skills.
- Add the onion, garlic, dried basil, and olive oil to a very large cold pot, turn to a low – medium heat and sweat off until tender (onion will look clear). This takes approximately 15 mins.
- Add the remaining ingredients
- Turn up the heat to get the ingredients hot and then turn down to a low “bubble”.
- Cook for approximately 1 hour until it thickens.
For dinner Tanya used a portion of the sauce, a packet of risoni pasta (that had been pushed around the cupboard for a few months), random veg from the crisper and some soft goats cheese that was stored in the freezer to make a pasta bake for our dinner.
I found a random tin of condensed milk in the back of the cupboard and then mixed it with uneaten Easter Eggs to make the topping (don’t tell the kids, they had forgotten about the rest of the eggs, and I just left them in the top of the cupboard).
Recipe alterations: After finding the tin of condensed milk I proceeded to boil it into caramel BEFORE finding and reading a recipe. So, I whisked together the filling ingredients until combined poured it over the base as per the recipe and halved the cooking time to set. It turned out delicious.
Boiling Sweetened Condensed Milk to Caramel
- Fill saucepan with cold water and add the tin, ensuring it covered with water (well covered)’
- Bring to the boil
- Reduce to a slow boil, and put the timer on for 2.5 hours
- Check regularly topping up with hot water from the kettle to ensure the tin is always covered.
- At 2.5 hour timer – turn off the heat and leave to cool.
I then used the tin the next day. If you don’t do it for the following day, boil for 3 hours to ensure it turns too caramel.
WARNING: If it boils dry the tin can explode, check it regularly.
Home Made Pizza
When you have the time, you may as well make the dough as well as the pizza. Our favourite recipe is from Stephanie Alexander’s, the Cook’s Companion but really any online recipe will get it close enough. Again, utilised the nap sauce on our bases.
The longer you prove the dough the tastier it is – we’ve done a three day and it is AMAZING! But reserved for dinner party antics rather than quick and easy pizza nights.
Tanya’s favourite dessert and we got to have it at home instead of a restaurant. Note: we used small latte glasses as we don’t have ramekins at our house!
Home-made bread again. Note that we hardly eat any bread usually, but a loaf of freshly baked bread didn’t last more than a day during lockdown.
I’m old school with the making of my popcorn. This is a recipe that works well in any standard saucepan and generally fills it to the brim with the amount.
- Fill the bottom of a saucepan with 0.5cm of vegetable oil (less flavour the better)
- Put over a medium heat
- Heat for 3 mins then add one corn kernel, when it pops the oil is ready to add the remaining popcorn
- Fill the bottom of the pan with a SINGLE LAYER of popping corn
- Put the lid on
- Every 30 seconds of vigorous popping shake the pot – drops the un-popped kernels to the heat at the bottom.
- When it slows to one or two pops every second
- Take it off the heat and put STRAIGHT INTO A BOWL, be quick as this stops it from burning
- I like salt and icing sugar – add to taste and mix it around.
- Stores well in an airtight container but we never have any left-over if I do a large saucepan for the family.
Do not use with shallow pots or pans as it will overflow.
Continued eating the crème caramel and the rest of the slice and popcorn.
Lemon Melting Moments
Again, one of Tanya’s favourites and we had a bowl of home-grown lemons sitting in the fridge from Tanya’s mum to flavour the icing in the middle. I’m not tagging the recipe as again it wasn’t that great; she had made passionfruit flavoured melting moments a few weeks prior that were much better. Can’t find that recipe though! ARGH!
Feeling like I’ve run out of steam here but with school starting back I needed to make something to add to the lunchbox’s.
So, I completely destroyed a crunchy muesli bar recipe I found online and turned it into this… it was delicious! It is became a very random mixture of ingredients that i found in the cupboard and thought could work together. The recipe I started with had no popcorn and was much more in line with “muesli”. So, feel free to do the same and not take the ingredients too seriously.
The only potential deal breaker with the recipe, is to ensure that you don’t outdo the dry to the wet ingredients ratio, else it wont hold together.
Side note, after making this recipe i realised that it is a good thing I hardly eat a muesli bar!
Crunchy “Muesli” Popcorn (what i found in the cupboard) Bar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup dried apricots – sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 cups popped popcorn (plain popped, prepared as per the recipe above but not seasoned)
125 gms butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
- Line and grease a lamington (or slice) tin 28cm x 14cm x 3cm deep.
- Toast the oats, coconut and sesame seeds on a baking tray in a hot oven (200C) for a few minutes (5) until golden (you can also do this in a dry pan).
- Mix the dry ingredients and crush the popcorn a little in your hands.
- In a small saucepan add the butter, honey and sugar. Bring to the boil while stirring continuously.
- Reduce to a low / medium heat with a constant bubble and cook without stirring for 15 mins. Check that the mixture hardens when dropped into cold water.
- Add to the dry ingredients and mix well
- Press into the greased tin using the back of a large spoon to compress the mixture well.
- Set aside to cool completely.
- Cut into desired sized slices.