“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf
With food being central to our lockdown lives, we thought we’d lighten the load by answering your top 10 questions about food. Enjoy and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram in your culinary delights.
How to cook pancakes
- 100g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 300ml milk
- 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil (or butter if you prefer), plus a little extra for frying
Instructions (makes 6):
- Put the plain flour, eggs, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp of oil into a bowl or large jug and mix together.
- Slowly add the milk and and whisk to a smooth batter.
- Set aside to rest for 20 minutes if you have time or start cooking straight away.
- Set a medium sized frying pan over a medium heat and carefully wipe it with some oiled or buttered kitchen paper.
- When hot, cook your pancakes for approximately 1 minute on each side until golden, using a spatula to carefully flip the pancake over.
- Keep them warm in a low oven until you are ready to serve and garnish with your choice of toppings.
How to cook rice
- Rinse the rice thoroughly by placing it in a sieve and running under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Using the ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts water, bring the water to boil in a saucepan and add the rice (150ml or 2 cups of water for a 75g serving of rice), adding a pinch of salt if you like. Stir well to make sure the rice is evenly distributed in the pan.
- Put a lid on the saucepan and turn down the hob to a low heat, so that it’s gently simmering. If you cook the rice on too high heat, it will cook too quickly and may end up chalky in the middle
- Cook the rice for a minimum of 12 minutes, keeping the lid on to keep in the steam. After 12 minutes check the rice is cooked by trying a grain, and keep cooking for another couple of minutes if it isn’t ready.
- When ready, fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
How to cook asparagus
Asparagus is a versatile vegetable and can be cooked in a number of different ways, depending on how you are planning to incorporate them into your meals. Before cooking, make sure you trim off the woody end of the asparagus with a knife, or snap the ends off where they naturally break.
Blanched: Tie the asparagus in little bundles or drop them individually into a pan of boiling water, cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears.
Sautéed: Add olive oil to a large griddle pan or frying pan on a medium head and once hot, add the asparagus spears. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning the spears often so they don’t burn.
Roasted: Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (gas mark 7), line a tray with foil or baking paper and lay the asparagus on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season if desired and roast for 10 minutes until they are tender.
How to cook quinoa
- Rinse the quinoa in cold water for around 30 seconds to remove any bitterness and drain well
- Using the ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, combine both in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to boil
- Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water
- Remove from the heat, cover and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the quinoa with a fork and season as desired
How to bake a cake
There are lots of different cake recipes out there, depending on the style, occasion and taste you are looking for. Below is a recipe for an easy sponge cake, where you can choose your own filling.
- 225g softened butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225 self-raising flour
- Splash of milk
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Options for filling could include: jam, lightly whipped cream or buttercream.
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (gas mark 4) and butter and line the base of two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes pale and fluffy, then crack the eggs in one at a time and whisk into the mixture.
- Sieve the flour into the mixture and stir in the vanilla extract, milk and a pinch of salt, mixing until completely combined.
- Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. To check whether the cakes are baked, insert a skewer into the middle of each cake mixture – if it comes out clean then the cake is ready to come out of the oven.
- After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the cakes from their tins and place them on a wire rack to cool. When they are no longer warm, place one cake on top of the other, with your choice of filling in between, and lightly dust with icing sugar to finish.
How to scramble eggs
- Lightly whisk 2 large eggs and 6 tbsp of milk together, adding salt and pepper as desired, until it blends together as one.
- Heat a little butter or oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. When hot, pour in the egg mixture.
- Let the egg mixture sit for around 20 seconds without stirring. Once the mixture looks like it is starting to set, stir gently with a wooden spoon, lifting and folding it over from the bottom of the pan.
- Let it sit for another 10 seconds and then continue to fold the eggs, until no visible liquid egg remains.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
How to make iced coffee
With a blender
- Brew 200ml of strong black coffee and set aside until it is completely cold.
- Pour the coffee into the blender, adding 50ml milk along with 2 or 3 handfuls of ice cubes. If you would like your iced coffee a bit sweeter, add some sugar or any flavourings to the blender.
- Blend for around 8 to 10 seconds, or until smooth and foamy.
- Pour into a chilled glass and enjoy.
Without a blender (patience is required)
- Brew 200ml of strong black coffee and set aside until cool. If you want to add any sweeteners or flavourings, add them at this stage.
- Once cooled, transfer the coffee into a glass container and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Pour the coffee into a chilled glass, add a few ice cubes and the desired amount of milk and stir well.
How to make homemade pizza
Ingredients (makes 2 pizzas):
- 300g strong bread flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast (from a sachet or a tub)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100ml passata
- 1 garlic clove
- 125g mozzarella cheese (grated or sliced)
- Toppings of your choice
- Make the base: Mix together the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the olive oil and 200ml warm water, mixing together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, fairly wet dough. Lightly flour the kitchen surface, place the dough on top and knead for 5 minutes until the dough feels smooth. Set the dough aside until you are ready to roll it out.
- Make the tomato sauce: Add a splash of olive oil to a hot pan and fry the chopped or minced garlic for one minute. Then add the passata and simmer until the sauce thickens a little. If you have oregano, add a little to the sauce. Leave to cool.
- Roll out the dough: Split the dough into two equal pieces and, on a floured surface, roll out the dough into large circles (about 25cm across), using a rolling pin. When the bases are thin enough, place them on lightly floured baking sheets.
- Finish off and bake: Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (gas mark 8). Smooth the tomato sauce over the bases, making it even with the back of a spoon. Scatter with the mozzarella and add any remaining toppings to the bases. Bake the pizzas for 8 – 10 minutes or until crisp.
How to make icing
Buttercream icing (ideal for cake fillings, and cupcake decorations. Enough to fill one medium sized cake): Beat 140g butter in a large bowl until soft. Gradually add 180g icing sugar, beating until smooth and adding any flavour variation you would like. Our favourites are some cocoa powder or orange zest.
Glacé icing (ideal for fairy cakes, biscuits and cookies): Sift icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add warm water, until the icing becomes think enough to coat the back of the spoon. If necessary, adjust the consistency by adding more water or more icing sugar.
How to make a mojito
- 60ml white rum
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp fine sugar
- Small handful of mint leaves
- Dash of soda water
- Crushed ice
- In a small glass or jug, muddle (grind together) the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves. You can use the back of a spoon or a rolling pin for this.
- Pour the mixture into a glass and add in the ice, which should fill around 2/3 of the glass.
- Pour over the rum, stirring with a long-handled spoon if you have one and top up with soda water. Add a sprig of mint and serve.