My social media has been blowing up with pictures of delicious dishes, pastries and ‘quarantinis’ which everyone has been whipping up in the kitchen since being forced into self-quarantine as many countries have been encouraging or even forcing upon their citizens in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. There are many reasons for this I’ve theorized. Our favourite restaurants are closed, and those which are still open are only taking orders for takeout or delivery with restricted opening hours. People often cite lack of time as an excuse for why we dine out or purchase fast food, and well– many of us now have lots of extra time on our hands.
Cooking is a pretty rewarding hobby to engage in and doubles as the ultimate stress-reliever. Huff Post does a good job of explaining why here. In fact, a common pastry I’ve been seeing from the stress-bakers is banana bread. Don’t tell me you haven’t been seeing a lot of Instagram users posting pictures of freshly baked banana bread on their feeds or stories. Why banana bread and not apple pie or chocolate cake? Here’s another article explaining that too, because I’ve certainly not been the only person noticing this new trend.
Have you been cooking more since coronavirus?
As an essential worker, I still have to go to work almost every day of the week but not even my kitchen has been spared. My work days are lighter as a stroke of luck due to the indefinite cancellation of elective operations and most clinics in a bid to reduce foot traffic since I work at one of the transfer centres for confirmed coronavirus cases in Jamaica. Thankfully, things are still quiet here too even though our isolation ward is full. Anyway, a lighter workload due the scaling-down operations, fewer accidents etc. means I get home earlier most afternoons. Also, very few places are delivering food to where I work because they’re either closed or just not coming to the hospital for fear of getting exposed to the virus. More free time and fewer lunch options is all the motivation I needed to start cooking more! I mean, I love cooking anyway but somehow or the other I didn’t end up making food as often as I’d like. I thought I’d share some other aspects of my life since I’m not having travel adventures any time soon, so with that said, here’s what I’ve been up to in my kitchen since coronavirus.
1) Lasagna. I think I’ve now perfected my lasagna; I’ve even substituted ground beef for chicken once. Next stop: vegan lasagna perhaps?
2) I’ve found the perfect rub for corn on the cob. Melted butter with chopped parsley, rosemary, paprika and cayenne pepper.
3) Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. I love making traditional recipes healthier so I substituted heavy cream for Greek yoghurt, and I also had a lovely time taking pictures of this dish. Never mind that I had to use a Dutch oven as a second mixing bowl.
4) Tuna pasta salad. Have to find a way to incorporate all the tin food from my quarantine stash.
5) BBQ stew pork with rice.
6) Stew peas and rice. This is a Jamaican dish made with kidney beans, usually pig’s tail or salted beef but can be made meatless like mine was, coconut milk and lots of spices. However, I don’t own a pressure cooker and after soaking overnight then boiling my beans, they were soft but not extra soft the way the dish calls for. Still totally delicious, but I’ll refrain from sharing any pictures of my outcome. Ha! I guess I should buy a pressure cooker.
7) A 90-second cinnamon roll. Yes, you read that right. One night I felt for a sweet treat and decided to sift through those recipe videos for easy-to-make microwaveable treats with 3 or 4 ingredients you likely already have in the cupboard. I stumbled across this video from Buzzfeed Tasty, and here’s my outcome. Never mind that I had no baking powder and had to make do with baking soda, but the outcome was still so sooo satisfying.
8) Salted caramel brownies. Brownie mix counts, right?
9) Chocolate chip mug cake. My boyfriend saw how much fun I had making the cinnamon roll and got me a mug cake-mix. The outcome was delicious– never mind my poor frosting skills.
There you have it. What should I cook in the next coming weeks? I’m thinking of butter chicken (well, with coconut milk instead of heavy cream) and basmati rice, curry shrimp, curry chickpeas with tortillas (ideally would’ve wanted roti but I already have tortillas in my refrigerator) and to experiment with baking a pastry or even bread from scratch. I’ll have to go grocery shopping again to make the latter possible because I have no baking powder, yeast and the like in my pantry. We’ll see.
Let me know in the comments if coronavirus has you cooking more frequently too.
Read next: Protecting your mental health during coronavirus.
‘Til next time. ✌🏽