From My Quarantine Kitchen to Yours

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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4) Tuna pasta salad. Have to find a way to incorporate all the tin food from my quarantine stash.

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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.

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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.

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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.

β€˜Til next time. ✌🏽


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Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. Also a budget travel blog, Adventures from Elle is written by Rochelle Knight, a junior doctor who began this blog as a student & wants to see the world, starting with her own country. She frequents off-the-beaten-path waterfalls, beaches and places with interesting history. Join her in Jamaica!

25 thoughts on “From My Quarantine Kitchen to Yours

  1. Hi Chelle, You continue to inspire me and now with your cooking/baking skills!? Oh my. Everything looks so delicious and I’m very proud of your diversification. You have joined the ranks of millions who have turned to the kitchen as comfort in this epic time we are living, and there’s nothing wrong with that because my two girls (9 & 10) have been doing the same thing but not very often. Although Easter has passed, they would like for us to make Easter bun so we’ll venture in to the kitchen this weekend and give it a go. We tried this once before and it turned out rather yummy. Thanks again for sharing…as you say, ’til next time.

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    1. Thank you! The kitchen is certainly a comforting place, and making something to eat then enjoying it is very rewarding. Making Easter bun from scratch sounds like fun! I never considered making my own until this year when a friend of mine from Montserrat shared online how her mother had started her own tradition of baking bun every year from a recipe in a cookbook she bought after completing her degree at UWI in Jamaica and returning home, which became a family tradition for at least some 20 years. She bakes out of necessity since they don’t sell Jamaican Easter bun in Montserrat and she really loves it, but still, it can’t hurt to give a recipe a try even with bun available on store shelves. I plan to bake my own next time around rather than purchase any, and in fact, I want to bake my own Christmas cake this year too (something I’ve never done before as I don’t really come from a baking household but I’d love to change that!). Thanks for stopping by. Do keep safe, and remember to keep writing. πŸ™‚

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  2. Banana bread is a staple with us. My wife has to use up bananas before they get too ripe and there are always lots of bananas (I even like typing the word bananas!). Love the post but maybe a salad or three. Too much pasta and sweets, especially for a forced sedentary lifestyle πŸ˜‰ I think we miss eating with others as much as the variety of tastes. Good recipes – thanks.

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    1. I’m still getting my 8,000‐10,000 steps per day with work, and I try to do home workouts, but you’re right. I should restock my fruits and veggies. Those long finished because I haven’t been to the grocery in weeks. The reason behind your wife baking banana bread is lovely too. Next time I have overripe bananas I’ll look into doing the same. πŸ™‚

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  3. Girl Yes, I love it πŸ™‚ I always make Banana bread but I love to add some chocolate chips to it, not too much just about 1/4 cup for 1 loaf. I also have been making some of those Buzz Feed Tasty Recipes, my friend sent me this awesome one for chicken three ways, so easy πŸ™‚ But that 90 second cinnamon roll, I have to try. Thanks for sharing

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    1. I used to watch Buzzfeed occasionally just for fun and not actually make anything, but since making my first recipe, I’m sort of hooked. Especially given that I don’t have much choice but to cook now if I want to eat lol. Thanks for reading & commenting dear. Maybe you could write a post on what you’ve been up to in your kitchen too. πŸ€—πŸ˜‹

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  4. It’s like everyone is cooking because that’s the only option. I’m glad this is happening because now people will realise their potential and how delicious home cook meals can be. These dishes looks tasty, i would like a fed ex of the lasagna hahaha

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  5. The cinnamon roll intrigues me. I’m willing to try a microwave desert. I already have a go-to decedent chocolate mug cake recipe from a different website. Might as well add a cinnamon roll to the mix.

    I’m surprised that Dalonga [whipped] coffee wasn’t on your list. It’s seriously divine! β˜•οΈπŸ’•

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    1. Dalonga coffee really should have made the list! It’s really beautiful so I can imagine it tastes divine, however my single attempt at making it took so much arm strength and patience that I’m ashamed to say I gave up halfway and just had regular degular coffee instead. πŸ™ˆ Perhaps I should try again or wait until I have a handmixer.

      I hope you try and enjoy the cinammon roll. It was great. Thanks so much for reading & sharing too by the way! Stay safe and have a wonderful day. πŸ™‚

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    2. Trying to whisk Dalgona coffee by hand sounds like a nightmare. πŸ™ˆ No no no…. definitely get an electric mixer! 🐡 You can get the fluffiest peaks with an electric mixer with minimal effort. It will take about 10 minutes of your time using the highest speed but it’s totally worth it. β˜•οΈπŸ’•

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