4 Simple Quarantine Recipes
During the Covid-19 pandemic we all found ways to occupy our time when the country went into nation-wide quarantine. Some decorated, some baked, some got new pets, and some turned to Bob Ross for artistic guidance. I myself, being a heavily pregnant lady recently past her nauseous phase, found baking to be my calling. So I decided to take my free time to figure out a few easy recipes that I could rely on later! So I’ve put together a short list with four of my favourite simple recipes i learned during quarantine, which should hopefully help you out now that things are returning to normal and we don’t have as much time on our hands.
1. Fresh Pasta
So I’ve wanted to know how to make fresh pasta for the longest time. It always looked easy, but I felt like it was a trick and would be far more difficult that the professionals let on. It turns out I was wrong, it really is as easy as it looks! The most difficult part is trying not to spill the egg out of the flour well (you’ll see). It’s not the end of the world if you do though, and at the very least, the first time it happened to me my panic gave my husband a good laugh.
For the pasta:
200g plain flour
2 medium eggs
1 tbsp salt for the water
Easy topping CHOICES:
Butter / butter & cheese / pesto
- Get a pan of water (combined with 1 tablespoon of salt) warming to a rolling boil whilst you work.
- Place the 200g of flour onto a clean surface and create a deep-sided well in the center. (Imagine you’re making a bowl out of flour to put your egg into)
- Crack the two eggs into the center of your flour well.
- Using a fork, gently whisk the egg, dragging flour into the center from the walls of the well as you do so.
- Once you have all of the egg and flower roughly mixed together, use your hands to knead the mixture into a flexible and stretchy dough.
- Roll the dough out as thinly as possible – if you have a pasta maker feel free to use it working from the widest setting down to the thickness you want. Alternatively it is possible to roll it out, but you may need a bit of elbow grease.
- Cut the pasta into your desired shape – I found that cutting it into 4cm x 2cm rectangles and pinching them in the center made a lovely bow shape.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Drain out the pasta and mix in your preferred topping to taste – I personally love a generous helping of butter to evenly coat all of the pasta and leave a little puddle in the bottom, alternatively, you could add some grated cheese with your butter or stir in a spoonful of pesto.
2. Lemon Drizzle Cake
I have always been absolutely sucker for lemon drizzle cake, or lemon anything for that matter! But I never know how to make it, so I was shocked when I realised just how easy it is. Easier than a Victoria sponge in my opinion, as there’s no having to cut the cake at an awkward angle, and no having to create fillings, or pipe designs on the top. I love this recipe and have used it more times than I care to say.
3 large eggs (or equivalent to 200g)
200g self-raising flour
2 teaspoon lemon extract
100ml lemon juice (or lime juice)
There are a couple of important points you need to know before starting – you want your eggs, flour, butter, and sugar to all weigh exactly the same. So weigh your eggs first, then copy that weight with the flour, butter and sugar. This is a worthwhile rule of thumb with cake making in general unless stated otherwise. Additionally, the best cakes are cooked on a low heat for a long time.
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 160°C (conventional) / 140°C (fan)
- Cream the butter and sugar together until they become light in colour.
- Add the eggs one at a time followed by 2 teaspoons of lemon extract.
- Add the flour bit by bit, mixing thoroughly as you go.
- Line a cake tin – smear a thin layer of butter around the tin, then sprinkle in a bit of flour and shake it around until the entire bottom and sides of the tin are lined with a flour.
- Pour in the mixture and bake for 40-45 minutes. – Use a knife to pierce the center and make sure it comes out clean before removing the cake. The top should also be quite flat without any extreme rising causing it to dome.
- While the cake is cooling, deeply pierce the top all over with a fork ready for the drizzle. This will help it to settle in properly.
- Combine 100ml lemon juice with 75g sugar – if this is tastes too tart, feel free to add more sugar until you are happy with the flavour.
- Use a spoon to scoop small amounts of the drizzle onto the cake, being sure to pour it evenly across the top.
- Leave the cake to cool completely before slicing.
3. Sausage Casserole (a perfect slow cooker recipe)
This is something I had made before, But I wanted to figure out the quickest and easiest way to put it together. I have put together a super simple recipe using mostly fresh ingredients, but it is worth noting that you can get casserole vegetables bagged and frozen from the supermarket. That makes it an even simpler recipe, and something that can be easily repeated, as the ingredients can all be frozen and bunged together in a stock pot or slow cooker when they’re needed.
1 pack of 6-8 pork sausages
1 tin new potatoes
3 medium carrots
1 medium broccoli
1/2 red onion
3-4 beef/chicken/veg stock cubes
CAN ALSO BE DONE WITH PRE-PACKED FROZEN CASSEROLE VEGETABLES.
- Melt stock cubes in the appropriate amount of water as advised on the packaging.
- Roughly chop the broccoli, red onion, carrots, and pepper – we’re not going for fancy here.
- Drain the new potatoes, and chop the larger ones into halves or thirds.
- Separate the sausages (optional: you can lightly brown them in a frying pan for a bit of extra flavour if you like)
- Put all ingredients into a stock put or slow cooker.
– For a slow cooker leave on high for 4 hours (or 7-9 hours on low), stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
– For a stock put, cook on a high heat with the lid on for an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a slice of buttered bread or on a roast potato.
4. No-Bake Key Lime Pie
Now this recipe and I go way back. Key lime pie has been the one recipe that I have never had to tweek or change, and with the ingredient list being so small it takes no time at all to whip up! The only thing to remember is that it will take a few hours to set, with it being a no-bake recipe – but it’s worth it. During quarantine there was a mad rush for the staple ingredients; flour, sugar, baking powder. All because baking had become the new national hobby. Fortunately key lime pie doesn’t use any of those ingredients, so you could make yourself a delicious treat, whilst avoiding the madness.
For the top:
Juice of 4 Limes (+ zest of 1)
300ml Double Cream
397g tin Condensed Milk (1 whole tin)
For the base:
150g Digestive Biscuits
optional: 25g Demerara Sugar
- Finely crush up the digestive biscuits (either with a rolling pin or in the blender).
- Optional: add the sugar for extra sweetness in the base – I personally choose not to.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, and stir the melted butter into the crushed digestives and mix thoroughly.
- Pat the butter/biscuit mixture into the bottom of the cake tin. Compress the mixture to create a firm biscuit base and the refrigerate.
- Mix the condensed milk with the double cream.
- Add the juice of 4 limes and stir thoroughly – you will notice it begin to thicken very quickly!
- You have a choice to either add the lime zest into the mixture at the point, or save it to decorate the pie at the end.
- Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and even it out.
- Leave in the refrigerator for minimum 3 hours to cool and set.
- Optional extra: you are welcome to decorate your key lime pie with piped whipped cream if you like.
And there you have it! Four super simple easy recipes to give yourself a little treat in what is rapidly become a busier work again. Quarantine was difficult on all of us, but one can only hope that we have come out of it more conscientious and compassionate, and have maybe picked up one or two new skills along the way.