Coronavirus has forced Britain into lockdown in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic to enable the NHS to cope with the sickest patients.
Everyone is being told to stay at home and only go out when they absolutely have to for essential items like food and medication and for exercise once a day.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants have been closed, along with schools and theatres.
Long queues have formed outside supermarkets with retailers struggling to keep shelves stocked with many of the goods we’ve all come to expect to be readily available.
And with people spending all their time at home, unable to go out to eat and often without many ingredients that used to be readily available, providing exciting and delicious meals is a challenge.
But Damian Adams, Head Chef at The Jockey Club’s Newmarket and Huntingdon Racecourses, has come up with five simple tips to ensure you can make the most of your lockdown meals.
He explained: “These are unprecedented times but there is one thing that will always be certain – we all need to eat.
“So, as we continue life in lockdown it’s important we start to get better at planning meals. This won’t just help save money, it’ll cut down on food waste, too.”
One of the key things, says the respected chef, is to make sure you only buy what you need – this will not only make meal planning easier but also help you cut down on waste.
Damian said: “There are some simple things we can do to control our food waste at home. For instance, just about any vegetable can be turned into soup, portioned up and then stashed away in your freezer for when you want it.”
And he said lockdown is the perfect time to spend longer cooking your meals than usual because you longer have a pesky commute to contend with.
Damian said: “When we’re flat out working it’s easy to see making meals as a bit of a chore. So, whether you’ve got more time on your hands or just using the part of the day you’d usually spend commuting, try to put a bit more love and time into your food. I promise you’ll reap the benefits.
“The biggest difference we can make is when planning out our meals in advance.”
Here are Damian’s five key points to help you make the most of what you’ve already got in your cupboards, fridges and freezers.
1. Check the weather in advance. Our meals, especially dinners, are often dictated by whether it’s warm or cold outside and that’s no different just because we’re staying at home.
2. Plan your meals out for the whole week. Make a list of what you and the family will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Just don’t forget to add in a few treats!
3. Write your shopping list from your meal plan. If you buy the ingredients accordingly you should be reducing or even (ideally) eradicating food waste.
4. Stay focused when shopping. We all know that it’s easy to get tempted – especially on an empty stomach – but make sure you stick to your list!
5. Remember that the internet is a great place to find food inspiration based on ingredients you’ve already got at home. And, even if you find a recipe you like but realise you don’t have all the items in the list, you can easily double up on another item you do have or add a similar vegetable like extra onions, potatoes, leeks or celery.