This pandemic is getting in the way of lots of things we used to take for granted, whether it’s attending sporting events, having a pint in your local or eating great things in restaurants (to name just a few!), but it’s inspiring to see some of the ingenious ways we have adapted during lock-down.
Video conferencing has enabled us to meet our friends for virtual parties, exercise with celebrities, watch movies that would normally still be on at the cinema and even take a virtual ride on a roller-coaster (if that floats your boat!).
Cooking has also become a big thing. It’s always been a decent spectator sport as fans of Masterchef, Great British Menu, et al will testify too, but we’re now seeing the rise of the home cook and that’s just fine with us.
This has undoubtedly been helped by some of the world’s best chefs live streaming from their own kitchens, opening a whole new world to those who may have tasted the food made by these Michelin-laden geniuses, but would not normally be privy to how the magic comes together in the kitchen.
But it’s the fact that these chefs are keeping it simple that will hopefully mean that people who have caught the cooking bug will continue with it when lock-down is over.
After all, it’s all well and good a three Michelin starred chef showing how he makes his 100-course tasting menu (ok we exaggerate, it’s 50!) but the chances of even most trained chefs being able to replicate this are slim, never mind being damn expensive.
No, it’s because highly renowned chefs like Tom Aikens, Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing are sharing recipes for people to cook easily at home.
One of our current favourites is Massimo Bottura, he of the three-starred Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena, Italy. He turned his home kitchen into a live cooking studio for a show he calls Kitchen Quarantine.
Every night, with the help of his son, daughter and wife, Massimo whips up easy recipes for the home cook like Thai green curry, salad and boiled meat, and tortellini in cream.
Cynically, you could argue chefs like Massimo are understanding just how crucial it is to remain at the forefront of people’s minds, so when we can eat in restaurants again, their own establishments will be the first we’ll choose, but so what if this is the case! We’ve never been so close to these food Gods and we should enjoy it while we can – just please make sure you continue cooking once this is all over!!
As it’s Cinco De Mayo on 5th May (obviously!), all our recipes during the month will be Mexican themed and actually as home cooking goes, Mexican is definitely one of the easiest foods to make, so we’ll start you off with something relatively simple.
Tacos al Pastor (pork tacos)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 4 red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 medium pineapple, peeled and sliced into small chunks
- 1 red onion, sliced
- Warm, soft corn tortillas,
- Lime wedges
- Salt and pepper
- Make the marinade for the pork by cooking the garlic in the oil for a minute, then add the herbs, spices and chillies for a few minutes more.
- Add the pineapple juice and vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and transfer the mixture to a blender to puree until smooth. Use the marinade to coat the pork, cover and leave in the fridge for at least a few hours, but longer if possible.
- Preheat a grill pan and bush the pineapple and onion with oil. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and softened.
- Grill the pork over a high heat until just cooked through. Transfer to the carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Mix the pork with the onion and pineapple. Season, then serve with the corn tortillas, chopped coriander and lime wedges.