Cooking in Quarantine - Q&A with Leiths Store Manager, Nick

/ Categories Tricks of the trade, Cooking conundrums, Behind the scenes / Author:

Cooking in Quarantine - Q&A with Leiths Store Manager, Nick

This morning we hosted an interactive Q&A session with our Store Manager, Nick, with the aim of helping our audience with their cooking in quarantine queries. Our followers sent in an extensive list of interesting questions which we're sure many of you would like to see answered too. So here's a summary of what we learned today, and rest assured we have plenty more advice and inspiration to come.

1. Which store cupboard essentials could you not live without?

Tinned tomatoes, flour, sugar and dried yeast.

2. What's your go-to store cupboard supper?

It would have to be Spaghetti Aglio e Olio; garlic, chilli flakes, olive oil and some herbs if you have them. It's very simple, but so tasty.

3. What is a fun new thing to spend time learning how to cook furing quarantine?

Bread is a great thing to learn as you can do so much with it once you have mastered the basics - you can experiment with different variations. Pasta can be really fun too. We are working towards creating virtual pasta and bread-making tutorials... stay tuned.

4. What store cupboard ingredients can help me bring together/spruce up my dishes?

Capers, anchovies, dried mushrooms, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, dried spices and herbs.

5. Top five most versatile herbs to keep in?

Mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley and basil.

6. Can you make homemade pasta without a pasta machine? And what's your favourite pasta sauce?

Yes - you just need a little elbow grease, a rolling pin and a sharp knife. My favourite sauce is pesto because you can use almost anything to make it; seeds, nuts, vegetables and herbs. For a quick pasta dish finish, just add a drizzle of oil, sprinkle of salt, pepper, chilli flakes, a squeeze of lemon and some parmesan/parsley if you have it.

7. I don't have much cooking equipment at home, what easy dishes can I make?

Pasta dishes, savoury pancakes, traybakes in the oven, frittatas. These can all be delicious, wholesome dishes and you don't require lots of equipment to make them - just your basic kitchen staples.

8. What basic kitchen tool could help me get more our of my supplies?

A hand blender - it's very versatile, easy to handle and and can be used to to make soups, pestos, sauces, etc.

9. What are your favourite baking recipes?

Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, confetti cake traybake, lemon squares. All so simple and tasty!

10. What could I make for breakfast without using lots of milk/eggs?

Use up leftover fruit and veg in a breakfast smoothie, and you can use oats or any cereal to bulk it out and give you energy for the day. Wraps are also a good way to use up leftovers for brunch, as you can fill them with whatever you have and use yoghurt as an easy sauce.

11. What fresh veg is ok to freeze?

Onions and herbs freeze very well (herbs can discolour slightly). For other vegetables, I would recommend blanching and refreshing them before freezing.

12. I have lots of leeks... what can I do with them other than make soup?

A creamy leek and vegetable bake with a herb, garlic and breadcrumb topping. One of my favourite comfort dishes.

13. I have an open jar of anchovies which I need to use up soon. Ideas?

Salsa verde is brilliant as it helps use up any spare herbs too. Or you could make a puttanesca pasta sauce, portion it into tupperware containers and freeze for later.

14. Best flavour alternatives for baking with the supermarket shortages?

For me, ground almonds are a good alternative, but it does depend on what you're making. You can self-grind other nuts too. They are a great substitute for sweet recipes, but not so much for savoury dishes.

We will be hosting a weekly Q&A through our Instagram stories so follow us @leithscooking and continue to throw your cooking queries and conundrums our way! We're here to help.


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