Cooking & Finding Calm in Isolation

“Life itself is the proper binge.”

– Julia Child

Cooking is something I enjoy. I’m not artful at it, but I like to try to new recipes or to recreate childhood comforts.

In the three weeks that we’ve been in isolation, I’ve been cooking more.

It brings me calm to be in the kitchen silently chopping up vegetables, seasoning meat, seeing ingredients mix in the wok, or watching a stew thicken and bubble in the Instant Pot.

We’ve also been including T in making simple kid friendly recipes. He is a fussy eater and I’ve read that getting kids involved in making their meals provides an incentive for them to try it.

And it worked! He normally doesn’t like meat but we made pigs in the blanket and he ate not one, but two hotdogs!

Here are a few recipes I made in the last while. I’d love to hear about the recipes you suggest to get through this period of isolation.

Congee is an Asian style rice porridge. This chicken congee recipe was so easy to make on the Instant Pot and it was great. I enjoyed it with boy choy and kimchi on the side and some chili oil (very top image).

It wasn’t until about two years ago that I started to like Brussel sprouts after seeing a Laura Calder recipe on her French cooking show. Let’s be honest here, everything tastes better with bacon! Seasoned lightly with pepper and rosemary salt.

We’ve been even more mindful about using the ingredients that we have at home. Scavenging the fridge one day, I found red peppers, mushrooms, green onions and then some frozen cooked lobster meat our in laws gave us at Christmas. With a little bit of rice, two eggs and vegetable oil, I made lobster fried rice!

Hakka Kau Yuk – aka pork belly and taro – is a delicious and hearty comfort food. There are many easy-to-make recipes, like this one for the Instant Pot.

We’ve been making a lot of Instant Pot stews – beef, pork (above), chicken. Gonna try a turkey stew next with frozen turkey parts in our freezer. They’re so easy to make and so comforting during these uncertain times.

I made this Kare Kare dish – Filipino ox tail peanut stew – before this pandemic became very serious. It’s one of my favourite dishes growing up and this was my first time making it. I plan on making it again and making a few tweaks to the recipe that I used.

Fried eggs are one of my comfort foods. I like to have the edges be extra crispy and the yolk half hardened. For the portion above, I added drops of leftover butter chicken sauce. Gave it a nice Indian twist!

And the best part of cooking in isolation is finding ways to get T involved. He’s helped us bake cookies, make pigs in the blanket, and I introduced him recently to the sweet joy of homemade chocolate milk!

It’s nice seeing T help out and show enthusiasm and ability. I’m looking forward to seeing what else we’ll make together in the weeks to come.

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