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Our 10 most popular recipes since lockdown began

Our 10 most popular recipes since lockdown began

by Great British Chefs 07 May 2020

Being confined to our homes has meant a huge surge in the number of people baking, cooking and learning new culinary skills – here’s what you’ve been creating in the kitchen since social distancing became the norm.

What do you do when a nationwide lockdown is announced and you suddenly find yourself spending far more time at home than you’re used to? Turns out that for millions of you, the kitchen becomes a sanctuary. Cooking is therapeutic and rewarding, providing an activity that also rewards us with something (hopefully) delicious to eat at the end of it. And while a midweek dinner might have meant rushing something together after the commute back from the office in the past, we now have the time to bake, preserve and slow-cook our way to happiness at home.

Since lockdown started on 23 March, the most popular recipes on Great British Chefs have shifted slightly. Dishes designed to serve at dinner parties or when entertaining have been usurped by simple yet rewarding bakes, restaurant-quality comfort food that’s easy to recreate at home and lunchtime favourites with a special twist. The ten recipes below have become our most visited in the past weeks, proving that simple yet effective cookery is in high demand. Try one of them today and see what all the fuss is about.

Sourdough starter

Who knew jars full of beige, bubbling gloop could prove so popular during a time of national crisis? The one recipe that’s surpassed all others is for making a sourdough starter at home, unlocking a whole world of breads, brioches, crumpets and crackers with that signature sour tang – provided you can get hold of some flour and remember to feed it regularly, of course. Being cooped up means we all have a little more time to care and monitor our starters’ progress, and while the first few attempts at using it might result in dense pancakes rather than bouncy, light, Instagram-worthy loaves, there are few things more satisfying than that first successful bake.

Wild garlic pesto

We’re still able to take a daily walk outside our homes, and if you’re near woodlands or forest, it looks like a lot of you are snapping up one of the best ingredients to forage in the British countryside – wild garlic. These fragrant leaves grow in abundance during the beginning of spring, and while there are countless ways to cook with them, a simple pesto is one of the best ways to preserve and enjoy their flavour. Best of all, it prolongs the life of the leaves, so even though the season is coming to an end, you can enjoy wild garlic in your pasta or spooned over your meat and vegetables for a few weeks more (see also: wild garlic butter).

White bread

Sourdough isn’t for everyone – after all, it takes a week of nurturing the starter before you can even bake your first loaf. Perhaps that’s why a lot of you are turning to good old white bread for a more immediate bread fix (even if dried yeast is like gold dust at the moment). This recipe is simple to follow and results in a beautiful, crusty loaf that’s perfect for both sandwiches and toast. It’s also easy to add in flavourings such as rosemary or sun-dried tomatoes, and will fill your house with a gorgeous aroma as it bakes.

Custard tart

Comfort food is high up on the agenda at the moment, and there are few things more comforting than a rich, unctuous custard tart, dusted with a generous coating of grated nutmeg. In Marcus Wareing's famous recipe for the British classic, the pastry is flavoured with a zing of lemon zest and the custard filling is just the right level of firmness – solid, but with a light wobble. Save the leftover egg whites to make meringues (which can be stored in the freezer) or marshmallows – always a guaranteed hit with the family.

Chicken bhuna

Eating out is off limits, and while we all can’t wait to return to the restaurants we miss dearly, it looks like a lot of you are taking matters into your own hands. Peter Joseph’s recipe for chicken bhuna is simple and ready in an hour, resulting in a richly flavoured chicken curry that, along with a side of rice, provides a crowd-pleasing dinner with a minimum of fuss.

Welsh cakes

The perfect little treat to have with a cup of tea, Welsh cakes are always best enjoyed fresh off the griddle – it's lucky, then, that they’re easy to make at home. Follow Scott Davies’ recipe for the simple dough and in forty-five minutes you’ll have a plate of Welsh Cakes that’ll prove an instant hit.

Coffee and walnut cake

Baking a cake doesn’t just reward you with something delicious to eat – it’s also incredibly therapeutic and a fantastic activity to get the kids involved with. Our most popular is this coffee and walnut cake, with the classic flavour combination bolstered by a rich buttercream. Easy to bake and very, very rewarding.

Potato dauphinoise

There are dozens (maybe even hundreds) of ways to cook a potato, but the one method that constantly rises to the top is dauphinoise. Sure, it takes a little longer to prepare than roasting or mashing, but the result – a beautiful rectangle of pressed potato slices gently baked in garlic and nutmeg-infused cream – is a slice of heaven. It’s seriously impressive, allows you to flex your culinary muscles and brings a little bit of restaurant magic to your own dining table.

Sweet chilli sauce

While it's readily available to buy in the shops, the popularity of this recipe shows that many of you are going one step further at home and making sweet chilli sauce from scratch. The flavour is far better than anything you'll find in the supermarket, and the recipe requires little more than placing all the ingredients in a pan, bringing them to the boil and then leaving to cool. It also allows you to get creative – add more chillies for extra heat, or incorporate additional flavourings such as coriander or Sichuan peppercorns, depending on what you’re serving it with.

The perfect egg mayo sandwich

If you’re anything like us, then working from home has radically changed lunchtimes – for the better. While we might have usually grabbed something from the shop or microwaved the remnants of last night’s dinner, being at home gives us the time to recapture the lunch break, with delicious results. An egg mayo sandwich might seem simple at first glance, but taking the time to make the mayonnaise from scratch, boil the eggs and assemble everything with care will knock any pre-packaged pretender out of the park.

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