A blog about disappointing date nights, cooking with leftovers, a cheap and easy recipe – and a few good news stories from around the world.
Love in a lockdown
On Saturday evening I suggested to Mr Maven that we have a Date Night, which is what couples with kids have to organise for a few precious hours of privacy. This wouldn’t be our usual Date Night – a restaurant meal, a couple of cocktails and maybe a film. We’re not allowed out and nothing’s open anyway. I didn’t have huge demands, just conversation with a glass of wine in the garden after dinner, rather than disappearing into separate rooms to watch different Netflix series, which is how we’re currently living.
It didn’t go to plan. The kids joined us for a while, then Mr Maven’s hayfever flared up and he just wanted to rest. Above all, we didn’t have anything to talk about.
That’s the problem with lockdown days: they’re boring and repetitive. The most exciting thing that’s happened here in the last week is that I used my pressure cooker to make risotto for the first time. Hardly riveting conversation fodder.
Chats with friends and family focus on the challenge of grocery shopping without coming into contact with the virus. Online shopping slots are rarer than loo roll. With all of us being housebound 24/7 we’re getting through so much food. I’m struggling to make mealtimes healthy and appealing to everyone, every single day. Particularly at the end of the week when we’re running out of fresh vegetables.
I know we’re lucky. We can afford to feed the family and live in an area with several supermarkets. But we all have to watch our wallets at the moment. I’m self-employed and due to the way my business is set up (it’s a partnership), I don’t qualify for government support.
In desperation at the weekend, I took the last of the vegetables out of the fridge – a sad collection – and made an experimental soup. It was quick and easy to make and tasted surprisingly good. Turns out you can polish a turd.
Here’s the recipe for Lazy Roasted Vegetable Soup:
- 4 red onions – peeled and quartered
- 1 red pepper – chopped into chunks
- 1 orange pepper – chopped into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves – peeled
- 1 small sweet potato – peeled and chopped into thick chip shapes
- Tablespoon olive oil
- Teaspoon smoked paprika
- Generous pinch of salt and pepper
- Teaspoon marjoram
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- A handful of coriander leaves
Preheat oven at 180 degrees centigrade. Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the stock, in a deep baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally. The vegetables should be charred around the edges.
Simmer the vegetables with the vegetable stock in a saucepan for 15 minutes on low heat. Remove from the heat, add a handful of coriander leaves and blend. I use a hand blender.
Serve with a crusty baguette or garlic bread.
I can share the risotto recipe next time if you’re interested in more simple, cheap recipes. Let me know.
Good news from around the world
Over 400,000 people have recovered from coronavirus across the world, according to John Hopkins University.
Indians can see the Himalayas from 100 miles away, for the first time in decades, as the lockdown eases air pollution.
Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a medical practitioner to help out throughout the coronavirus crisis.
A 99-year-old army veteran who has joined the fundraising fight against COVID-19 has raised over £500,000, by walking 100 laps of his garden.
Let me know what you want to read about over the next few weeks. Please stay home, stay safe and stay positive.
Much love, Vx