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R​eady steady comfort food: tasty, nutritious recipes to cook at home

F​ive top chefs share simple, easy to cook meal ideas from a variety of worldwide cuisines that you can make from kitchen staples. No pasta needed.

1y ago
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S​upermarket shelves are bare (thanks for nothing, hoarders!), but that doesn't mean we can't cook-up quick, tasty and nutritious meals while in isolation at home.

We are having to go outside our comfort zones to feed ourselves or our families, as shops struggle to stock up on staples including pasta, chicken and eggs. That's why we drafted in five incredible chefs to give you some simple and varied alternatives.

Taking a little bit of inspiration from Ready Steady Cook, which relaunched for 2020 earlier this month with Rylan Clark-Neal presenting, we asked each chef to share a recipe that consists of no more than five main ingredients you might find at the back of your kitchen cupboard or in your fridge.

Not only is each dish tasty and simple to make, but each rates highly in the comfort food stakes. Take Grace Regan, founder of vegan curry house Spice Box in Walthamstow, London who has revealed her recipe for One Pot Dhal. She stresses in this time of crisis, nutritious homecooked food is "very important".

Grace, who has had to adapt to the impacts of the Coronavirus overnight by switching her business to online delivery only says, "Eating a variety of different plant-based food is so important for gut health which helps your immune system.

"This is really quick and easy to make. It can be made using very simple ingredients you'll probably have at home and it is SUPER nutritious!"

If you love what you taste (you definitely will) find more delish recipes from Grace on her Spice Box YouTube channel. Don't forget to let us know in the comments below if you've tried out any of these recipes. And as always we'd love to see pics of the final dish. Enjoy!

G​race Regan, founder of Spice Box

O​ne pot Dhal

A simple and super tasty vegan-friendly dhal. All you need is an onion, red lentils, garlic, tomato, green chilli.

Prep time5min
Cook time10min
Total time15min
Serves4
CuisineI​ndian vegan
MealDinner

Ingredients

  • 2​ tbsp veg oil
  • 2​ tsp cumin seeds
  • G​reen chilli
  • 2​ garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1​/2 white onion, sliced
  • 2​00g red split lentils, rinsed
  • 1​/2 tsp salt
  • 6​00ml boiling water
  • 1​/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2​ large tomatoes, diced

Instructions

  1. R​inse the lentils in cold water
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, green chilli and garlic and fry until golden
  3. Add the onion and salt
  4. Add the lentils and water, followed by the turmeric and the diced tomatoes
  5. Boil for 10-15 mins, until the lentils are soft but still have some shape. Taste for seasoning
  6. Tip to serve: garnish with coriander and pickled pink onions

Recipe by

G​race Regan, founder of Spice Box

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

N​ext up is Roberto González, head chef of La Fontana Steakhouse in Miami, USA. He shares the recipe for restaurant favourite: Beef Marinara Rustic Bread Bowl.

Get ready for some serious comfort food feels direct from an Italian chef who chose this dish because it means a lot to him personally. "Cheese is one of the key elements in traditional Italian food, and it’s also an ingredient that transcends cultures, it brings true comfort," he says.

"During times like these, people seek comfort in the familiar. Everything is changing so quickly and we don’t really know what the effects of this will be in the long run, but we can control the now. Creating and eating delicious dishes, especially ones with familiar flavours, allows us to be truly present."

Beef Marinara Rustic Bread Bowl at L​a Fontana Steakhouse

Beef Marinara Rustic Bread Bowl at L​a Fontana Steakhouse

According to Roberto, his Beef Marinara Rustic Bread Bowl, which is making our mouths water just from the picture, is a dish that's easy to love. "In an otherwise chaotic world, this dish offers a true feeling of reassurance," he says.

"It allows us to appreciate what we have, and forget the rest, even for a moment, and those moments are incredibly valuable. Families isolating in the same home are taking the time to spend quality time with each other, and this dish can now become a part of that experience."

Roberto González of La Fontana Steakhouse

Beef Marinara Rustic Bread Bowl

A​ dish that comes straight from the menu at La Fontana Steakhouse and will hit the mark on taste and comfort. Food hugs all round!

Prep time20min
Cook time8min
Total time28min
Serves2
CuisineI​talian
MealDinner

Ingredients

  • R​ustic bread
  • Beef ragu (home cooked/ tinned/ leftovers)
  • Marinara (tomato sauce)
  • Mozzarella cheese          
  • P​arsley to garnish

Instructions

Do you want to add an instruction group title? Optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Rustic bread is carved out and turned into an edible plate, keep the filling.
  3. Stuff the bowl with beef ragu and mix with tomato sauce.
  4. Top it off with a layer of the bread crumbs (filling) and lots of mozzarella cheese.
  5. Then it is sent to the oven for 5 minutes to become cheesy, melted goodness. Turn up the oven to 250 degrees for 5 more minutes.

Recipe by

Roberto González at La Fontana Steakhouse

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

British chef Harry Faddy is currently located in Thailand soaking up everything he can about Thai cuisine and the culture, which he has been passionate about for over 20 years.

Before travelling to Thailand, Harry worked at the River Cafe in Hammersmith, London and before that he was head chef of Aquavit London, St. James’ Market, which earned a coveted Michelin star after only ten months of opening.

H​ere Harry shares the recipe for one of his favourite Thai discoveries: Southern Thai Pork rib curry. It ticks all the boxes across taste, comfort and ease.

H​arry Faddy

H​arry Faddy

"Food for me is always the first thing on my mind, and nothing makes me happier than sharing a meal with loved ones," says Harry. "Thai food always helps you get through the coldest of winter nights or take you away to somewhere your worries might not follow. It’s pure escapism."

Harry explains this dish will pack a flavour punch and boost your immune system. "This Thai curry redolent with lots of chilli and black pepper will do its best to fight off nasties, with the addition of turmeric, a proven anti-inflammatory with numerous other health benefits to boot."

The ingredients are likely to be hiding in your kitchen cupboards. "Ready made curry paste is a great store cupboard staple," Harry says. "Turmeric is great to have in house to make fresh tea and everyone has black pepper, an essential ingredient in Southern Thai food."

Southern Thai Pork rib curry 

A​ comforting dish with immune boosting properties and plenty of flavour that can be created with kitchen cupboard staples.

Prep time20min
Cook time1h 20min
Total time1h 40min
Serves4
CuisineT​hai
MealDinner

Ingredients

  • K​ilo of pork ribs, cut into inch long pieces (diced pork belly would work well too)
  • Thai Red Curry Paste
  • Fresh Turmeric 
  • B​lack pepper
  • Kaffir lime leaves

Instructions

  1. First, either chop and pound or blend an inch of turmeric and a few lime leaves into a good tablespoon of the curry paste. If blending, you may wish to add water to help it along. 
  2. Toast and ground 10-15 black peppercorns and add to the paste
  3. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the pork ribs.
  4. Bring to a simmer and skim off the impurities that come to the surface. Add the curry paste and simmer on a medium to high heat for up to an hour.
  5. As the pork cooks, the liquid will reduce and should emulsify to a rich spicy sauce. Add more water if it looks too dry.
  6. When the pork is tender, tear in a few more lime leaves and make sure the sauce is reduced enough to coat the pork ribs.
  7. Season with fish sauce and palm sugar (normal sugar will do fine), but be careful if using a shop bought paste as they tend to be quite salty.

Recipe by

Chef Harry Faddy

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

Cook J​ustine Murphy is used to wearing many hats as a wife, mother, chef, chef agent, cooking school principal and successful entrepreneur, plus author of The Mymuybueno Cookbook: 160 refined sugar-free recipes for everyday eating in your busy life.

The dish she is sharing is a delicious butternut squash, feta and chorizo salad. A healthy and tasty lunch to break up the day working from home. "There is something very satisfying about this salad in winter time," she says. "​Not only does making it give you something to do in isolation, but it keeps you eating properly, which means you are looking after yourself well.

"Trying new recipes also gives you something to look forward to at each meal. We will enjoy food and the happiness it brings even more at this difficult time."

Justine Murphy, author of the mymuybueno cookbook

Justine Murphy, author of the mymuybueno cookbook

J​ustine is keeping spirits high at this difficult time by offering plenty of recipes and tips via her mymuybueno instagram account, which we recommend you check out.

One tip is to be creative with cumin powder (have a look you'll have some in!). "I mix it into my hummus, baked beans, add it to stir fries to use in stews, it livens everything up," she says.

J​ustine Murphy cook and author of Mymuybueno

Butternut squash, feta and chorizo salad

Easy, quick and a well balanced salad packed full of flavour which tastes delicious and will lighten your mood.

Prep time10min
Cook time30min
Total time40min
Serves4
CuisineMediterranean
MealLunch

Ingredients

  • 1​kg butternut squash
  • 1​/2 chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 2​ handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2​ handful of rocket
  • 2​00g feta cheese
  • S​alt and Pepper
  • O​live oil
  • B​alsamic vinegar

Instructions

Do you want to add an instruction group title? Optional

  1. Peel and deseed the butternut squash, then cut the flesh into 2cm cubes.
  2. Place the butternut squash into a roasting tin, drizzle the olive oil all over, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, giving the tin a shake around halfway through. Remove once the squash is turning brown and caramelised, then set aside to cool.
  4. While the butternut squash is roasting, place the chorizo slices into a large frying pan over a medium heat in a single layer.
  5. Once they start curling at the edges, turn them over with tongs to cook the other side for just a minute.
  6. Transfer the chorizo onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil, then leave to cool. Discard the oil in the pan.
  7. In a large bowl mix the rocket and spinach leaves together. Crumble over your feta and add the roasted butternut squash and chorizo.
  8. Then add your oil and balsamic, toss the salad well with serving spoons, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Recipe by

Justine Murphy author of the mymuybueno cookbook

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

Self-trained Chef Ricky Evans founded The Ingredientist at Milroy’s of Spitalfields, London in 2017, which offers a fresh and bespoke approach to catering and unique immersive dining and drinks tasting experiences.

Ricky has successfully delivered several experiences that offer bespoke food pairings, primarily focused on whisky, and frequently offers up his expertise in developing food pairings for a diverse portfolio of whiskies. 

T​he dish he is sharing is a Honey & Whisky Mackerel Pate, which he declares is his personal favourite comfort food. "Mackerel pate is super tasty and quick and easy to make," he says. "I think a little indulgence each day in these tough times is important to ensure you stay sane and have something to look forward to when isolated at home."

In fact, Ricky believes getting into the kitchen is the best way to lift your mood right now. "Home cooking is a great way to teach yourself something new and by trying new recipes you have the perfect opportunity to stimulate your brain and get that feel good feeling flowing. Plus Mackerel is packed full of Omega 3 oils, proven to boost your immune system."

Ricky Evans, The Ingredientist at Milroy’s of Spitalfields 

Honey & Whisky Mackerel Pate  

Mackerel is packed full of Omega 3 oils, proven to boost your immune system. This is a tasty and easy to make dish.

Prep time10min
Total time10min
Serves6
CuisineS​eafood
MealDinner

Ingredients

  • Tinned Smoked Mackerel 
  • 2​00g cream cheese
  • 2​ x tbsp honey
  • 1​ tsp mustard
  • 2​ tsp horseradish sauce
  • 1​ whole lemon (juice and zest)
  • 2​ x tbsp whisky
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel skin from Mackerel fillets and remove any bones.
  2. Add to bowl with rest of ingredients and mix together until well combined.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and then enjoy!
  4. Add a couple teaspoons of whisky to give your pate a tasty kick
  5. Best served on lightly toasted sourdough bread. 

Recipe by

Ricky Evans, The Ingredientist at Milroy’s of Spitalfields 

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

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Comments (8)

  • Butternut Squash, Feta & Chorizo Salad with either of these would be excellent.

      1 year ago
  • Tinned mackerel is my default lunch - I'm going to do (or at least improvise with available goods) that pate.

      1 year ago
  • Fancy trying any of these amazing lockdown recipes? @tribe

      1 year ago
  • Thank you for those lovely recipes

      1 year ago
  • Ok, the pate at the end is gonna have to happen sometime with some editing, but I have everything on hand for the dhal. The ribs also look good, but I don’t have any ribs just now.

      1 year ago
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