In these trying times, it’s important to see positives and look forward to returning to our normal lives in the future.
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Even though we produce enough food on home soil to feed everyone, the supermarket shelves are bare with panic buying. The search for ingredients these last few weeks to develop recipes has been a difficult one.
I found myself coming up with ideas on how I can make the most of what we have still in supply and how to decrease anxiety levels after watching people scramble for the last of the pantry staples in crowded supermarkets.
Here are my top tips to separate yourself from the masses and shop sensibly.
1. Shop small and local
Venturing out to a supermarket right now can be stressful to say the least.
Cafes that produce and stock their own goods and even corner stores (the few that still exist) and are a great way to keep your essentials in stock; milk, eggs, bread, butter, even the odd can of tomatoes or jar of cooking sauce can become invaluable in these times. Not to mention how good it feels to support small business.
2. Avoid supermarkets
Shop at fruit and vegetable stores away from the supermarket and shopping precinct madness. Not only will they not run out of fresh vegetables, they can’t be stockpiled and will keep being replenished.
You will also find a treasure trove of multicultural delights on the shelves and in the freezers of the larger stores.
There are endless meals that can be made from fresh vegetables, pulses, grains, condiments and continental products found here.
Frozen ready-made lasagnas, frozen meat products and pastries are also in supply.
3. Eat more seafood
This is still in good supply. Local fish shops can order and supply fresh seafood or find a fish monger for a larger variety of options.
4. Vegetarian options
Health food stores and small independent grocers are also a good source for vegetarian options, such as dried beans, pulses, grains, seeds and nuts. Tofu and soy products are also good substitutes.
Making the most from your pantry
With meat and poultry being at a premium right now, take the time to research and gather some vegetarian recipes that your family will find to be a good compromise and enjoy. There are a lot of recipes online that can be made ahead and frozen. Where you once used meat you can substitute with a vegetable. For example, use chopped eggplant and canned brown lentils instead of mince – or you can skip the vegetables all together and use frozen quorn (frozen meat substitute).
Supplies of pasta and rice are now seriously depleted. Think outside the box and use other ingredients that can replace these belly-filling staples. Use potatoes, mashed pumpkin and sweet potato, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, lentils, quinoa, polenta, cannellini beans, chick peas, barley, buckwheat, freekah, dried noodles, flour wraps and tortillas and bread.
Preparing your usual meals may change during this time but you don’t have to compromise on flavour. The availability of fresh herbs and dried spices hasn’t changed. Some fresh herbs can be purchased in pots so they can be kept for longer periods.
Here, I’ve rounded up 18 recipes to make the most of the ingredients you can source now
Steamed fish with ginger, chilli and sesame
A fresh and satisfying midweek meal. Click here for the recipe.
Coriander seed, honey and lime roasted salmon
This main has got the wow factor. You can use the same topping on salmon or fish fillets. Click here for the recipe.
Quinoa & vegetable broth
A soul-warming broth filled with hearty veg and satisfying grains. Click here for the recipe.
Yellow split pea, pumpkin & cavolo nero soup
An easy main for a family dinner. Click here for the recipe.
Salads and vegie sides
Whole roasted spiced cauliflower
Good looking and good for you, this is our new favourite way to eat a cauli. Click here for the recipe.
Sriracha roasted pepita and cashews with buckwheat pumpkin salad
A hearty salad for the perfect main meal with extra crunch and bursts of colour. Click here for the recipe.
Seasoned baked French fries
A tasty snack or delicious side dish. Click here for the recipe.
Roasted cauliflower, haloumi and zucchini with tahini dressing
It’s the tahini dressing that takes this delicious side dish to the next level. Click here for the recipe.
Quinoa warm brunch salad
Healthy and hearty – perfect for breakfast in bed. Click here for the recipe.
Zucchini and four cheese tart
A wonderful light main great for lunch or dinner. Click here for the recipe.
Baked polenta tart with asparagus, mushrooms and feta
The colours of Italy on a sunshine base of delicious baked polenta. Click here for the recipe.
A bright and flavourful meal to get you through self-isolation. Click here for the recipe.
Chicken soba noodle salad with sesame peanut dressing
You can replace chicken with any cooked protein or plant-based substitute. This dressing can also be used over other Asian noodles, Buddha bowls or rice dishes. Click here for the recipe.
Baked chilli jam tofu with brown rice, sesame and almond salad
A vibrant vegetarian light that packs in flavour and colour. Click here for the recipe.
Roasted sweet potatoes with tumeric spiced chickpeas
Display on a platter for the wow factor. Click here for the recipe.
Turmeric, potato and chickpea curry
Christine Manfield shares her secrets for soul-warming vegetable curry. Click here for the recipe.
You can use 1kg of button mushrooms as a substitute for Portobello and Swiss brown mushrooms. Click here for the recipe.
Sweet potato, lentil and cheddar sausage rolls
A vegetarian spin on an old favourite – and perfect for the kids! Click here for the recipe.
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