With social distancing in place, many of us will have lots of extra time to experiment in the kitchen. If you've shied away from complicated, lengthy, or involved recipes in the past due to time constraints, now might be the time to finally give them a go. Have you always wanted to bake bread from scratch, ferment your own kimchi, learn to make dougnuts, or master the art of the espresso martini? Read on for our collection of cooking projects to help you pass the time.
Making your own bread from scratch is one of the most satisfying and rewarding things you can do in the kitchen. It takes time, attention, and forward-planning, so is the perfect skill to acquire while spending extra time at home. Click here for 10 of our favourite bread recipes, from a no-knead sourdough to Paul Hollywood's delicious bagel recipe. Having trouble finding ordinary wheat flour? Click here for our list of alternative bread recipes, made with flours including spelt and rye.
Making your own pasta is a fun and surprisingly easy activity. So easy, in fact, that even kids can get stuck in to help with rolling out the dough. If you have a pasta maker, great, but if not you can still make pasta – you just need a rolling pin and some muscle! Click here for a guide on how to make your own pasta, plus 7 recipes to make with fresh pasta.
Making your own pizza from scratch is a great way to while away an afternoon, and the end results will be miles better than the takeaway equivalent. This Jamie Oliver recipe for Neapolitan pizza base with 5 different toppings is especially delicious. For something different, try this tasty fried pizza recipe from the River Café Classic Italian Cookbook.
Fermented foods have had a real come-up over the past few years. Kimchi is especially popular for its sour/spicy flavour profile as much as for its gut-health boosting properties. Make your own using this step-by-step recipe – it will keep in your fridge for several months, and can be added to stir-fries, grain bowls, or toasted cheese sandwiches. Want to expand your fermentation repertoire? Try this home-made fermented sriracha sauce.
At a time when many of us are anxious about our store cupboards, preserving is a practical and soothing way to fill your larder while making sure you get the most out of your perishable ingredients. Click here for 8 of our favourite jam, curd, and pickle recipes.
If you're experimenting with savoury yeast-based bakes like bread and pizza, why not explore the sweeter side? Homemade doughnuts are a truly indulgent treat, and these crème patissière filled doughnuts from Justin Gellatly are especially good. Want more yeasted bakes? Try these cinnamon buns, these hot cross buns, or these sweet tahini rolls.
7. Decorating skills
Get creative and improve your decorating skills with a batch of ornately iced biscuits. Try these fabergé Easter egg biscuits from Biscuiteers, these iced biscuits from The Primrose Bakery, these ring biscuits from James Norton, or these customisable gingerbread men from Miranda Gore Brown.
8. Chicken soup
Possibly THE quintessential comfort food, chicken soup made from scratch is a beautifully nourishing and wholesome dish. This recipe from mother and daughter team Jessie and Lennie Ware requires a very long, slow cooking process and results in a deeply flavoursome dish.
Heading out for a round of cocktails may not be on the cards right now, but you can still enjoy your favourite tipple in the comfort of your own home. Why not master the art of the espresso martini with this recipe from Morito (you can substitute the PX sherry for the more traditional coffee liqueur, if preferred)? If espresso isn't your thing, you could try a classic Manhattan, a prettily pink gin cocktail, or a refreshing Spanish rebujito.