Home life comes in every shape and size — from singles and seniors to couples and clans — yet we’ve all got one thing in common. As we ‘flatten the curve’ we’re all stuck indoors for some weeks or months ahead, so we may as well make the most of it. We’ve got some great dinner party ideas to bust the iso blues — from throwing a fancy feast for the kids to pizza and puzzles in your PJs.
Without question, as we work on flattening the curve, we also seem to be working on fattening the waistline. What is it about being in isolation that makes us want to eat everything in the fridge?! There are countless psychological studies on the benefits of sharing a meal with family and friends. So cook up your salmon or spaghetti bolognaise and use a digital video conferencing app like Zoom or Skype to call family or friends and enjoy dinner together. You could even make it a weekly routine with a rotating set menu. For instance, ‘Mexican and margaritas’ one night, then ‘Burgers and beers’ on the next occasion. It will make for a more intimate digital dinner party!
It’s becoming cliché to say we’re living in unprecedented times — yet it’s absolutely true. As we struggle to wrap our heads around the many complications for the virus, isolation and financial stress, it’s easy to lose sight of the impact this is having on our kids. After all, they’re missing so much: school days, skateboarding around the neighbourhood with mates, parties, sleepovers with friends and even major milestones like turning 10… sweet 16… or 18! Why don’t you don a tux and create your own ‘posh dinner party for the kids’ like this hilarious BBC dad. Spoil your COVID-kids with their favourite dinner and desert — all served up with a side of swank.
💡A super-easy and super-fun recipe the kids could make is homemade pizzas (see #4, below). They’ll love ‘punching’ the dough, printing out menus and taking orders like professional waiters.
What’s the fun of staying home if you can’t stay in your pyjamas? You could order a pizza… but have you ever tried making your own from scratch with lots of fresh and delicious toppings? It’s easy and next-level scrumptious. Better yet, the whole family can get involved (or the kids can cook for the parents!) and everyone gets to customise their toppings to their liking. Dough is so easy to make, you could rustle it up out of quarantine rations. All you need is 1 cup plain flour; 8g dry yeast; 1 tsp caster sugar; ½ tsp salt; 2 tbs olive oil; ¾ cup lukewarm water. This will make one large pizza. Double or triple the recipe as required.
🍕 Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add oil and water.
🍕 With clean hands, mix into a soft dough, then knead the dough on a floured surface until soft and springy.
🍕 Return dough to bowl, cover with clingwrap and leave it to sit in a warm spot for 30 minutes. It should double in size.
🍕 Once risen, ‘punch’ out the air bubbles, remove from bowl and knead for another minute.
🍕 Roll the dough out (use a wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin).
🍕 Top your dough with all of your favourites, like pizza sauce, ham, veggies, olives, pineapple and cheese.
🍕 Cook in the oven (or outdoor pizza oven) for 15 to 20 minutes until the edge of the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.
Tuck into your homemade pizzas around the dining table, on the deck or even on the sofa. Don’t forget the 2000-piece puzzle of Tuscany or the Colosseum for the true Italian experience!
Come on, it’s quarantine! Time to break the rules 😉 Put the lamb back in the freezer for a night and instead make up a feast of banana pancakes, fruit sticks, scrambled eggs, French toast and croissants with jam. Even a full English breakfast. Who doesn’t love a good old breakfast buffet? Once again, if you’ve got kids, get them involved! And it’s a truth universally acknowledged that kids prefer breakfast over broccoli.
Of course, sometimes we all need a break from cooking, even if it’s just flipping pancakes. COVID-19 has turned the restaurant industry on its head and many eateries have fast-tracked their feasts to delivery only, since restaurant doors closed in Stage 3 lockdown. Support your local restaurants and order your favourite dishes to be delivered at home. Many restaurants are offering a delivery service, while others are using Uber Eats, Menulog and Deliveroo with no contact (the driver texts you and leaves your food at your door). For these services, you can search by your local neighbourhood and the cuisine you have a hankering for. Sometimes there’s special offers, like “order in the next 4 minutes and get it delivered for free”. You could set up your special delivery at the table with flowers, a fancy tablecloth and the ‘good’ plates. Shoes optional.
🍹 Gin or vodka
🍹 Ice (optional)
🍹 Orange wedge (for garnish)
Yep, that’s it 😂 Once again, so simple, you can make it from your quarantine rations. What a way to keep your Vitamin C up!
From breakfast to board games, toasties to times tables, our dining rooms have never seen so much action. You can order a bigger dining table or add a buffet for extra storage by making an appointment to visit a store or simply shopping online. And don’t miss our guide to virtual adventures for curious kids to keep the little people occupied with trips to the zoo and walking on Mars.