The country's top chefs are confined to their home kitchens. Kim Knight asks what they're cooking. This week, Al Brown from Depot, Fed Deli and Best Ugly Bagels.
Bread has always been my nemesis. I just never felt like I could get on top of that and never had the patience but now I've got the time, I've got no excuse.
I know there's a flour shortage - but not for me. I've got a pallet of it sitting at work - when you make bagels for a living … I've been working on ciabatta recipes and doing different ones.
I've had some flops but I'm really enjoying the process, baking bread every day. Every day. Yeah, we are eating it! And we are dropping stuff off at neighbours, bits and pieces on doorsteps.
I am really enjoying having a coffee in bed and going for a walk. I'm with my partner, Vick and it's a lovely time - although we've been saying, like carless days, we'll be bringing in drinkless days shortly. I told a mate and he said, "So long as you're not having drinkless nights, that's fine!"
I do an Instagram thing so I have been rocking out some sweet delights. It takes me back to where I first fell in love with cooking, baking out of the Edmonds [Cookbook] and that sort of thing. The last thing I posted was the gingernuts with the lemon curd and cream. People were going, "Do you remember these, remember these?" It's quite lovely, those time-capsule moments from people.
They were considered pretty bloody cool at the time. I was a child but I'd be straight to the safe the next morning to see if there was any left from the dinner party. Oh yeah, the meat safe - the cold meat, the desserts. People were talking in the comments about the "sherry log? Was that with gingernuts as well?" Sherry was the alcohol of choice back then.
Isn't that amazing that those recipes still come out? They're so powerful in the memory that you can remember where you had them. It takes you straight back to that street, that hall, you know exactly who was there at the time ...
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Food is really, really comforting and it is that sharing thing as well ... It's time for a bit of kindness. It feels that way when you're out walking, too. Everyone's saying hello a lot more. Because it's a weird thing, that sort of like - "Jeez you stink, I'm going to move two metres away from you." It's a horrible sort of thing isn't it, walking away from people? But we're overcompensating by saying, "Hi." All the teddy bears in the windows. We're all in this together.
I haven't been to the supermarket yet, although I have been to Mr Lunn's, which is a greengrocer. This was a few days ago. Our herb of choice in the garden is mint. It's just everywhere - but that's all we've got. On our walk we go and do our urban foraging - feijoas! I take it as a free-for-all if they're on the other side of the fence.
I really like that kind of "magic box" approach. I'm doing a lot of grains - puy lentil salads, bulgar wheat salads with nuts, lots of almonds and bits and pieces and fruit. It still feels like summer up here, so lots of grainy salads and that going into your pantry and the idea of not having a lot and still coming up with some delicious food. Less is more. The other day, I had an eggplant, a pepper and scallion. They were all looking a little bit sad but you know, I grilled them and chopped them up and did the bulgar wheat and crumbled some feta and some almonds and ... what else ... oh, some mint, of course. Sunflower seeds, some olive oil. Really humble and really simple and absolutely delicious. I think people are going to come out of this being better cooks because they've got what they've got and they don't really want to go to the supermarket.
I brought products home from work but we're like everyone, we have a tiny little freezer on the side of our fridge. All those bananas that have been in there from the last year that have been waiting for a cake? Sorry,you're gone. We're putting some meat in there.
Yeah, I'm missing the fishing but you know, the fish are going to get bigger. Mother Nature's just hitting us with a big stick. And the sky is bluer, there's less pollution, there's more family time ... there's a whole lot of good things there I think, as well. And maybe when we come out of this we'll have a better sense of what's important. Who knows?
There's nothing that I'm really missing, I'm not a massive takeaway guy, to be honest. Oh you know, I miss a cream bun. Cream buns! I'm missing bagels. I've been asked for our recipe and I'd share it, for sure, I'd share it but we're using 20kg of flour. So I haven't actually got a recipe for six bagels. I've got one for 600 - but that's not much good to anyone.
It is really tough when you stop and think about it. It's really sad. I think hospo should crank immediately when we're allowed to go out. People will be dying to get away from their f***ing bubbles and see some other people. So if we can hang in there, the other side should be all right, with a bit of luck.