How to Celebrate in Style during Quarantine
What a weird time we live in! The UK is in lockdown and it seems like most of the world is under some sort of quarantine. Keeping some sort of normality to one’s daily life is very important under these circumstances, and this means celebrating birthdays! So, in this flog, I am going to run through how you can have a great day IN.
First of all, preparation is key. Even when Coronavirus is sweeping the country, supermarkets remain open and I was keen to get some good stuff. So, the day before the big one, I made my way around the weirdly deserted and closely guarded shop, getting the ingredients for an epic boozy breakfast. It was eerily quiet and whilst there was a queue outside, the inside was remarkably relaxed. Anyway, enough about reality, let’s get into the food and drink!
Every morning has to start with a cuppa, and this was no different, except that I was a true gent and woke up first to make it. Then down to the preparation of Lucy’s favourite breakfast: Eggs Royale.
Eggs Royale Ingredients (for two):
- 2 English Muffins
- 4 Fresh Eggs
- Smoked Salmon
- Hollandaise Sauce: 2 eggs yolks, small dollop of Dijon mustard, half a lemon’s worth of juice, a blob of hot sauce and 100g butter
- Salt & black pepper
First task is to make the hollandaise. This may sound very daunting to lots of people, but this recipe is a very easy cheat version. You make it in a blender and (at least in my experience) it seems to be fool proof. Begin by putting the separated egg yolks in the blender with everything other than the butter. Then microwave the butter until it’s completely melted. Blend the contents of the machine and then start pouring the hot butter into the mixture, in a slow, steady stream. You will see the sauce start to thicken and by the time you’ve added all the butter, you should have a lovely rich hollandaise to lather over your eggs.
Leave this sitting above a bowl of boiling water (keeps it warm and liquid, without scrambling the egg) and start toasting the muffins. In the meantime, fill a big frying pan with boiling water and a good glug of vinegar (any kind will do). Make sure you’ve got a gentle simmer going before cracking the freshest eggs you can find, straight into the pan. Do this delicately and get the eggs as close to the water as possible. Then leave them untouched for a couple of minutes, buttering the muffins and putting a layer of smoked salmon on while they cook. To see if the eggs are perfectly poached, take one out with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle prod. It should feel slightly bouncy but not too wobbly. When ready, put the eggs onto a jay-cloth or some kitchen roll so you don’t put water onto the plate. Place them on the salmon, before spooning some of your hollandaise over. Let it run off the spoon so it coats the egg – make it look as elegant and luxurious as you can! Add a squeeze of lemon and some freshly-ground pepper and present with pride!
While this will be a great crowd pleaser, you can reduce the pressure on the food by serving it with a glass of buck’s fizz. Most people know but basically pour a bit of smooth fresh OJ into a champagne glass and top it up with some cheap Prosecco. Suddenly alcohol for breakfast is acceptable – it’s also delicious!
After a successful breakfast, a lockdown game is always a good idea. In our flat, we decided on the lewd, crude and rude game that is Cards Against Humanity. This is always hilarious and lets you see the hidden dark side of your friends alarmingly quickly. Works particularly well with more buck’s fizz – although both these options could be traded out for more family friendly versions for those of you who are more sensible. The morning entertainment was a great success and with a happy heart and sun on our mind, we took our allotted exercise for the day in the form of a beautiful sunny Sefton Park walk. This provided some much-needed fresh air and a bit of time to let the bubbly bubbles settle. Shockingly, by the time we got back we were in the business for some Co-op Sweet Thai Chilli Crinkle Cut Crisps (DadBodUK recommends) with Punk IPA (DadBodUK also recommends).
For some reason this combo inspired me to make mushroom and chorizo burritos, with guac and a cabbage and lime salad. These are super easy to make and inspired by @Mobkitchen and @Wahaca. Start by making the salad, ideally an hour in advance, but can be just before cooking. Finely chop cabbage (red is best but white did me fine) and put it in a bowl. Then add liberal amounts of lime juice and some salt, before tossing well and leaving to marinade. After that, all you do is fry up the chorizo with a bit of olive oil. Then add finely sliced onions, peppers and mushrooms. Season with salt and chipotle chilli flakes. Assemble by warming your wrap then layering guac, followed by the mushrooms and the salad. Wrap up neatly and eat messily!
After all the fun and games, we all needed some time to relax. So, we slumped in front of the TV for a while. As if we hadn’t already eaten plenty, we decided this was the time for cake and a singsong. Our housemate made an amazing carrot cake, so we had tea with that and felt incredibly spoilt. This led to another lull in proceedings giving Lucy time to deal with her fans and family!
For dinner, we decided to try and support the restaurant industry in our own little way. Ideally, this would have been a Liverpool local, but I think our slightly boozy state craved salty grease. This meant we went for Red Dog Saloon. This turned out to be an epic choice. We ordered an enormous amount of food, including burgers, buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks and loaded fries. The wings were really good, with a nice kick of spice and an incredible blue cheese dip – the best wing accompaniment there is! Our burgers were also great. We got the ‘Gooey Louis’ which was a burger with bacon and mozzarella sticks. Now, this may sound excessive, and it definitely is, but it also tasted bloody gorgeous. Loaded Philly cheesesteak fries completed the cure/ artery clogging. All of this food was well-cooked and exactly what it said on the tin. Each aspect was crispy when it was meant to be or gooey and cheesy when expected.
Basically, even when you have to order from afar and wait for your food to be delivered by bike, it is still so worth it! If you have something to celebrate then go and support the restaurants which are still going strong. But also, remember that you can make amazing food at home! So, maybe try this mixture of cooking for yourself and then smashing takeaways, in a beautifully greedy cycle of celebration and face-stuffing!
Finally, for those of you who want a laugh, take a look at my slightly inebriated attempt at a photo:
Here’s what it’s meant to look like:
Yours in food,