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Ordinary tips for extraordinary times

Without question, the shifts, changes and demands of the last few weeks (and the several more coming) have been extraordinary and unprecedented.

As we all seek reassurance in the face of corona, conversations in the shop have become more lively and wide ranging. One of the issues many of us are grappling with, seems to be adapting to the new normal and all the disruption in routines and supplies this has brought with it. So it would seem that one of the most valuable skills to practice during this time is flexibility. Being flexible and open minded with just a few small things can reduce the stress load significantly.

Cooking at home (which we all do more of these days!) is a good example: Simplify your shopping by remembering the old adage: there are as many recipes as there are cooks! Any recipe can be adjusted and ingredients can be swapped or dropped, depending on taste and availability. Who knows, experimenting with small tweaks may well reveal positive surprises!

Here are just a few ideas for problems we come across in the shop daily:

> Swap strong bread flour for spelt or einkorn flour (more ancient types of wheat), or mix up several types of flour.

> Use less flour (and increase nourishment) by padding it up with seeds and flakes (e.g. pumpkin seerds and/or oats).

> Use less yeast with the Overnight Bread recipe (kindly shared by one of our customers), or use no yeast at all with soda bread. (Sourdough is of course another option, but it takes time, and the starter needs consistent feeding with more flour.)

> Learn the basics of foraging to make delicious meals with wild growing 'weeds' - abundant just now!

Nettles and wild garlic are great to start out with as they are safe and easy to identify. Why not try our Lockdown soup recipe? To learn more about foraging, Eat Weeds is a great website.

> Different kinds of beans, lentils and pasta can be easily swapped - just grab whatever is available. (Yes, it will slightly change the resulting dish, but does it really matter?)

> Use up the spices & herbs you have in the cupboard, they can be swapped too!

> If kids are fussy, now is the time to encourage trying new things (who can eat the most colours in a day?) and get them involved in the kitchen (most kids will want to eat anything they have helped cook).

> Last but not least, a couple of thrifty recipe threads from Twitter that caught my eye recently (watch the #lockdownkitchen tag):

Potato peel crisps (just that, and sooo mooreish)

'Second hand' marmalade (made with used citrus peels)

What kitchen tweak will you try today?

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