1. Why baking is beneficial during Lockdown
The benefits of Cooking & Baking are:
- Delicious Food to Eat - the most obvious benefit is that you get to eat what you make or give to others to cheer them up! You can also make presents for birthdays or Christmas.
- Possible Health Benefits - less processed food and more freshly prepared meals rather than ready meals. Go steady on the sugar though!
- Mental Health and Wellbeing - it is thought that cooking and baking can do more than just create delicious cakes and casseroles. Many people think that baking has a therapeutic value which helps to ease low mood and anxiety. (See the Marian Keyes Recipe book below)
- Cooking is meditative - Any activity which takes your whole attention – especially if it's simple and repetitive – can have a calming effect. The process of following a recipe, weighing out ingredients, whisking eggs, kneading dough etc. can create space in the mind.
- Baking Stimulates the Senses - The smell of the bake as it cooks is a very satisfying and cheering sensation – who hasn't bought something from the bakery section of a Supermarket after smelling the fresh bread cooking?
- Baking can be Creative - There is thought to be a connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing so don't be afraid to add your own twist to a recipe if you fancy it or decorate your cakes in your own creative way!
- Learn a new skill - it was widely reported that lots of people tried baking for the first time during the Lockdown earlier this year with bread making being especially popular if you could get your hands on flour and yeast! Some people even became obsessed with making the perfect loaf of Sourdough bread and discovered that they had acquired a new skill!
2. Favourite Bakes
Here are some of the Dungarees-online team's favourite baking recipes:
there are lots of different variations on the Brownie recipe but one of my particular favourites is Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Brownie which is made with ground almonds instead of flour and is perfect for those who need a gluten free option.
Easy-peasy bake which I actually cook in a Pyrex dish in the microwave and the whole thing takes about 15 minutes from start to finish! It’s also a great way to sneak in ingredients such as nuts to make a slightly healthier version. Be creative – add raisins or dried cranberries - pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds also work well too.
Apparently these were one of the favourite bakes in the previous Lockdown. I personally made them several times and experimented with different cheeses, they were all delicious! This is a link to the BBC Good Food Cheese Scone Recipe.
Biscuits or Cookies
Obviously there are many and various types to try which are usually far superior to anything you can buy from the supermarket – the Be-ro Book (see below) has some of the best basic biscuit recipes. Also one of my favourite cookie bakes (chocolate chunk cookies) was from a Great British Bake-Off recipe book (How to Bake – The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets) that I picked up in a Charity Shop.
Also you must try Nadiya's indulgent chocolate brownie recipe from the BBC's Nadiya Bakes in the video below:
3. Recipe Book Recommendations
The following recipe books are ones I either already have or am planning to get my hands on! They are books you can buy for yourself of maybe for a Christmas gift for a good friend or relative?
Great British Bake Off books
There are many of these to choose from, some of which relate to various series of the show and some by previous winners of the show.
Nadiya Bakes - Nadiya Hussain
Nadiya was the winner of Series 6 of the GBBO. Whether you're a novice baker or total pro, there's something in this book for everyone, with fun, creative recipes– it also ties in with a BBC 2 Series.
Comfort - Candice Brown
Link to Book
Candice was the winner of the 7th Series of GBBO. Waterstone's say about this book - ‘This is her first cookbook - all about home comforts. Candice's recipes are easy to make, no nonsense and hearty. She has a recipe up her sleeve for every occasion - for baking with kids, birthday parties for all ages, Christmas, afternoon tea, quick savoury bakes for weeknights and fancier recipes for weekends.'
Cook, Eat, Repeat - Nigella Lawson
Link to Book
She says about this book 'Food, for me, is a constant pleasure: I like to think greedily about it, reflect deeply on it, learn from it; it provides comfort, inspiration, meaning and beauty... More than just a mantra, "cook, eat, repeat" is the story of my life.' I can't wait to get my hands on this book!
Cranks Recipe Book – David Canter
This is a classic vegetarian cookbook that I've had for many years. It has numerous delicious recipes for soups, salads, dressings and savouries, not to mention sections devoted to baking and puddings!
The Be-ro Book
First published in 1923, the "Be-Ro" recipe book is arguably one of the best-selling cookery books ever, with more than thirty eight million copies having been sold. The latest edition is packed with even more inspiring dishes together with a brand new "quick and easy" section which even the novice baker can follow. I've had a copy for many years of this small but useful book which my mum bought for me. It's tatty and well-thumbed as it's a go-to book for me for basic recipes for things like Victoria Sponge, Flapjack and pancakes.
Saved by Cake – Marian Keyes
Marian Keyes is an author and this book is available from her website. This is what it says about the book - ‘Saved by Cake gives an extremely honest account of Marian Keyes' recent battle with depression and how baking has helped her. A complete novice in the kitchen, Marian decided to bake a cake for a friend and that was it – she realized that baking was what she needed to do in order to get her through each day. And so she baked, and she wrote her recipes down, and little by little the depression started to lift, along with her sponges…
With chapters on cupcakes, cheesecakes, meringues and macaroons, chocolate cakes, fruit cakes and favourite classics, Marian's recipes are aimed firmly at beginner bakers, offering hints and tips to help along the way.' I enjoyed this book as it has a chatty little introduction before each recipe.
India: The World Vegetarian - Roopa Gulati
‘Chef, broadcaster and food writer Roopa Gulati celebrates the beautifully varied world of vegetarian Indian food.'
This is a book I was given for my birthday this year and I love it. It has 70 delicious recipes and also introduces you to key techniques and ingredients in Indian cooking. I've also started following Roopa on Instagram where she does little videos of how to cook some of her favourite recipes.
4. Cooking Apron Giveaway
At Dungarees-online we have a great range of denim aprons which are an ideal gift to yourself or for a friend or relative.
Denim work Aprons
These are traditional style unisex aprons with adjustable ties and useful pockets.
Japanese Style Cross Back Aprons
These aprons have no ties and are very comfortable to wear for craft activities as well as baking.
How to Enter the Apron Giveaway
Win one of THREE beige unisex denim aprons for yourself or a budding baker friend – just go to the Dungarees Online Instagram page follow us, like the post and tag a friend in the comments. The draw will take place on the day of the Great British Bake Off final. Good luck and good baking!