If you’re like us, struggling through ongoing lockdowns, you’re probably scraping the bottom of the entertainment barrel.
What do you do once you’ve completed all the puzzles in the house, baked your banana bread, done your at-home workout and cleaned every individual leaf on your indoor plants? We have a few ideas but your waistline probably won’t thank us for sharing them with you.
While some of the country’s favourite restaurants, cafes and eateries remain closed, a few innovative business owners have decided to bring the experience to you. DIY pretzels, dumpling folding, boba tea brewing and virtual wine tastings should keep your inner foodie satisfied, at least until we’re allowed to indulge in person again. Check out these fun culinary experiences to try at home during lockdown.
Brew your own bubble tea
If you can’t walk past a bubble tea shop front without feeling the pull of these sweet and squishy morsels, you should have a go at making your own bubble tea at home. These DIY kits have everything you need to make your bubbly beverage of choice at home with flavours ranging from lychee and peach oolong to passionfruit and earl grey milk tea. Cooking the boba is a labour of love (stirring every 5 minutes for 25 minutes, then allowing to cool for another 20) but it is worth the wait, and let’s face it, what else are you going to do with your time?
You’ll find several easy-to-follow video tutorials on the Naröcha website. The packaging is adorable and this kit will keep you going until you can order your favourite bubble tea inshore again.
Grab your bubble tea kit here.
Become your own bartender
Based in the beautiful Blue Mountains, Karu Distillery is bringing the party to your house with these fun at-home cocktail kits. Their signature gin and tea cocktails feature the award-winning One Affinity gin and a range of tasty infusions to try. The brains behind the operation are husband and wife duo Nick and Ally, and they’re both thrilled to be sharing their knowledge with keen gin lovers.
The home-delivered gin and tea cocktail kits include a bottle of One Affinity Gin, plenty of tonic water, two Vermillion infusions, two Amethyst infusions and, of course, a virtual guided tasting from the distillers. And, as a bonus, you’ll receive a free tasting flight and tour voucher for when the distillery opens up again!
Order your kit here and prepare to become the designated bar tender at all future parties.
Fold your own dumplings (or take the lazy option)
Masterchef alumni Diana Chan has teamed up with Golden Wok to create a range of tasty dumplings you can indulge in at home. Whether you prefer your dumplings fried, steamed or boiled, these newly released flavours will tickle your tastebuds and award you the title of Masterchef in your own house. Diana has even shared her favourite recipe using the BBQ pork dumplings. You can thank us later…
Dan dan noodles with Diana Chan’s BBQ pork dumplings (Serves 2)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
>250g minced pork
3 tbsp light soy sauce
30g sui mi ya cai (preserved mustard greens), finely chopped *
3 tbsp chilli oil
1 packet @goldenwokfoods Diana Chan’s BBQ pork dumplings
500g white fresh wheat noodles, medium thickness
1 bunch choy sum, cut to 5cm lengths
½ bunch spring onions, finely sliced
Chilli paste or oil
- Place a wok over medium heat. Add in the oil and garlic and fry for a few seconds. Add in the pork and cook for 2-3 mins.
- Next, add in the soy sauce and sui mi ya cai and chilli oil. Cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Pan fry the dumplings according to packet instructions.
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Blanch in hot water for 2-3 minutes along with the choy sum. Drain and set aside.
- Return to the wok and add the noodles, vegetable and pork mince and toss together to coat evenly.
- To serve, place the noodles in prepared bowls, and serve with pan fried BBQ pork dumplings. Garnish with spring onions.
Grab your dumplings from all major supermarkets and find even more recipe idea here.
Bake your own pretzels
What do Perth and Melbourne have that everyone else in the country is missing out on? A ridiculously cute Pretzel Australia store! The only thing you’ll love more than the fun decor are the pretzels themselves. And since Melbourne’s stores have had to close for lockdown, the legends behind the brand are sending out DIY kits for you to create your own tasty treats at home.
These kits are equipped with all the bits and pieces you need to bake 12 twisty treats from your very own kitchen, including airy Pretzel flour, salt, yeast, ghee and browning solution. Each box makes two batches so that if you don’t nail your pretzel knot the first time, you can try again. The best part? You take your pretzel to the next level with your favourite toppings and treats – crushed Oreos, chocolate sauce, M&Ms, you name it.
Order your kit here and follow the video below for instructions.
Join a virtual wine tasting session
We all miss those lazy Sundays, sauntering between cellar doors, sampling the best drops on offer. It’s not quite the same but many vineyards around the country have begun offering at-home wine tasting sessions for true connoisseurs. Tractorless Vineyard in the Southern Highlands is one of them, offering an interactive virtual wine tasting experience every Saturday.
Wine lovers will be sent a box of samples and tasting notes prior to the session, as well as a link to join the live virtual wine tasting or opt for a pre-recorded video to watch at leisure. No doubt you’ll be thirsty for more, so feel free to go on a bit of a shopping spree on the cellar door website.
Create your own Vietnamese rice paper rolls
Roll’d is a lunchtime stable for many professionals working in the city. It’s fresh, light and doesn’t send you into an uncomfortable food coma for the rest of the afternoon (and it’s also my go-to airport food before a flight!). But with our cities slowly filling up with tumbleweeds as people continue to work from home, Roll’d has had to shut the doors in many locations (or at least reduce their services to takeaway and delivery options only). But don’t fret, you can still enjoy your favourite soldiers at home now that Roll’d has hit the supermarket shelves.
Next time you do your essential food shop, pick up a few bits and pieces from the Roll’d range. Tasty sauces on offer include Sticky Hoisin, Spicy Hoisin, Chilli Mayo and traditional Nước Mắm, and you’ll need the staples too; Classic Rice Paper, Rice Vermicelli Noodles and Rolling Trays. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started.
Omelette Rice Paper Roll (serves 4)
Perfect for lunch boxes and an meat-free dinner alternatives. Featuring Roll’d Rice Paper and Vermicelli Noodles
What you’ll ned:
4 eggs, whisked
8 rice paper sheets
2 cups bun noodles, cooked
2 cups iceberg, shredded
8 sprigs of coriander, picked
8 cucumber batons, 8cm in length
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Roll’d Rolling Tray
Roll’d Vietnamese Sticky Hoisin or Spicy Hoisin
1. First make the omelette. Heat a medium pan over a medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and with a fork, gently move the egg mixture towards the centre and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Once cooked, transfer onto a plate.
2. To make the rice paper rolls, dunk the rice paper sheets into a large bowl of warm water, shake off any excess water and lay on the Roll’d rolling tray. Repeat with all the rice paper sheets. Evenly distribute the remaining ingredients across the rice paper sheets – lay the bun noodles across the middle of the rice paper, add the iceberg, cucumber, coriander and omelette.
3. Take the bottom of the rice paper roll, fold and tuck under the ingredients, fold both sides in and complete the roll.
Visit rolld.com.au for more recipes.