How we're cooking our way through the chaos

Students have inspired us with how they're brushing up on their cooking skills in lockdown, while food and nutrition teacher Louise Solden shares some recipes to help boost everyone's spirits, including the crunchy creation that's become a lockdown phenomenon - sourdough

AT times of crisis, many people find baking and cooking a welcome distraction which nourishes both our bodies and souls.

But with supermarkets selling out of vital ingredients and our store cupboards running low as we try to avoid trailing to the shops too often, we’re all having to improvise.

Our food and nutrition students have been impressing us with their wonderful creations, from pretty rainbow-themed cupcakes to hearty home-made soups, keeping us updated with regular mouth-watering photographs.

Year 7 student Anna Kendall (pictured top) explained how she made her buns featuring the NHS’s recently adopted rainbow symbol to represent ‘hope and happiness’.

Another Year 7 student Emily, pictured above, showed us how she made her dad some tasty tomato soup from scratch, while Year 10 student Alix turned his hand to making biscuits instead of a cake when he ran out of some vital ingredients - eggs. Year 7 student Hector impressed us with his mouth-watering fruit salad.

Food & nutrition teacher Louise Solden, pictured below, has come up with a number of recipes to help boost everyone’s spirits, including the ‘Best Apple Cake Ever’.

With yeast in short supply, she’s also shared her recipe for sourdough bread and a fish dish which you can adapt according to what you have in your cupboards or fridge.

You can find a selection of Mrs Solden’s recipes below:

The Best Apple Cake Ever

This is one of my all-time favourite cakes, incredibly easy to make and absolutely delicious.

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

225g caster sugar

2 large eggs

150g melted butter

250g cooking apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced

20cm cake tin, greased and lined


  • Put the oven on gas 3/160c
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the eggs and butter and beat well for a about a minute
  • Roughly spread about half the mixture on the bottom of the cake tin
  • Top with the apples in an even layer
  • Top with the rest of the cake mixture (this is a bit tricky)
  • Bake for around 1 ¼ hours to 1/ ½ hours until golden and firm to the touchCan be served warm as a pudding, cold as a cake and can be frozen for around 3 months

  • Sourdough bread starter
  • Yeast is one of the hardest things to come by at the moment. But fresh bread doesn't need yeast to make it rise.

    You can now quite easily set off a sourdough starter which replaces yeast in bread recipes.
    All you need a clean jar and preferably either rye flour or strong wholemeal flour, but it works well with white flour.

    Day 1: weigh out 50g flour and 50g water, mix together to make a paste then place in the jar, seal and leave in the kitchen
    Day 2 to 5: repeat as for Day 1, adding 50g of water and flour each time
    Day 6: the starter should be ready to use. It will have bubbles forming on it and should smell like yoghurt

    Feed the starter 8 hours before you are going to bake - always feed it with equal quantities of flour to water and once you have your sourdough starter, it can be safely left in the fridge and fed every couple of weeks.

    Baked Spicy Fish

    This is a tasty recipe to try (even if you don't like cooking). The great thing about it is you can change it to suit what ingredients you may have hanging around in the fridge, especially at this most challenging time of shopping.

    This serves 2-3 people but you can easily increase the quantity and if you don't have any fish, put whole raw eggs into the sauce and cook them instead

    300g fish of your choice, for example cod, salmon or haddock, cut into pieces
    2 tbsp oil
    1 tin tomatoes
    1 thinly sliced onion
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    1 courgette, thinly sliced
    Handful of mushrooms, sliced
    Pinch of dried chilli flakes
    Salt and pepperPinch of dried chilli flakes
    Salt and pepper


  • You will need a wide frying pan if possible
  • Prepare the vegetables
  • Heat the oil in the pan, add the vegetables and sauté for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the garlic, chilli, tomatoes and half a can of water
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Place the fish on top and baste with the sauce
  • Cover the pan with foil or a lid and reduce the heat
  • Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the fish is cooked
  • Serve with new potatoes if you can get any