9 Ways To Make Staying In Feel Special

By Patti Andrews


By Patti Andrews

The arrival of COVID-19 meant the arrival of a few new traditions at my house and likely homes across the globe. Now it’s back and stronger than ever in Omicron. Enter Locals Night, every Saturday my partner and I take turns to make a meal for each other. Kids go to bed, they are not invited.

It could be a five-course Sichuan feast, Anthony Bourdain’s favourite sandwich or pasta made from pantry ingredients. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. It’s about slowing down, celebrating the little things and breaking Groundhog Day monotony.

I present to you nine menu ideas for one, a couple or a bunch of housemates. So take a deep breath and choose your own adventure, you don’t even have to change out of your leisure-wear.


Meat Free Any Day

Light the candle your aunt gave you for Christmas, crank Zoë Foster Blake’s Dinner playlist and celebrate the art of the vegetarian dish.

Melbourne’s Fukuryu Vegetarian Ramen
Amy Chaplin’s Matcha Tart

Image credit: Instagram @firstfarmorganics

Skip Straight To Dessert

The mission here is simple. Eat whatever is easy for dinner: eggs on toast or last night’s leftover pesto pasta and head straight for dessert. I have made this many times (skipping the home-made ice cream part, a vanilla bean supermarket tub does the job) and can attest that the effort to deliciousness ratio is 1:3,780

Sparrow Kitchen’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Fondant

Image credit: Instagram @milkbarstore

Date Night

Wedding anniversary, date night or just missing sitting in a bustling restaurant, set the tone with these french classics. Last weekend it was my turn to cook and this is what I served up, with oysters to start, a garden salad as a side, one dirty-martini down.

Cumulus Inc’s Steak Tartare
The Spruce Eat’s Potato Gratin
Bonus points:
Gather Journal’s Tarte Tatin

Image credit: Instagram @mrswhitephotos

Pantry Party

It’s likely that you won’t even need to go to the store for this one and let’s face it, the store isn’t very fun right now. Mandy Lee (of Lady and Pup’s) Sardine Spaghetti is a new favourite in my house. Pantry staples and minimal effort means more time for backgammon or watching Succession on Binge.

Lady and Pup’s Sardine Spaghetti
Gather Journal’s Baked Apples

Image credit: Instagram @thewarholmuseum

Danielle Alvarez Simplicity

After listening to the Danielle Alvarez episode of Drive with Georgie Gardner, I was inspired by the Fred’s Head Chef leadership style and quiet genius. A quote that really stuck with me was, “What I’m proud of is that the people that I work with now, they’ve come to us because they know of myself, they know of the kind of food we do. They’re caring, deeply respectful people. So I’m quite proud of creating an environment where chefs can grow and can cook without fear.

Here are two recipes from Danielle herself. Give her Instagram account a follow as she has recipes saved in Highlights.

Danielle Alvarez’s Chicken Curry
Danielle Alvarez’z Apple and Cheddar Cobbler
Pre-order her new book Always Add Lemon

Image credit: Instagram @fredspaddington

Party Like It's Not 2021

Housemate got a promotion? You’re turning 40? Celebrating less cases in your area? The vibe must be brought! Put down the supermarket mud cake and pick up all of the ingredients to make these three mood-lifters:

Aperol Spritz Icy Poles
Bourke St Bakery’s Famous Sausage Rolls
Torte By Mirjana’s Chocolate Sponge Cake

Image credit: Instagram @confettisystem

The Best Things In Life Are (Dairy/Gluten/Egg) Free

My mum is a coeliac, one of my nephews has a nut allergy and another one has recently been diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes. This makes me extra-aware of excellent recipes for those with dietary requirements. Both recipes below are perfect to be made and gifted to someone who needs a little extra care.

Meera Sodha’s Vegan Dal
Georgia from George Eats’ Choc-chip cookies

Image credit: Instagram @georgeats




In The Mood For Thai

If you are staring wistfully at the cancelled travel dates in your iCal: crank the fan, put on a Café Del Mar album and use your imagination.

David Thompson’s Neua Pat Bai Grapao
Gather Journal’s Thai Ginger Punch



Let's Get Fakeaway

Takeaway but make it cool. Add an element of surprise with prawns in a kebab, lemon aspen in baklava (you might need to head to the Bush Food Shop to source it) or make up your own!

Shane Delia’s East Coast Kebabs
Mark Olive’s Baklava

Image credit: Instagram @hellokateberry

Sharing is caring, so please add your menu ideas in the Future Women Member-Only Facebook Group. I shall see you there!
You can also find me here.

Main image credit: Instagram @gatherjournal