Quintessentially's own resident chef and food expert Khalid Dahbi weighs in with some advice on how to navigate self-isolation best. The philanthropist, chef, and entrepreneur has some thoughtful tips on how to stay nourished—and satisfied—as we continue our days at home.
What are some pantry staples to stock up on that can form the base for a nutritious and simple meal?
Good quality flour is excellent. With it, you can make a variety of breads like sourdough, pizza crust and other baked items. Pulses such as lentils or dried beans are quite full of good nutrients, economical and great for the immune system. I would try to avoid overeating pasta, if possible.
Do you have recommendations for a bulk meal that we can eat for dinner and lunch?
Roasting a whole chicken is a great option that can be used for multiple meals. I would recommend a salt-baking it—you can stuff it with vermicelli noodles and an abundance of fresh, diced vegetables—eating it with a salad, then using the leftovers for a chicken noodle soup, then after that using the bones and remains for a stock. Add plenty of aromatics and some alliums to the stockpot, fill with water, and simmer as long as possible (at least five or so hours) to create a nutrient-rich broth which can later become the base for soups or sauces.
I don't cook much... What are some easy, comforting meal options?
A simple fish tagine, flavoured with herbs, light spices and fresh vegetables. It is super easy to put together, and even saves on the washing up as it's literally a one-pot wonder dish! It's full of flavour, has many variations, and is effortless to make with whatever you have on hand.
Begin with halibut or cod, and from there the customisation options can utilise whatever herbs and veg you have in your kitchen.
I'm feeling really burnt out by cooking so much. How can I keep it exciting?
Try to vary your ingredients and keep an assortment of spices and herbs on hand. This will allow you to be creative and come up with dishes that will keep your palette excited. Also, be adventurous! Try unexpected flavours and cuisines from different countries.
Do you have any favourite chefs/websites that I can source for recipes?
British chef Marco Pierre White has excellent recipes for classic dishes, such as Beef Stew and Chicken Chasseur. And Jamie Oliver is a chef even I turn to for a cheeky snap-up meal—his wide selection of recipes has options for whatever ingredients you may happen to have on-hand at home.
Khalid is preparing custom fruit and veg boxes for members. Please reach out to your lifestyle manager should you like to place an order.