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Life under lockdown: Three ways to recreate what you're missing at home

Every so often, I catch myself making a list of all the things that I'm going to do once the lockdown is over -- all the things that I used to do every week and haven't done for ages, or one of those one-off things I'd be planning to do at some point in the future, and now don't know when I'll ever be able to do. As lockdown drags on, I'm looking for ways to try and recreate all those things without leaving the house.

Make your front room into your local pub

Photo by mnm.all on Unsplash
Take our local pub. We go every week, unless we're not at home. We used to joke about how if we miss one week, the barman would probably ring the police, convinced we've been murdered. Now we haven't been in our usual seats for over a month, and I miss it. It's a nice pub, and getting to sit down with a pint and a packet of peanuts was a sign for us that the working week was finally over.

So what do you do when you can't go to the pub? You bring the pub to you, of course!

We've designated a corner of our living room to serve as the pub. We pull up two chairs, pour a drink and set out a bowl of peanuts, and pretend like we're down our local. When you're under lockdown and spending a lot of time with the same person or people, you probably talk all the time about things - the washing up, what to watch on Netflix, how work's been. But having a pub in your front room means you set aside some time to have a proper chat. I totally recommend it.

If you're missing your local pub quiz, it's easy to recreate it at home. Last week, we joined up with a few of our relatives and friends to come together for a lockdown version. One of our relatives set the questions, and the others teamed up with whoever's in their house to answer them. I don't think I've laughed that much since lockdown started. If you don't fancy setting your own pub quiz, you can jump on one of the many virtual pub quizzes that are running online -- we like Goose's Quizzes, which is on every night on Twitch at 7pm.

Have an indoor picnic
As soon as the weather picks up, my thoughts turn to picnics, and hours spent lounging under the sun, spread out on a picnic blanket eating and drinking with friends. That's the dream, the reality is more a quick walk around our local park and home, no hanging about and definitely no picnicing.

So, even though we can't spend a lot of time outside, but that doesn't mean we have to abandon the picnic idea altogether -- we just bring it indoors.

We spread out our blanket on the floor, and then cover it with all the foods you need for a good picnic -- falafel, sandwiches, fruit, crisps, dips, cake, and something fizzy (alcoholic or not, whatever you prefer). You can even put a musical festival on the TV in the background, squint a bit, and try and pretend you're at a music festival -- no trying to find your tent at 3am required.

Bring your favourite restaurant home
Before the whole lockdown thing hit, I was thinking of all the restaurants I was going to visit when I finished my degree. A while back, I got to visit Gauthier in London for my birthday (it was a big birthday!) and we were thinking of going to celebrate the end of my studying. Well, you know how this story ends -- we didn't get to go to Gauthier, or well, anywhere much.

So, we have make do with a restaurant that's nearer home -- or, well, is home. I guess if we can't go to  a fancy restaurtant, maybe we can make one in our kitchen. There are a couple of Gauthier's recipes knocking around online -- you can find a handful of French home cooking dishes here and a recipe for faux gras here.

I remember trying the faux gras at the restaurant, so thought I could try to recreate it. Here's how it went:

Of course my version wasn't a patch on the restaurant version (no cognac for a start!) but we made it the starter of our restaurant-a-like meal. If you want a bit of that restaurant feeling without going out, find a three-course vegan menu online, and then set a time and a dress code with your fellow diners (just beause you're not going out, doesn't mean you can't dress up!) Get yourself a  bottle of wine, some cheap candles and find some restaurant-style music on Spotify, and you're away!

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  1. I love your ideas esp the pub in your loungeroom - one of my colleagues runs a bar and had to take his barrels of beer home and make his way through them. I think single people might need some zoom company when they have their pub or restaurant. We have started virtual work drinks on a friday - Sylvia loves to get me a fancy drink with mint and lemon and it is good to just chat and see how others are going. I have also been enjoying zoom quizzes. While I don't love lockdown, I do love seeing how creative it is making those around us!

  2. This is cool - my husband would never ever let me recreate a pub at home, he is so scared i would turn into an alcoholic even though i only drink Fri and Sat. Thanks for the link to the faux-gras recipe, i have a cookbook with a vegetarian faux-gras recipe but have not yet made it - may need to check it out as we have been making lots of bread at home to eat and pate would be a good way to use it up too.


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