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Hoping to come out of lockdown with new skills? Why not try your hand at mastering new cooking skills and recipes? Not only is it an opportunity to pass the time, but you’ll also get to dig into delicious plates of food now and in the future. If you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen, we’ve got seven challenges to set yourself during the lockdown period.

1. Make pasta from scratch

Pasta is one of the staples of our cupboard, and one of the items that quickly disappeared from supermarket shelves a few weeks ago. Whilst the shortage of pasta may no longer be an issue, it’s still worth turning your hand to make it from scratch.

It’s far simpler than you might imagine and all you need to get started are eggs and flour. You don’t even need a pasta roller, a standard rolling pin and a bit of elbow grease can work just as well to get the pasta thin enough. Once you’ve got your dough, you can start with the basics like cutting strips to create tagliatelle or experiment with tasty ravioli fillings.

2. Create a delicious sauce

Any fan of MasterChef knows that a sauce can make or break a dish. Whilst an often-overlooked part of a dish when it comes to home cooking, a sauce should be packed with flavour and bring all the different ingredients on the plate together. With more time on your hands, now is the perfect time to create a delicious sauce if you’re used to reaching for a jar instead.

Pick out a dish that you enjoy eating and focus on making a sauce with that in mind. There are thousands of recipes online to experiment, adapt and blend until you find the one that’s perfect for your taste buds.

3. Craft a vegetarian dish

If meat typically features in your food every day, why not set a challenge to create a delicious meat-free dish? Vegetarianism has been growing in popularity and that means there’s a huge range of ingredients and recipes to choose from. Gone are the days of bland and dull dishes, meat-free plates can be just as tasty and offer plenty to experiment with.

When looking for meat-substitutes, tofu is one of the most commonly used. But don’t settle for that if it doesn’t appeal to you. Chefs and home cooks have been using a variety of ingredients you can take inspiration from, including jackfruit, halloumi and lentils.

4. Check out recipes from celebrity chefs and restaurants

With restaurants closing their doors, many have been providing recipes online so fans can make their favourite dishes at home. If there’s an eatery that you’ve been missing during the lockdown period, it’s worth checking out if they’ve posted any recipes for you to try. Among the high street chains doing so have been Pret, Pizza Express and Wagamama.

Celebrity chefs and award-winning restaurants have been getting in on the action too. A search online will bring up recipes from the likes of Marcus Wareing, Georges Blanc, and Julia Komp. It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and learn some new skills too.

5. Try a different cuisine

Travel and going out to eat might not be on the cards just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try new foods from around the world. If you’re used to sticking to a few tried and tested recipes, making cooking up dishes from around the world can mean learning new skills. You might just find a favourite new dishes that will regularly make it to your table too.

You can be as adventurous as you want. Whether it’s trying a new dish from Italy that’s similar to existing family favourites or researching dishes from cuisines we don’t eat as often here, from Peru to Korea, it could really spice up your usual menu.

6. Find a signature bake

Don’t forget about dessert either. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, working through different baking recipes to perfect one is a great way to spend your time in lockdown. Once you’ve found a recipe you love, work on perfecting the skills and getting it just right. With a signature bake in your repertoire, you’ll be able to whip it up for special occasions or simply when you want a treat. We’re sure it’s something family and friends will appreciate and look forward to as well.