Staying In: The £5 charity cookbook that will help you to navigate lockdown meals

With all restaurants staying closed for the last few weeks and takeaway options limited, the British public have been left with no choice but to get in the kitchen and get cooking. More time at home has meant putting more effort into breakfasts, lunches and dinners and families sitting down to eat together more than they ever have before.

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For many people, mealtimes have become the lifeline to which they cling, the last scrap of normality we can hold on to during this pandemic – and it can bring communities and families together, despite physical distances.

There have been many responses to this situation – Jamie Oliver’s Keep Cooking and Carry On Channel 4 show, restaurants such as Pizza Express and Pret releasing their previously secret recipes for their most popular dishes and multiple Instagram-fuelled food trends, to name a few – but it’s the latest response from food photographer Issy Croker that’s really got our mouths watering.

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Issy has devised a brand new cookbook titled Staying In, which comprises of over 35 recipes donated by chefs and food writers that she has shot herself whilst in isolation.

Staying In cookbook
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Described as ‘a cookbook for a moment in time’, Staying In is available in e-book format and all proceeds are going directly to the charity Chefs in Schools‘ emergency appeal, with which they are providing vulnerable families with freshly-prepared lunches. To make the book accessible to as many people as possible, the cost of the e-book is being offered on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, starting at £5 (donate and download your copy here).

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Contributors include Gizzi Erskine, Melissa Hemsley, Laura Jackson, Anna Jones, Thomasina Miers, Claire Ptak, Meera Sodha and GBBO winner Edd Kimber, so you can be guaranteed that the recipes are of the highest (and most delicious) calibre. Recipes span from ‘the light and bright to the slow and simmering’, with something for morning, afternoon and evening. You’ll find quick lunches as well as slow weekend meals and joyful bakes, all with illustrated step-by-step instructions, simple ingredient swaps (in case the supermarket shelves disappoint) and of course, Issy’s beautiful photography throughout.

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For a taste of what you can expect from the book, look forward to recipes for sourdough crumpets, a springtime carbonara, roast chicken with salsa verde and a flourless chocolate cake. These are peppered with reflections on lockdown life, handy guides to making your own sourdough, labneh and pasta, top tips from the contributors and even recommended playlists to cook along too.

Even better, the e-book format is allowing Issy to continually update the cookbook all the time, so for a one-time payment and download you’ll receive an ever evolving and growing cookbook. New additions come from the likes of Honey & Co., Soho restaurant Ducksoup and Rachel Khoo.

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To say thank you for getting us beyond our £20k target, we’re adding 10 extra recipes to @stayinginthebook – 7 from our new contributors @gill.meller, @honeyandco, @ducksoupsoho, @rachelkhooks, @tomhunt, @karmacans and @saltbutterbones. From sour cherry Fitzrovia buns and crispy Vietnamese pancakes to a smoked haddock chowder and chargrilled lamb with labneh, these recipes will have you feasting your way through lockdown. I even put in a recipe myself (because there are no rules when you publish your own ebook…) and we also have an illustrated guide to foraging from @knivmeisterflex. We’ll be updating your book link when we reach £25k, and you won’t need to donate again – this is our way of saying thank you for your unbelievable generosity so far. Please do keep sharing, spreading the word and cooking up a storm for @chefsinschools_uk – with your help we’re hoping to reach £30k!

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Even once lockdown is over, we feel this will become something of a food bible that we can refer back to for years to come.