2020: Recipes With Miss COVID-19... Part 2!

On a roll, I kept on cooking because with no news from the Middle Kingdom, what else was I supposed to do? Feeling full from my first culinary wonders I chose to add some pasta into the mix, not wanting to waste a single ingredient I turned leftovers into something my hungover self needed! Those three strokes made it clear, I needed that Dominican Los 'Tres' Golpes right! OK?

Riced up for my life, I changed it up when I cooked my pasta with prawns and chorizo. I had an abundance of ingredients remaining in the fridge that needed using. I used the rest of my freshly made tomato sauce along with a splash of my homemade sofrito to add something extra. Not wanting to spend my whole life cooking, I tried to keep things simple because food is all about the enjoyment for me! Don't talk to me about washing up! Actually, my experience having the house to myself was a blessing because it was my mess to clean. Each meal that was cooked meant that the washing up symbolised the fruits of my labour had counted for something! Yes! Anyway, the pasta was bubbling nicely, the green beans and pitted olives made a famous pair as they both cooked way in the skillet like pan. My sofrito and tomato mix worked nicely with the prawns and chorizo, the blend of flavours had me feeling really hungry! Would I cook too much pasta? Of course, I always do and did during that cooking situation. Get that dished up! Quickly!

Now, my pasta mash up tasted just right! The infusion had me tasting all kinds of flavours, I had used my green beans up even though I had planned to use them for another dish. In that early October 2020 moment did I see myself cooking like I am? For one I hadn't planned to be in England and the cooking part would have followed because those lockdown takeaways became such a bore when they were in my life before I flew back from China. Had I gone crazy? No, Miss Rona congratulated me like Mary Berry had done the bakers in the 'Great British Bake Off' tent, I had taken my sweet time but the effort made was noticed nonetheless. Miss Rona, I have proved that I can cook feasibly for myself, so can I go back to China now? Exactamente, I was pleased with that pasta dish because it was something different. How long would it before I would be cooking up something Dominican? That would follow, all in good time! Pasta done, I wanted to take things back to the Caribbean Islands, Miss Rona I think you've had enough! Go!

Casting my mind back to the previous Sunday, I had ruined my planned plantain stew but after rescuing the rice and bean base I was able to find another use for it. As per usual I had cooked more pasta than needed, or had I subconsciously cooked enough for the next few days with a nifty addition in tow? Quite possibly? By a stroke of 'I don't know what' I blended down the leftover pasta sauce that contained the green beans, chorizo and prawns into a thick liquid like consistency, from there I mixed it in with the rice. Choosing to heat the newly generated stew in the pan, the 'meal by mistake' bubbled away famously! With the rice to bulk it up and the previously used pasta sauce boasting of an already hearty consistency, what accompaniment would be suitable to pair it with? That was truly the question! Not playing any games because collectively 2020 and Miss Rona have made a right mess already, I grabbled some nachos to scoop the bean rice stew! I added a bit of Black Country charm by dipping in some pork crunch! 

Now, with this mashed up combination taking care of any off cuts from previous meals I was laughing because the original rice had lasted me the whole week! Looking like a chilli, I got myself back onto those YouTube meal tutorials, I gave my Spanish listening and reading skills a good go because only the Mexican 'Carne con Chilli' recetas would only do for me! ¡Si! Getting back in my stride, I agreed with myself once more because it would be a great future-proof theory to have pre-cooked rice in my fridge in China to ease the weeks dining options. I was and I am getting these 'post-pandemic' recipes together because those 9-5 coins will be spent wisely and saved wisely third time around after I get back to where I need and want to be! My financial situation has changed beyond belief, budgeting isn't something that I was used to unless it was a holiday fund. The reintroduction to cooking has given me the control that I have been lacking in my life, that cannot be stressed enough! Regardless, leftovers are definitely life! Get it right, Ro! 

Going back those first 'Chef Zee Cooks' recipe tutorials that I watched on YouTube a few weeks previous to that Autumnal moment, I had wanted to get my 'Los Tres Golpes' on straight after finding out what Dominican delights could be fried together for a Caribbean breakfast of another kind! Knowing what was right, I used the chance to walk down to my local ASDA to find the specific ingredients for 'two' of the 'three strokes' that were needed! Halloumi cheese and plantains bought for the win, the next day I made up my 'mangú' and 'queso frito', that's 'fried cheese' for those who don't understand Spanish. Cooking rice in the pan like the Puerto Rican way, I took that risk as my plantain boiled in another pan on the hob with a healthy accompaniment of onions and garlic! Dominican music on in the background, I had given myself a massive task because I cannot multi-task for nothing! Getting things in order as best as I could, the breakfast from the DR started to come together. ¿Se habían completado los tres golpes? No!

Twenty minutes had reached my timer, I checked the rice to see that it was a bit sticky but to be honest it was fine, it had a slight crisp to it but it wasn't overcooked. The 'mangú' could have cooked for a little longer but if truth be told I was getting hungry, this cooking lark is not easy! Anyhow, I had my rice done and 'mangú' plated up, next the pan had been oiled and heated so I could fry the cheese, eggs and chorizo. The eggs, cheese and chorizo were fried in no time, bringing the meal together lastly was a strong black coffee. Essentially, the taste was good and the triumphant feeling I had as I tucked into my 'Los Tres Golpes' Dominican breakfast was worth all the jumping around the kitchen I had done that Saturday brunch time. The hot coffee brought the meal together, next time I will make a more authentic coffee with the correct kitchen items to brew the coffee. I am really glad that I took the plunge to make such an adventurous dish because even if we have our preferred list of meals, cook what you want to cook! I said so! 

With a favourable amount of rice leftover from my Dominican brunch, I decided that I had a duty to cook up a one pot 'chilli con carne' wonder! Dragging myself to ALDI for the final bits and pieces I planned to cook it on the Sunday 5th October 2020 because the beef mince I had bought a day previous had that use by date as the final opportunity, I didn't have time to give myself food poisoning! No thanks! With a bag of coriander needing using up and enough garlic to ward away one thousands vampires, I was good to go! Spicing up my life with my Jamaican all seasoning spices, paprika and chilli powder, those flavours cooked up nicely together. Building with tomato goodness, I was looking forward to the prospect of eating nothing but fresh chilli with rice for the next week and I was ok with that! That one pot wonder suited me fine, I chose not to endlessly chop up food or having complex things frying up in my face! What would this chilli be tasting like? On my 8th cook up, I was getting into this cooking lark! No roast for me! 

Served up and spicy! Changing with up for that Sunday with the politeness, I tucked into my chilli with much anticipation. Those flavours packed an almighty punch for sure, I wasn't going to get no cold or Rona with those spices present! Miss Rona, don't get comfortable because I see you with your looks, I could kill you with the quickness! These recipes with Miss Rona have spiced up this unknown 'are we in lockdown still' period! Had I finished with the chilli? For a second that was the case but reassessing my finances, I gave myself the green light to ask my baddies 'Fiorella' and 'Valerie' for a Peruvian and Filipino cooking suggestion. Make this clear, I am not going back to freezer foods, I'm thankful for those meals but I do need this change to continue. Collecting these 'Rona Recipes' I will be taking them back with me to the Middle Kingdom. I cannot stress that being frugal and creative can go hand in hand, for true! I'm feeling like those king prawns need using up because they were a luxury purchase! Miss Rona, u fi dun? 

Miss Rona... GWEH!

Joseph Harrison 


  1. I love reading up in these recipes! I don't have a lot of exposure to Caribbean cooking but you've inspired me to learn🤗🥰


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