9 of the best online cook-alongs to join

In need of some dinner inspiration? Follow these foodies for tips and know-how.

Going out for dinner or grabbing a cafe lunch is currently off the table – meaning lockdown has plunged the majority of us into a world of constant cooking and incessant washing up, as we cycle repetitively through our staple dishes, and turn again and again to the freezer.

However, quite a few chefs, food writers and culinary enthusiasts now have more time on their hands, and so are hosting video cookery tutorials to help us all up our game in the kitchen.

It’s basically free, online culinary school. Here are just a few to follow…

1. Ravneet Gill @ravneeteats

Pastry chef and cookbook author Ravneet Gill has amazing skills when it comes to sweets (just check out her debut recipe collection, The Pastry Chef’s Guide). She’s been teaching us how to make perfect cookies that are gooey in the middle, but crisp on the outside – and has very firm rules about resting batter overnight, however tempted you are to just eat it raw from the bowl.

2. Claire Thomson @5oclockapron

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FILMED BY GRACE 🤩 2 onions, diced 4 cloves garlic, sliced 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks 1/2 – 1 tsp allspice 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried Salt, to taste 1 x 400g passata or chopped tin toms Olive oil 240g bulgur (soaked for 10 mins in cold water, drained) 500mls hot stock or water 30g butter 1 tsp of dried mint (or mint tea bag!) Aleppo chilli flakes, to taste Urfa chilli flakes, to taste Lemon to squeeze Cook the onions for 8 mins in olive oil until soft, add garlic, spices, bay, salt, cook for 2 mins more. Add tomatoes, bring to the boil, add the soaked bulgar, mix well. Add the hot stock or water, lid and cook over moderate heat for 12 – 15 mins. Put a clean tea towel over the pot, lid and rest again for 10 mins. Make the spiced butter as perfect video. Season the yoghurt as per video. Serve together with lemon to squeeze. #the5oclockapron #cookingwithkids #newkitchenbasics #theartofthelarder #lockdownlunch 🔐 #storecupboardcooking

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Chef and Bristol-based mum of three Claire Thomson has been doing daily recipes with her kids (so you have no excuses) that you can follow along with. The dishes are mainly from her cookbooks, New Kitchen Basics and The Art Of The Larder, which champion store cupboard essentials and putting your pantry to work. Plus, Thomson is always making swaps, so if you’ve run out of flour, she’ll likely offer a reliable alternative to sub in.

3. Livvy Potts @ahalfbakedidea

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Yesterday on Isolation Baking we made HOT CROSS BUN AND BUTTER PUDDING, or, truly, BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING, because you can make this with whatever you’ve got. I used some HXB and some panettone from the death of my freezer, but I’ve made it with white sliced, granary, bread rolls, everything really! And I added some dark chocolate and Seville orange marmalade because I love the combo so much, but you can spice the custard itself, or add lemon curd a and jams, fresh and dried fruit, peanut butter or Nutella. Normally I use a combo of whole milk and double cream for the custard, but yesterday’s I made with UHT skimmed and milk powder, which really shows you can use anything! Written ingredients and recipe now up in my stories. Join my on Wednesday for LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE! . . . #ReadySteadyApocalypseCook #baking #isolationbaking #chefsofinstagram #spice #chocolate #bakersofinstagram #teatime #easterbaking #loafinthetimeofcorona #pastrychef #marmalade #buns #bun #hotcrossbunrecipe #sugar #sweet #dough #englishbiscuits #hotcrossbuns #easter #pudding #dessert #treat #bakewithkids #homemade #chef #recipe #isolationrecipes #hotcrossbun

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Food writer and chef Livvy Potts has been doing daily #isolationbakes – all the recipes are in her Insta story highlights. She often shares what she does with her leftovers too. Her bacon-stuffed hot cross buns were particularly enviable.

4. Chetna Makan @chetnamakan

Whether you’re in need of a chickpea curry recipe that’ll keep your whole lockdown household happy, a decadent chocolate brownie tiramisu, or a new veggie option, check out Chetna Makan’s YouTube channel Food with Chetna. She’s been posting easy recipes practically every day.

5. Honey & Co. @honeyandco

Even with their restaurants closed, Honey & Co owners, Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich are still feeding us. They have taken to Instagram, sharing cookie ideas, and how to eke three meals out of a chicken. Plus, videos of them dancing, which is always brilliant.

6. Oliver Tarrant @otcooks_eats

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Korean. Fried. Chicken. // I’ve been informed by my best mate that this would be his desert island main meal, which I think is maybe the highest praise possible. This is one of my all time favourite things to make. It’s just got everything. The chicken thighs are burned in a spiced buttermilk to make them go extra tender, then put through a simple dredge of seasoned flour. Cooked until dark brown and crispy, then tossed in one of the best sauces ever. Gochujang, rice vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, sriracha, soy and mirin make for the most delicious korean chilli sauce – sweet, pretty spicy, tangy, salty, incredible. Topped with the obligatory OT black and white sesame seeds, spring onion, chilli and coriander. Unreal. Made this thanks to the incredible mind games of @elljpearce and @dougscott11 – we are all but pawns in their game of chess… 😂 // #Chicken #FriedChicken #KoreanFriedChicken #KFC #Korean #Gochujang #Chilli #Spicy #Buttermilk #Asian #AsianFood #Cooking #HomeCooking #Homemade #FamilyFood #Dinner #FoodBlog #FoodBlogger #InstaFood #InstaFoodie #StudentFood #StudentCooking #SheffieldIsSuper

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Recent university graduate Oliver Tarrant loves his food, and shares his culinary adventures via Instagram. Expect everything from sushi and poached pears, to Korean fried chicken and classic crumbles.

7. Massimo Bottura @massimobottura

Endlessly energetic, legendary Italian chef Massimo Bottura (he’s got three Michelin stars for Osteria Francescana) is sharing his #KitchenQuarantine escapades on IGTV. Pick up knife skills, ask him questions live, and discover his pizza recipe – which is undoubtedly excellent.

8. Rosetta Costantino @rosettacostantino

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As I promised here is another pasta shape, maybe more of an unusual technique than a shape, that I learned in the Arbëresh town of Firmo, Calabria. It is shaped just with your hands from beginning to end, no rolling pins, no knives. It starts out with a round of pasta dough that is cut in the middle to look like a doughnut and from here it is stretched until it looks like fettucine or lagani as we would call them in my town. This is typically served with legumes, either chickpeas or poverelli beans and a simple sauce that consists of olive oil, garlic and pepe rosso (sweet pepper powder). You can add a bit of tomato to this sauce as it is in my cookbook under Lagani e ceci recipe if you like a bit more of a sauce color. This is my third time making this pasta by hand, the previous times we made it during a cooking class in my Calabria culinary immersion tour. Give it a try, it is not difficult. As I mentioned in the videos I have seen this technique used in the making of Maccheroni alla Mugnaia or Molinara but I think they are rounder and not flattened like fettucine and kept as a long rope. Interesting technique that is used in other regions of Italy but in Calabria I have only found this pasta in Arbëresh towns located inthe Pollino area of Calabria.

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For further Italian inspiration, tune in to culinary instructor Rosetta Constantino’s site. The author of My Calabria and Southern Italian Desserts, she’ll have you whipping up fresh, homemade pasta in no time.

9. Isa Guha @isaguha

Former England cricketer and sports commentator Isa Guha is cooking recipes from her mum Roma’s cookbook, to raise funds for Rennie Grove Hospice Care and The Kindness Factory. Get involved and try out some traditional Bengali dishes.