As we enter the second month of lockdown, the coronavirus pandemic has inspired thousands of us to spend more time in the kitchen – experimenting, killing time, ultimately putting more effort into home-cooked meals. We’ve all seen the sourdough and banana bread photo’s on Instagram. The closure of restaurants, however, has left a gaping hole in the lives of many food lovers (not to mention their employees), yearning for the chance to eat out as soon as possible, sating even the most insalubrious cravings. Hoping to quench some of those cravings, a collection of the UK’s best-loved fast food outlets and chain restaurants have begun sharing a few of their most popular recipes, from McDonald’s and Burger King, to IKEA and Nando’s. (KFC is yet to follow suit, but the internet is filled with passable copycat recipes).
Perhaps needless to say, none of the simplified recipes produce results close enough to rival the real thing, but they provide a great start (and hope to keep us entertained) at the very least.
McDonald’s Sausage & Egg McMuffin
Since temporarily closing all 1,270 of its UK restaurants just over a month ago, McDonald’s fans have been craving the world-famous chain’s fast food. Fortunately, McDonald’s have shared a recipe for their Sausage & Egg McMuffins on Twitter. A pared-back version of the original, the recipe calls for a small number of ingredients, printed onto a simple recipe card.
(N.B. For best results, generously season the sausage patties with some salt, white pepper and a teaspoon or two of Italian seasoning. And don’t forget to slather the muffins with butter before grilling).
McDonald’s Sausage & Egg McMuffin Recipe
Sausage meat, 75g
Salt and pepper, to season
American cheese slice
Toast the muffin until golden-brown.
Season the sausage meat with a pinch of salt and pepper, then shape into balls. Flatten into patty shapes and cook under a pre-heated grill for 6-7 minutes on each side (or as per packaging instructions).
Brush the inside of a metal egg ring with a little oil and place in a small frying pan. Pour in just enough water to cover the base then bring to the boil. Crack the eggs into the rings, cover the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Assemble your McMuffin by layering the patty and egg on top of the cheese.
‘Gregg’s It Yourself’
Britain’s most popular bakery chain, Gregg’s has launched a new ‘#GreggsItYourself’ social media series. Having already shared simple video recipes for their sausage, bean and cheese melt, chicken bake, and steak bake, Gregg’s plans to continue to upload video recipes for fans to recreate their savoury pastry recipes at home until it’s considered safe for stores to reopen. Moreover, official Gregg’s pastries are still available to buy from Iceland Foods.
(N.B. The steak bake featured in the video is woefully bereft of seasoning. Season generously with salt and pepper).
Gregg’s steak bake recipe
Beef, finely diced
Cornflour (or flour) mixed with water
“Sizzle the beef in a frying pan until browned.
“Pour on the beef stock and the cornflour mix. Thicken to your taste and leave to cool.
“Cut two pieces of pastry. 108mm X 94mm if you want to be precise.
“Egg wash the edges. Spoon on your filling. Pop the top on and fork the edges. Score six lines and egg wash it.
“Stick in the oven for 20 mins at 200C or until golden brown and piping hot. Tuck in.”
(N.B. Vegan substitutes can be used in place of beef and beef stock to recreate the Gregg’s vegan steak bake.)
While Burger King remains closed in the UK, Burger King France’s Twitter account has shared a series of short instructional videos for its followers, demonstrating how to prepare a selection of fast food dishes, including the brand’s signature ‘Quarantine’ Whopper burger at home.
(N.B. The video suggests the burgers should be fried in a pan, but grilling them on a barbecue – following social distancing suggestions – will provide a more authentic result.)
Burger King Whopper recipe
Makes two burgers
Burger buns, 2
Beef burgers, 2
Slice the tomato, red onion, and cornichon.
Cook the burgers in a frying pan and toast the burger buns.
Assemble by placing the beef patty on the toasted bun, topped with a handful of cornichon slices, tomato ketchup, onion slices, two tomato slices, lettuce leaves and mayonnaise.
Nando’s menu favourites
While Nando’s isn’t technically a fast-food restaurant, it’s one of Britain’s best loved chain restaurants, originally focussing on take-away when arriving in London almost 30 years ago. As well as having opened seven of its city centre restaurants to feed NHS staff, Nando’s has decided to share a selection of recipes for its most popular dishes on Instagram. With Nando’s head of food, Tim Molema, having recently hosted an Instagram live cook-along, the recipes for the restaurant’s PERi-PERi chicken, spicy rice, and macho peas have already been shared. Moreover, the series is set to continue, with Nando’s presenting another Instagram live video each Thursday at 7pm. The chicken recipe is simple enough, favouring boneless thighs marinated in Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce, cooked in the oven and finished in a pan (or grill). The sides, however, are the main draw.
Nando’s spicy rice recipe
Basmati rice, 200g
Cold water, 450ml
Sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons
White onion, ½, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed
Green pepper, ½, finely diced
Chopped tomatoes, ½ tin
Ground turmeric, ½ teaspoon
Cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon
Smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Lemon, juice of one
Coriander, a small handful
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over low heat until soft and translucent.
Add the green pepper and cook until softened. Add the garlic and spiced, increase the heat to medium-high and fry for another minute or so, until the spices and garlic are fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and rinsed rice, add the cold water and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and simmer for ten minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, but leave the lid on for another ten minutes.
Fluff up the rice with a fork and add the lemon and coriander.
Pret has re-opened a handful of its stores, specifically to feed healthcare workers. For the rest of us, the chain has shared a series of fast food recipes on its social media channels, from macaroni cheese to banana bread, focaccia, and their vegan dark chocolate cookies.
Pret dark chocolate vegan cookies recipe
Caster sugar, 43g
Soft light brown sugar, 112g
Almond pieces, 40g (for best results, used flaked almonds lightly smashed up, but whole almonds, chopped into small pieces will also work)
Dark chocolate pieces, 112g
Cocoa powder, 20g
Bicarbonate of soda, ½ teaspoon
Coconut oil, 65g
Almond butter, 72g
Golden syrup, 100g
“Preheat the oven to 180C.
“Pour the caster sugar, soft light brown sugar, flour, almond pieces, salt and chocolate pieces into a large bowl. (For best results sieve the cocoa, flour and bicarbonate of soda).
“Mix the almond butter, oil and golden syrup together and add to the bowl.
“Mix together with a wooden spoon and then bring the dough together using your hands.
“Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Split your dough into 8 golf ball-sized balls and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
“Bake for 8-10 minutes (This will vary depending on thickness – if the edges of cookie feel firm but centre is still soft, it should be ready to take out).
“Leave to cool for 15 minutes.”
Best known for its inexpensive flat-pack furniture, IKEA’s Swedish meatballs have attained cult status. While all UK stores are currently closed, IKEA has shared the recipe for its famous meatballs on Twitter, complete with a construction diagram and a recipe for the accompanying cream sauce. Don’t forget the lingonberry jam and cocktail flag.
IKEA meatballs and cream sauce recipe
Beef mince, 500g
Pork mince, 250g
Onion, 1, finely chopped
Garlic, 1 clove, crushed or minced
Whole milk, 5 tablespoons
Salt and pepper, to season
For the cream sauce
Oil, a dash
Plain flour, 40g
Vegetable stock, 150ml
Beef stock, 150ml
Thick double cream, 150ml
Soy sauce, 2 teaspoons
Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon
“Combine beef and pork mince and mix with your fingers to break up any lumps. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and mix. Add milk and season well with salt and pepper.
“Shape mixture into small, round balls. Place on a clean plate, cover and store in the fridge for 2 hours (this will help them hold their shape whilst cooking).
“In a frying pan, heat oil on medium heat. When hot, gently add meatballs and brown on all sides.
“When browned, add to an ovenproof dish and cover. Place in a hot oven (180C conventional or 160C fan) and cook for a further 30 minutes.
“Iconic Swedish cream sauce: Melt 40 grams of butter in a pan. Whisk in 40 grams of plain flour and stir for 2 minutes. Add 150ml of the veg and 150ml of beef stock and continue to stir. Add 150ml double cream, 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of Dijon mustard. Bring it to simmer and allow the sauce to thicken.
“When ready to eat, serve with your favourite potatoes – either creamy mash or mini new boiled potatoes. Enjoy!”