Let's be honest, one of the Cloud Nine Global team's favourite ways to pamper ourselves is from the inside. We love to cook and we LOVE to eat. And when so many things are going to shit at the moment, there's never been a better time to focus on the simple things in life.
Delicious food, either savoured alone or shared with those in your hygiene bubble, is the best way to tap into pleasure, engage all your senses and experience much needed contentment.
One of the best things about cooking is discovering and sharing new recipes. We have lots of favourites, and in this edition of the Global Nine we're going to share a few of our top picks. As huge supporters of female entrepreneurs, we're thrilled that this list is 100% female cook focused, although this wasn't actually intentional. These are just some of the amazing cooks out there bringing us joy. Most of them have cookbooks and blogs and Instagrams, so please check them out...
Ok, here are our nine favourite dishes right now:
One of the most iconic dishes of all time, created by one of the most famous Italian recipe writers of our time. It's widely considered to be the "gold standard" and has more than 8500 five star ratings. This doesn't necessarily mean it will be your favourite version, but it's surely worth a try, right? Plus a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese with a glass of good red wine is the most pure and wonderful version of food pampering that there is, and the perfect way to forget everything going on in the world right now.
If you don't eat meat, you can still enjoy deeply satisfying flavours - and this recipe is an excellent way to do it. Honestly, the name doesn't lie. It really is the best lentil salad. Full of spices, a little sweet, a little crunchy. It's great with a big handful of rocket, or with some roasted pumpkin, or mixed with quinoa, or spooned over hot buttered toast, or with a wobbly egg on top, or accompanied by a spoonful of seasoned greek yoghurt or a crumble of feta. So many options! Give it a try, make tweaks to your taste and enjoy the leftovers, if there are any...
Lara is an Aussie based in London with Indonesian roots and she recently released her first cookbook, which is filled with nostalgic recipes from her childhood. So many of the recipes look amazing and we can't wait to give them a try, but this nasi goreng is particularly spectacular. Definitely add some peanut sauce (yum, yum).
There are so many recipes floating around for this classic Greek dish of stuffed and baked veggies, but we love this version. We adore the way she insists you use outrageous amounts of olive oil to make it lovely and moist and rich, and also her warning that it shouldn't look too pretty in the end. Perfect photogenic gemista won't be anywhere near as tasty as a version that is on the point of delicious collapse. We're sold.
Plus this dish reminds us of long lunches on the island of Crete after a morning spent on the beach, and we can all do with reminders like this right now. Give it a try, even if you can't get great vegetables right now. The slow roasting brings out their best. Serve with a creamy scoop or two of tzatziki.
Really well made cabbage rolls are a thing of great beauty - and a bit of a weakness for the Cloud Nine Global team, thanks to our Ukrainian heritage. We really like these ones by Olia Hercules, a London-based Uki cook with a great Instagram account (check it out). Her cookbooks are also full of lots of lovely recipes for different types of rustic dumplings that are just the ticket during a global pandemic. Easy to make and even easier to eat.
There are so many wonderful Italian dishes on Emiko's website and if you can be bothered with experimenting with fresh pasta then you should definitely spend some time digging around on her blog for inspiration. For something a little lighter and simpler, we love this hearty vegetable and bean soup from Tuscany. The whole point is the use up old vegetables and bread, so feel free to get a little creative with it.
For total escapism (or to experience some serious travel FOMO) check out Mimi's amazing Instagram account. She's currently spending the European summer in the south of Italy with her gorgeous family, cooking and eating incredible plates of food. She is ordinarily based between Italy and France and hosts cooking workshops in her vast country home (when such things are allowed). She has many beautiful recipes, all captured magnificently by her photographer husband, and this chicken one looks particularly gorgeous.
Can't be bothered cooking at all? We don't blame you a bit! In this case, you should take inspiration from Sarah, a sassy gal from South California who has a real knack for styling up vast platters of food. This 'recipe' is more assembly than cooking, perfect when you're not in the mood for anything too labour intensive. And it will make you feel like you're hosting a fabulous party, even if you're devouring it solo. Her Instagram account is also a hoot and worth checking out.