What’s the ideal recipe for relationship resilience for couples who endure extended periods of separation? Our culinary queen AJ Sharp has found out how food plays an important role in bringing forces families back together…

“After being away we make sure we have a lovely threecourse meal and wine.” – Becci Quarmby

“Definitely a take-away, as it’s not something I have when I’m on my own.” – Charlotte Harmer

“We love a baked Tunworth to share. Also dim sum and party canapes just for us.” – Fiona Amstutz

“Gareth learned how to cook awesome curries on tour in Pakistan, which I eat now he’s home.” – Nell Light, Larkhill

“Our ‘exeat foods’ tend to zone in on it being fun and a family activity rather than just me stuck in the kitchen and then putting it on a table. So, homemade pizza, fajitas and our new ‘hot rock’ are huge hits.” – Viv Thurston

“It’s my husband that cooks. Food features heavily in our time together because it’s our opportunity to sit at a table with no gadgets or activities. It’s the perfect time to chat and catch up. We have two boys, aged 13 and 14, who are at boarding school – and when they’re home, weekends are family time and home-cooked food is important to them. We offer to take them out for a meal but they genuinely prefer home-cooked food. Typically, Friday evening is something easy like fajitas, Saturday breakfast is always boiled eggs, and the rest of Saturday is determined by whatever activity we do. Sunday breakfast is always big, either a fry-up with all the trimmings or home-made waffles with either bacon and maple syrup or fresh fruit and cream.” – Paula Jayne Searle

Some food items to consider

When you already have a lot on your plate and you want to take the stress out of cooking, why not consider a Hello Fresh box? The home delivery meal kits include ingredients and step-by-step recipe cards and start from £5.

Kids love the simplicity of working together to create a meal. Fajita packs are fab, as is Gressingham’s duck pancake kit. The shredded duck is very easy to prep – just pop it in the oven and then serve with the pancakes and sauce.

If your family is more into snacking, then Fairfields Farm Crisps and Ten Acre popcorn – which comes in big 150g bags – are perfect for sharing whilst catching up.

To hear more from AJ, follow @ajsharpflavourfanatic

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