Like most Kiwis, lockdown life has meant a lot of time spent in the kitchen for Jess and her sister Emily, a secondary school art teacher. For the pair, this has been a good thing as they cooked up Swedish dishes to recreate the elective experience, documenting their creations on their Instagram account, Basil and Lime.

The sisters, both in their mid-20s, set up the foodie account at the beginning of the year, long before stockpiling tinned beans and lockdown food trends like sourdough and banana bread were a reality. 

Jess says it was through her medical studies at the University of Auckland that they came up with the idea for the visual food blog. 

"We wanted to try something new and at med school, I was told we need to pursue outside interests to prevent burnout and keep life interesting. We've always enjoyed cooking and this was a creative output we could work on together."

In early March, Jess had just arrived in Sweden, intending to complete her elective at the Skåne University Hospitals in Lund and Malmö, when the University of Auckland called her, and all other students across the globe, back home. 

At the time it seemed like an overreaction and a huge disappointment at what was supposed to be eight weeks of learning about cardiology and emergency medicine in Scandinavia. Now, she realises she had a lucky escape, having flown out of Denmark the day before it closed its borders to international travellers. 

"Initially, there was a lot of confusion, anger and real disappointment because at that time coronavirus wasn't really wide-spread. But by the time we got back, we realised it was a really good decision for the university to pull us back."


Emily and Jess' family celebrated birthdays in lockdown with a bakyard picnic


Feijoa laced ANZAC biscuits

Her family was planning to visit her in Sweden so the sisters have been creating dishes inspired by that area of the world including rye bread inspired by German roggenmischbrot, Danish spandauer pastries, Swedish meatballs, and Dutch speculaas biscuits. 

Emily says for many young people, living in lockdown might have been the first time needing to cook for themselves, and they want to show people it's easy to cook good food without spending a lot of money. 

"I hope having been forced to do things has helped people realise it's much easier that they thought it would be to cook healthy, cheap, delicious food."

Jess says they also want their Instagram food account to be one that demonstrates a healthy relationship with food. 

"We are particularly frustrated with some influencers on Instagram pushing food exclusions and diets that are not evidence-based. We want to get away from that and get to the heart of good quality food and a healthy relationship with food," she says. 

Lockdown has given Emily a bit more time to wrote and experiment with recipes, which has been appreciated by their parents and a younger sister who all live together.

"We did a post on ANZAC cookies that we'd given a feijoa flair and so many people tried them out which was exciting. It's also been a birthday week in our bubble so we threw a backyard picnic for us all to celebrate," Emily says. 

Check out their Instagram account Basil and Lime here

Carrot,fig and honey cake with a lime cream cheese frosting


Smoked salmon with potato, ruby grapefruit, baby cos, cucumber, capers, red onion and shallots with a miso mirin dressing


Lime and white chocolate baby cheesecakes


We want to hear about how you're living and working under lockdown. What projects have you been working on from home? How are you managing family life, your mental health and keeping in touch with your communities? If you'd like to share your story, email us at and tell us how you're living and working under lockdown. 

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