International travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test to enter England from 4am on Friday.
The government confirmed the start date on Tuesday morning after announcing the plans last week. Passengers will be required to take a test in the 72 hours before departure by plane, train or ferry, and provide evidence of a negative result or be refused permission to board.
Arrivals will still need to isolate for 10 days in the UK, or opt into the test-to-release programme, which potentially allows people to leave quarantine from the fifth day with a fresh negative test.
The transport minister Robert Courts said: “Both globally and domestically we are seeing significant increases in levels of coronavirus, including the emergence of worrying new strains.
“It is therefore imperative that we ensure we are doing all we can to protect travel, reduce the risk of imported infections, including from new variants, and protect our NHS while national lockdown and vaccinations take effect.”
The test standards are yet to be set out but will be mainly PCR tests and limited lateral flow tests. Courts said the UK government website would provide information on the kind of tests and documentation needed.
The rules will also apply to British nationals, who would need to stay abroad and follow local rules on self-isolation if testing positive. The onus will be on airlines or other transport operators to check for a negative test and deny boarding without documentation, or face being fined. Passengers found at the border to be non-compliant will also be fined at least £500.
Children under the age of 11 will be exempt, as will hauliers and transport operators’ crew. The measures are likely to be in place until the end of the lockdown, but will be reviewed before that, Courts said.
Pre-departure testing will apply to Scotland and Wales equally but the start date has not been confirmed by the devolved governments.
Airlines said they accepted the necessity for pre-departure testing but urged ministers to ensure it was lifted as soon as possible.
Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of industry body Airlines UK, said: “This is a national health emergency and ministers need to act to keep the country safe. It is true that much of the sector has been lobbying for pre-departure testing – but this was always predicated on the government removing or reducing the quarantine period at the same time. Now we have both.”
He said the policy must be a “time-limited, emergency measure only”, adding: “We cannot afford for this to be baked in over the whole summer.”
Whether for breakfast or just a snack, these vegan bars are a massive crowdpleaser. They’re pretty healthy and proper tasty, so once your pals try them, you know they’ll be coming back for more. After all, nothing is better than a snack filling.
Prep 10 min Cook 50 min Makes 18
350g medjool dates, stoned 220g vegan soya spread 110ml agave syrup 100g pecans, chopped 120g raisins 90g mixed seeds 300g porridge oats (if need be, check the packet to make sure they’re not contaminated by gluten)
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5, and line a 20cm x 30cm, high-lipped baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Tip the dates into a food processor and whizz – you want them to be finely chopped and sticking together in clumps.
Put the soya spread, syrup and dates in a large saucepan over a gentle heat, and stir until the spread has melted and the dates are well coated.
Remove from the heat, add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spoon into the lined tin, level the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 35–40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before cutting into generous wedges. Store in an airtight container, ready for daily munchies.
Persian-style salmon kebabs with potatoes and shirazi salad (pictured above)
Saffron is expensive, but my mum taught me a trick of grinding it into a powder, then mixing it with water so that the threads dissolve. This means a little will go a long way, and still add that beautiful colour and taste.I know that, technically, these are not kebabs because they are not skewered, but if you wish, you can skewer the fish and barbecue or cook it under the grill to get more of a char on the outside – just remember to soak wooden skewers in water for at least 15 minutes before using, or they’ll likely burn (bamboo or metal are great alternatives).
Prep 20 min Cook 15 min Serves 3-4
½ tsp saffron, ground 3 tbsp thick yoghurt,such as Greek-style or Skyr 3 lemons – 2 juiced and 1 cut into wedges Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 x 240g skinless centre-cut salmon fillets, cut into 3-cm cubes (720g total) 280g cherry tomatoes, diced 1 large cucumber (about 350g), diced 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes 30g flatleaf parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped Olive oil Juice of 2 limes 1 small red onion,peeled and diced (about 100g) 500g baby potatoes, quartered
In a shallow bowl, grind the saffron with the back of a wooden spoon, then add a tablespoon of warm water and mix to combine. Add the yoghurt, lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt, mix again, then add the salmon, toss gently to coat in the marinade and set aside.
In a serving bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, cumin, chilli flakes, half of the parsley, onion, lime juice and two tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste then set aside.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron or other heavy-weight frying pan over a medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes, season with salt, stir then spread in an even layer and let sit until the bottoms are deeply browned. Continue to stir and let sit every minute or so, until lightly browned all over, for about five minutes more.
Lower the heat to medium, push to the sides creating a large space in the centre. Add the salmon cubes and cook until the bottoms are browned and the bottom third of the sides look opaque – about three minutes. Stir the potatoes and salmon together, turning, and cook until the centre is medium-rare, three to four minutes. Divide between plates, top with the remaining parsley and serve with salad and lemon wedges.
Charred lemon and mustard-parmesan chicken traybake
Cut any leftovers into small, bite-sized pieces and toss with your favourite grain for a quick salad – dress it with lemon, olive oil and a little dijon mustard to stay consistent with the flavours, and finish with plenty of fresh herbs such as parsley or coriander.
Prep 10 min Cook 15 min Serves 3-4
2 x 200g Tenderstem broccoli, trimmed and thick stalks cut lengthwise 1 bunch salad onions, trimmed (about 100g) Olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 450g), cut in half lengthwise to form 4 cutlets 1½ tbsp dijon mustard 1 lemon,halved 2 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra to serve 1 ball mozzarella (about 125g), torn or cut into 3cm chunks
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 with a shelf in the centre and one 15cm from the grill. In a baking tray or roasting tin, coat the broccoli and onions with two tablespoons of olive oil and season; if anything still seems dry, add more oil. Move to the edges of the pan, creating a space in the centre for the chicken.
Generously season both sides of the meat with salt, pepper, one tablespoon olive oil and mustard, until it has a yellow paste-like coating all over, then arrange in the middle of the tin; nestle the lemon halves cut side up in the tin, too.
Roast on the centre shelf until the chicken is nearly cooked through and the broccoli is starting to brown, about 10 minutes. The chicken should look opaque on top; if you see any raw bits or pink-ish hues, put it back in the oven for another minute or two.
Remove from the oven and turn on the grill. Stir everything then top each chicken piece with a generous sprinkle of parmesan, and one or two pieces of mozzarella. Put any remaining cheese over the other ingredients.
Place under the grill on the top shelf until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, one to four minutes.
Carefully squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken and vegetables (they will be hot), then divide between plates and finish with pepper and more parmesan, if desired.
Pasta with squash, parmesan and almonds
Tip: to prepare your own almonds, toast the nuts in a dry skillet over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown in spots, then leave to cool. Store in an airtight container and use to top salads or grain bowls.
Prep 15 min Cook 20 min Serves 4
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 500g dried spaghetti 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the pasta 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced or grated (about 1 tsp) 3-4 large sprigs fresh thyme, leaves and fine stems only (about 1 tbsp) ½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes 1kg butternut squash, halved, deseeded, peeled and grated (about 500g grated) 250ml low-salt vegetable stock 150g grated parmesan 60g flaked almonds, lightly toasted Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Fill a casserole dish or large pot with water, salt generously and bring to a vigorous boil. Add the pasta, cook for four minutes less than the package instructions, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Reserve one cup of pasta water then drain the noodles. Run through with olive oil, using tongs and a wooden spoon to toss; set aside.
Wipe the pot with paper towel, add two tablespoons oil and put over a medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, thyme and chilli flakes, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the squash, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash begins to lose its raw taste, about five minutes. Pour in the stock, adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer, stirring occasionally, until the excess liquid cooks off, about two minutes. If there are any chunks, crush with a potato masher or the back of a fork.
Add the pasta back to the pot along with the parmesan, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to create a thick, creamy sauce, and until the noodles have an orange hue to them, two to three minutes. Season to taste. If the sauce appears dry, add one tablespoon of the reserved pasta water at a time to loosen. Divide between plates and top with the almonds and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Tomato rice with kale and chickpeas
This recipe contains trace elements of jambalaya, Mexican rice and a Persian dish that my parents used to make for me when I was little.
Prep 10 min Cook 25 min Serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and diced (about 2 tbsp) 1 small red onion,peeled and diced (about 150g) 1 orange or red (bell) pepper,deseeded and diced (about 120g) ½ tsp ground cumin ½ tsp paprika Salt and freshly ground black pepper 200g basmati or long-grain rice 500g passata 1 bunch curly or cavolo nero kale, leaves removed from thick stems and cut into 3cm-ribbons (about 60g) 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed 15g fresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley leaves and fine stems,roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a casserole dish over a medium heat until shimmering. Add the jalapeño, onion, pepper, cumin, paprika and season with salt, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and become translucent, about four minutes. Stir in the rice and toast for about 30 seconds.
Pour in the passata, 500ml water and a pinch of salt, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine and scraping up anything on the bottom of the pot. Cover, raise the heat to bring to a boil, then immediately turn it down to maintain an active simmer. Cook, still covered, for 15-20 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Try not to uncover too often, so that the rice can steam, only checking occasionally to stir and make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom.
When the rice is just about done and there is still a thin layer of sauce above its surface, reduce the heat to low, then stir in the kale and chickpeas, and season to taste. Cover and cook for about three minutes more, until the kale is wilted and tender. Divide between bowls and top with coriander.
Burns Night and my birthday are on the same day, which, over the years, has been both a blessing and a curse – a curse in that I haven’t always wanted to eat haggis, neeps and tatties or read poetry on 25 January, and a blessing in that there’s always been a pre-set suggestion on the birthday party idea-o-meter that’s more interesting than the usual: “Pub?” In any case, this year I am embracing it fully, merging Burns’ love for haggis and tatties with my love of Indian kheema and rotis, and so forming the inaugural Burns-Sodha birthday meal of haggis kheema and tattie rotis.
Haggis kheema and tattie rotis
Treat the haggis and roti recipes separately, if you wish (and if you’re short of time, you could always buy wheat rotis). The dish is built around Macsween’s vegetarian haggis, which you’ll need to buy – it’s widely available in most supermarkets.
Prep 20 min Cook 1 hr 10 min Serves 4
For the tattie rotis 300g maris piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes (250g net weight) 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus 1 tsp extra for frying the rotis Salt ½ tsp nigella seeds 125g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
For the haggis kheema 3 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 medium leek (250g), finely sliced 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 2 Indian green finger chillies, very finely chopped 1kg vegan haggis 2 tsp ground coriander 2½ tsp ground cumin ½ tsp turmeric 100g non-dairy yoghurt – I like Coconut Collaborative 1 large handful (10g) fresh mint leaves, chopped 1 large handful (15g) fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Bring a small pan of water to a rolling boil, drop in the potatoes and cook for 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave to dry in the colander. When dry, put the cooked potatoes back into the same pan, add the oil, half a teaspoon of salt and the nigella seeds, and mash really well. Add the flour and knead with your hands until the mix comes together into a uniform ball of dough.
Lightly flour a work surface and lay out a large sheet of greaseproof paper. Cut the roti dough into four equal pieces. Take one piece of dough, roll it out into a 6cm-diameter circle (dip the rolling pin in flour if need be), then transfer to the paper and repeat with the remaining dough.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and, when hot, lay in the rotis and cook for about a minute and a half on each side, until blackened in places and there are no uncooked, doughy spots – as the pan starts to heat up, the roti will cook more quickly, so you may need to reduce the cooking time and/or heat. Cover the cooked rotis with foil and set aside while you make the kheema.
In the same frying pan, heat the oil for the kheema over a medium heat. When hot, add the leek and onion, and cook for about eight minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies, stir to mix and cook for two minutes more.
Crumble in the haggis and cook, stirring frequently, for about eight minutes – it may stick to the pan, but persevere. Stir in the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and yoghurt, cook for a further four minutes, then taste for seasoning. Add salt a quarter-teaspoon at a time, mixing and tasting after each addition, then stir in the fresh herbs and serve hot with the rotis.