Adventure doesn’t always have to be about travel. For my family, every meal is a potential adventure – especially if I’m cooking!
As a wife, mother and employee I often find myself struggling to keep up with all the tasks that crop up during the week. As a result, it doesn’t matter how good my intentions, there are weeks when my ability to go into my beloved garden, harvest veg., wash it, prep it and finally cook it a la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall fades into the distance to be replaced by cop-out calls to ask my husband to bring home a take away.
Now, while my family enjoys a Chinese, Indian or chip supper as much as the next one, the cost and calorie counts involved limit these delights as a back-up plan for busy mums. The occasional baked-from-frozen scampi and chips, fish finger sarnie, or shop-bought pizza with added toppings will slot in nicely to fill a gap (and put a smile on everyone’s face) but, as a rule, my family and I prefer to stay away from ready-made meals and overly processed substitutes. As a result therefore, I have gathered a few tricks over the years for throwing together meals that require as little effort as possible while maintaining an ode to health and nutrition.
Incidentally, I find the hardest thing of all can often be deciding what to cook in the first place. So – for all those out there who suffer from the same issues as I do – here’s a few ideas to set you off in the right direction.
In the category of no more than 20 mins to prep and five mins to cook or simply throw in the oven, we have:
- the rapid Ken Holm style stir fry (which now seems almost old-fashioned!)
- any of Jamie Oliver’s classic meat on veg. tray bakes and slow-cooked pot roasts
- Swedish pytt i panna (leftovers, chopped and fried with an egg on top)
- frozen fish fillets, spread with pesto, wrapped in pancetta
- chicken breast with breadcrumb/mustard/pepper based crust (breadcrumbs = rivita in the Magimix)
Reduced to 20 minutes all in, I can suggest:
- the voluptuous Nigella Lawson‘s pea soup (frozen peas in stock with seasoning – blitz)
- pasta (of course) with onion and pancetta cubes in crushed-tomato sauce
- Pasties: leftovers wrapped in pastry and oven-baked
Oddly, my sons feel hard-done-by if you give them the same meal twice in a row. Wrap it in pastry, however, and it is seen as a new meal altogether!