Steamed Chicken with Scallions & Ginger
A Cantonese dish by origin, this is officially the quickest weeknight dinner of all time. It can only benefit from a bit more color on the plate, so I would highly recommend serving with some very simple stir fried broccoli or at least a giant green salad.
If you go for the broccoli just put it on the stove right after the rice, throw on some salt and olive oil, and it should be ready to go by the time the chicken and rice are ready.
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
- 1 Tbsp (2cm cube) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- ½ cup/ 120ml rapeseed, corn, or other light oil
- ¼ cup spring onions/scallions, white and green parts, washed and sliced thinly
- Good quality soy sauce or shoyu
- Toasted sesame oil
- White rice
- Cook the rice according to the package instructions and the number of serving you need.
- Steam the chicken over simmering water for 6-10 minutes or until cooked. If you aren’t sure if it’s cooked just cut into it and check.
- While the chicken and rice are cooking, stir together the oil, ginger, spring onions and salt in a mug.
- When ready to serve, lay the rice on the plate, and the chicken on top. Drizzle the soy sauce and toasted sesame, followed by the scallion ginger oil.
Moroccan Beef & Prune Tagine
This is taken from a Jamie Oliver Cookbook. It’s pretty delicious, it’s just a commitment in terms of stove time. The alternative and highly recommended option is to throw it in your crockpot for 8 hours on slow, adding the prunes and pumpkin 5 hours in.
If you need to do the stovetop edition just get a book.
- 600 g quality stewing beef
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 can chickpeas (400g), drained and well rinsed
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 800 ml organic vegetable stock/bouillon
- 600g frozen pumpkin cubes (or if you are really a hero go for a fresh squash, but no one will think less of you for going with the frozen option.)
- 100g/.5 cups prunes, roughly chopped
- 2 large spoonfuls flaked almonds, toasted
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 spoonful ras el hanout spice mix
- 1 spoonful ground cumin
- 1 spoonful ground cinnamon
- 1 spoonful ground ginger
- 1 spoonful sweet paprika
- Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef in a large bowl, and massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for a couple of hours – ideally overnight.
- Whenever you are ready to start the tagine, heat a generous glug of olive oil in a casserole– type pan (think le creuset) and fry the meat over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cilantro stalks and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in half of the stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan or cover with foil and reduce to a simmer for 1½hours.
- After this eternity, add your squash, the prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a stir, then cover again and continue cooking for another 1½ hours. Add water or broth throughout if it dries out.
- When ready, check the consistency. If it seems a bit too liquid, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. The beef should be really tender and flaking apart now, so have a taste and season with a pinch or two of salt.
- When you are ready to eat, put couscous in a pot with olive oil and sautee lightly for a few minutes. When it begins to toast, add an equal amount boiling water, cover and wait 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. If you are feeling naughty add a knob of butter #yolo.
- Lay the couscous out on the plate, and cover with the tagine, the cilantro leaves, and the toasted almonds.
Swedish Visiting Cake
This is the most reliable cake ever. Think of it more as a giant marzipan cookie. The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan, a Connecticut native!! I can confidently say it’s the most reliable dessert you can make.
- 1 cup/ 225g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 cup/ 226g all-purpose flour
- 8 tablespoons/ 113g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- A handful of sliced almonds
- Center a rack preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan.
- Blend the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in the salt and the extracts. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour. Finally, fold in the melted butter.
- Scrape the batter into the pan. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar. If you're using a cake pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.
- Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm or cooled, turned out onto a serving plate.
Chorizo & Chickpea Stew
Two words: Easy. Crowd-pleaser.
This is such a winner. It’s taken from a recipe from Nigella Lawson, although slightly adapted. The best part about it is that except for the coriander you can keep everything in the pantry and whip it out to impress some last-minute guests.
I had the pleasure of cooking this one for our fabulous ‘Food Team’ at work, no group of ladies more deserving!
- A glug of regular olive oil
- 50g vermicelli
- 250g Bulgar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp sea salt
- .5 liters water (a bit more than 2 cups by American measurements)
- 2 bay leaves
- 350g chorizo (cut into coins)
- 4 large spoonfuls amontillado sherry
- 2 cans chickpeas (400g) rinsed thoroughly
- 2 cans cherry tomatoes (400g) (plus 1 1/2 cans water)
- Fresh coriander
- Sautee the chorizo pieces in a large pot over medium heat, until the orange oil runs out. Then add the sherry and let it bubble away.
- Add the chickpeas and canned tomatoes, and half fill each empty tomato can with water and swish it into the pan. Put on a high heat and let it bubble away until you are finished with the bulgar. About 5 minutes in taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- To make the bulgar, warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the pasta bits in the oil for a minute, stirring, until they start to brown. Then add the bulgar and stir for another minute or two until it starts to smell toasted.
- Stir in the cinnamon and the salt, and then pour the water into the pan. Add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil, then turn down to the lowest heat, cover, and leave for 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed.
- Served topped with chopped coriander.
It is universally recognized that broth heals all. If you are not yet convinced of this, please read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. You will start drinking broth all day every day.
If you can, make this soup with homemade chicken broth. If not, just make it with some organic bouillon. The problem with the cheap bouillon cubes is that everything you make tastes the same. You’re better than that.
- 20 small cherry tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 dried ancho chile
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup coriander, washed and chopped
- Chop the tomatoes in half and douse in olive oil and sea salt. Pop them in the oven (on a baking tray covered in aluminum foil) for 40 minutes at 350f/175c.
- In a pan on the stovetop, sauté the onions and garlic. When softened, stir in the spices. Stir around for a minute or two until fragrant and add the can of tomatoes.
- Let it bubble away for a bit (5 minutes or so), before adding the broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer until the tomatoes are done.
- When done, serve topped with chopped coriander, the oven roasted tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream.
Sriracha Macaroni & Cheese
This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most delicious macaroni and cheese recipe you’ll ever find. It comes from this speciality cookbook all about Mac and cheese: HYPERLINK.
It could serve 4 people who like to eat in moderation, or two people who are comfortable with not moving for the rest of the night and not looking to impress anyone. Christian and I were of course, the latter #noregrets.
The concept of Mac and cheese night was born when I attempted to make my own Mac and cheese recipe and wound up with something edible at best. Christian introduced me to this gem of a recipe and I’m a changed woman.
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt or 1 teaspoons table salt
- 1/2 lb macaroni
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 2.5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp sriracha
- 1 cup sliced green onions (green and light white parts only)
- 1/2 cup panko
- Preheat the oven to 400f/220c.
- Cook the pasta in salted water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Mash together the ginger and butter in a small bowl until fully combined, set aside.
- Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but don't let it boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate pot. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown (roughly 3 minutes). Remove from the heat.
- Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter flour mixture, whisking constantly.
- Once the milk has been added, put the pot back on the medium heat and continue to whisk constantly. The sauce should thicken- if it doesn't slide off a spoon dipped in, it's ready.
- Add the sauce, cheese and ginger butter to a large pot and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Add the sriracha and the cooked pasta and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, another 5 minutes. Add the green onions and stir to fully combine.
- Pour the mixture into a 14 inch casserole pan and sprinkle with Panko. Bake 20 minutes.
- Serve topped with more sriracha!
Fusilli with Italian Sausage & Basil
This was an off the cuff dinner made with the leftover pasta from the Spinach and Leek Soup with Sausage. That’s right- 5 days later. I think everyone should be a little more flexible about leftovers. When in doubt, eat it. If it’s bad- you’ll know.
If you don’t have leftover sausage you can of course make it within the recipe, it’s written below as such.
- 3 Italian sausages (they should have fennel seed in them)
- 200g fusilli or another small pasta (about a third of a box)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicy)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Sauté the sausages in a pan. Once browned all over, slice and throw back in the pan to brown all over. When done, add the onion and garlic and continue to stir.
- After a few minutes, add the can of tomatoes, and the spices. Continue to stir on a low flame as the pasta cooks. A minute or so before the pasta is done, stir in the basil.
- When the pasta is done, reserve a cup of pasta water, strain the pasta, and throw it into the sauce. Add the reserved pasta water in small amounts until the dish reaches your ideal consistency. I prefer my pasta saucy!
- Remove from the heat and add the parmesan.
This recipe is inspired by the version on Heidi Swanson’s blog www.101cookbooks.com. It is fresh and light, and perfect for a light summer meal or a picnic. Who doesn’t love picnics.
Soba noodles are also incredibly healthy. They have less calories, more protein, and more fiber than regular pasta, and they are also gluten-free.
In the version photographed I forgot the shrimp *sigh*.
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (more if you like spicy)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup shoyu soy sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 package soba noodles
- Handful of frozen shrimp (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 5 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a blender. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the blender running, drizzle in the oils. Set aside.
- Cook the shrimp in boiling water (don't overdo it- frozen shrimp don't need to be cooked until they taste like rubber bands). Peel & clean and set aside.
- Cook the soba in plenty of boiling salted water until just tender (usually 4 minutes), drain and rinse under cold water. Be sure it is really not warm and no longer cooking !
- In a large bowl, combine the soba noodles, the cilantro, the spring onions, the shrimp, the cucumber, half of the sesame seeds, and 2/3 cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined, Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve topped with chopped cilantro and more sesame seeds.
This is based on the saag paneer recipe from Heidi Swanson’s “Near & Far Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel”, with some liberal changes. It’s an Indian dish; saag means spinach and paneer is a fresh Indian cheese that is absolutely delicious. Think halloumi but not as salty, and it reheats better as well (in the unlikely event that you will have leftovers).
Confession: I used leftover rice from Indian take out that I had the night before.
Second confession: I forgot to take a picture with the paneer… so that’s why it’s missing in the photo.
- 3/4 cup rice
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 500 g baby spinach, washed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1-1.5 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 block of paneer
- Cook rice according to package instructions.
- Chop the paneer into small squares and sauté in coconut oil in a separate pan. Whenever it is fully browned and crispy and delicious, just turn it off and leave it there.
- Put the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and the spinach, stirring until it wilts. Do this as quickly as possible you don't want to overcook the spinach or it will lose it's color. Once wilted, remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Rinse out your pan and put it back on medium high heat with the rest of the coconut oil. Add the cumin seeds, salt, chili flakes, garlic and onions. Cook a few minutes, and then stir in the garam masala. Lower the heat and stir in the spinach. Gradually stir in the buttermilk and keep at a simmer.
- When ready to serve, lay on a bed of rice and squeeze fresh lemon juice liberally over every bowl. Top with pieces of paneer.
Spinach and Leek Soup with Sausage
This soup will change your life. It takes 15 minutes to prepare, and is made with only a few ingredients. Use the highest quality ingredients you can find, subtle tastes matter for simple dishes.
You could also add small pasta or rice to this tor white beans if you are in the mood.
- Olive oil
- 200 grams spinach
- 2 medium leeks
- 1.5 liters broth
- 6 small Italian sausages
- 1 tsp thyme
- Pinch of cayenne
- Black and white pepper & salt
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Wash and chop the leeks (soak in cold water if you need to get the excess dirt off). Sautée in olive oil and salt for 5 minutes or so on a medium heat. Don't let them brown just allow them to get sweet and let off some liquid.
- While the leeks are cooking, wash and chop the spinach, and put the 6 sausages in a frying pan on high heat, until they are brown all over.
- Once the leeks are ready, add a teaspoon of dried thyme and a pinch of cayenne. Stir around to coat, then pour in the broth and add the spinach. Turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer on a very low heat. Add black and white pepper and salt to taste.
- Once the sausages are brown, remove them from the heat and slice. If they are not fully cooked in the middle just throw them back in the pan so they brown evenly.
- When you are ready to serve, but some grated parmesan in the bottom of your bowl, top with soup, and top with some sausage slices.