Quick meals – No food snobbery allowed, ok
September 23, 2011 in Food and cookery
If there is anything I really hate its food snobbery. I love good cooking and ethically produced and sourced ingredients as much as the next person but cleverness for cleverness sake is irritating.
What, you may ask, has caused this outburst? Well, it’s the latest issue of Food and Home Entertaining, a magazine I love and turn to regularly for inspiration. I was paging through the publication a few days ago and spotted a picture of the most delicious looking little cakes. The recipe was titled Blueberry Friands, not that I know what a “friand” is, and looked like something I would definitely like to try. That was until the step in the method that said “Pour the batter into a 6-hole friand tin”. Now I don’t know about you but enthusiastic foodie that I am, even I have not heard of a friand tin let alone know where to find one. Yuppiechef doesn’t even stock one of these things so here’s my gripe – friands may be the latest trend but then do try and educate us a bit as to why it’s a friand and not, shall we say, a cupcake. Also consider that most home bakers are unlikely to have a friand tin so do us a favour and either tell us where we can obtain one or give an alternative product that can be used, for example a muffin tin. There, whinge session over.
How have you experienced food snobbery? Whether it’s been a snooty waiter in a restaurant, a recipe that’s unnecessarily complicated or an acquaintance who’s declared that she’ll only eat fat-free, whole-wheat organic food with no artificial anything (but then helps herself to more than her fair share of YOUR slap chips), we’d love to hear about it.
Has anyone else experienced the time warp that seems to be happening? All of a sudden days are turning into weeks are turning into months before one’s even realised what day it is. I can’t believe that Christmas is in three months’ time, where did the rest of the year go? My jam-packed schedule of late has forced me to really focus on the basics of cooking and getting the maximum nutrition into a meal without spending hours in the kitchen – I simply do not have the time to prep and create elaborate dinners. Last week I wrote about having the right staples in your fridge to whip up delicious healthful snacks and light meals and today I’m expanding on that theme.
Having a well stocked pantry is essential to being able to prepare something quick and nutritious for the family. The “must have” items for my pantry include the following (no food snobbery allowed here, there is no shame in using stock cubes and store-bought mayonnaise when time is short):
- Pasta (linguine and pasta shells in particular)
- Tinned tuna
- Tinned vegetables (chopped tomatoes and plain sweetcorn)
- Good olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Self-raising flour
- Long life milk
- Onions and potatoes
My fridge always has mayonnaise, butter, a selection of salad veggies and eggs in it.
With just these few simple things there are a number of quick and tasty options available and here are some of my family’s favourites.
As-You-Like-It Pasta Salad with Tuna (This is one of Himself’s favourite weekend lunches)
Cook two cups of pasta shells, drain and rinse under cold water. This will stop the cooking process and cool the pasta down for the salad.
Drain a tin of tuna and break up the chunks with a fork.
Place the pasta and tuna into a large salad bowl and add some, or all, of the following items depending on what you like:
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- Diced cucumber
- Chopped gherkins
- Crumbled feta
- Grated carrot
- Finely sliced spring onion
Season well with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, toss it all together and voila, you have a simple, tasty, QUICK meal.
Kid-Approved Corn Fritters (the muppets call them “mielie cakes”, it’s so cute)
1 tin plain sweetcorn, drained (200g sweetcorn if you’re using fresh or frozen)
1 egg, lightly beaten
50 g self-raising flour
A little milk
Salt and pepper
Put the corn, egg and flour into a bowl. Mix gently adding enough milk so that a spoon of batter drops reluctantly from it (you don’t want it too runny). Season well.
Heat some sunflower oil in a pan (enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan) and when it is hot, drop in teaspoonfuls of batter.
Cook for 3-4 minutes a side, until they are golden and set.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve.
To make this into a meal for my muppets, I serve the fritters with a bread roll and strips of carrot and cucumber and “pink sauce” (mayonnaise or plain yoghurt mixed with a little tomatoe sauce). Clean plates all around, every time.
To make the fritters more adult, the following can be added (you may need to add a little more flour or milk to keep the consistency of the batter right:
- Finely sliced spring onions
- Grated carrot or courgette
- Cheese (cheddar, parmesan, Gruyere, whatever takes your fancy)
- Spices (cayenne pepper, paprika, curry powder)
I personally like to add spring onions, finely diced red pepper, a pinch of dried chilli and a bit of cheddar. Served with guacamole they make a lovely Mexican style snack.
What are your pantry staples for when time is short?
A good knife is essential to prepare food quickly and efficiently and rumour has it that Silver Ribbon will be stocking the beautiful Wusthof range very soon. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of what they are planning to stock and ordered a Culinar Santoku chef’s knife. It is a dream to work with, perfectly balanced and super sharp. Keep your eye out on www.silverribbon.co.za and sign up for the newsletter, it means you’ll be the first to know about what’s hot and happening.
It’s the Good Food and Wine show for us Jo’burgers this weekend and I can’t wait to see what they will have on offer this year. Is anyone going to see Chef Ramsay in action?
Whatever your plans are for the weekend, enjoy them and enjoy your family.
Until next week, fare well.