We have decided to start a little series of recipes for easy, fast dinners. The inspiration for this came from my best buddy Sarah-Daisy who asked me for some healthy recipe ideas that she can make for herself while feeding the kids. I do not have any kids and know my diet would suffer if I did. A lot of them seem to like eating white, bland things, eeeuuugh my food hell.
Lots of my friends have had babies in the last few years and I see that it can be a struggle to fit cooking into a hectic life. You can’t just pitch up in the kitchen whenever you feel like it & make what you fancy. Planning is involved. You have to think about what the kids will eat, how much it costs, is it a balanced diet, time (there is never enough) and I imagine a million other factors that I have no idea about.
Sarah-Daisy asked me for recipes that are tasty, healthy, quick and she can make for herself while the kids eat something else (she must be getting bored of white food). These are not dishes designed for all the family to share. We have not thought about what kids like to eat. They are dishes which can be prepared quickly but are nutritious, tasty and satisfying.
So here are our criteria for these recipes:
1. Quick to prepare (10-20 minutes of actual work)
Ingredients are somewhat of an issue as it takes time to buy them and can be costly so we are aiming to pare the recipes down. It is inevitable that some shopping will be done so we will try to post recipes which re-use novel items. For example, 3 recipes in the series are going to use Japanese ingredients so you can buy a couple of things and we will show you a few ways to use them.
I think the key to always eating something tasty is a good storecupboard which can take a little time to build up. It means that once you have got your hands on a few fresh ingredients there is always something to make them exciting. I always have some nuts, dried fruits, spices, a couple of vinegars, mustard, some chutneys and pickles and a couple of tasty oils. Once you have those the sky is the limit. It is also worth planting some herbs in the garden. They are expensive to buy in bunches from supermarkets and you have to plan to buy them. Rosemary, thyme and bay are really easy to grow and can survive cold English winters. I also keep a pot of basil in the house.
A lot of the dishes we post will be Asian in origin. Frankly this is my go to for healthy, fast food. A stir fry can be ready in 10 minutes.
There are lots of online resources to find great, simple recipes. The photo above is from a Yottam Ottolenghi recipe. It is Freekeh Pilaf with some Harissa chicken. His website has lots of lovely recipes with an emphasis on making vegetables the star of the show. We love his dishes as they are nutritious and super tasty.
It would be great if this was the start of a discussion. We would love to hear your ideas for other dishes & your experiences of cooking simple, healthy meals.