Tag Archives: easy

Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it: popcorn and Worcestershire sauce

Until last week I had never made popcorn on the stove. Well at least not as an unsupervised adult. Do you all know how easy it is to make? Very. And cheap! And not bad for you! A winning combination if ever there was one.


But you know what makes it winninger? Worcestershire sauce. I’m sure Anna will poo poo this particular good + good combination but don’t listen to her, internet. It’s awesome. I used to make it all the time with microwave popcorn in my New York years (read: when I was broke) and am very pleased to have been reunited with a favorite snack.

Thank you, me, for that random popping corn purchase six months ago.


Second day- Meatballs

They had ready-made meatballs in Sainsbury so I was inclined to go the Italian way. Inspired by a recipe I got from the Observer ages ago by a famous cook whose name I can’t remember!


Onion and garlic fried until softened, two cans of tomatoes added with some salt, pepper and bay leaf and let that bubble away for a while. Meanwhile brown and fry the meatballs until nicely browned, pour away the excess oil and add to the meatballs. Then check if it needs more seasoning and let it simmer again for a short while. The sauce again was really yummy and with the bay leaf a nice change from the normal more basil focused tomato sauce. With some wholewheat spaghetti and dinner and lunch for two days sorted!

Ha- this is easy…

– Stef

Quick, easy, cheap, healthy weeknight dinner

Oh, and it uses barely any dishes.  What more do you people want from me?

I had a friend in town last week, and that involved a lot of eating (and drinking) out, so I felt the need for a healthy and non-spendy week.  So I’m reacquainting myself with the sofa and kitties, and went to the supermarket yesterday.  For a grand total of four quid, I picked up two salmon fillets and a head of broccoli, which has served me for two nights supper.  Not bad.

Here’s how I do it to minimize effort and time… Continue reading

The best soup. Ever.

I went looking for something light-but-exciting for dinner on our first night back after eating ourselves to death in France. Little did I know I’d found the world’s greatest soup on epicurious – from Self no less. It’s fresh, it’s light, it’s spicy, and it’s so simple it barely feels like cooking.

I made a few little modifications to the printed recipe, and one major change: in a very half-assed way, I made my own chicken stock. Don’t let this put you off! All I did was put 3 frozen chicken leg and thigh bones in about a liter of water, brought it slowly up to a boil and tossed in some chinese five spice (a teaspoon or two) and some chinese black vinegar (a tablespoon or two). Simmer away for an hour or so, or however long you have, strain, and voila!

As the head notes to the original recipe stated, don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients. I’m a slow chopper, and this took less than 10 minutes of prep. Also, while I followed the recipe and added chicken pieces, I won’t next time. The soup just didn’t need the extra expense or dead animal.

After that, here’s what you need:

  • 1.5 liters cooking liquid (I just added water to my stock)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin (the recipe called for brown sugar but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tbsp of sricha or other asian hot sauce
  • Juice of two juicy limes
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced (choose your thumb size based on your affection for ginger)
  • 1-2 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut in thin 3-inch-long strips
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 sliced chestnut mushrooms (slice them big if you want to pick them out before eating, like us)
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • handful chopped cilantro

Ok, this is really easy now. Put your cooking liquid into a big pot with your soy sauce, mirin (or sugar), sricha, lime juice, ginger and garlic and boil 5-10 minutes.

If you’re using chicken, toss the pieces in the 3 tbsp corn starch, and add it and the mushrooms to the pot. Simmer fo 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, add red peppers, cilantro and snap peas, and let sit for 3 minutes.


You’re welcome.


Assembled dinner – the way forward

After my recent cooking-baking misfortunes I totally lost interest in attempting to make dinner or even bake the odd cake. So thta can become a problem after  awhile when your freezer is raided and you don’t want to live off Coco Pops (best cereal ever) and fast food.


So, assemble your dinner, that’s what I say. Some wholemeal pitta warmed up in microwave (works as well as grill, honest), add some salad or rocket, cherry tomatoes, smother in tzaziki (which I love though don’t know how to spell really…). Finally I warm up some ready-made falafel – and there we are. Bit like the Ikea version of dinner, self assembly and even moderately healthy.

– Stef


We still have about this much left. Photo courtesy of flickr user tamaradulva, used with a Creative Commons license.

We still have about this much left. Photo courtesy of flickr user tamaradulva, used with a Creative Commons license.

Though the internet tells me kale season is usually in deepest winter, our box o’ veggies has been brimming with it in recent weeks. Which, sadly, means our fridge has been brimming with bags of it. The one dish I’ve made before that uses kale (I’m new to vegetables, remember) is far too wintery for even this chilly September. I’m clinging to the notion of warmth as long as I possibly can.

So, naturally, I asked my good friend epicurious and came up with this recipe for sauteed kale with smoked paprika. We built a whole Mediterraneany tapasy meal around it, and it was really delicious. The recipe as written was too oniony for me, but I recognize that my onion-skeptic ways put me well in the minority.

The recipe is very simple, and I won’t bother repeating the whole thing here (that’s what the link is for). The basic idea, though, is prep your kale leaves and rough chop them, and cook them in boiling water for about five minutes. Drain well and move them in to a large pan with softened onions, olive oil, smoked paprika and a shake or two of chili flakes. Sautee for a few minutes and serve. Really easy.

So easy in fact that, having barely made a dent in the kale stash, I tweaked the recipe and made it again – this time with a French accent. The preparation was the same, but I replaced the onion with thinly sliced leeks, and the paprika with tarragon and a very small amount of mint. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that it was not very attractive, but it was just as delicious the official version.

So bottom line: high marks for ease, taste and adaptability. I approve!


When breakfast takes 8 years

As long as we’re confessing kitchen failures, I’ll admit to something sad: I can’t fry eggs. Either I don’t cook the white enough, the yolk ends up solid, or sometimes I wind up with a pathetic combination of the two. But because I make really excellent scrambled eggs, I’ve never let this particular deficiency get me too down.

There is one recipe, however, that frustratingly highlights this failure: Spaghetti with fried eggs. I first came across it  in my first Mark Bittman cookbook, a gift from my mom not too long after I first started living on my own. The book was great – short recipes, few ingredients, and they didn’t turn out vast quantities of food. This recipe seemed particularly useful, since it only needed three ingredients I always had on hand, took 10 minutes and I could easily throw in a vegetable if so inclined.

If only I could fry eggs. I tried it out a few times, but, well, it just never worked for me

I can’t remember the last time I did a proper shop, so all I could find to eat were eggs and an array of just about every carb but bread, I decided to try again. I put a small serving of pasta on to boil (I prefer shapes to the spaghetti family), and a couple of minutes before it was ready I turned on the flame under a frying pan with a healthy splash of olive oil. One of the many things that always goes wrong for me in the egg-frying department is the white seems to spread out to cover much of the pan. While very annoying in typical breakfast scenarios, it was kind of perfect this time because you don’t really want big clumps of cooked egg white in your pasta.

I drained the pasta when it reached my preferred level of doneness, and in a crucial step I suspect I may have skipped over in past, tossed it in some olive oil. When the egg was done – yolk runny, white just about cooked – tipped it out of the pan onto my pasta, and tossed it all together, breaking up the egg as I went along. The heat of the pasta finished cooking the white, and the lovely runny yolk coated the pasta, making a silky sauce.

I finished the dish with salt, pepper and a splash of tabasco. It was great!

Maybe I’ll be able to poach eggs by 2017…