“Do you have plans tonight? Wanna come over, make me dinner, and watch a movie?”. That was my text to my old friend Sheridan one Sunday night at the end of last year. My husband was away and all the end of year ‘lasts’ – functions/events/things, had left me exhausted. And although normally under such circumstances, breakfast cereal is the dinner time option of choice around here, I couldn’t face another such dinner for the 5th time that week. Generous and hospitable as she is, even at my place rather than hers, Sheri came over and made this delightfully easy and tasty Donna Hay dish, which just happens to be gluten, egg, wheat and dairy free. Her food, good company and contentment with not much chit-chat that night were real blessings to me. And we’re still laughing about how from now on she’s going to have to read my sms invitations carefully to check who’s doing the cooking! Super simple to make, fresh and healthy too, this noodle dish is perfect for cooking for yourself or friends straight after work and can easily be multiplied for a larger group. And all of the preparation can be done quickly and hours ahead of people coming over – once they’ve turned up and have a cold drink in their hand, just stir fry everything from start to finish in 10 minutes. If you purchase your herbs from a grocer rather than a supermarket, this dish costs no more than $10 to make and serves 4. Thanks for this terrific recipe, Sheri.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable or sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped (or, as I do, a good squeeze of Gourmet Garden lemongrass in a tube)
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 500g chicken mince
- 1/4 cup lime juice (I use lime squeeze from the fridge)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
- the stalks of the coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely
- 3/4 cup basil leaves
- 4 green onions, shredded
- Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring the boil for cooking egg noodles.
- Heat a frying pan or wok at high heat. Add the oil, ginger, coriander stalks, lemongrass and chilli and cook for 1 minutes. Add the chicken mince and cook, stirring for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up any large lumps of chicken as you go.
- Add rice noodles to the boiling water and cook according to instructions on the packet and when soft, drain in a colander.
- Stir through the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, coriander, basil and green onions. Serve stir-fry in bowls on top of freshly cooked rice noodles.
It was so lovely catching up with my friend Katrina last weekend. Over lunch she raved about this healthy and easy dinner she’d recently tried out and by the end of her description I was keen to give it a go too. I don’t find it easy to cook tasty vegetarian dishes, and have felt the need to have a few more recipes of this kind up my sleeve when caring for vegetarian folk. And Katrina was right – this little number ticked all the boxes: easy to cook, healthy in nature, tasty, affordable and freezable. To lower the GI, carbohydrate and fat content, Katrina helpfully suggests replacing the pumpkin with sweet potato, leaving out the cream altogether and serving it without rice because this curry is nutritionally complete on its own. She also suggested a dollop of greek style yoghurt on top which tasted great. Originally from Notebook Magazine, when served with rice, this vegetarian dish serves 6 people and costs around $7 to make.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbs mild curry paste
- 1 tbs finely grated ginger
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml) water or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup (105g) brown lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 cup (115g) red lentils, rinsed
- 600g butternut pumpkin, seeded, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1/2 (about 600g) cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup (150g) frozen peas
- 1/4 cup (60ml) cream
- Coriander leaves, to serve
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion softens. Add curry paste, curry leaves and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer.
- Add combined lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until lentils are almost tender. Add the pumpkin and cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Add peas and cream and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
I made this modified Ainsley Harriott recipe for the first time last night and everyone loved it. The kids devoured these yummy Thai chicken and corn cakes and I loved them not just for taste but also for simplicity: everything just goes in the food processor for blitzing. And it was so affordable: the total cost being less than $10 (and it made 20 rissole sized cakes which is two dinners worth in this house). Next time I make hot finger food I’m going to roll them into little balls to dip in its sauce using a toothpick for a yummy starter. These Thai chicken and corn cakes are freezer friendly, which makes this recipe my new favourite.
- 3 skinless chicken breasts or 5 thighs (approximately 750g)
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 x 400g tin corn kernels, drained
- half bunch fresh coriander leaves
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
sweet chilli sauce
- 4 tabs sweet chilli sauce
- 1 teasp soy sauce
- 1 teasp fish sauce
- 5cm piece cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- Roughly chop the chicken breasts and put all ingredients (minus the oil and sauce ingredients) together in the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined evenly, though ingredients should still be visibly distinct to the eye.
- With wet hands, pat mixture into 20 rissole sized cakes and pan fry on each side for 3-5 minutes, in a very hot fry pan using sesame or peanut oil.
- If desired, combine sauce ingredients in a dish (though sweet chilli sauce straight from the bottle is great with this dish too).
- Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables or a salad of asian greens. Makes 20 cakes, and serves 6+ adults.