“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.
Today is Australia Day so I’m pretty excited to be sharing this lovely lamb recipe with you, not only because in my family Australia day equals eating a good deal of lamb, but because this dish, adapted from a terrific one by Nigella Lawson, pointed in my direction by my friend Amy, is all the things this blog is about: easy, tasty, affordable and delightfully do-able when having people over. Using either lamb loin or chump chops, simply place all the ingredients in a roasting dish at the same time and stick it in the oven. You don’t even need to turn anything! Just add something green to eat it with, perhaps a salad or steamed green beans, and whack the lot, straight out of the oven, onto the middle of the table with a fresh loaf of bread for mopping up the yummy juices. The lamb turns out oh so tenderly and the chopped fresh parsley makes the flavours come alive. This recipe is easily doubled using two roasting dishes and which can both go in the oven together – no problem: that’s 12-16 people fed for the cost of one at a nice restaurant! Even better is the fact that this delicious one-pot feast is gluten, egg, wheat and diary free. Using the quantities below, this recipe serves 6-8 and costs no more than $15 to make. Thanks for this one, Amy.
- 12 lamb chops, either loin or chump
- 3 baking potatoes, adding up to approximately 650g
- 45ml olive oil (approximately three tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (a little less if substituting with chilli powder)
- salt and pepper
- 2 lemons
- small handful of roughly chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Put the lamb into a roasting dish
- Cut clean potatoes into wedges (don’t bother peeling them) and place them in the gaps around the lamb.
- Drizzle the oil over the lamb and potatoes and sprinkle with the dried mint, chilli flakes and salt.
- Zest 1 lemon over the roasting tin and then juice both lemons and pour the juice over everything in the tray.
- Season well with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 1 hour, not bothering to turn anything over. Pull the tray out of the oven when everything looks quite brown (don’t let anything burn), and if it looks like it’s very brown before the end of the cooking time, cover the tray in foil and return to the oven.
- Serve everything in the middle of the table for a yummy and casual feast.
I’ve been meaning to blog about Miriam English’s Balsamic Chicken Bake for ages and I’m so pleased to have finally got around to it. Since I first tried this awesome recipe about six weeks ago we’ve eaten it many times because it’s so very easy and tasty: just put everything in the roasting dish at the same time, and then whack it in the oven. Then, just before serving, steam some greens to serve with this crowd-pleasing dinner, stick it all in the middle of the table, and that’s it – dinner is done. This versatile dinner, originally from Super Food Ideas, Issue 111, copes well with various cuts of chicken and the addition of extra roasting veggies such as carrot, pumpkin and sweet potato. Recipes like this one are so great to have in your back pocket, cause if you’re anything like me, all sorts of things need to happen while dinner is cooking: supervising the reading of school readers, quickly scrubbing the loo before guests arrive, wiping down most surfaces and putting washing away – this tasty and simple dinner enables much needed efficiency. Using the quantities below and chicken thigh cutlets, this problem- solving dish costs less than $15, serves 6-8 people, and is dairy, egg, wheat and gluten free. Pictures here are of half quantities.
- 12 (2kg chicken thigh cutlets, fillets, wings or drumsticks
- 600g potatoes, quartered
- 2 med red onions
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius. Arrange chicken, potato, onion, garlic and thyme in 2 large roasting dishes.
- Whisk vinegar, oil & sugar in a jug until sugar has dissolved. Drizzle over chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Add tomatoes. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Serve with a green salad or steamed greens.
Though not here yet, summer is on its way. And while signs of winter can still be seen, as daylight saving time began in NSW last weekend, our barbeque has been beckoning us. Today we had good reason to give in and so enjoyed our first of the season. And what’s a barbie without some yummy fresh salads? Originally from my friend Amy, the following Asian Noodle Salad is my all time favourite salad. It’s so tasty and filling it could easily be eaten on its own as summer style main course. For these reasons, it’s a terrific option when needing to cater for vegetarian friends and can you believe, this scrummy salad is also egg, dairy and gluten free. As if it couldn’t get any better, this very large salad is so affordable, costing around $8 to make and serves 15+ people as an accompaniment or 8 served as a main.
- 1 x 250g packet of rice stick noodles (clear flat ones, come in a variety of widths)
- 1 x 250g packet of bean shoots
- 1 small bunch of coriander, leaves picked from stalks (cheapest from a grocer)
- 1 bunch of shallots (8-10 stalks)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten free variety if necessary)
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice (fresh is great, but I always use squeeze from fridge)
- Cook noodles for a couple of minutes only, until soft, in a large pot of rapidly boiling water. Drain using a sieve or colander and run lots of cold water through the noodles to stop the cooking process. Rinse out pot with cold water to cool it down, ready to use again for combining the salad ingredients.
- Place cooked noodles, coriander leaves, bean shoots and chopped shallots in the cooled down pot. Set aside.
- In a jar with a tight lid, shake together soy sauce, peanut oil, sesame oil and lime/lemon juice.
- Pour dressing over all the ingredients in the pot and toss well using tongs. Transfer to a large salad bowl and serve at table. Enjoy!