I need some easy 15-minute meals – any ideas?
Jim, Matlock, Derbyshire
As is so often the case, it’s all about planning, Jim. And pasta. Salvation can, of course, be found in the well-known as pesto and garlic and oil (garlic, chili, olive oil), but the Neapolitan sciue sciue (which means “hurry up, hurry up”) is another good shout out, says Jacob Kenedy, chef / owner of Bocca di Lupo in London. “Fry tomatoes, garlic and chili in olive oil, toss in cooked pasta and turn. It’s delicious. “Meanwhile, Angela Hartnett prefers a braised courgette with pen number: the chef / patron of Murano and Café Murano in London sweat the vegetables in olive oil and then add finely chopped garlic, a few spoonfuls of water (so the solids do not catch) and cover “The courgettes begin to crumble and turn into a sauce.” Stir in boiled penne, add grated cheese and add.
Pippa Middlehurst also uses her noodles – or rather she throws boiled soba with chopped spring onions, crispy vegetables or grilled broccoli and equal parts chili oil, black rice vinegar and light soy sauce. “And if you’re the one storing broth in the freezer, then you have the option of a more filling meal,” says the author of Dumplings and Noodles: Heat the broth, stir in soy sauce and sesame paste (plus vegetables you fancy) , then add noodles; an egg would not go wrong either.
“Cooking Foil [ie, in paper] is massively underrated when it comes to quick meals, ”says Rick Toogood, head chef / co-owner of Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow and London. “It’s such a clever trick, and you can use small whole fish, fillets or seafood.” Place seafood, vegetables, butter and spices on a plate absorbing, sprinkle with a little white wine, wrap and bake in a 200C (180C hot air) oven for “a complete meal in a bag”. A favorite at Toogood in late spring are mackerel, olives, red onions, tomatoes, garlic and dried oregano.
If you lack lunch inspiration, Grace Regan, author of SpiceBox: 100 Fresh, Vegan Curry House Favorites, is all about spicy cabbage – with an optional side of pearl barley. She fry whole spices (think mustard and / or cumin) in oil until golden, then add chili flakes, sliced cabbage and salt. “Once softened, grate the garlic and ginger in, add the turmeric, and when it boils out, take off the heat and squeeze the lemon juice in.” Finish with herbs and roasted nuts.
And don’t forget to make meals out of leftovers, says Matthew Pennington, chef / co-owner of The Ethicurean in the Mendip Mountains near Bristol. “When frying a chicken, store excess fat in the refrigerator.” The next day, heat the fat (or sesame or hazelnut oil), combine with a fermentation (sauerkraut, kimchi, beetroot) and serve with green salad and bread. Leftovers are also a big thing in Shuko Oda’s house, where “rice and pieces” make a regular appearance: “It’s basically cooked rice with four toppings,” says co-founder and head chef of Koya London, which always includes a salad (grated cucumber , carrot, lettuce) garnished with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame seeds, while other toppings can be scrambled eggs or miso-farce.
Chicken Milanese is another good quick option, says Hartnett, while for Kenedy chicken scallops is also a winner: Dust thinly sliced breast in flour, fry, then make a sauce with pan juice, butter and lemon, add rosemary or parsley and serve on mash. However, you will need to chop these spuds small to reach the 15-minute mark.