Many people have traumatic childhood memories of being forced to this vegetable. But Brussel sprouts can be so much tastier than those over cooked grey-green sulphuric lumps of my childhood. If you’re avoiding Brussel sprouts you should give them another go. Blanched in the microwave they should stay bright green and crunchy.
Brussel sprouts are nutritionally dense and super filling, so even with only 5 ingredients this salad still feels like a meal. Continue reading “Brussel sprouts are sexy (with tahini and cranberries)”
Tonight all I ate was a big bowl of cabbage. And I loved it.
Red cabbage carbonara where have you been all my life.
There appear to be hundreds of cabbage carbonara recipes in the low-carb blogosphere. Here and here are the two recipes I used for inspiration. But there’s very little overlap between the low-carb (mostly meat-heavy) blogosphere and vegetarian blogosphere, so I’d never seen this done. Continue reading “Seven minute recipe: vegetarian cabbage carbonara “
Carrot, lentil and mint salad
This yummy salad is easily made within my seven-minute time frame. In fact, tonight when I was making it so I could take the photos in this post, it only took 6 minutes and 15 seconds. Win!
Why seven-minute meals?
Seven minutes timeframe for these recipes was a length of time I picked at random, based on the amount of time it took to defrost the sort of microwave lasagne I was living on at the time.
The 7-minute timeframe gave me both a target and a release. Aiming to cook 7-minute meals gave me more freedom to experiment, if I stuffed up I would only have wasted 7 minutes and I could still order takeaway. Basing it on the time it took to microwave a frozen dinner helped set my expectations too. I want a meal that’s tastier than a frozen dinner, but I’m not aiming for cordon bleu. The great thing about cooking with fresh ingredients and whole foods is that I have found I often don’t need a tonne of fancy spices or elaborate preparations to make food taste great.
Continue reading “Seven-minute recipe: carrot, lentil and mint salad”
Instantly marinated tofu triangles
Tofu is one of my staples. But often when I am trying to cook quickly I don’t have time to properly press and marinate the tofu and it can ends up being really tasteless.
I’m rarely organised enough to prepare ahead of time or patient enough to wait an hour while my tofu marinates. When you skip this step the tofu doesn’t have time to soak up the flavour of the marinade and so it can easily become tasteless.
Instead I slice the tofu thinly and spread marinade inside sandwiches of tofu. This sandwich traps the marinade into the tofu, so need for it to soak. Cooking on a sandwich press is not only quick, it also further squishes the flavour into the tofu. Continue reading “Instantly marinate tofu with this easy hack for the lazy cook”
One minute in the microwave is enough to make perfectly poached eggs, with oozy gooey yolks #yolkporn.
That could pretty much be this entire blog post.
I have been messing about with quick cooking meals for nearly a year now and this is a revelation. A friend who works in a cafe told me that when they were rushed they used a shortcut to poach eggs. Some internet research tells me this is not a secret, there was a post about this on the kitchn back in 2010 and on bonappetit.com, but it’s new to me.
Every morning this week I have been having poached eggs for breakfast. Poached eggs + Sriracha sauce = ❤️. It’s fabulous and so quick that the slowest element of my breakfast was making a proper cup of tea. Continue reading “Perfect poached eggs in just 1 minute”
This week I was going to be sharing another seven minute recipe: Grilled Halloumi and mandarin salad. However I’d used my digital SLR camera rather than my trusty iPhone to take the photos, because I was trying to get a more ‘foodie’ look and the photos were terrible. I need a lot more practice using my camera. Instead I am going to share my trick for making sautéed onions in just 3 minutes.
Sautéing onions makes them taste sweet due to the natural sugar in onions. The butter add richness and really makes these onions taste just like I spent 20 minutes sautéing them. I did a blind trial for a friend last week and she could not tell the difference between the microwave onions and the traditional stove top sautéed onions.
Large onions don’t really work in this recipe. Look for onions about the size of a lemon or smaller. If you are cooking for two you can add a second onion and microwave for an additional minute or so.
Microwave sautéed onions
- 1 small onion
- 1 teaspoon butter
- Chop the top and bottom of the onion (do not peel)
- Sit the onion on it’s chopped flat bottom in a microwave safe dish and place a teaspoon of butter over the top
- Cover and microwave for 3 minutes
- Once done, use a knife and fork to cut off the brown skin and chop the tender onion into slices.
I added my onions to a sausage sandwich with the lot. Onions are the perfect compliment to vegetarian sausages. You can see a video of me preparing this sandwich and just how quick it is to make these onions.
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Beetroot and feta salad
Winter is coming!
Daylight savings ended on Sunday and oh how I miss it. I don’t mind getting up in the dark, but I miss having light in the evenings. Today I had to spend ages fiddling around with the lights in the kitchen to take the photographs, because food under fluorescent light looks sad and unappetising. When I trialled this recipe it took just over 5 minutes, but today it took me nearly 8 because I spent so much time trying to position food under the LED lights not the fluros.
With daylight savings ending this weekend and rain today, it definitely felt like the seasons were changing. A beetroot salad feels like a perfect autumn meal, root vegetables are a winter thing while salads are a summer thing.
I love beetroot and a beautiful roast beetroot salad is one of my favourite things to order at my local Mediterranean cafe. But I’ve never found the time to make something similar at home. I wanted a way to work the classic beetroot/feta combo into my life in a quick way. Canned beetroot to the rescue.
Grilling the canned beetroot isn’t quite as tasty as roast beetroot, but it does add a caramelized taste which works well with the creamy feta. As with all canned vegetables, it is essential to rise the beetroot well before grilling to get rid of the yucky juice they come in. Canned beetroot also tends to be overly sweet, so don’t skimp on the salt, which is needed to balance the sweet.
Once again I used my sandwich press griller, George Foreman to the rescue. This could be done on the stovetop, but the ancient oven in my apartment would take 7 minutes just to get the grill plate hot.
Beetroot and feta salad
- 1 small can of beetroot wedges
- 1 head of broccoli
- 200gm feta
- 1 small bag mixed salad leaves
- 1/2 cup smoked almonds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- balsamic vinegar
- lemon juice
- Rise the beetroot wedges well and toss with salt, then add to grill
- Chop the broccoli into bite size florets and microwave for 3 minutes
- Crumble the feta
- Once the broccoli florets are done, remove the beetroot from the grill, add all ingredients to a salad bowl and toss together
- Dress with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a good squeeze of lemon.
I was talking with a friend recently about this blog and she wasn’t sure that there were healthy meals that would be faster to make than her go to lazy meal: grilled cheese. Grilled cheese sounds so easy while something like a Mediterranean zucchini ribbon salad sounds complicated and like it would take a while to make.
I decided to time making my favourite grilled cheese, egg in a hole grilled cheese. It took over ten minutes for me to pull together this sandwich. So I hope this goes some way to proving my point that if you have time to make grilled cheese you have time to make a healthy meal.
So much of what we think about food and cooking is determined by culture. Culturally grilled cheese is a quick meal for lazy days and so it feels like it will be easy and quick to cook. In fact, making this sandwich took longer and included more steps than many of the recipes I have posted before. For example my Cucumber salad with tahini dressing only 5 steps and can easily made in 7 minutes. *end rant*
This recipe is not really in keeping with the spirit of this blog, it takes ten minutes to cook and it contains no vegetables. However I used to make this all the time and it took me a while to perfect the timings for each step. None of the recipes I found online had the perfect timing to produce a runny yolk, with a properly cooked egg white and nicely melted cheese, so I thought this would be worth sharing with you.
I use rye bread because it’s a little more substantial and the taste goes so well with melted cheesy goodness.
Egg in a hole grilled cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 slices rye bread
- 2 slices cheese
- Salsa to taste
- 2 teaspoons butter or margarine
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan
- Place a slice of rye bread on a chopping board and press into it with a small glass, cutting a hole from the center of the slice
- Once the butter is melted add the bread to the fry pan
- After 30 seconds or so of the bread toasting, crack the egg into the hole in the bread.
- Let the egg fry for 2 minutes
- Cover the egg with a slice of cheese
- Spread salsa over the slice of cheese and cover with a second slice of bread
- After another 1 minute flip the sandwich, leaving the whole slice of bread on the bottom.
- Top with another slice of cheese. Once the slice of cheese on top is just melted the sandwich is done
Summer is well and truly here in Australia and Melbourne in particular seems to being having more than its fair share of heat waves so soon into the start of 2016. There is nothing worse than having to spend time in the kitchen on a hot day. So to celebrate the season I am sharing a salad which can be made in minutes, today, even including time taking photos, I pulled it together in just over 6 minutes.
The inspiration for this recipe came while I was on a holiday in Sri Lanka in 2013. At the beach in Colombo there were street stalls selling paper cups of sliced fresh fruit, which is one of those things that you are absolutely not supposed to eat while you are traveling, to avoid food poisoning. However we got talking to one of the hawkers and he agreed to cut up a whole mango for us at the stall. He was going to all this additional effort to make sure our fruit was clean and chatting away to us and I didn’t feel I could stop him when he started sprinkling chilli flakes and pepper onto our sliced mango. Up to that point I had eaten mango chutney, but they mainly use green mangos, it never occurred to me that chilli would go with raw mango. Of course it was delicious and when I got home I started adding spicy mango to more and more of my salads. The cruciferous vegetable taste and crunch of broccolini goes well with the sweet, juicy and spicy mango.
My family always cube mangoes the same way, chopping off the sides, scoring them and inverting the mango half. I’m not actually convinced this method gives you the largest amount of mango cubes in the salad, but it does leave the beautiful flesh around the pip for dessert. And the inverted mango halves do look pretty.
Spicy mango salad
- 1 mango – well ripened
- 1 bunch broccolini
- mixed salad greens
- 1 desert spoon chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- caramelized balsamic dressing
- Chop the broccolini into 2 inch lengths and microwave for 3 minutes
- Cut the mango into cubes, place in a bowl with the spices and toss together
- Get the broccolini out of the microwave and allow to cool for 1 minute
- Arrange everything on a salad plate and dress with additional chilli flakes and balsamic vinegar to taste.
A final note, I know I mentioned that I was going to make January healthy dessert month and there are yet to be any posts about desserts. I haven’t given up. I have been experimenting with lots of sweet treats but I still want to keep testing before I share anything. I figure the world does not need another slightly modified avocado mousse recipe or instructions to make a slightly soggy microwave peach cobbler. My trials and many errors have taught me a lot and I will share soon.
I hope all those who celebrate had a happy Christmas and those who are vegetarian or vegan did not get too frustrated by relatives asking if they were sure they didn’t want any of the Christmas ham.
The new year is rapidly approaching and it’s always a good time to take stock of progress from the year before and what can be improved for the coming year. I achieved my 2015 goal of becoming a better cook and bringing more fresh food into my eating and moving towards a plant based diet. The recipes on this blog have been part of my journey working to fit healthy eating into a busy lifestyle. I have found sharing them to be helpful for me and hopefully have been useful to those of you reading.
However I have missed making my weight loss goal for 2015 by a significant margin. I have lost weight and the changes in my diet have left me with more energy and feeling healthier. But I’m still significantly heavier than I should be and my weight loss has slowed right down.
My sweet tooth is the culprit here. I love chocolate, I love cake and it’s not that rare for me to end up eating two slices of cake a day, or a brownie for afternoon tea and a bar of chocolate on the train home. Completely avoiding sugar works for a little while, until I get frustrated and end up eating an entire packet of Cadbury’s dairy milk.
Summer fruits are out in full force here in Australia, which has inspired me to set a healthy dessert challenge. Every week in January I am going to be sharing my progress finding healthy desserts that can be made in 7 minutes.
Not so much with the healthy, but here are some dessert ideas that can be made in under 7 minutes:
Do you have a go-to healthy dessert to satisfy sweet tooth cravings?