Monday, December 14, 2009

Quick and Easy

Today am giving suggestions for meals that have been 'inspired' by foods mentioned in recent comments. Starting with a very quick and easy prawn curry - to make use of Buy One get TWO free packs of prawns.
Hurried, Curried Prawns: serves 2
1 tblsp sunflower oil
2 tblsp curry paste (mild to medium)
1 onion, thinly sliced
7oz (200g) large cooked prawns, defrosted if frozen
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
chopped fresh coriander
Put the oil into a frying pan, over low to medium heat, the fry the onions until softened, then stir in the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and heat until just simmering, lower heat then add the prawns and cook for a few more minutes until heated through. Stir in chopped coriander and serve immediately with rice and/or naan bread.

This next is very similar to the above, but made with fish instead of prawns. We are not buying the fish by its flavour (the spices would mask this), so buy the cheapest white fish on sale.
Fast Fish Curry: serves 4
1 tblsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 - 2 tblsp curry paste (suggest Madras)
1 x 4oog chopped tomatoes
7 fl.oz (200ml) vegetable stock
1 lb (500g) fish fillet, cut into large chunks
Heat the oil in a pan, and fry the onion until beginning to soften, then stir in the garlic and curry past and fry for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then add the fish. Cover pan and cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Serve immediately with rice or naan bread.

Another fish dish. Why fish again? Because it cooks so quickly and easily, and this is what today's recipes are about. Fish (like chicken) can be the perfect 'fast food', and also good for us, so keep a few chunky fillets in the freezer ready to make a quick meal. Of course a little planning ahead to allow time for the fish to be de-frosted. Otherwise buy and use fresh fish.
Tomato and Herb Cod-pieces: serves 4
1 tblsp sunflower or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp soft light brown sugar
4 sprigs thyme (use leaves only)
1 tblsp soy sauce
4 cod fillets (or other white fish)
Fry the onions in the oil over medium heat, until just softened. Then stir in the sugar, thyme leaves, and soy sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add cod/fish fillets to the pan, spooning some of the sauce over the top, cover and simmer/poach for up to 10 minutes (depending upon thickness of fish) until the fish flakes easily.

This next is a variation on a Chinese dish. Although made with tender beef steak, no reason why chicken or lean pork could not be used instead as they all cook in much the same time. Or even leave out the meat altogether. Vary the vegetables according to the meat used. At a pinch, oddments of cooked meat could be used instead of fresh.
This is another quickie that cooks in only 10 minutes after the preparation. If you haven't broccoli, used string green beans, if you haven't horseradish sauce, use tartare sauce. If you haven't cashew nuts, use peanuts or walnuts. If you haven't creme fraiche use fromage frais or Greek yogurt. As to beef stock, make with part of a cube. So no excuse for saying you can't make it becaue you haven't got the ingredients. Take the idea and with the above guidelines, use what you have.
Any Which Way Stir-fry: serves 4
1 tblsp sunflower or olive oil
2 oz (50g) unsalted cashew nuts
12 oz (350g) beef frying steak
freshly ground black pepper
1 head broccoli, divided into florets
3 ribs celery, cut across into slices
5 fl oz (150ml) beef stock
2 tblsp horseradish sauce
2 tblsp creme fraiche
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok and toss/fry the nuts until toasted. Then remove and set aside.
Cut the beef into thin strips, season well with the pepper, then add to the pan and stir-fry for 2 minutes until browned all over. Remove from pan, add to the nuts and set aside.
Put the celery and broccoli into the juices remaining in the pan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then add the stock, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
Blend together the horseradish sauce and creme fraiche and set aside.
Uncover pan, add the beef and nuts and toss into the vegetables. When heated through, drizzle over the horseradish 'cream' and serve immediately. Eat with rice or mashed potatoes.