It is important to remember that while higher in nutrients than regular sugar all of these are sugars so should be used sparingly.
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Natural sweeteners do tend to be more expensive so you may want to go for one at a time. I keep these on rotation in my house: maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, coconut nectar. These recipes are for the days and nights when time is shortest and hunger is at its highest. We can all spare fifteen minutes to get dinner on the table.
These are ready in the time it takes for the table to be set and are packed with flavour. Killer one-pot pastas, quick salads, herb-stuffed omelettes, brightly coloured speedy soups, piled-high sandwiches and super-easy quesadillas. This pasta is a complete revelation. The sauce is magically made from the pasta water and tomatoes as the pasta cooks all in one pan.
No fuss, one pan and a killer bowl of pasta. Pasta and gluten sometimes get a bad press. I think there is a time and place for a good bowl of pasta, saying that, I opt for interesting pastas as often as I do the traditional kind. Try corn, chickpea or buckwheat spaghetti — they are gluten-free, all have incredible individual flavours and make a welcome change if pasta is a staple in your house. A large deep frying pan or wok would work well too.
Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients and equipment together. You need a large shallow pan with a lid. Put the pasta into the pan. Quickly and roughly chop the tomatoes in half and throw them into the pan. Grate in the zest of both lemons and add the oil and salt. Add 1 litre of boiling water, put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil.
As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the lid and simmer on a high heat for 6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta every 30 seconds or so as it cooks. Meanwhile, remove any tough stalks from the kale or spinach and roughly tear the leaves. Once the pasta has had 6 minutes, add the kale and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and tangle into four bowls. If you like, top with a little Parmesan. This soup comes together in the time it would take for you to nip down the shops for a tin of cream of tomato, but it is much more satisfying and full of goodness.
It is a clean, fresh tomato soup — the quick cooking keeps the flavour perky and bright. I add miso and tahini here, which are two of my favourite partners for tomatoes, the earthy creaminess of the tahini and the deep saltiness of the miso backing up the clean tomato flavour like a dream. I have suggested a quick topping to take this soup to the next level in flavour terms.
If you are really pushed for time, some chopped coriander would suffice. Put a large pan on a low heat. Working quickly, chop the spring onions and add to the pan with a splash of coconut or olive oil.
A Modern Way to Cook: Over 150 Quick, Smart & Flavour Packed Recipes for Everyday
Turn up the heat to medium and stir from time to time for a couple of minutes until beginning to brown. Chop the fresh tomatoes in half, bigger ones into quarters, and once the spring onions have had a couple of minutes, add them to the pan. Add the tinned tomatoes, fill the can with boiling water and pour this in too, then add the miso paste and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, make the topping. Mix the honey, tahini, miso and lemon juice in a bowl and put to one side.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until golden and chop the coriander. Take it off the heat, add the tahini and blitz well with a hand-held blender, adding a little more salt if needed. It should be well balanced between the sweetness of tomatoes, the salty depth of miso and the creamy earthiness of tahini.
Ladle into four bowls and top with the miso and honey mix, the sesame seeds and some chopped coriander. Here, sweet lemon-spiked peas are mashed and piled on to warm chapattis, then topped with crispy cauliflower and heady spices. Finish with a little crispy paneer I show you how to make it here if that takes your fancy. Put a griddle pan on a high heat. Finely slice the spring onions, put into a pan with a little coconut oil and fry on a medium heat until just turning golden.
Put the peas into a heatproof mixing bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for 5 minutes. Chop the cauliflower into small florets and add to the spring onion pan with the curry leaves and spices. Cook for 2—3 minutes, until the cauliflower has lost its rawness and is coated with the spices, then turn the heat up, squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon and allow to evaporate, then take off the heat. Chop the green chilli and the stalks of the coriander.
Put the leaves aside. Drain and mash the peas with the zest of the other lemon and juice of half, the green chilli and coriander stalks and a good pinch of salt and pepper. If you are using the paneer, transfer the cauliflower into a bowl and put the pan back on the heat.
Warm the rotis or chapattis in a dry pan or over your gas flame until warm and crisped at the edges. Top with the pea mash, the cauliflower and the crispy paneer, then chop the mint and coriander leaves and scatter over the top. Omelettes are my ultimate quick dinner and one of my favourite meals — you can put a perfect one on the table in under 15 minutes.
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For lots more ideas on how to put them together, see here—here. I make my omelettes soft and curdy and just set, and I like them simply spiked with a generous amount of heady soft herbs. Sometimes I skip any filling, as I like the clean simplicity, and I serve mine with a shock of peppery rocket in a punchy vinaigrette. You can use whatever soft herbs you have to hand — my favourite combination is basil, mint, dill and tarragon.
The quality of eggs you use here is absolutely key, there is no hiding, and you want the best you can get your hands on, organic or farm eggs with paint-pot yellow yolks. Crack your eggs into a bowl, add a healthy pinch of salt and a good bit of freshly ground black pepper and whisk with a fork. Finely chop all the herbs and add them to the eggs. Put it back on the hob, then, with the fork still nearby, pour the eggs into the pan and allow them to sit untouched for 20 seconds or so, until they begin to set.
Now use the fork to pull the omelette away from the edge of the pan into the middle, angling the pan so the egg runs back into the bit you have just exposed. Do this another five or six times in different places so you have undulating waves of sunshine-yellow egg. Now leave your omelette to cook until it is almost set, which should take a minute or two.
If you are going to fill your omelette, now is the time. Scatter the fillings on one half of the omlette, then flip the other side over to form a half-moon shape and cook for another 30 seconds. Your omelette should be just set in the middle, still soft and curdy, just turning golden in patches on the outside. I make this when it feels too hot to eat or I am in need of something a bit refreshing. Now every time I make this I start singing Kool and the Gang. The key here is to get everything nice and cold.
Search out raw red-skinned peanuts if you can. In the summer I soak a few handfuls in cold water overnight and keep them cool in the fridge for snacking. They are also great in stir-fries and on top of morning fruit.
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They are fresh and juicy and completely different to a roasted peanut. You can easily find them in health food stores or Indian supermarkets. For a heartier meal, serve this with cooked and cooled brown basmati rice or some thin rice vermicelli noodles. Get all your ingredients and equipment together. Soak the peanuts in iced water and put them into the fridge while you get on with everything else. Peel the carrots, then use a speed-peeler to peel them into long strips and place them in a bowl with some iced water. Cut the watermelon into bite-size pieces, removing any very seedy bits and the outer skin.
Halve the cherry tomatoes. Pop both into a serving bowl and put into the fridge. Use the speed-peeler to peel the cucumber into long strips too, stopping when you get to the watery seeded bit, and add to the serving bowl of watermelon and tomatoes in the fridge. Shred the lettuce and pick the coriander leaves from the stalks.
Chop the red chilli for the dressing and put into a small bowl with the soy, the juice of both limes and a small squeeze of honey. Taste and adjust, adding more lime, honey and soy if needed until you have a nice balance of heat, acidity and sweetness. Take the serving bowl and the peanuts out of the fridge. Drain the peanuts and carrots well, add to the bowl and pour over the dressing. Toss through the lettuce and scatter over the coriander. Eat in a breezy spot, while thinking of dipping your feet in the pool. An omelette is one of the ultimate quick dinners.
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The first time we made this was one of those moments where a few things pulled out of the fridge were thrown together for a quick dinner and the stars aligned to make something brilliant. He is amazing at cooking quick nutritious food, and about the only person I know who really truly honestly in his heart of hearts would prefer a bowl of vegetables to just about anything else.
You can have this on your table in about 15 minutes and it uses quinoa in a way I would never have considered, yet it is so good. Here, coconut and turmeric are backed up by minerally greens and a final shock of lemon. Good, quick, tasty eating. I use chard, but spring greens or even spinach would work just fine. Creamed coconut instead of coconut milk gives a more intense flavour and lends itself well to quick cooking. Weigh out the quinoa in a mug or measuring jug, making note of the level it comes up to, quickly rinse it under cold water, then pour it into a large saucepan.
Fill the mug to the same level with boiling water and add to the pan, then repeat so you have double the volume of water to quinoa. In this brilliant new collection of recipes, Anna Jones makes clean, nourishing, vegetable-centred food realistic on any night of the week. Chapters are broken down by time recipes for under 15, 20, 30 or 40 minutes and also by planning a little ahead quick healthy breakfasts, dishes you can make and re-use throughout the week.
Anna's new book is a truly practical and inspiring collection for anyone who wants to put dinner on the table quickly, without fuss, trips to specialist shops or too much washing up, but still eat food that tastes incredible and is doing you good. Enter your Postcode or Suburb to view availability and delivery times. See Terms for more information.