Last month’s Observer Food Monthly contained a feature on simple summer meals which was 101 “recipes” that’d be ready in 10 minutes or less.
I was quite excited by the headline but looking through the ideas I was disappointed at how few of the recipes excited me.
In fact, only one was particularly interesting, but I did go through the list circling those that tickled my fancy and thought I’d share my top 15 with you. Obviously you can also go through the long list to see what delights I missed!
1. prawns with white beans - open a tin of white beans and combine with olive oil, salt, prawns, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. cook, stirring, until the prawns are done; garnish with more olive oil. (4)
2. paprika prawns - warm olive oil in a pan with at least three cloves of sliced garlic. when the garlic colours, add at least a tsp each of cumin and paprika. a minute later, add a dozen or so prawns, salt and pepper. garnish with parsley. (10)
3. rhubarb mess - preheat oven to 180c/gas 4. sprinkle a tin with caster sugar and cover base with slices of rhubarb, cut about 2 cm thick. douse the rhubarb with orange juice. transfer to oven and bake for 10 mins. as the rhubarb cools it will release juices and make a syrup. beat a tub of cream until just whipped. break up a packet of meringues into the cream, add a glug of fresh custard and the rhubarb and fold everything together. (11)
4. chilli and garlic pasta - sauté 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. meanwhile, grate pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook some pasta. toss all together, along with crushed dried chilli flakes and salt. (42)
5. fusilli with cherry tomatoes, crème fraiche and rocket - get some pasta going. chop 100g cherry tomatoes in half. roughly tear up a couple of handfuls of rocket and some mint leaves, mix with the toms. drain pasta then stir in the tomatoes and leaves. add a couple of splodges of crème fraiche, a squeeze of lemon, some salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil. (43)
6. bean salad - mix tinned tuna with white and kidney beans, chopped peppers, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, spinach, parsley, capers and anchovies. dress with lemon juice and olive oil. (50)
7. courgette pasta - sauté shredded courgette in olive oil, adding garlic and chopped herbs. serve with pasta. (56)
8. pasta with crispy prosciutto - grill a few slices prosciutto until crisp; crumble and toss with parsley, parmesan, olive oil and pasta. (58)
9. the waldorf - toast a handful of walnuts in a dry pan. chop an apple or pear; toss with green leaves, walnuts and dressing made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard and a shallot. top, if you like, with crumbled goats' or blue cheese. (61)
10. mackerel on toast - buy fresh mackerel fillets. heat a knob of butter and an equal amount of olive oil in a pan. when the butter is fizzing add the fish, flesh-side down. fry for 2 minutes then turn. while the fish fries chop a fistful of parsley. transfer the mackerel to some toast and season with salt, lemon juice and parsley. (67)
11. chicken livers on toast - cook 175g chicken livers in butter or oil with garlic; do not overcook. finish with parsley, lemon juice and coarse salt; serve on toast. (69)
12. southeast asian steak salad - pan-fry or grill steak. slice and serve on a pile of greens with a sauce of one tbs each of nam pla and lime juice, black pepper, a tsp each of sugar and garlic, crushed red chilli flakes and thai basil. (72)
13. squid salad - sauté about 200g squid rings and tentacles in olive oil with salt and pepper. make a sauce of minced garlic, smoked paprika, mayo, lots of lemon juice and fresh parsley. serve with a lightly dressed salad of chopped cucumber, tomato, lettuce, grated carrot and spring onions. (78)
14. chilli-miso salmon with steamed greens - cut 4 bok choi in half lengthways, put in the bottom of a pan and grate a little ginger and garlic on top. mix a tbs of fresh miso paste with a chopped chilli and smear this over the top of 2 pieces of salmon. sit fish on greens then scatter on some coriander and chopped spring onion. pour 150ml water into bottom of the pan, and a splash of soy and fish sauce. put a lid on and cook on a high heat for 5 mins. finish with a squeeze of lime. serve with rice. (91)
15. pan-fried calves liver - dip 250g calves liver in flour. sear in olive oil or butter or a combination until crisp on both sides, about one or 2 minutes a side, adding salt and pepper as it cooks; it should be medium-rare. garnish with parsley and lemon juice. (94)
these tuna recipes also sound quite good if, unlike me, you’re a fan of tinned tuna:
1. upscale tuna salad - mix good tinned tuna (packed in olive oil), capers, dill or parsley, lemon juice but no mayo. (30)
2. nicoise-ish salad - steam green beans or asparagus. arrange on a plate with good tinned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, green salad, sliced cucumber and tomato. dress with oil and vinegar. (44)
3. tuna pasta - combine tinned tuna in olive oil, halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, mint, lemon zest and red chilli flakes. serve with pasta. (88)
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