Cooking is something we all need to know how to do to survive, but not everyone can do it well. But when you’ve been on a budget for most of your life you get really good at cooking Mi Goreng and that’s about it. Over the last couple of years, I have watched a LOT of cooking shows on TV and picked up some handy hints along the way. The thing I have learn is that it is surprisingly easy to make people think you’re a better chef than you actually are!
Here are 5 easy recipes which will make you look like a star no matter whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. No go forth and cook!
Eggs Benedict (serves 4)
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 English muffins
- 8 small eggs
- 4 rashers of cooked bacon or ham
- 400 g baby spinach
- Olive oil
- Heat a large frying pan on a medium-low heat with a little drizzle of oil.
- Add the spinach with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cook down until it’s wilted, then add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste, and keep warm.
- To make the hollandaise, melt the butter in a small pan. Put the egg yolks into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Whisking constantly, very slowly (otherwise it will split) pour the melted butter into the egg mixture, until well combined, adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed. Whisk in a splash of vinegar.
- Poach eggs in a small amount of boiling water with a small amount of vinegar, swirling the water before cracking the eggs into the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until desired level is reached.
- Toast English muffins.
- Top each muffin with spinach, bacon or ham, poached eggs and spoon on hollandaise sauce.
Turkey Burgers (serves 6)
- 750g turkey mince
- 15g dried breadcrumbs
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- small handful chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 hamburger Buns
- 6 large lettuce leaves
- 6 slices cheddar cheese
- 6 slices of tomato
- Mayonnaise, to taste
- Olive Oil
- In a large bowl, mix turkey, breadcrumbs, onion, egg whites, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Form into 6 burgers.
- Cook in a medium frying pan over medium heat, turning once, until done.
- Toast hamburger buns, butter if desired.
- Apply mayonnaise to taste, then layer lettuce, tomato, cheese and burger patty. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Authentic Italian Carbonara (serves four)
- 2x chicken breast, sliced (optional)
- 400g spaghetti or fettuccine
- 200g sliced pancetta or prosciutto, cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 medium onion
- 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
- 75 mL thickened cream
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
- Chopped parsley
- Salt to taste
- Cracked pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Cook onion until just starting to brown. Add pancetta, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until beginning to crisp. If you’re adding chicken, do this now and stir together until chicken is cooked. Add garlic for 30 seconds, then set pan aside.
- Place eggs, yolk, cream, and parmesan in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then mix gently with a fork.
- Drain pasta, then return to pan.
- Quickly add egg and pancetta mixtures and parsley. Toss to combine – the heat from the pasta will cook the egg slightly and form a creamy sauce. Add some extra parmesan to serve.
Fajitas (serves four)
- 1 pack taco seasoning (or you can make your own spice mix)
- 500g chicken or beef, cut into strips
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
- 1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
- 500mL chicken stock
- Tortilla wraps
- Grated cheese, to serve
- Olive oil
- Any other salads and garnishes you may prefer (e.g. avocado, tomato, lettuce, coriander, corn, lime juice)
- Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Cook the meat with half the packet of taco seasoning, 1-2 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove and set aside.
- Add more oil, Add the onion, cook stirring for 1 minute. Add the capsicum and cook stirring a further 1-2 minutes or until just softened. Remove and set aside with the meat.
- Pour the stock into the pan and stir to remove any bits from the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the stock reduces to about 3 tablespoons. Return the meat to the pan and toss to coat. Stir through the onion and capsicum. Remove from heat.
- To assemble, place a tortilla onto each serving plate. Top with some meat and capsicum mixture and cheese. Add any other salads you may prefer and serve straight away.
Herb Stuffed Chicken Breast (serves four)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbs of minced fresh parsley
- 2 tbs of minced fresh basil
- 1tbs of minced garlic
- ½ tbs lemon rind
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 8 slices prosciutto
- salad of choice, to serve
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a baking dish and set aside.
- Mix together herbs, garlic, lemon rind and salt and pepper in a bowl, set aside.
- Placing chicken breasts on a cutting board. board. Place hand on top of chicken. Using a sharp knife, slice chicken crossways (butterfly chicken breast), being careful not to cut the whole way through. Open out flat.
- Spoon herb mixture into each butterflied chicken breast and close together edges.
- Wrap 2 slices of prosciutto around each breast. Secure with toothpicks. Place on prepared tray. Spray lightly with oil.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp and chicken cooked through. Serve breasts with salad of your choice.