Fast meals


September 17, 2012 by talkaboutyork

As we’re living on a building site at present, cooking has been a challenge. Not in the way some people on building sites are challenged. For example we have a cooker that works and running water. Even a dishwasher. But every surface is covered in dust regardless of how many times I wipe them down. And half the kitchen stuff is still in boxes. There is nowhere to store anything so it means I end up buying ingredients for meals each day – which works out expensive.

And when you have about ten different places to get take aways from within about 3 minutes walk, not to mention nowhere to eat a meal other than on the sofa in front of the tv or kneeling on the floor around a coffee table, I haven’t been massively inspired to cook of late.

But I have done it. Now and then. I managed to make a wicked roast chicken dinner complete with gravy from scratch. The enjoyment of it was lost however, when we had to wipe off a thick layer of dust before we could perch our plates on the coffee table.

So when I saw that Lorraine Pasquale had a show called ‘Fast, fresh and easy’ I thought I’d watch. Maybe it would inspire me to make fast, fresh and easy food. Except that while her food may indeed be fresh it appears neither fast or easy. In fact there is no way she’d be making that food if she realised that she had 15 minutes before she had to run to the school to fetch the kids who would be back home demanding a meal NOW, NOW, NOW because they’re starving. 

Her meals require ingredients like mascarpone and amaretto. Now unless you have a Sainsbury’s local on your doorstep (as I do) that happens to stock mascarpone (which I don’t) that isn’t going to be easy. I can’t believe that most families have that particular cheese type on their weekly shopping list  – or perhaps I’m wrong. And sure, perhaps most homes do have a bottle of Amaretto loitering nonchalantly in the drinks cupboard just waiting to fulfill it’s destiny in a pear tart, but what if you don’t? 

The entire show makes the food look quick and easy because of the film angles and super slow mo/super speeded up bits, not to mention the very cool music it’s all set to.

I need to make a show that is based on real lives – not the lives of people who have rectangular fluted pie tins. Look in your store cupboard right now. What meal could you make in 15 minutes? 

I had that moment today. This is what I found. A pack of frozen sausages. Three limp leaks. Three equally limp carrots. A third of a bottle of red wine that remarkably hadn’t been finished the night before. From this I could make a meal.

In the interests of honesty, I had already defrosted the sausages, knowing full well that I had nothing else in the house. I roughly chopped the leeks and carrots and chucked them in a oven proof casserole pot (I believe most mothers have at least one of these). Softened them slightly too fast in some butter, while I multi-tasked and browned the sausages in a frying pan.

I threw a bit of flour into the leeks/carrots, chucked the wine in, rummaged in the herb drawer and found some Herbs de Provence so put that in. Bunged a beef stock cube in, a splash of worcestershire sauce and some water. Put the browned sausages in the mixture, poured some barley into it. Gave it a stir and bunged it in the oven, then raced out the door. Got to pick up just in time.

We got home to the lovely smells of red wine and sausages. We obviously stopped at Saisburys on the way home to get some broccoli so that we could add something green to the plate. But that was our fast, fresh and easy meal. Not necessarily fresh. More store cupboard and slightly back of fridge, but a very worthy family meal. 

This is what they need on telly – a programme on how to make something out of anything. Oh yes, I forgot, there’s Ready Steady Cook…..


One thought on “Fast meals

  1. They have that kind of thing on one of those Gordon Ramsay shows – Hell’s Kitchen? Where they have to make a dish out of a pot of cream and sea urchin spines, or some such rubbish. I am currently wondering how to make supper out of the contents of my fridge, which are broccoli, one lemon and grapes. Somehow Broccoli pasta doesn’t sound that appealing.

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