Saturday, October 24, 2020

By Brian Kaller

 

DURING these COVID days, many of us don’t get to the shops as often as we would like, and many of us are trying to work from home, tend to animals or gardens, manage kids learning from home, and trying to stay healthy all at the same time. With all this, most of us don’t have the time for a slow-cooked meal with lots of steps and ingredients.

Unfortunately, that’s what most cookbooks and cooking shows offer – partly because the cooking shows are spectacles focusing on the extreme and exotic, and cookbooks are consumer products that stake out their own image by having unique recipes that haven’t appeared elsewhere. That leads, however, to cooking tutorials that make cooking look difficult and time-consuming.

Thus, I thought that I’d spend this week focusing on simple recipes for people who are not ambitious cooks, using a small list of easy-to-get ingredients that can be obtained at most shops, all of which should take no more than ten minutes or so.

Ginger-garlic pork mince

500g pork mince

30 ml cooking oil

6 garlic cloves

70 ml ginger

40 ml soy sauce

50 ml lemon juice

In a large pan heat the oil and add the mince; cook on high heat, stirring frequently, until all the pink is gone and it is starting to turn from grey to dark brown. Peel and dice the ginger, add it to the still-cooking pork and stir it in, and then finely chop the garlic and stir that in. Add the lemon juice and soy sauce at the end and turn off the heat. I also added a dash of cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne to mine, and a few dashes of salt – but those are optional. I served mine with broccoli, but you can use it to fill crepes, omelettes or pies.

Egg salad

This time of year the hens are probably still laying a lot, and if you have apple trees you probably have a bumper crop of apples. This salad is about as healthy as you can get.

Six eggs, hard-boiled

Three scallions (green onions)

10 ml hot mustard

20 ml lemon juice

30 ml olive oil

30 ml mayonnaise

Five medium apples

First boil the eggs until hard-boiled, soak in cold water and peel. Dice the eggs, peel and dice the apples and finely chop the scallions. In a bowl mix together mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice and mustard, and stir the rest of the ingredients into the mix. If you don’t have hot mustard, try substituting a bit of mustard powder and a dash of cayenne. If you don’t have scallions, use a fistful of chives, or finely chop a medium red onion.

Crepes

Crepes (rhymes with “apes”) are thin pancakes – the mix is thin when you pour it, and the pancakes are thin when they solidify on the pan. Whereas American-style pancakes are made to rise like dough and be thick and fluffy, crepes are made to be stuffed with something, either sweet or savoury.

1 egg per person

White flour

Milk

Cooking oil and butter

Rather than proscribe specific amounts, with crepes it’s better to get a feel for the proportions. First mix water and milk in a one-to-three ratio; carbonated water is best, but tap water will do. Beat the eggs and slowly sprinkle in flour until it cannot be stirred easily, and then slowly add the water-milk solution until it is a runny batter that can pour easily.

Heat a pan and add about 20 ml of cooking oil and a pat of butter, and use the butter to spread the oil around until the pan is well-oiled. Pour in the crepe mix until it thinly covers the pan, tilting the pan to make sure it gets to every part. Turn off the heat when it looks solid; it should be about two millimetres thick. On one side add sauteed spinach, cheese, the pork mince from earlier, or some other filling, use a spatula to fold the crepe over, lift off the pan and put onto a plate.

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