8 kitchen time savers

broccoli & lamb broccoli & lamb-4

Ever had the feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in the day?

We’ve all been there. Caught at work. Horrific traffic. Home late. Tired. Hungry. Here are a few tricks that I’ve developed over the years to get food on the table as fast as possible.

1. plan ahead
I know it sounds a bit boring but having a rough idea of what you’re going to need and doing a weekly shop is so much faster than going to the supermarket every night on the way home. There’s nothing worse than having to fight for a park when you really just want to get home. Be kind to yourself.

2. use HOT direct heat
We’re talking conductivity here. The further away the food is from your heat source the longer it’s going to take to cook. Pan frying or BBQing are my go-to cooking methods when I’m short of time. Boiling can also be fast but there’s the time needed to get the water hot in the first place.

3. skip the peeling
Keeping the skins on things like carrots and spuds not only saves time but gives you the most nutrients as well.

4. cheat (!)
There’s nothing wrong with using modern convenience foods to save some prescious minutes. Tinned chickpeas, par cooked rice, fresh pasta all make a big difference.

5. keep your knives sharp
The most common activity in the kitchen is chopping. Sharp knives make it much easier to get your confidence and your speed up.

6. make technology your friend
Food processors can grate, slice or puree things in a fraction of the time it would take using an old grater or a mortar and pestle. Kitchen scales are another blessing as you can just weigh and go without fiddling around with messy measuring cups.

7. ask for help
If you have access to one, employ a kitchen slave. Not only do many hands make light work – it’s also an opportunity to relax and catch up with your loved ones.

8. cook things you know – or use a simple recipe and READ it PROPERLY first
The first time I do something it always takes a little longer as you figure out a system. This is where 5 ingredients 10 minutes can help. It’s all about keeping the recipe as simple and as quick as possible.
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broccoli & lamb-5

[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
beef & broccoli stir fry

serves 4

Another dish inspired by Saint Nigel. There’s something so comforting about minced beef. Add in the fresh healthiness of broccoli and we’re talking the perfect midweek dinner.

Lovely on it’s own but also great with some steamed rice. If you don’t have time to cook your rice from scratch, I’ve been playing around with the parcooked rice sachets that just need a whirl in the microwave. Expensive for rice but excellent for the time poor.

600g (1 1/3lb) minced (ground) beef
2 heads broccoli, cut into bite sized little trees
2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
4T oyster sauce
bunch coriander, roughly chopped with some stems included

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook broccoli for 2 minutes and drain.

Meanwhile, heat 2T olive oil in a large frying pan and cook beef over a high heat until very brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Add broccoli and sauce and stir through until well heated. Taste and season.

Serve sprinkled with coriander.

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