Moving house. Never a fun time. Although it can be a great excuse to clean out and work a bit of minimalist magic, there’s always so many logistics to think about. Or not.
Last week when my removalists decided to come a day early, I rushed to get everything packed in time. All went smoothly and after the truck had left, I set about making myself for lunch.
Logistics fail. No kitchen equipment, except for a knife and a stray spoon. So I did the only sensible thing and made myself a sardine salad using my salad leaves bag as both mixing and serving bowl. Too easy.
As I ate my salad from the bag with the spoon, it got me thinking about washing up – that seemingly necessary evil. I’ve had a few people tell me that while they have a love of cooking, they tend not to venture into the kitchen as much as they’d like because they just hate the cleaning up part.
I understand where they’re coming from but cooking doesn’t have to be like that. So today I thought I’d share some tips for keeping the piles of dishes at bay.
Reduce the amount of equipment you use by embracing simplicity. Keeping the amount of equipment in your kitchen to a minimum will help – you can’t dirty things that don’t exist! Have a look at the post I wrote about setting up a minimalist kitchen, if you’d like some ideas.
Seek out one pot meals or things that can be made and eaten from the same pot. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- curried scrambled tofu with spinach
- broccoli & parmesan soup
- lamb & spinach curry
- chickpea & rosemary baked frittata
- simple soba noodle soup
- butter beans with tomato & chorizo
Serve in the cooking pot.
The whole idea of transferring your creations to a separate platter or serving dish is great if you have an army of servants to help clean up. But not a great idea if you’re the cook and the cleaner. If your saucepans aren’t good looking enough for the table, it might be better to invest in more attractive cookware and skip the serving ware.
If you need a spoon, reach for the one you’ve already used rather than grabbing a clean one every time. Same goes for pots and pans. A quick rinse will have most things ready to go again in only a few seconds.
Compostable or recyclable plates and cups will certainly save on washing up. But it doesn’t really feel right using them everyday. I save this option for picnics or large parties.
[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
washing up free salad
This is my go-to lunch when I can’t think of what to eat. Tuna in chilli oil is easily my most commonly used fish. But sometimes I like to mix it up with a bit of canned salmon or even cute little sardines canned in olive oil, like I did today.
When I’m in the mood for a vegetarian version I swap the fish for drained canned chickpeas. Delish!
It’s also a great work lunch if you have access to a supermarket – just duck in for a bag of washed lettuce, some canned fish and a lemon and do a bit of make-your-own back at the office. I also have been known to make this in hotel rooms for dinner when I’ve been travelling for work and am sick of eating out and room service. Just the thing to sooth a weary worker.
1 can sardines, preferably in olive oil
1 bag washed salad leaves
small handful pinenuts, optional
1. Drain some of the oil from the fish, leaving a little to help dress the leaves.
2. Open salad bag, add fish and a generous squeeze of lemon to the bag.
3. Toss in pinenuts, if using. Season with a little pepper if you have any. Eat from the bag.
video version of the recipe