The Secret Rule of Making Better Dinners

Have you ever wished there was an easier way to make delicious and healthy meals night after night? Or that those meals you ‘aren’t really happy with’ were a thing of the past? Or at least didn’t happen very often?

Well you’re definitely not alone.

Most of us have times where we wish we were more confident and creative in the kitchen. I know when I was first getting into cooking there were days where it all seemed too hard.

But over the years I’ve discovered a ‘secret rule’ that has made all the difference to my cooking.

So what is this secret rule?

It’s simple. All I do is try new things on a regular basis.

And I’m not talking about big, ambitious projects, like learning a completely different cuisine or how to apply the molecular gastronomy technique of ‘sphereification’.

I prefer to focus on small easy changes, like trying a new shopping list system or buying a new vegetable at the farmers market. Small changes are way less intimidating, so I’m more likely to actually try them. They’re also more likely to have a successful outcome. I’m a big fan of the quick ‘win’.

But most importantly, lots of small changes or new things over time add up. You’d be surprised just how much of a difference you can make with lots of little new steps.

How can you master the art of trying new things?

If you think you need some inspiration to help you get started with my secret rule, you’re in luck!

I’ve created a new eWorkbook specifically designed to help you improve your dinners and overall cooking. It’s called 30-Dinners in 30-Days.

Each ‘day’ gives a suggestion for a new thing to try or a new way to approach one aspect of cooking. There’s a lesson with each day to help guide you. You’ll also be given step-by-step instructions on how to try this new thing for yourself. And there’s a recipe for each day.

30Dinners 3D Cover2

To find out more go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/30dinners

spiced beef with chickpeas-2

Spiced Beef with Chickpeas

This dish was inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls’ lamb, chickpeas and spinach in his fabulous book ‘Three Good Things on a Plate’. Here we’re using thinly sliced steak because it cooks quickly and keeps the beef nice and tender. It also gives more surface area for the lovely spices to spread over.

Enough for 2…
1 tablespoon baharat spice blend
2 steaks
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), drained
1 large bag baby spinach leaves
squeeze lemon juice

1. Heat a large frying pan on a very high heat.

2. Meanwhile combine spices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season. Finely slice steaks and toss in the spiced oil.

3. Stir fry steak for about 2 minutes or until the steak is well browned and you can’t see any pink bits.

4. Reduce the heat to low. Remove steak and place in a clean bowl.

5. Add chickpeas and spinach to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the spinach has started to wilt. Season with a squeeze of lemon.

VARIATIONS
no baharat? – use your favourite spice blend for steak or make your own. Just combine 1 teaspoon each paprika, ground cumin and ground black pepper.

vegetarian – replace the steak with sliced halloumi. Pan fry of a few minutes on one side and then turn, rather than trying to stir fry the halloumi OR cook chickpeas and spinach until just wilted then fry 2 eggs in the pan. Serve chickpeas and spinach topped with fried egg and sprinkle over a little spice.

vegan – replace beef with 2-3 large field mushrooms. Cook until mushies are browned and tender. Will take 5-10 minutes.

different legumes – replace chickpeas with canned or cooked beans or lentils.

different greens – regular spinach, kale, collard greens, silver beet will all work. Just make sure they’re well washed and sliced finely so the greens cook quickly.

saucy – serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt on top.

VIDEO Version of the Recipe

With love,
Jules x

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{ 17 comments }

Hototogisu February 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm

This looks great! I’m eating paleo at the moment, though. What do you think a good substitute for the chickpeas?

Danielle February 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm

I really liked your approach/idea for this book! It’s a really nice change from traditional cookbooks. I just bought it and it seems great! The price is really fair. Thank you so much for putting so much time into it. xo

Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) February 6, 2013 at 3:26 am

Awesome cookbook idea!

packagepure February 6, 2013 at 5:05 am

I know I found a very interesting and helpful blog here. I appreciate this wonderful information about (Healthy Dinners recipes) you have shared with us.

Josephine February 6, 2013 at 7:54 am

I just wanted to tell you, if I haven’t done so already, that I absolutely love how you always put lots of variation options with your recipes. As a vegan I really appreciate that somebody thinks of us minority :) Have to make this with mushrooms!

leaf (the indolent cook) February 7, 2013 at 12:02 am

I agree, being more adventurous and going for it and trying new things has made me a better cook. They do add up!

debbie February 8, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I’m sitting here at work insanely early and read your recipe. Suddenly the oatmeal (with cinnamon, walnuts, and dried cherries) I brought for breakfast pales in comparison to this dish. I had to look up baharat, but there are my favorite spices…I can’t wait to try the vegan version. Thanks for the inspiration!

Zoe Alexander February 9, 2013 at 4:06 am

It is so difficult to cook something new all the time! This looks quick & healthy!
Many thanks!
Zoe xxx

Sarah February 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

This looks delicious! I am not a big fan of chickpeas, so I think I would use your suggestion for lentils, instead. A good way, also, to incorporate lentils into a meal my husband will like, as lentils are new and exotic to him :).

Roberta February 13, 2013 at 5:25 am

This looks yummy. I also appreciate the veg option. I want to try the haloumi version, and the mushroom one as well.

How much haloumi do you recommend using? It’s not something I buy often, although we do appreciate it.

jules February 22, 2013 at 8:48 am

I usually use a packet for 2 people… I think it’s about 250g in a packet.. hope that helps Roberta!

Jillian February 16, 2013 at 2:43 am

Made this- absolutely FABULOUS! Plus, it was quick and easy and the husband loved it! Will absolutely make again!

karen February 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Made spiced beef with chick peas tonight, Heaven!!

Jody March 14, 2013 at 9:22 am

Made this — wonderful! I should say I made my own spice blend as you indicated above, but also added garlic powder. I served it to my children with the dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top, and they loved it! I also made a meat-free version using eggplant moons instead for my husband who is meat-free due to a cholesterol problem. I snuck some, too. Yummy! I think the eggplant was even better — it held the spices more than the beef did.

dell April 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm

awesome!!

Myria Kludy April 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I used leftover venison stakes and added some bell pepers and it was delicious (I made my own baharat) just the right amount of spiciness! I was not sure what to make for dinner and this was perfect!

Kelly Pietrangeli April 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm

So happy to see this today! We have a standing order with our local butcher here in Madrid and each week we have some beef strips delivered…. but I’d run out of ideas lately. Excellent timing and can’t wait to try. x

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