How to ‘Fancy Up’ a Simple Meal

Sun-Dried Tomato Omelette

Recently I added an ‘Ask Jules’ section into the members area for my online cooking school and meal planning products.

I’m so glad I did because I’ve been getting some fabulous questions like this…

Hi Jules,

I just made the chicken satay curry with a soy based chicken type thing. I put it on zucchini noodles.

I love your recipes because they are wonderful as is, but also take whatever is on hand.

I added what I had and by chance happened to remember: frozen ginger, lime juice, frozen cilantro, frozen lime leaves and it was just lovely.

Do you have particular ingredients that you keep in the freezer or pantry that you add to the more simple meals on occasion to fancy them up? Thanks,
Jessica

Great question Jessica!

Here are some of my favourites ingredients…

How to ‘Fancy Up’ a Simple Meal

1. Nuts
My go-to ingredient to ‘fancy’ things up is roast nuts.

At the moment I have walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and peanuts in the pantry. But also regularly buy hazelnuts and brazil nuts.

2. Seeds
Seeds are awesome because they tend to be less expensive than nuts. And you don’t have to worry about the nut-allergy thing. Yet they still add loads of flavour and texture. I have linseeds (flax), sunflower seeds and sesame seeds at the moment. And occasionally buy chia seeds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

3. Cheese
I also love adding cheese to give things a flavour boost like crumbled feta, blue cheese or goats cheese. Or my all time favourite – grated or shaved parmesan.

If you’re dairy-free this Brazil Nut ‘Parmesan’ or my Macadamia Ricotta would be my go-tos. And you might find these 12 Clever Ideas for Eating Dairy-Free.

4. Sauces
Sauces are another thing I rely on heavily. Here are some faves:

For Asian flavours I love adding soy sauce or oyster sauce.

Also see my list of 10 ‘Secret Weapon’ Sauces.

5. A Splash of Acid
A squeeze of lemon, lime (like you used) or a splash of vinegar also works to brighten the flavours and bring your dish to life. Think about how a squeeze of lemon transforms fish and chips.

6. Other

And olives are great too for adding a big flavour burst! Occasionally I also use fried capers or sun dried tomatoes.

And finally I’ve been getting into flavoured salts to serve at the table to add spice for my Irishman and me and leave the main meal small-boy-friendly. Thanks for reminding me to post my chilli salt recipe!

Keep it simple in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Struggling with Healthy Eating?

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5 Comments

  • I love how you used fresh herbs in your simple yummy recipes. Sadly, I always use them too slowly so the majority of my gems go bad. I never considered freezing them! Do you have above about how they should be prepped for freezing?
    Thank you for everything you do.

    • I generally just pop them in a plastic bag and shove them in the freezer Maggie.
      I then wait until they’re defrosted to trim the stalks. If I was more organised, trimming before freezing would be a better option!

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