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THE SUMMER ONES

Summertime and living should be easy. And one-pan meals are a key factor. Whole meals from the electric frypan, the wok and saucepan take the stress out of cooking as well as reducing the washing up.

Electric frypans are often overlooked as an economical and convenient method of cooking. The non-stick coating makes them excellent for one-pan meals and oriental stir-fries, especially when rice is used. And the cost of cooking a roast and vegetables in a frypan is about half the price of cooking one in a conventional oven.

Wok stir-fries are popular any time of the year but summer is the time to make the most of seasonal vegetables. The veg can be balanced by reheating express or 90-second microwave rices that are readily available now in interesting flavours such as lime and coriander, and coconut, chilli and lemongrass.

Pasta can be cooked in the same pan as the vegetables. Place 150 grams of fettuccine or linguine in a large frying pan with two cups of halved tomatoes, three chopped spring onions, crushed garlic, one cup of peas, basil leaves plus about 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil and cook until the pasta is al dente and the water almost evaporated. Turn the pasta often using tongs.

SPANISH CHICKEN

Feel-good food.

1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch saffron
1 each: medium onion, large tomato, red capsicum
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 skinned and boned chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cups Spanish short-grain rice
1 cup stuffed green olives

Combine the wine and saffron and stand until ready to use.

Dice the onion. Chop the tomato. Seed and dice the capsicum.

Season the chicken. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high. Brown the chicken all over and transfer to a plate.

Place the onion and capsicum in the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and garlic and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the wine/saffron mixture and the bay leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has almost evaporated.

Add the rice, stock, chicken and olives. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, then cook for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. The rice should still be a little firm. Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.

ONE-DISH THREE-CHEESE LASAGNE

This is one easy lasagne to prepare. Divide the pasta so there is enough for four layers. Passata is a concentrated pasta sauce.

700g passata
200g no-boil dried lasagne sheets
1 large egg yolk
500g ricotta cheese
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
200g fresh mozzarella, broken into pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly oil a 26cm x 21cm baking dish.

Pour 3/4 of a cup of the passata evenly into the baking dish. Place a layer of lasagne noodles over the Passat breaking them up so they fit in a single layer.

Combine the egg yolk and ricotta cheese. Season. Spread half over the pasta.

Top with another layer of lasagne then 1 1/2 cups of the passata. Top with more lasagne then the remaining ricotta. Follow with the remaining lasagne, the passata, dot with the mozzarella then sprinkle with the parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 20 minutes. Stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.

STIR-FRIED SUMMER CHICKEN

This one-pan meal cooked in a wok needs some carbohydrate to balance it. Frozen naan bread can be warmed in the microwave as can a packet of 90-second rice.

500g skinned and boned chicken, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each: grated root ginger, ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 each: red and green capsicums, seeded and thinly sliced
4 medium tomatoes, quartered
2 spring onions, chopped

Place the chicken in a bowl. Add the ginger, cumin, coriander and turmeric and rub into the chicken.

Heat 1/2 the oil in a wok. Stir-fry the onion and for 1 minute. Add the garlic and capsicums and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Place to one side.

Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the chicken in batches, until cooked, about 6 minutes. Return the vegetables to the pan with the tomatoes. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Serves 4.



 

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