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ONE-PAN WONDERS

Holidays are the ideal time for quick and easy meals: those meals that don't use every pot in the cupboard; whole and healthy meals that can be cooked in an electric frypan, casserole or saucepan.

In the 1950s, the electric frypan revolutionised small home kitchens. They saved power and were often used for roasting thus leaving the oven clean for baking. Electric frypans have gone out of fashion a little which is disappointing because they are the ideal one-pan cooker.

As the name suggests, the first saucepans were made — yes— for making sauces. This was in the 17thcentury when metal cooking utensils became the preferred option. (Metal pans were slow to be developed due to their high cost.) Before that, earthenware pots coated with a waterproof glaze were used suspended over low-heat fires or in ovens.  

Stainless steel saucepans are a popular choice because they are hygienic and they don’t rust or stain. However, because stainless steel alone is a poor conductor of heat it is combined with other metals which are good conductors of heat. 

These saucepans are available in many grades, the price and weight usually reflecting the quality. Beware — lightweight stainless saucepans tend to develop hot spots. If the handles are manufactured from heat-resistant plastic, saucepans can also act as a casserole in an oven up to 200°C. 

PEAR & KUMARA GREEN CURRY

The flavour of this yummy curry is enhanced by the pears.

Sauce: 1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons grated root ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon each: Thai green curry paste, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar
2 cups vegetable stock
410g can sliced pears
Vegetables: 500g peeled and cubed purple-skinned kumara
1 large carrot, spiralised or shredded
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped coriander
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pan-fry the onion in the oil in a medium-large saucepan, until softened. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook gently for 30 seconds. Stir in the curry paste, soy sauce and vinegar then add the vegetable stock

Drain the pears, reserving the juice. Add the juice to the saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the kumara and simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender. Add the carrot and sliced pears and Ccook for another 5 minutes. 

Just before serving, stir in the coconut milk, coriander and lemon juice and heat through. Serves 4.

SPINACH SHAKSHUKA WITH AVOCADO

Cook in an electric frypan or a traditional frying pan.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
400g spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream
4 large eggs
50g feta cheese, crumbled
1 green chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
1 avocado, halved, stoned, peeled and sliced

Heat the oil in a medium electric frypan or traditional frying pan. Sauté the onion, until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the spinach in batches cooking until wilted and tender. Season. Stir in the cream. 

Make four small holes in the spinach. Break an egg into each. Cover and cook on medium until the eggs are just set, about 7 minutes. Season, sprinkle with the feta and chilli then add the avocado.

Great served with chilli sauce, corn chips and lime wedges. Serves 2.

ONE-POT MAC N’ VEG

You can use any mixture of colourful vegetables you have in your fridge.

1 1/2-2 cups dried macaroni or similar
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup each: diced carrot, chopped beans
Sauce:1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon each: flour, wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups grated tasty cheddar cheese

Cook the macaroni in a large saucepan according to the packet instructions. Add the vegetables during the last 4 minutes, cooking until crisp tender.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, milk, flour, mustard, herbs and seasonings in a bowl. Drain the pasta and vegetables through a sieve or colander. Place the egg mixture in the empty saucepan. Whisk over low heat, until thickened. Stir in the cheese, until melted. Return the pasta and vegetables to the saucepan and heat through.

Great served garnished with sliced tomato, fresh herbs and/or grated parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

FAB FRYPAN-ROASTED CHICKEN

Other vegetables such as mushrooms and asparagus can be added during the last 15 minutes of cooking. The dried stuffing mix is available from supermarkets.

Free-form Stuffing: 1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 cup (100g) sage and onion stuffing mix
1/2 cup water
1 egg, beaten
Chicken: 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
1.1kg butterflied chicken
400g butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
10-12 basil leaves

To make the stuffing, sauté the onion in the oil an electric frypan, until soft. Combine with the stuffing mix, water and egg in a bowl. Form into 6-8 stuffing balls about the size of a golf ball.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of rice bran oil in the frypan. Add the chicken and lightly brown on both sides on medium-low (120°C) heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes turning once during cooking. Add the stuffing balls and buttercup.

Cook for another 30-45 minutes, turning the stuffing balls and pumpkin halfway through. Garnish with the basil leaves. 

Great served with a green salad and cherry tomatoes. Serves 4-5.



Columns by Jan Bilton
Jan & Co
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