Why should we be utilising our microwave ovens more? Because they use less power than traditional ovens, they save time and often foods are higher in nutritional goodies than if boiled or steamed.
Less moisture is lost from the food as there are no radiant elements in standard microwave ovens to heat and thus dry the air. This means that minimal liquid is required for cooking many foods — especially vegetables and fruits.
Jams, chutneys and relishes also require less liquid — about one quarter less than in a traditional recipe.
Remember, the more food in the microwave the longer it takes to cook. So if you double the size of a recipe — a meatloaf for example — it will take almost twice as long to cook as the recipe states. Because they cook quickly, meats and bakes don't develop their usual rich colour. But cakes can be dusted with icing sugar or cocoa to enhance their appeal; and meats can be scattered with fresh herbs or drizzled with a sauce.
NB. The recipes following were cooked in a 1100 watt microwave oven. If using a lower watt oven you may have to increase the cooking times by a minute or two.
So simple, so mouth-watering.
Glaze: 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons each: brown sugar, soy sauce
1 tablespoon each: hoisin sauce, julienned root ginger
1/2 teaspoon each, diced chilli, crushed garlic
Salmon: 2 small boned salmon fillets, 200-250g in total
Combine the glaze ingredients in a microwave bowl. Mix well. Cook on high for 30 seconds. Stir and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. The glaze should be thickened.
Place the salmon skin-side down in a small microwave baking dish. Brush with the glaze.
Cover loosely with baking or waxed paper. Cook on high for 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Spoon more glaze over the cooked salmon. Serves 2.
ORANGE & LEMON MARMALADE
Take care removing the very hot bowl of marmalade from the microwave.
1 large orange
1 large or 2 medium lemons
2 1/4 cups boiling water
3 cups sugar
Quarter the fruit and discard the pips. Chop finely. (This can be done in a food processor.)
Place the fruit in a large microwave jug or bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover and stand overnight.
Next day, bring the fruit to the boil in the microwave, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar until almost dissolved.
Microwave for about 20 minutes until setting point (104°C) is reached. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal. Makes about 4 cups.
This quick meal can be garnished with a topping of your choice.
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup each: fresh breadcrumbs, sultanas
750g lean minced beef
Topping: 2-3 tablespoons dukkah or chopped herbs or
1 tablespoon ground paprika or sumac
Combine the first five ingredients and mix well. Mix into the mince together with the breadcrumbs and sultanas. Form into a loaf and pat into a 22cm x 13cm microwave loaf pan. Cover loosely and cook on 50% (1/2) power for about 10-12 minutes. The internal temperature should be 70°C.
Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes. Remove from the loaf pan and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle with one of the toppings. Serves about 6.