Gabriel ponders quick delicious recipes that can be thrown together faster than a bare foot jack rabbit on a hot grill. But a quick easy meal is a moot point if it contains ingredients that require you to drive across town to get or even need you leave the house for that matter…
I was lamenting the slow turn of the clock as I waited hungrily for a chicken pie to cook in the oven and decided to go pick some pea shoots from the garden for a salad. It was cold outside – hence the pie – and it looked like it was about to start raining. Suffice it to say that the garden was not an exciting prospect, but better company than my grumbling stomach. Besides, the sweet crunch of a pea shoot is almost as good as the sweet, oh so sweet, crunch of a golden pie crust. Almost.
But there was a crunch. There were no pea shoots. None. There was not even a single peany weeny sapling poking through the damp earth. Did I plant them too deep in the ground? Had I not watered them enough? Maybe the cold winter had ruined my precious crop? It was then that I realised that it was likely none of these things, they probably just needed more time. Argh!
Then my grumbling stomach dished out my second realisation in as many minutes – so many good things take time. A lot of time in some cases. Wine, cheese, cured meats, chutneys and pickles all take time of course. Not to mention 14 hour slow cooked lamb! When it comes to delicious yummyness there is often no substitute for time – and I respect that, even savour that fact. Of course this realization did not in any way console my increasingly hostile stomach or make the pie in the oven cook any faster. It didn’t even solve my salad issues.
This did get me to thinking about all of the gastronomic delights that can be prepared quickly, with little fuss and even less effort. Don’t be mistaken, nothing compares to a slow cooked meal. Hours of melding and developing flavours, tenderizing ingredients and dreaming of the feast to come can be the epitomy of good eats. But when time is of the essence and speed is the name of the game a quick simple meal can be equally delicious and satisfying.
One of my favourite quick recipes is sweet peas shelled from their cosy pods, cooked for 1 minute and sprinkled with some extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper and a chiffonade of mint. I add a few chunks of chorizo if I’m feeling like an extra treat. Oh how I wish I could whip up this quick snack right now while I wait for my pie, but alas, no peas! No wonder why beautiful women the from around the globe always wish for a world full of them.
Bad jokes aside there are actually endless amounts of quick recipes that can be thrown together with minimum fuss and little effort. Lamb cutlets or a steak pan fried seasoned with a generous amount of salt & pepper and served with a side of blanched beans, roast almonds and goats cheese. Out of the kitchen and onto the plate in the snap of a bean. Or some rice and eggplant claypot (claypot not required). Prepared quicker than you can say aubergine. Or hear to this – an ear of corn, soba noodles, prawns and avocado slathered in a garlic, lemon, butter sauce and a sprinkle of parsley. Get it? Hear and ear? Almost as clever as the mix of finely balanced flavours. Sorry I lied about the bad jokes.
There are hundreds and hundreds of delicious meals that can be whipped up in 10-20 minutes. Homemade burgers, stir fries, salads, cheese toasties, seared lamb and cous cous, pita pockets, rice paper rolls, bagels, burritos, pizza, pasta and noodle soup; the list could go on and on. The world is your oyster – shucked, battered and served with a fennel coleslaw salad!
In fact there is usually a quick delicious meal to be had with any number of ingredients that may be lying about your fridge and pantry. But it must be said that usually the whole point of a quick easy meal is that you don’t have to think too much and you don’t want to have to buy expensive perishables on the off chance you may want to throw them together in a rush on any given day. Because let’s face it – many quick meals are best when the freshest ingredients are simply prepared. But the reality is that the need for a slap dash meal does not always present itself when you have the freshest ingredients on hand.
Top Choice of the Quick Recipes
It is partly for this reason that my all time favourite simple, nutritious, low cost and quick recipe is my version of Channa Masala (chickpea curry). Nothing compares to a quick meal that is hearty, satisfying, easy to prepare and most importantly of all can be made out of ingredients that can be easily stocked up and stored in your pantry – no need for top quality fresh produce here!
All a good chickpea curry needs is some spices, a can of chickpeas, canned tomatoes and rice. Maybe some yogurt, coriander and poppadoms to garnish if you want to be extra fancy. All prepared in the time it takes to boil a pot of rice, at the cost of a few dollars. Most importantly of all, there is no waiting an eternity your meal to quite literally grow on trees. No wonder I used to think they were called ‘quickpeas’ when I was a child. If only shortcrust applied to the shortness of cooking time, I wouldn’t be left sitting wondering what will come first – the chicken or the pea – pie or the shoot!