Many of you have moved away from home for the first time and you may find the kitchen to be an intimidating place, and cooking a challenging exercise. Eating out or surviving on beans on toast and pot noodles might seem like your only option, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Absolutely anyone can learn to cook, and I promise that you don’t have to slave for hours over a stove to produce a delicious dish.
This week I’ve cooked up a few easy recipes for you to try that are perfect for a newbie cook. So what are you waiting for? Get ready, get steady, and cook!
Chinese Fried Rice
This easy Chinese fried rice recipe is so much better than takeaway. I love fried rice because it only takes about 15 minutes to make and you’ll have a delicious lunch or dinner ready. It is also versatile, for instance, I had a spare frankfurter in my fridge, and so I sliced it up and chucked it into my fried rice. You are your own chef, so try to experiment with flavours, adding or omitting whatever you fancy.
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
115g chicken breast, cut into cubes
115g shrimp, peeled, shelled and deveined
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
340g overnight rice (roughly 2 cups of cooked rice)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon oyster sauce
3 dashes white pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt to taste
- Heat up a wok (a pan will do if you don’t have one) with two tablespoons of oil and add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic. Then throw in the shrimp, and mixed vegetables, and stir-fry until the chicken and shrimp are half cooked.
- Add the rice and stir well with the ingredients and then add the fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper and continue to stir the fried rice for a couple of minutes.
- Use a spatula to push the rice to the side of the wok and make a ‘well’ in the middle of the fried rice. Pour the beaten eggs into the ‘well, wait for 30 seconds, and then cover the eggs with the fried rice. Leave it for 30 seconds to 1 minute and continue to stir-fry so the eggs form into small pieces and mix well with the fried rice.
- Add salt to taste and do some quick stirs. It is now ready and is best eaten hot!
Flu-busting Chicken Soup
Ugh. It’s that time of year where you have a 99.9% chance of falling ill. Being sick sucks, and worse still mum won’t be in your flat to nurse you back to health. It is important to take care of yourself and ensuring you’re well nourished helps your immune system to recover. This soup is the perfect meal to assist your convalescence. The recipe will serve two, so you can save some in the fridge and enjoy more another time.
500ml chicken stock (basically one stock cube)
3 to 4 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 boneless and skinless chicken breast fillets
handful chopped fresh coriander
- Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan and add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken breasts. Cover and simmer the saucepan for 20 minutes.
- Carefully remove the chicken breasts and cut them into small pieces. Then return the pieces into the saucepan.
- Lastly, add the coriander to garnish.
- Now drink the soup so that its nourishing ingredients will start working their healing magic.
Malaysian Prawn Laksa
Laksa is a popular Malaysian noodle soup with many delicious variations, such as chicken, fish and prawn. This recipe, in particular, has prawns, as it’s the easiest and quickest to make. You’ll have a yummy bowl to eat and warm you up after just ten minutes of prep and eight minutes of cooking time!
2 teaspoon oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
100g raw prawns
165ml can coconut milk
100ml chicken or vegetable stock
100g dried egg noodles
handful chopped fresh coriander
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Once it is hot, add the garlic, spring onion, ginger and green chilli and cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Then squeeze in the lime juice.
- Throw in the prawns, then add the coconut milk and stock. Simmer gently for a further 5 minutes on a low heat until the prawns are a pinkish colour.
- Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles in a pan of boiling water for 4 minutes until soft. Then drain and tip the noodles into the laksa pan.
- Season to taste and lastly garnish the laksa with fresh coriander. Enjoy your warming bowl of noodle soup!
The name of this frittata is pretty self-explanatory. Personally I hate throwing out veggies as it makes me feel really wasteful. My solution for using up surplus veggies that are going to perish is this frittata. Although this recipe calls for specific veggies, feel free to throw in any vegetables rolling around your fridge that are soon to expire, like that last carrot or tomato!
6 large eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 potato, peeled, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with the cheese and season with salt.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and throw in the potatoes, red peppers, and onions, and cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Pour the egg mixture into the pan and use a fork to evenly distribute the egg mixture to the edges of the pan.
- Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes with a lid on.
- Then flip the frittata over and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Enjoy hot or cold, whenever you like, as it is perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Red Velvet Mug Cake
Microwave mug cakes have been super fashionable in foodie circles of late, and with good reason. They are a quick way to satisfy a sweet tooth craving a sugary fix! This recipe infuses the flavours of classic red velvet cake and can easily be a vegan treat, as it doesn’t have egg, just omit the red food colouring (many aren’t veggie).
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 drops red food colouring, optional
- In a large mug whisk (using a fork) together the milk and vinegar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
- Add the bowl mixture to the milk mixture and add the vegetable oil and red food colouring. Then whisk until smooth.
- Put the mug in the microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds. The cake will rise and then deflate a little.
- Nom immediately – how could you resist!
Chinese Fried Egg Rice—adapted from http://rasamalaysia.com/fried-rice-recipe/2/
Flu-busting Chicken Soup —adapted from http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2117/quick-and-easy-chicken-soup.aspx?o_is=SR
Malaysian Prawn Laksa —adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/12796/prawn-and-coconut-laksa
Clear-out-your-fridge Frittata: my own original recipe
Red Velvet Mug Cake —adapted from http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2014/06/red-velvet-mug-cake/