18 Nov 2022 |
With the cost of living crisis, we know a lot of people are looking for meals that are adaptable, energy efficient and delicious. We're sharing our top picks for cookbooks that will help with making the most of your pantry provisions, low energy meals and batch cooking.
Cod with Chorizo, Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes, from Foolproof Slow Cooker by Rebecca Woods
Chorizo is a great way to add flavour to simple white fish fillets. I’ve used cod here, but any similar fish – such as hake, coley or pollock – will work well. Throw in potatoes and some tomatoes and you have a complete meal in a pot. A mandoline is useful for the potatoes, or just some patience to slice them really thin. You’ll also need a large 6-litre (6 1/4 quart) slow cooker, so that the potatoes are spread out and cook through properly, or halve the quantity for a small cooker.
2 tbsp olive oil
150g (5 ½ oz) chorizo, sliced into discs
700g (1lb 9oz) new potatoes (I use Jersey royals)
3 small rosemary sprigs
4 cod fillets
4 cherry tomato vines (with 8 or 9 tomatoes on each)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat a large 6-litre (6 1/4 quart) slow cooker (preferably with a metal insert) to HIGH.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook for a few minutes until it has released its oil and is starting to crisp up. Remove the pan from the heat.
Meanwhile, slice the potatoes into 2–3mm thick slices (no need to peel) using a sharp knife or ideally a mandoline. Put them in the slow cooker and add the chorizo and all the oil from the pan. Season well with salt and pepper and carefully mix it up so the potatoes are coated in the oil, then tuck the rosemary sprigs into the potatoes. Cook for 1 hour until the potatoes are starting to soften.
Place the cod fillets on top of the potatoes and season them, then finish by placing the tomato vines around them. Cook for a further 45 minutes–1 hour, until the potatoes are completely tender and the cod is cooked throughout. Serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
Foolproof Slow Cooker is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon.
Spicy Potato and Pea Wraps, from Easy Speedy Vegan by Katy Beskow
Filling, warming and spiced, these wraps make a substantial and flavoursome lunch. This recipe is a great way to use up any remaining new potatoes from the bag, alongside store cupboard staples. The waxy texture of the new potato carries the spice, with pops of freshness from the peas. Serve either hot or cold.
Serves 2. Suitable for freezing (potato and pea filling)
5 new potatoes, halved
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp mustard seeds
pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
4 tbsp frozen peas
2 naan breads (ensure
small handful of coriander
(cilantro), roughly torn
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp thick coconut yogurt
2 tsp mango chutney
Bring a pan of water to the boil over a medium highheat, then add the new potatoes and cook for 20 minutes until softened.
In a separate flat pan, add the oil, onion, garlic, mustard seeds and chilli flakes. Cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the garam masala and turmeric until combined. Add the frozen peas and cook for 2–3 minutes until defrosted.
Meanwhile, warm the naan breads: sprinkle the breads with a few drops of water and put an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 for 5 minutes, or in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Drain the potatoes and then add them to the flat pan and roughly crush down, coating in the spiced oil. Remove the pan from the heat and scatter over the coriander and sea salt.
Lay out the warmed naan breads on serving plates and spoon in the spiced potatoes and pea mix. Spoon over the coconut yogurt and mango chutney, then fold the naan bread to contain the filling.
Easy Speedy Vegan is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon.
Pork and Greens with Orange and Chilli, from Modern Pressure Cooking by Catherine Phipps
This is a fiery, showstopper of a casserole, especially if served with the intense-looking black rice. It’s a bit of a Peruvian and Chinese fusion in terms of flavour and quite soupy, so I serve it over the rice in bowls. If you have one pressure cooker, cook the rice first – it will reheat when you pour over the hot pan juices. You can add any greens to this – I like regular or sprouting broccoli. You can use most cuts of pork for this casserole. On the bone will give the most flavour, but diced pork shoulder or even belly pork will work really well, just make sure you brown them very well and be prepared to
skim for fat at the end.
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 kg (2lb 4oz) pork osso buco or ribs or 750g (1lb 10oz) pork shoulder or belly pork, diced
1 onion, thickly sliced
5 garlic cloves, grated or crushed
30g (1oz) piece ginger, grated
1 star anise
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tbsp tomato purée
1–3 tsp hot chilli paste or sauce, according to taste
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
Juice of 2 oranges
1 bunch of coriander (cilantro), stems and leaves separated
400g (14oz) greens, such as broccoli, sprouting broccoli, pak choi (bok choy)
Sea salt and freshly ground
Sesame oil or chilli oil
Spring onions (scallions), shredded
Heat the oil in your pressure cooker and add the meat. Sear on all sides to get some good colour, then remove from the cooker. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Fry for a minute or two, then stir in spices, tomato purée and chilli paste or sauce.
Return the pork to the cooker and turn over to coat with the spices, then add the soy sauce, orange juice and coriander (cilantro) stems. Season with salt and pepper.
Close the lid and bring up to high pressure. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to drop pressure naturally. Remove the meat and keep warm. If the contents of the pot are looking very fatty, skim. Place the greens on top, bring up to high pressure and then remove from the heat and fast release.
Serve spooned over the rice with plenty of the broth. Drizzle with sesame or chilli oil and sprinkle with the coriander leaves and shredded spring onions (scallions).
Modern Pressure Cooking is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon.
Green Risotto, from Foolproof Freezer by Rebecca Woods
The joy of this is that you can use pretty much everything in your freezer that happens to be green: peas, beans, broccoli, edamame and, of course, freezer-staple pesto for a serious flavour boost. Adapt it to whatever you have to hand. If you are vegetarian, make sure you go for a Parmesan-style cheese that is suitable – in both the risotto and the pesto.
30g (1oz/2 tbsp) butter
1 tbsp olive oil
200g (7oz) frozen chopped onion (or 1 onion, diced)
11/2 tbsp frozen chopped garlic (or 3 fresh cloves, finely chopped)
250g (9oz) arborio risotto rice
180ml (6fl oz/3/4 cup) white wine (a mini bottle or frozen in cubes)
700ml (24fl oz/3 cups) hot vegetable or chicken stock
400g (14oz) small green freezer veg (peas, beans, edamame, broad/fava beans, etc.)
40g (11/2oz) grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve (vegetarian, if necessary)
4–5 tbsp Pesto Genovese
sea salt and ground black pepper
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low–medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a good 8–10 minutes until really soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the rice to the pan and stir around for a minute or so to coat the grains in the oil, then add the wine. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has cooked off, then begin adding the hot stock. Add it a ladleful at a time, only adding more when the previous addition has been absorbed by the rice.
When you have added almost all of the stock and the rice is almost cooked, add your frozen veg to the pan along with the remaining stock. Cook for about 5 minutes more, until the rice is tender with just a little bite and the veg is just cooked. Stir in the Parmesan and let it melt into the mixture, then stir in the pesto and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with extra Parmesan for sprinkling.
Will it re-freeze?
Yes, although you will lose your al dente bite on the rice, but it will still be tasty. Simply leave to thaw naturally or pop in the microwave, and reheat either in the microwave or in a saucepan.
Foolproof Freezer is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon.