There are certain dishes that have outlasted many generations and will continue to invoke delight. All of these dishes are made from simple, reasonably-priced ingredients.
You don’t have to be a renowned chef to cook these dishes and with a few magic ingredients, you can turn the simplest dish into a meal fit for kings.
Eggs are super versatile and omelettes, well you can have an omelette any time of the day. All you need to do is beat a few eggs with a bit of salt and pepper, heat some butter on the pan, pour the beaten eggs into the pan and let it cook away. Of course, you may add mushrooms, bacon, onions, tomatoes or cheese and within minutes, you’ll have a tasty, healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The Twist: You can go Italian and add oregano, thyme, rosemary, fresh basil leaves and tomatoes.
Soup may not be to everyone’s taste, but everybody loves a good, classic minestrone. Simply saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery and whatever other vegetables you may have. Once softened, add your broth and canned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook. Ten minutes before the meal, add pasta and cook until al dente. Delicious!
The Twist: Every chef gives the classic minestrone her/his own twist. Some add eggs towards the end, others pack it with extra greens, others again add chicken or shrimps. We say anything goes.
The hotter, the better is what I like! Simply saute garlic and onions, add a can of tomatoes, fresh, deseeded chilli, salt and pepper and cook. You may add minced beef or lentils for a vegetarian chilli. Toward the end, add red kidney beans. Serve with rice.
The Twist: Add some cinnamon and some cocoa powder for a fabulous fusion of flavors.
You can’t go wrong with a good curry, especially if you make your own curry powder. Toast cumin, coriander, mustard and cardamon seeds and grind. For added flavor chop onion, garlic and fresh ginger and saute with the homemade curry powder. Add coconut milk, vegetable stock paste and turmeric and heat gently.
You may now either fry up some chicken as the main ingredient or select a few different vegetables. Cook for about ten minutes and serve with rice.
The Twist: Some people add banana or pineapple for a fruity version.
Steak, Onion and Chips
We all love a good piece of steak with homemade chips and fried onions. Just make sure to get a nice piece of filet, rib-eye or striploin steak from your local butcher. Pat the meat dry before frying it. We advice allowing the steak to rest at room temperature for perhaps 20 minutes. Season the steak with salt and pepper and make sure the pan is very hot before you put the steak on. Cook to taste.
Homemade fries taste best, particularly if you hand-cut the potatoes. Fry the onions in the meat juices for added flavor.
The Twist: Be adventurous and make some onion marmalade!
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream tastes so much better than the one you buy at the store and making it is really easy. Simply split a couple of vanilla pods, scrape out the seeds and place the seeds and pods into a blend of milk, sugar, cream, egg yolks and a pinch of salt. Heat gently for just under ten minutes, stirring continuously. Remove the vanilla pods and pour the mixture into one or two freezable containers. Freeze for at least 10 hours. Take the ice cream out of the freezer ten minutes before serving.
The Twist: Add crushed pistachio nuts before freezing.
Chocolate brownies are one of my all-time favorites and anyone can succeed. Just melt good quality chocolate, combine with beaten eggs, butter, sugar, flour and a pinch of salt. Pour into a cake tin and bake. The best brownies are quite moist. You can add walnuts if you like.
The Twist: Make beetroot brownies, they are delicious. Just puree three or four cooked beets in a blender and add to your chocolate mixture. You can reduce the number of eggs so that the mixture isn’t to moist.
Ask Your Granny
I love old recipes and whenever I get talking to an elderly person, I ask her/him about the foods they used to eat when they were kids. You’d be amazed what great dishes they cooked with very few ingredients.
For convenience’s sake, a lot of people purchase ready-made meals and sauces and don’t understand that you can make much tastier food from scratch. It’s easy. Just find a good recipe, buy the ingredients and cook! That’s the beauty of recipes, all you need to do is follow the instructions carefully and before you know it, you’ll have a delicious dish.