How to cheat at cooking

Here's raising a huge chilled glass of savvy blanc to all the mothers out there. I hope you get spoilt rotten this Mother's day!


Cooking has always been a part of my life.

When I was elf-height, helping my mum bake her famous crunchies with the smell that wafted through the house and had you stuck on a cloud of syrup and nuts with a hint of cinnamon.

And so it goes after many years of training and cooking for hundreds I find myself a working mother with less and less time to spend in the kitchen whipping up gastronomic masterpieces. Oh please for a glass of wine and a moment to sit down and do (gasp) nothing.

I love food and my family love food and the fact remains that there still has to be something thrown on the table every night and the waiting mouths have been trained to expect deliciousness. Hm, I think I may have set the bar a little high when I was wooing the husband and domestic goddess-ed it up a bit too much.

So I have learnt to juggle, dodge and short-cut my way into magically conjuring up some pretty tasty stuff whilst still keeping it simple and quick.

Here are my top 4 tips:

Pasta sauce for a king: put your pasta on to cook and cut up some frozen bacon, this was a bachelor trick I learnt from the husband and it really makes things much quicker and neater. Fry this up with some baby tomatoes and pop open a pot of bought pesto…. stir. Have a sip of you wine and dine in style.

Pizza in a flash: Buy in frozen pizza bases. They are absolutely fine to use so stop feeling like you ought to be Jamie and make your own. That’s for weekends when you actually have the time. Ladle a nice layer of tomato pasta sauce from a jar, grate some mozzarella and add the toppings of your choice. My favourite at the moment is salami, olives with a touch of chilli. Go fancy with blue cheese, caramelised onions and bacon. Yummo.

Steak and chips with a fancy sauce: bung your oven chips into the oven and whilst those crisp up make a dreamy sauce, try this classic mushroom and serve on top of the steak you’ve pan-fried in butter to your liking.

Impressive desserts in 5: Peel and slice some fresh mango, cover liberally with creamy Greek yoghurt and sprinkle generously with caramel sugar.
Another quickie is Greek yoghurt topped with roasted nuts and strawberries with a golden drizzle of honey. Serve and watch the smiles.

Go on, give them a try, Nigella won’t suspect a thing.


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