Screw 20 minutes

The fight between Carne’s Giorgio Nava and The Whale Cottage’s Chris von Ulmenstein has bubbled up again. Check it out here.


Hi everyone,

I don’t know about you, but I am getting a little frustrated with the constant focus on 20-minute meals as being the main Easy Weekday Meal option.

I try really hard not to rely on take-out, but with a full time job, a commute and 2 sons... honestly? Sometimes I quail at the idea of putting my bag down at 7pm and immediately scuttling off to the kitchen ‘til I dish up at 7.30.

Sometimes I can manage it, but I also rely on some staple 3-minute meal options... where you literally bung something in the oven or on the stove top and then drop in front of the TV while dinner prepares itself.

Here are my favourite 3-minute family meal tips:

·         Never prepare 500g of mince. Whenever you make bolognaise, or cottage pie base – make AT LEAST double. It’s no harder and if you just buy your mince in those 2 kg packs, you have FOUR meals each time you get the wooden spoon out.

·         Find yourself a good passatta or pre-prepared tomato-based pasta sauce and stock up. Woolies does a good one, as does Ina Paarman; shop around and find your favourite. Then you can literally cut up an onion and some bacon and your pasta is almost ready.

·         Learn to bash a chicken breast. Chicken breasts seem easy, but if not cooked with care they can turn tough and nasty really quickly. But after a few satisfying pounds of a kitchen mallet, a spritz of lemon juice and sprinkle of garlic, 3 minutes in a pan with some olive oil and... viola!

·         Frozen, crumbed hake, a properly microwaved potato and a spoonful of speedily boiled frozen veg makes a stupendously easy, but healthy, homely meal. Chuck a spoonful of Bulgarian yoghurt on the spud for some sauciness.

And because we all need more 3-minute meal ideas, we are giving a R250 Kalahari voucher to the person who sends in ideas we can add to our list, and showcase on the site.

Go on, don’t be shy. Real cooks make meals from nothing, plus good cupboard and freezer work, not only lots of tiny bowls full of carefully julienned, achingly fresh ingredients. Share the know how.

Love and well-stocked pantries,


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