Recipes: Quick Meals by Simon Holst


The silly season is behind us and now we can enjoy easy summer entertaining without the fuss, with this excerpt from Simon Holt’s handy book Quick Meals

Recipes: Quick Meals by Simon Holst
Quick Meals by Simon Holst

Easy No-Knead Pizza

As long as you have the ingredients on hand, you will find you can make this pizza from scratch faster than you could ring and have one delivered! It only takes about 15 minutes to mix the dough, pat it into a circle, and put the toppings of your choice on it. Food -pizza

For one pizza base, about 28cm across:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp Surebake yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups (280g) high grade flour
  • About ¼ cup extra flour

Toppings:

  • About 1 cup of grated cheese
  • ¼ cup tomato paste or pizza topping
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped bacon or ham
  • About 50g salami
  • Sliced, pitted black olives
  • Chopped canned anchovies
  • Finely sliced small red onion
  • Dried oregano, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C, with a rack above the middle of the oven, and a flat metal baking tray on it. (If you
    have a baking stone, put it in the oven instead of the metal tray.)
  2. Measure the warm water into a fairly large bowl, and sprinkle in the yeast, oil, salt and sugar. Mix well until everything is evenly dispersed, then add the first measure of flour. Mix this to a soft dough with a wooden spoon or stirrer. The mixture should be soft and slightly sticky. Sprinkle a little of the extra flour over the yeast mixture in the bowl, and form it into a ball. Leave it to stand while you find and prepare your choice of topping ingredients.
  3. Place a sheet of baking paper on another flat metal baking tray.
  4. Assemble your choice of pizza toppings. Use some or all from the list. The oil, tomatoes and cheese are usually regarded as essential. The others are optional.
  5. Sprinkle some of the second measure of flour over the pizza dough. Lift the floured dough away from the sides and bottom of the bowl, and turn it onto the centre of the baking paper. With floury hands, first shape the floured dough into a ball, then pat the dough out into a circle 30cm across.
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it fairly evenly with your fingers. Leaving the outer 2cm of the dough uncovered, spread the tomato paste evenly over the base. Add the other toppings of your choice, then sprinkle the grated cheese over everything else. Drizzle a little more oil over the topping ingredients.
  7. Turn the oven down to 225°C. Open the oven door and carefully slide the pizza, on its baking paper or liner, onto the heated pizza stone or the heated metal tray.
  8. Bake for 12–15 minutes until the rim of the pizza is golden brown, then take it from the oven and slide the pizza off the baking paper or liner, onto a cooling rack.
  9. Cut into pieces with a knife, rotating cutter or kitchen scissors and eat while warm. Enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala

This creamy curry tastes so good it's hard to believe it's so simple to prepare! For authenticity (and a little extra flavour) I do like to cook the chicken separately then add it to the sauce, but if you're really pushed for time you can just simmer it in the sauce.Food -curry

For 4 servings:

  • 500–600g boneless skinless breasts or thighs
  • ¼ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • Juice of ½ lemon (1 Tbsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 400g can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ¼–½ cup cream
  1. Place the chicken thighs in a sturdy plastic bag. Add the yoghurt, lemon juice, chopped garlic, two tsp of the curry powder and salt. Massage the bag so the chicken is coated with the marinade and set it aside. Turn the grill on to heat and make the sauce.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frypan. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. Sprinkle in the remaining two tsp of curry powder and the ground ginger, and cook stirring continuously for one to two minutes longer. Add the (undiluted) tomato soup and the honey. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  3. Arrange the chicken flat on a lightly-oiled, foil-covered tray. Grill 5cm from the heat, for five minutes, then turn and cook for a further three to five minutes until the thickest pieces are just cooked through.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken from the tray and cut it into strips 2–3cm wide. Stir the chicken, honey and cream into the sauce and simmer for two to three minutes longer.
  5. Serve over fluffy steamed rice accompanied with naan (found in the frozen foods section of larger supermarkets) or other Indian breads. Garnish with chopped coriander leaf if desired.

Variation:

Cut the chicken into 2–3cm cubes. Toss it with two tsp of the curry powder and the chopped garlic. Heat an extra tablespoon of oil in the frypan, then add the chicken and stir-fry until lightly brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and make the sauce as described above, then add the browned chicken and simmer for five to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and serve as above.

Homemade Hamburgers

A homemade hamburger accompanied by potato wedges and coleslaw really is hard to beat. I've got nothing against a good old beef burger, but there are plenty of little twists you can add to make quite different variations on a theme.Food -burger

Basic Beef Burgers

For four 'quarter-pound' burgers:

  • 2–3 slices bread, crumbed
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Tear each slice of bread into four pieces and place them in a food processor and process to make fine crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, tear the bread into small pieces, then place it in a bowl, add the egg and work the mixture until the bread has broken up.)
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, then mix thoroughly (clean hands work best for this). Divide the mixture into four balls and then flatten these into roundish patties — it doesn't matter if they're not perfectly round.
  3. Grill or barbecue about 20cm from the heat, turning when browned, or, brown on both sides in a hot, lightly-oiled frypan, then lower the heat and cook until the centre is firm when pressed.

Serve in lightly-toasted hamburger buns with three or four of the following:

  • sliced cheese
  • sliced tomato
  • torn or shredded lettuce
  • fried egg
  • red, yellow and green capsicums (raw or roasted)
  • sautéed mushrooms
  • sliced gherkins or dill pickles
  • thinly sliced red onion, crisped by soaking in cold water.
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced beetroot

Of course, no burger is complete without tomato sauce and/or mustard.

Asian-style Pork Patties

For four servings:

  • 1 x recipe 'basic burgers', replacing the beef mince with minced pork
  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp minced chilli, optional
  1. Prepare and cook the burgers as described above (I like to make these patties oval just for something different).
  2. Serve in toasted long rolls or split French bread, with Oriental coleslaw.

Greek-style Lamb Burgers

For 4 servings:

  • 1 x recipe 'basic burgers', replacing the beef mince with minced lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  1. Prepare and cook the burgers as described above.
  2. Serve with ciabatta buns, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, tzatziki (if desired)

Teriyaki Pork & Vegetable Stir-fry

For such a quick and easy dish (it can easily be made in less time than it takes for the rice to cook), the list of ingredients looks a little complicated. Don't be put off. The end result is both simple and delicious! As with almost any stir-fry, it pays to do all the preparation before you actually begin cooking, because once you've started cooking, everything happens quickly.Food -stirfry

For 2–3 servings:

  • 400–500g pork schnitzel
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2.5cm piece ginger, grated
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 150–200g mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sherry, white wine or orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp canola or other oil
  1. Cut the pork schnitzels crossways into 1cm strips. Place in a bowl with the cornflour. Toss together until the pork is evenly coated. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the pork, and stir again.
  2. Slice the carrot thinly, cut or break the broccoli into small florets and halve, quarter or thickly slice the mushrooms, depending on their size, and set aside.
  3. Measure the water, soy sauce, sherry (or wine, or juice) and brown sugar into a small bowl and stir to mix.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large frypan or wok. Add the pork mixture and stir-fry until it is lightly browned on all sides. Remove the pork from the wok and place in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the wok or pan. Once hot, add the carrots and broccoli and stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green then add the mushrooms.
  6. Stir-fry for a further one to two minutes, then add the pork back to the pan. Pour in the soy-water mixture, and stir gently so everything is well coated. Cook, stirring frequently, for two to three minutes until the sauce has formed a shiny glaze. Remove from the heat and add the coriander (if using) and season with salt if required.
  7. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

Variations:

  1. Stirring in one to two tsp of sesame oil and/or a little chopped coriander leaf before serving gives an interesting depth of flavour.
  2. Replace the pork with beef schnitzel or sliced chicken breast instead.

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