Four more quick and easy recipes

A recent survey in a leading British newspaper revealed the following:

  • The average family eat 12 takeaways per month (per person).
  • 49% of 25-35 year-olds claim they rely on takeaways because they do not have the time or inclination to cook.
  • 30% of families eat more than one ready meal per week.
  • The average family only cooks only 9 different recipes.

If I look in my veggieTABLE application, I see that I have 236 main course recipes that I cook. And I am adding to this all the time.

So for this blog I present 4 recipes which are quick to prepare, much more economical that takeaways or ready meals, and require virtually no culinary skills. Oh, and they taste great too!

  • Pitta Bread Pizzas
  • Linguine with Pesto and Potato
  • Green Jade Soup
  • Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato

The simplest and quickest version of Pitta Bread Pizzas is Margherita, but you can add any topping you choose. My favourite is mushrooms and garlic.

Linguine with Pesto and Potato is an Italian classic, whose sheer simplicity means you will not find it on the menu of many Italian restaurants. You could use bought pesto, but fresh is incomparably nicer, very simple to make, and any leftover is fantastic in cheese sandwiches.

I like to serve the Pitta Bread Pizzas and Linguine with Pesto and Potato as 2 courses of the same meal, but obviously you can just as well serve then individually.

Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato is my Asian inspired version of Linguine with Pesto and Potato. Green Jade Soup is not really substantial enough to serve on its own, but goes really well with the Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato. Actually, because noodles are made with egg, I find them a bit slimy for this recipe, so I normally use tagliatelle instead.

Pitta Bread Pizzas
Serves 2 as main, 4 as starter
4 pitta breads
100ml passata
200g buffalo mozzarella
2 tsp dried oregano
olive oil


  1. Slice the pitta breads in half horizontally. Toast lightly in a toaster.
  2. Smear the outside of each half with passata.
  3. Sprinkle with oregano
  4. Slice the mozzarella thinly and distribute evenly over the pitta bread halves.
  5. Season with black pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil (optional).
  6. Place under a hot grill until the mozzarella has melted slightly (probably about 3 minutes).
  7. Serve with a salad of mixed leaves and plenty of rocket.

Note: if you have time you could enliven the passata by softening some finely chopped garlic in olive oil with a sprig of rosemary, then add the passata and simmer covered for about 10 minutes, adding some water if the passata starts to stick.

Linguine with Pesto and Potato
Serves 2
1 garlic clove
50g fresh basil
1 green chilli (optional)
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tbsp grated Peccorino
50ml extra virgin olive oil
200g new potatoes
200g linguine


  1. Boil the potatoes until just cooked (probably 10 – 15 minutes.) Drain and keep warm.
  2. Chop the garlic and basil. De-seed and chop the chilli.
  3. Blitz in a food processor along with the cheeses, pine nuts and olive oil (or use a staff mixer) until you have a smooth paste. Season with salt.
  4. Transfer to a wok.
  5. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water until al dente (probably 7 – 9 minutes.)
  6. Drain the pasta and add to the pesto. Toss with 2 forks to mix.
  7. Adjust the seasoning.
  8. Add the potatoes and serve.

Green Jade Soup
Serves 2-4
Quick version
250g frozen spinach
1l vegetable stock (dissolve 1 veg stock cube & 1 mushroom stock cube)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp cornflour, disolved in 3 25ml water


  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan, add the spinach and allow to thaw and dissolve slowly.
  2. Bring to the simmer.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the cornflower thickens.

If you have more time:
1l homemade vegetable stock.
2 spring onions
1 garlic clove
3 slices of fresh ginger
2 points (NOT whole stars) of star anise
500g fresh spinach
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaozing wine
1 tbsp cornflour, dissolved in 3 25ml water


  1. Add chopped spring onions, a crushed garlic clove, ginger and star anise, and simmer to the stock.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stain.
    Meanwhile wash the spinach and add to a large saucepan.
  3. Add 250ml of water and 1 tsp of salt (helps retain the colour), bring to the boil and cook until the spinach has completely wilted.
  4. Drain and refresh the spinach in cold water.
  5. Drain again, then squeeze out as much water as possible, retaining the squeezed out.
  6. Chop the spinach very finely.
  7. Bring the stock to a simmer,and add the spinach, soy, wine and dissolved cornflour.
  8. Heat until thickened.

Noodles with Asian Pesto and Sweet Potato
Serves 2
30g fresh coriander
40g cashew nuts, plus extra to serve
1 garlic clove
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 mild red chilli
1 tsp lime juice
50ml olive oil
200g sweet potatoes
200g egg noodles or tagliatelle
lime wedges to serve


  1. Peel the sweet potatoes, boil until just cooked (probably 10 – 15 minutes.) Drain and keep warm.
  2. Roughly chop the coriander and garlic. De-seed and chop the chilli.
  3. Blitz in a food processor along with the cashews, ginger, lime juice and olive oil (or use a staff mixer) until you have a smooth paste. Season with salt.
  4. Transfer to a wok.
  5. Cook the noodles or pasta in plenty of boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente.
  6. Drain the noodles/pasta and add to the pesto. Toss with 2 forks to mix. Adjust the seasoning.
  7. Add the sweet potatoes and serve with extra cashews and lime wedges.
© DAVEggie

Gratin Dauphinois with Chestnut Mushrooms

This is an old family favourite. It makes a rich and satisfying main course, which I do recommend you to try! You could accompany it with a simple green vegetable, though I do not think it needs it.

Serves 2
500g (or 4 large) waxy potatoes
1 onion
1 punnet chestnut mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
200ml full cream milk
1 small tub cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 grate of nutmeg
3 anchovy fillets (optional)
50g butter
60g grated mature cheese (Gouda, Cheddar, Red Leicester)
25g grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Crush 1 clove of garlic, add it to the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan along with the thyme and nutmeg.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes and strain.
  3. Slice the potatoes to coin thickness, and parboil.
  4. Slice the mushrooms, slice the onions thinly, finely chop 1 garlic clove.
  5. Fry the onions & mushrooms in butter and olive oil until soft but not browned. Then add the garlic and fry a little longer.
  6. Grease a gratin dish with butter.
  7. Add a layer of potatoes.
  8. Add 1/3 of the mushroom mix.
  9. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese.
  10. Sprinkle 1 chopped anchovy if using.
  11. Sprinkle with butter (1/3 25g).
  12. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  13. Finish with a layer of potatoes.
  14. Sprinkle the remaining cheese, Parmesan and 25g butter.
    Pour over the milk.
  15. Bake in the oven @ 180 for 30 minutes, then turn the oven up to full for 15 minutes.
© DAVEggie