Cook Arford

Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: quick (page 2 of 3)

Spaghetti, Pesto and Prawns

Without having to buy pesto! Quantities here for four – this scales up or down easily.

  • 50g blanched almonds
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 50g parsley leaves
  • 1 grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 80ml good olive oil
  • 350g spaghetti
  • 300g cooked prawns

Dry fry the almonds. Zap all but spag and prawns in a blender. Add 2 tbs water to loosen it if necessary

Cook the spaghetti. Drain, add the prawns to warm though. Add the pesto. Done! I have not made this for a while but the recipe in the book has a smiley face and Oli next to it so I will have to make it again soon.


Sour cream dip

As approved by a real American.

  • 2 cups sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh chive
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix
  2. Dip!


You need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove or equivalent (or more)
  • Lemon juice – 1/2 to 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Optional – 1tbs tahini paste

Stick it all in a jar and blitz with a stick blender. That is all there is to it. Adjust the ratio of ingredients to find the combo you like.

Mackerel Brunch

Smart eating places serve scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast or a light lunch, so I thought why not go along with that with a Solent version?  It works best with highly smoked and well seasoned mackerel, so it is woody flavoured and not too limp and fishy. This may be a bit much to take first thing in the morning but for a Sunday brunch it is very good. For each serving (and you can do this just for yourself) you will need:

  • A couple of fillets of the best hot-smoked mackerel
  • Two fresh eggs
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Splash of milk
  • Slice of really good bread
  • Pinch of fresh chopped chives or parsley

This is too easy. Toast your bread, meanwhile make scrambled eggs. (if you are new to this – melt butter in a pan. Beat eggs, a splash of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the mix into the pan, and stir very gently with a flat spatula to move the set egg off the bottom of the pan to make room for the runny stuff. In a minute or two it will be looking scrambled. While it is still a bit runny, take it off the heat – it will carry on cooking by itself and you want it sloppy, not set rock hard). Butter your toasted toast, top with the eggs, and pile flaked, boned, de-skinned mackerel on top. Sprinkle with herbs and voila, your brunch.

Swedish Mackerel Lunch

This is so simple, and you can use any hot smoked fish. The original recipe called for mackerel and as we are always looking for more uses of mackerel I have repeated the recipe here. For the photo above I used hot smoked salmon, simply because I had some! For each serving (and you can do this just for yourself) you will need:

  • A couple of fillets of the best hot-smoked mackerel
  • A slice of rye bread
  • Cream cheese
  • Capers
  • Red onion
  • Pinch of fresh chopped chives or parsley

This is easy. Spread your bread with a generous layer of cream cheese. Top with flaked fish, sprinkled with a few capers, chopped red onion and chives. With a salad on the side this makes a healthy lunch.

Japanese pancake (Okonomiyaki)

Japanese street food, and so many variations exist that whatever you do to this it is probably not wrong. Great for using up stray bits and pieces and is super quick to make. The cabbage and batter ingredients are essential, the others you can mix and match. For one person you need:

  • One egg beaten
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50ml stock (or hot water with a pinch of stock powder added)
  • 4 cabbage leaves preferably Sweetheart or Chinese Leaves, shredded
  • Quarter of an onion, chopped
  • Small potato, grated
  • Half tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • Other things: chopped bacon, ham, prawns or thinly sliced cooked meat

Stir fry the onion, potato and cabbage. Add in that order so the onion is well cooked. You could add bacon at the same time if that is your thing. Add the ginger. Add whatever other things are going in. Meanwhile make a batter with the egg, flour, stock and season. Pour the batter over the veg and meat in the pan and leave for five minutes. Turn it over and cook another five. You should now have a rather solid-looking pancake. Tip it onto a plate and garnish with chilli sauce, mayo, tuna flakes, dried seaweed. As you can see from the photo above, I only had chilli sauce to hand but it was still good. Find out more here

Lamb and Couscous in the Pan

Ingredients (for two) – easily halved

  • 2 lamb things (steaks, pairs of chops or a small pack of lamb mince to be made into meatballs)
  • 2 tsp harrisa paste
  • 1 mug couscous
  • 1 mug boiling chicken stock
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Handful of dried fruit and nuts (chopped dried apricot, sultanas, flaked almonds, cashews, stuff like that)
  • Oil

Rub the meat with the harrisa paste, or if using mince make meatballs with the harrisa paste mixed in. Heat the oil and fry the meat until it looks cooked. Add the couscous, drained chick peas, fruit and nuts, and stir about. Add the stock, cover with a lid or plate and turn off the heat. Come back ten minutes later and eat it all up. Quite nice if you chop parsley or mint leaves and toss them in.

Quesadillas – snack or meal

This can be a quick and easy warm snack or a meal in itself, depending what you put in it or on it. For a snack, omit the chicken, or just add a few slithers of ham.

Ingredients (For One) – easily multiplied up for more people.

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 small chicken breast or a couple of mini fillets
  • grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of Taco seasoning mix
  • Taco sauce
  • Oil for frying

Step 1: Slice up the chicken. Stir about in a bowl with the taco seasoning to coat.

Step 2: Heat your oil in a frying pan and stir fry the chicken, it will cook in a couple of minutes.

Step 3: Lay out your tortillas. Spread one tortilla with Taco sauce. Spread the chicken over. Sprinkle with cheese, use as much as you like. Lay the other tortilla on top to make a giant sandwich.

Step 4: Quickly rinse out your pan and dry it. Put it back on a high heat. Put the tortilla sandwich on the pan and after a minute flip it over. Hopefully the cheese will have melted and help glue it together. Give it another 30 seconds and you are good to go.

Cut into quarters and either eat on the run like street food or make a meal of it with sour cream, jalopenos, lettuce, tomato, refried beans, guacamole and a Corona.

Cheat’s Nasi Goreng

Purists will say this is not authentic, I will say quick, easy and near enough! Here are the ingredients for one person, you can easily scale it up.

  • 60gm basmati rice, cooked then well drained
  • I carrot, grated
  • 1/4 small head of sweetheart cabbage or Chinese leaves, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove or paste
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 egg beaten
  • oil for stir frying

Cook your rice and leave it to drain well. If it is too wet it makes the stir-fry a bit clumpy. Meanwhile,  fry the onion gently until soft. Add the garlic, fry 30 seconds then add the carrot and cabbage. Whack up the heat and stir fry the vegetables. After a couple of minutes add the rice and keep stir frying on a high heat. Add the sauces and stir again. Now shove the mix to one side of the pan to make a space on the bottom to fry your egg. If the pan is a bit dry add a splash more of oil. Now trickle streams of egg only the pan base. It will cook into a mini omelette almost immediately. Lift onto your rice pile and repeat until your egg is all cooked. Job done! I like to serve with a zingy chilli sauce.



Corned Beef Hash (or Chorizo Hash)

If you don’t like corned beef which I admit does smell like cat food, use sliced chorizo  for a Spanish touch.
Ingredients (For One) – easily multiplied up for more people. If you have leftover cooked boiled potatoes use these and omit Step 1 below

  • 2 or 3 medium sized potatoes
  • Half an onion, chopped (optional)
  • Half a 340g tin of corned beef (use the other half sliced in sandwiches, it slices well when cold from the fridge) or, about 75g sliced chorizo
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 egg
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional), about a tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1: If you are using raw potatoes, peel them then chop into cubes about the size of a sugar cube (12mm across). Boil for  five minutes. Drain very thoroughly.
Step 2: Put a generous glug of oil in a frying pan. Fry the onion gently if using, until soft but not browning.
Step 3: Add the potatoes, and fry, turning around with a spatula, until just starting to look brown and crispy.
Step 4: Add the corned beef or chorizo and keep stirring about until it starts to look a lot more brown and crispy.
The next stage is up you you – you can eat as it is, or poach or fry an egg to put on top, you can put chopped parsley through, you can lash it with black pepper and a bit more salt, then eat with tomato sauce, hot sauce or any kind of sauce you like.

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