Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: For Students (Page 1 of 3)

Daddy Burgers

So called because Aedy and Josh loved these from an early age. I like making my own because you can make nice thick juicy burgers and know what is in them. Here’s what you do.

Buy mince to make enough 150g burgers for your needs (i.e. 600g makes 4 large burgers). Preferably buy fatty mince (10-18%) because lean steak mince (5%) will be a bit dry. Put the mince in a bowl with a tablespoon of tomato ketchup per burger, plus salt and pepper. Mush up with your hands and when mixed, form burger shaped burgers. You don’t need anything more special than your hands to do that. Lakeland keep your burger presses! What makes a true Daddy Burger is hidden cheese. Take a chunk of cheese and hide it completely inside each burger – best do that before you flatten it out. Now fry or grill each side until the burger is cooked through. The cheese will melt and ooze out spectacularly when cut.

Serve with all the trimmings – in a burger bun with your choice of tomato relish, iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, mayo, sliced gherkin, grilled bacon, large flat grilled mushroom, more cheese or all of the above. If you do that spear it with a kebab skewer to look cool. Skin on fries, sweet potato fries or wedges are all legitimate accompaniments.

Sausage and Broccoli Carbonara

Ingredients (for two) – easily halved

  • 4 chipolata sausages
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small head broccoli cut into small florets.
  • 175gm spaghetti
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 25gm grated parmesan cheese
  • Oil

Squeeze the meat out of the sausages and with wet hands make little balls about  2cm diameter. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the balls until they are brown and cooked through. Keep rolling them about. At the last minute add the garlic and keep cooking, but you don’t want the garlic burnt. Meanwhile boil water in a pan and cook the pasta. After 8 minutes boiling, toss in the broccoli. After another 5 minutes, drain the lot and put back in the pan with the sausage balls and garlic. Beat the eggs with the cheese and stir into the hot pasta. Add a dash of water or milk if it is too stodgy. Keep it on a gentle heat if the eggs don’t cook. After a minute all will be done and you can serve. Add more pepper and salt if you wish, it depends how seasoned the sausages were.

Spaghetti Carbonara

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

  • 85gms dried spaghetti
  • 1 egg beaten (or shaken in a jam jar!)
  • 1 garlic clove squashed
  • 2 rashers bacon
  • 25gms finely grated cheese (ideally parmesan but cheddar would do)
  • Tablespoon of sunflower oil for frying

In a frying pan fry the garlic gently. When it goes golden brown take it out and throw it away. Chop the bacon and fry until slightly crispy. Meanwhile put a pan of water on to boil and boil the pasta until done according to the packet. Take the pasta out and drop it in the frying pan. Don’t shake all the water off. Add the cheese and egg, and stir about over a gentle heat until the egg starts to set which will be very quick. It might need a spoon or two of the cooking water to make it more smooth and creamy and less dry and lumpy. Either way it will taste good. Adjust seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper Enjoy.

P.S. for a vegetarian version use a handful of mushrooms instead of bacon.

Sausage and Lentil Stew

A Quick Version and Longer Version. The quick version uses a tin of lentils but if you are making this for a bunch of people it is a lot cheaper to use dried green or Puy lentils and cook them. This takes another 30 minutes or so but it is no bother.

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

  • Tin of lentils (for quick version)or…
  • 75g dried green lentils (for slow cheaper version)
  • 150ml vegetable stock (for slow cheaper version)
  • 2 or 3 sausages
  • One small carrot
  • One stick of celery
  • A quarter of an onion
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Put oil in a frying pan and brown the sausages. When cooked take them out and put to one side. Chop the vegetables fairly small and add to the pan. Fry gently until soft and golden.

Quick version: add the tin of lentils and cooked sausages. Heat through for five minutes, if it is a little dry add a splash of water. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Longer version: add 75g dried green or Puy lentils per person and 150ml stock per person. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes according to the instructions on the lentils packet. Keep an eye on it from time to time, if it is drying out add a bit more water. Adjust seasoning and serve. Very good with fresh French bread.

Josh’s Dhal

Son Josh has decided to be vegan. Apparently he has halved his grocery bill! I find vegan food often lacks a bit of substance, but not this recipe. I call it Josh’s Dhal because it is always a hit when he comes home and it is great alongside a curry. So easy.

  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 4 cups water

Boil for 40 minutes

  • 1/2 cup red lentils

Add to your split peas and boil another 20 minutes more. Keep an eye on it, because it will probably dry out and catch. Just add some more water if it getting too thick too soon. While that is boiling, take the following:

  • 1 chilli, copped
  • 1 inch of root ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Ghee or oil

Gently fry all these to create a browned topping to put on your dhal to serve. Finally:

  • 250g spinach

Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Add

  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

When the spinach has wilted and the dhal cooked to a gloopy consistency, put it in a serving bowl and top with the spicy garlicky mix. Serve as a side for a curry or a main course with rice or Indian bread and chutney. For a vegetarian rather than vegan meal you could top with quartered hard boiled egg.


There are several variations you could take for making dhal (even the spelling, daal, dahl!) . Try a simple and quick version with two cups of red lentils and five cups of water, cooked for 25 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally. Add salt and lemon juise to taste. You can also fry up onion, garlic, chilli, cumin seeds and mix in before serving to add a bit more interest to the dhal base.

Try dhal served with wedges of aubergine and wedges of shallot or red onion, which have been tossed in a mixture of oil, lemon juice, garlic puree, salt, ground cumin and ground coriander and oven baked for 20 minutes at 200C.

Parsnip Soup

Another easy one.

  • 250gm parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 120ml cream
  • Butter/oil

You know what is coming – all soups are made more or less the same way. First sweat the veg in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and sweat another minute or two. Add the stock and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.  Blitz in a blender or with a stick. Stir in the cream, reheat and serve. You can also make this with parsnip and potato leftovers (now there’s a Christmas idea…)

Italian Meatballs

Ingredients (for one) – easily multiplied up for more people.

  • 125g beef mince (not too lean)
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes (1 tin for 1-2 people, 2 tins for 3-4 etc)
  • Half an onion
  • 125ml beef stock (half a cube in boiling water)
  • a  pinch of mixed herbs
  • Cooking oil
  • Pasta (or rice)
  • Grated cheese (optional)

Step 1: Put the beef mince in a bowl and mix in the seasoning and herbs with your hands. Make little balls about 3cms diameter as if you were playing with Plasticine.

Step 2: Heat a pan to medium heat and put in a little oil to make to base shiny. Put your meatballs in the pan and after they start sizzling, roll them around by jiggling the pan handle. They should roll around and brown evenly but if you were not capable of making ball shaped balls some may get stuck in position. If so help them out by turning with a spoon. Once they are well browned, take them out and put then on a plate nearby to rest. They don’t need to be cooked right through at this point but should look well browned on the outside.

Step 3: Chop the onion finely (5mm cubes) and cook in the pan you have just been using (assuming you have not carbonised it) until soft. The meat usually adds a bit of extra fat to cook in but if you have been using very lean mince you may have to add an extra glug of oil.

Step 4: Add the tomatoes and stock. Add more salt and pepper and another pinch of herbs. Heat until bubbling then turn down and cook away for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add the meatballs and cook for a further 10 minutes. If it is drying out add a splash of water. If you have a lid for the pan put it on to keep it moist. At the same time put your pasta/rice of choice on to boil so everything is ready at the same time.

Plate up the pasta first, then the meatballs and sauce over, and top with grated cheese if you wish

Cheats Note: You can get away with using a good quality chilled/fresh tomato sauce instead of making your own, in which case omit step 3 and 4, and use the ready-made sauce instead for step 5. Follow the pack instructions for further heating but give it at least 10 minutes to finish the meatballs.

Chicken and Lemon Couscous Salad

Ingredients (For two) – easily halved

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 mug couscous
  • 1 mug boiling chicken stock
  • 1 chopped preserved lemon (posh) or grated rind from half a lemon
  • Handful of pitted green olives
  • 1 tbs Harrisa sauce(posh) or other chilli sauce
  • Handful of rocket or watercress
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped fresh coriander (posh) or don’t bother

Cut the chicken and pepper into strips about the size and shape of a long USB stick. Mix with the harrisa or chilli sauce and a little olive oil.  Heat a glug of oil in a pan, and stir fry the chicken and peppers until charred. Pour the hot chicken stock over the couscous in a bowl and leave for five minutes to absorb. Now throw the couscous, chicken, lemon, olives, pepper, rocket together, mix up and scatter coriander over. Done. It should look like a colourful mixture!

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.

Cajun Chicken or Pork

Ingredients (for two) – easily halved

  • 2 chicken breasts or 2 pork steaks
  • 225gm new potatoes
  • 100gm green beans or peas
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • half a lemon
  • Handful of pitted green olives
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbs Cajun seasoning
  • Oil

Boil the potatoes. After 10 minutes add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes (if using peas wait 12 minutes and cook for another 3). Meanwhile rub the Cajun seasoning all over the meat and in another pan fry both sides in a spoon of oil until cooked through. Squeeze over the lemon juice and if you can be bothered, grate the zest in too (it is worth it). Time it so this is when the vegetables are cooked. Drain them and add to the meat pan, with the garlic. Fry for half a minute then add the tomatoes. Fry for another minute or two so the tomatoes are a bit cooked. Add a splash of water of it is getting way too dry. Done!

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