Since I became a mother, I've stopped cooking. It's not that I don't want to. It's just that by the time I've fed, bathed and read We're Going On A Bear Hunt for the third time to my children, the last thing I want to do is get back in the kitchen...
That is, unless it’s quick and easy. Then I’m in. Gwyneth Paltrow has launched her third cookbook today and just as the same suggests, it’s all about easy cooking. There are over 125 recipes which can be made in less than 30 minutes. “This book is meant to be a road map: a self-help book for the chronically busy cook,” says Paltrow. There’s also a special section on ‘lunchbox ideas’ made from dinner leftovers and easy-to-throw-together lunches. Here are three delicious recipes from the new book to try…
Recipe photography: Ditte Isager Main image: Mario Testino
SINGAPORE RICE NOODLES
Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Under 30 minutes
These pan-fried noodles are gluten free, full of veggies, and kid-approved (my kids inhale this). The prep does take some time, but once you’re cooking, the dish comes together quickly, so be ready with all the ingredients. Add chicken, shrimp, or beef for a little extra protein, and if you don’t have a wok or a really big nonstick pan, use two smaller pans—these noodles don’t like to be crowded. Pan-frying noodles is not an exact science, so trust your instincts and add a couple more glugs of oil if things are looking dry or starting to stick.
3½ ounces thin rice noodles (such as Eden Foods bifun noodles)
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup chopped green beans (½-inch pieces)
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
7 ounces firm tofu, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon madras curry powder, or more to taste
1 large egg
¼ cup tamari
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, if desired
Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes or according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, heat a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon each of the peanut and sesame oils. When the oils are hot but not smoking, add the onion and cook, untouched, for 1 minute to sear. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes more. Transfer the onion to a bowl.
Add the broccoli, green beans, peas, tofu, and another tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan. Sauté over high heat until the veggies are just cooked through and the tofu is beginning to brown (about 2 minutes); transfer the veggies and tofu to the bowl with the onion.
Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the soaked and drained noodles, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and stir to combine. Make a hole in the middle of the noodles, add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and crack in the egg. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and let scramble until almost cooked through, then mix in with the noodles. Add the tamari, scallions, and cilantro and stir everything to combine. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary, and serve.
Under 30 minutes
Carbonara is the perfect lazy dinner—it’s cozy, comforting, and shockingly easy to make. Not to mention the fact that everyone almost always has the ingredients on hand. Keep some cubed bacon or pancetta in the freezer so you can make this anytime, in just minutes.
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into small dice
2 egg yolks (or 3, to make it extra creamy)
1 large egg
1½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground
Black pepper, plus more as needed
¾ pound bucatini
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. In an 8-inch sauté pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Combine the egg yolks, egg, Parmesan, and pepper in a large bowl.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta cooking water (the temperature is important because you are going to use it to cook the egg) and set aside. Next, drain the pasta, and add it to the bowl with the cheese and eggs, tossing immediately to mix everything together.
Add the pancetta and any rendered fat from the pan to the bowl, toss to coat, and add the pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency (this usually takes about ¼ cup). Adjust with extra cheese, pepper, and salt to taste.
TIKKA MASALA ROAST CHICKEN
For this fun twist on a classic, a simple roast chicken is amped up with the complex flavours of Indian chicken tikka masala. The yogurt helps keep the chicken moist, and the natural sugar in the tomato paste creates a beautifully burnished, crispy skin. Serve with Indian Creamed Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower with Curry and Lime.
2 garlic cloves, very finely grated or minced
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely grated or minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon tandoori spice
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken (roughly 3½ to 4 pounds), spatchcocked or butterflied
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, yogurt, garam masala, tandoori spice, salt, and olive oil. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, making sure to get as much as possible underneath the skin.
Place the chicken on a wire rack positioned over an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet (or in a roasting pan or baking dish) and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check after 40 minutes, and if the chicken is browning too much, cover with foil. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.