With just a half hour to spare, it is possible to serve food that does not suffer from having come straight out of the freezer.
Today, I have produced a menu that any dad who has an aptitude for cooking will not find daunting and yet be assured of a superb and sumptuous meal.
In these modern times, fast food is necessary to keep up with our hectic lifestyles but it need not mean poor quality food. The trick is to mix fresh produce with canned dried or frozen food in tasty and innovative ways and you will be amazed at the dishes that you can produce within no time at all.
A well-stocked pantry and freezer are important when speed is of the essence, using fast cooking techniques and having a well-organised kitchen.
A SOUP AND APPETISER
French Onion Soup
This is my favourite and in the time it takes to soften a few onions and brown some cheese on toast, this superb and delicious soup appears on the table steaming hot and ready to eat. It makes a substantial starter or lunch dish.
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon of butter
1 crushed garlic clove
4 cups beef or chicken stock
4 slices French bread
Butter for spreading
1 cup grated Gruyere, Beaufort or Emmental cheese
1. Heat the olive oil with the butter in a large frying pan and brown the onions over a steady heat until they turn translucent. Make sure that they do not burn.
2. Transfer the browned onions with garlic to a large saucepan and cover with the beef or chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Preheat the broiler to a moderate temperature and toast the French bread on both sides. Spread one side with butter and top with grated cheese. Ladle the soup into flame proof dishes and float the cheesy crust on top and grill until crispy and brown.
Spiced Coconut Mushrooms
Serves 4 -6
2 tablespoon good vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoon minced of finely chopped ginger
4 shallots or two small onions finely chopped
225g/8 oz crimini or button mushrooms
2 fresh red chilies or to taste seeded (if you prefer) but thinly sliced
½ cup tinned coconut milk
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a wok until hot and add the oil and swirl it around before adding garlic, ginger and chilies then stir fry for a few seconds
2. Add the shallots and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until softened and add the mushrooms and stir fry for 3 minutes.
3. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a boil rapidly over high heat until the liquid is somewhat reduced by half and coats the mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning if need be.
4. Sprinkle over the cilantro and toss to mix and serve at once
Creamy swedish meatballs
1 finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely crushed garlic
500g lean finely ground lean beef or pork, egg yolk and half the dill
1 egg yolk
3 dill sprigs, finely chopped
3-4 tablespoon soured cream
Serve with mashed potato or tagliatelle
1. Mix together the minced, garlic, egg yolk and half the dill in a bowl. Lightly wet your hands the shape the mixture into 12 balls, each about half the size of a golf ball.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and gently tip in the meatballs and fry, turning often for about 12- 15 minutes until golden and cooked through
3. Mix together the soured cream and remaining dill, then spoon over the meatballs. Serve with mashed potatoes or tagliatelle
Fillets of Tilapia with Basil Cream Sauce
2 tbsp butter
4 fresh fillets of tilapia
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
New potatoes to serve
French beans to serve
For the cream sauce
2 large spring onions, white part only chopped
½ cucumber peeled, deseeded and cut into short sticks
1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup fresh cream
¼ cup dry sherry or dry white wine
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tomato chopped and deseeded
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, season the fillets and cook for about 6 minutes turning once. Transfer to a plate and cover and keep warm
2. To make the sauce, add the spring onions and cucumber to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally until soft but not colored
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cornstarch
4. Return to the heat and pour in the cream and sherry or wine. Simmer to thicken, stirring occasionally
5. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve with buttered boiled new potatoes and French beans
Ugandan coffee bananas
Rich, lavish and sinful looking, this desert takes no more than five minutes to make
4 to 6 ripe bananas sukali ndizi
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/8 cups strained plain yogurt
1 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds
1. Peel and slice one banana and mash the remaining with a fork
2. Dissolve the coffee in the hot water and stir into the mashed bananas
3. Spoon some of the mashed banana mixture into four serving dishes and sprinkle with sugar. Top up with a spoonful of yogurt and then repeat until all the ingredients are used up
4. Swirl the last layer of yogurt for a marbled effect. Finish with a few banana slices and slivered almonds and serve cold. Best eaten within an hour of making
5. For a special occasion add a dash of dark rum or brandy to the bananas for extra richness.