Happy Birthday Uforic Food!


Today is Uforic Food’s first birthday, and as you can see, it’s the start of something new!

As a birthday present, the blog has received a complete makeover! What do you think?

Personally, I love it! 🙂

Over the past 12 months I have learnt a whole lot about blogging. I have posted more than 100 times and have a bunch of dedicated followers, who I thank so much for joining the Uforic Food community and the journey so far.

In the last year you have watched me dish out 30 Recipes in 30 Days – which was an awesome challenge – as well as share countless stories about my love for food, how it has grown over time and some of my family’s secret recipes.

But knowing that this big milestone was approaching, I have taken the time to think about where Uforic Food is going.

I decided the most important thing to me is to inspire people to cook, despite the fact that life is busy and hectic and crazy and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I want to help you be a success in the kitchen.

Uforic Food is all about fabulous flavour and simplicity wherever possible. Let’s have fun cooking, instead of it being a chore. They’ll be no whacky concepts or ingredients you can’t understand. I won’t write recipes that make you have to buy 10 different kinds of sauce that are only going to sit in the cupboard because you have no other use for them.

My aim is to help you feel confident about cooking and therefore it’s all about being creative. There is nothing more rewarding then being able to go to the fridge, freezer and pantry – see what you have and make something out of it – without a recipe to go by, simply because you understand what flavours work well together. That kind of knowledge is true inspiration – not reading and following a recipe to the letter.

The recipes I write here, and the ones that will be featured in the cook book I am now writing (very exciting!!), won’t be created with the expectation that you are going to follow them step by step, measuring everything accurately along the way.

They’re a guide, surrounded by lots of other tips, tricks and food knowledge – to inspire you to chop and change, add flavours you like and have fun with it. Make it your own!

Many people dread cooking, do it out of necessity and buy take-aways and pre-packaged stuff from the supermarket because cooking is just too overwhelming, time consuming and difficult. But, I promise you, sign up to the new-look Uforic Food and in no time you’ll be dancing around the kitchen, adding a dash of this and a dollop of that and having a fabulous time cooking meals for you and your family.

The Weekly Cook Up will continue on Fridays, which delivers recipes ideal for cooking when you have a little more time up your sleeve, but that are suitable for freezing in batches to be thawed and eaten during the week when life is crazy and you only have enough energy to dial for pizza. Trust me, the time you invest on a weekend to cook a few dishes for later in the week will become your saving grace, not only when it comes to time, but for your health, as well as your hip pocket.

On Saturday l’ll bring you some awesome tips on not only how to feed your hunger, but enrich your soul through cooking. It’s a post I’m really proud of and hope you check it out. They’ll even be music too!

But until then, why not use one of the trusty links above to share this with your friends on Twitter or Facebook. Think of it not only as a birthday gesture to Uforic Food, but a great way to inspire your friends.

Again, thank you for following me on my foodie journey so far … and if you’re new to Uforic Food, welcome and please feel free to look through all the recipes already on offer. I’m really looking forward to connecting with you 🙂

 

 

Lisa

 P.S I would like to also thank my dearest friend and technology guru AJ (follow him on Twitter @BLKMGK01 or visit his awesome site for cool young professionals here). I know we didn’t get to do everything we had planned – but that just means there’s even more excitement to come!

I would also like to thank Adcell Group for designing the awesome new header and the very stylish Uforic Food logo. I love it!

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Super-quick pasta with pancetta, olives and basil


Food that is full of flavour, but quick and kind on the budget – that’s exactly the thing I love to eat mid-week and this pasta dish is perfect.

First, lets talk flavour – olives, pancetta (or bacon is a fine alternative) are an awesome combo accompanied by tomatoes and some nice fresh basil. No basil in the house? Parsley is fine too, or even some baby spinach leaves.

The best thing about this is it’s something everyone can whip together as long as you have some form of pasta in the cupboard, tomatoes (canned or fresh), some form of bacony meat (pancetta, bacon, even some ham or salami would work really well) and some fresh herbs or other greenery. Even the olives are optional – although I think they are the highlight of this dish. I used huge green pitted olives which I sliced – but you could use kalamata olives, or even black ones – whatever is handy.

As for price and time – I think you can see it’s not something that’s going to take ages to cook – including prep, absolutely no more than 20 minutes. There’s very few ingredients and flexibility to use up what you have in the fridge – so in the cost stakes, it’s very economical too.

Ok, enough convincing – more recipe writing!

Super-quick pasta with pancetta, olives and basil

Serves: 4

  •  250gm of dried pasta (I used spirals, but anything goes)
  • 1/2 a cup of cubed pancetta (or three middle bacon rashers sliced, or even the same amount of salami would work well too)
  • 3 spring onion stalks, chopped (or a small onion, peeled and chopped)
  • 200gm of green olives, pitted and sliced (these are optional or you can use whatever olives you have around)
  • 1 400gm can of chopped tomatoes (or the equivalent of fresh)
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (only if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, torn (or parsley or spinach leaves would work well too)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Method

Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil – and add two teaspoons of salt. Bring to the boil and add your pasta. Cook as per packet directions.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large fry pan, add the pancetta (or whatever meat product you choose) and cook for two minutes until browning. Add the spring onion (or onion) along with the tomatoes and wine (if using) and bring up to a brisk simmer. Season with pepper and allow to cook.

Drain your pasta and add it top the sauce, along with the olives and fresh herbs. Stir through and allow to simmer for a minute or two to allow the sauce to stick to the pasta. If it looks a little dry, add some water until you are happy with the consistency.

Serve immediately with some garlic bread and a salad, if you can be bothered making one.

Can I freeze it?: Sure can – in an air-tight container for up to three months. Thaw before re-heating for best results. You may need to add some water while re-heating, as freezing can make the sauce go dry.

Be Inspired~

Lisa

Beef enchiladas with rustic guacamole

The Weekly Cook Up – Irish Stew


Irish stew is a casserole that has been the key to keeping hungry people’s tummies warm and full for a very long time.

It’s simple to make, with few ingredients and is ideal for your slow cooker. The first time I ever ate it was at an Irish pub in my hometown of Geelong – and once I’d had it, I couldn’t wait to re-create it. So, this is my version of a very, very famous stew. There’s no spice and kids are sure to like its  gravy flavour. Irish stew also only has meat, carrot and potato, so no need to negotiate with them to eat anything too fancy, weird-looking or green, for that matter.

This freezes extremely well, so why not whip up a batch this weekend.

Irish Stew

  • 1kg lamb four-quarter chops, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 a cup of flour, which has been seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled a cut into large chunks
  • 3 large deseree potatoes, peeled and sliced into large chunks
  • Enough beef stock to cover everything (about 1 litre)
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Place the flour, salt and pepper in a zip lock bag and added the cubes of lamb. Close the bag and toss to coat the lamb with flour.

Heat some oil in a large, heavy based casserole and cook the lamb in batches until it is sealed and brown on the outside. Set the lamb aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the onion until it is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the lamb back into the pan, along with all remaining ingredients.

Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to very low. Simmer for two hours, checking and stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time the sauce should be nice and thick and the vegies and meat nice and tender.

If using a slow cooker, add all ingredients to the ceramic dish and cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for 5.

Serve with some nice crusty bread and a big glass of your favourite red wine.

 

Creamy mushroom and asparagus risotto


This was the first risotto recipe I ever made, and while I have done many more since, this delicious combination has stood the test of time.

My first attempt was back when I was a 23-year-old sub-editor working the 3pm to 12am shift at a daily newspaper in a country town in New South Wales. Boredom and loneliness was often an issue for me, so I used to entertain myself by cooking up heaps of different dishes. I didn’t have to worry about feeding someone else and what their likes and dislikes were. I didn’t have to stress if the dish took forever, I was on my time, no hungry people (other than my tummy) hovering around. As a tribute to my solitude, I went a little crazy with my culinary experiments. The best part for me was that if one of my far-fetched dishes turned into an inedible mess, I would be the only one going to bed hungry.

So, I headed to the shop, brought a packet of alborio rice, and looked at the back of the packet to find this very recipe (which I have since adapted). I then proceeded to walk around and around the supermarket, finding the bits and pieces I needed. One thing I discovered about myself during this lonely phase (I learnt a lot, actually) was that without a little direction – I get totally lost and distracted in supermarkets. I used to go from the freezer section to the deli and then up to the biscuit isle, before realising I forgot the parsley in the fruit and veg section. I’d then think; “ice-cream, would be nice …”  so off I’d go to the other end of the shop.

 My fiancée would attest that I’m not much better when accompanied by someone willing to carry my basket of goodies – but I do try to stay focused!

Anyway, I digress –  back to the risotto.

I cut up all my ingredients (something I recommend doing when cooking any dish for the first time, especially when using a new technique – it keeps things a little more organised and helps with timing) and I got underway. I added rice and wine and stock and stirred it round and round as I did so. I got a little bored with the stirring, so I phoned a friend, holding the phone with one hand and my wodden spoon with the other. We had a good old chat! 

In the finish, it came out ok. Although it was a bit dry, and it got stuck to the bottom of the pan.

But I pressed ahead and served my little experiment into a nice bowl. I then took up my position on my old, uncomfortable futon couch, in my holey, but very comfy PJs you would never let a boy see you in for how unsexy they were. All this was completed with a nice drop of wine in my very best coffee mug, perched on the floor beside me. Upon the first bite, I discovered I had produced a meal that was, well, quite uncooked. Ok, it was crunchy. I obviously hadn’t persisted long enough with the ladelling of stock and stirring of rice.

But, the flavours were all there – it was just the texture that was wrong. I did eat it all too. I was hungry and it was too cold and too late to head out for Maccas.

I bet you aren’t keen to try this recipe now – but you really should. Honestly! Learn from my mistakes and you’ll do as well as my second attempt – which turned out fabulously well!

Tips to perfect risotto:

  • Taste the rice before you decide it’s ready, and continue to ladel and stir until you get the right texture, which is soft with the subtlest bite to the rice – it should be creamy and loose.
  • Heat your stock in a pot beside your risotto pan – it takes less time for the rice to absorb hot stock then cold, making it much, much quicker.
  • Use a non-stick frypan – trust me, this is a good idea!
  • Cook the risotto at a high heat and don’t stop stirring! The stirring releases the starch from the rice, making the risotto creamy.
  • Always check your seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • The other trick I discovered was that it’s worth getting someone to give you a hand with the stirring – this means employing a spouse, friend, teenager etc to do this for you. Best idea ever!

Creamy mushroom and asparagus risotto

  • Tandoori Chicken Risotto
  • 600gm of chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup of pancetta, diced
  • 200gm of alborio rice
  • 1/2 a bottle of white wine
  • 4 portabelo mushrooms (or whichever ones you like), sliced
  • 1 litre of chicken stock (you will probably use less than this, but best to have it on hand)
  • 3 bunches of asparagus, trim away the woody bit, leaving the spears
  • 2 handfuls of grated parmesan (a good quality one)
  • 3 tbs of thickened cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Put the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil before turning right down.

Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook the onion over a low heat, until it is beginning to soften. Add the panchetta and cook for a further two minutes or so.

Turn up the heat and add your chicken. Cook for about five minutes, then add the alborio rice.

Stir so that all the grains are coated and really hot, but don’t burn them. Add all the wine. It will bubble a lot (if it doesn’t, your stove isn’t hot enough). Stir until the wine has absorbed. 

At this point, start ladelling your stock in. Put one ladel full of stock in at a time and stir each until it has absorbed into the rice before adding the next. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Ensuring your stock is hot before adding it will quicken the process.

After about 10 minutes (so the rice should be half-cooked) add the mushroom and asparagus.

 The only way to tell that it’s ready it to taste it, as mentioned previously. Make sure the risotto is nice and lose and creamy – it shouldn’t be dry and stodgy.

Finish with the cheese and cream. Once you have stirred it through, you might like to add a touch more stock, as the cheese can thicken the risotto.  

Whether you have tried cooking risotto before or not – this is a great recipe and I promise, as long as you taste and stir, it will be lovely, creamy and comforting! Why not make it the next time you have an afternoon free, your next anniversary dinner when the kids are elsewhere or for your next dinner party.

This recipe really isn’t one to freeze. You can if you want, but the texture will change. Add some water when reheating if you’d like to try it.

Be inspired~

Lisa

Fabulous side dish: Smashed potatoes


Side dishes are a real challenge for me, and I think for a lot of people. You know the main thing you’d like to cook – some simply grilled fish, a nice roast chicken or even a steak – but I’m always asking myself “but what are we going to have with it??”

So, I’ve been road testing a few side dish ideas, and this one is awesome 🙂 Smashing the potatoes gives great texture, and I made this with bacon and spring onions – all great friends of the humble potato. This isn’t a pretty dish, but it’s full of flavour, simple and will compliment many different dishes. I love mashed and baked potatoes – but this is a nice change.

SMASHED POTATOES

  • 4 deseree potatoes
  • 3 rashers of bacon, sliced into chunks
  • 2 spring onion stalks, chopped
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • a little olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Score the potatoes with a knife and cook in the microwave for 7 minutes, or until soft and tender.

Place a non-stick pan over a high heat and add enough olive oil to cover the pan. Place the potato on a plate and using a fork, smash it until it had broken up, but it still chunky. Add the potato to the hot pan, using a spatula to press it down.

Scatter the bacon on top and place small pieces of the butter across the top of the potato and bacon. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Cook until the potato is golden at the bottom, then use the spatula to turn the potato and bacon over, to allow it to brown on the other side. The potato will break apart as you do this. Don’t stress, that’s what’s supposed to happen.

Once the bacon is cooked and parts of the potato are crispy – it’s ready to serve with your favourite meal.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. As I said, it’s not pretty, but mostly importantly, it’s yummy, relatively quick and something a bit different.

What kinds of side dishes do you normally cook? Are you sometimes left stumped for ideas? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

Be Inspired~

Lisa

Mystery solved!! Why kids (and adults) won’t eat vegies


When I was consulting my expert about what vegetables are in season for this blog post, I dreaded to mention the one at the top of the list. This poor little guy has such bad PR, I thought all my readers would be driven away – perhaps forever!

But, if everyone could look past their childhood nightmares and give this little vegie of goodness the love it deserves – I promise you and your kids are very, very likely to enjoy them (I won’t say definitely, because there are no guarantees in life!).

In fact, I know many people who HATE a plethora of vegetables. More commonly: Cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, beans, peas (I admit, this is the only real vegetable I don’t like), spinach/silverbeet …

And finally, the subject of today’s post:

BRUSSEL SPROUTS!

I know most of you are making a face at your computer screen right now and are tempted to just click the ‘close’ button and think of happier things, like chocolate … but please, read on, especially if you are a parent who is trying to get your kids to eat any sort of vegetable, even the ones you know you don’t even like … like Brussel sprouts.

I actually don’t think I know anyone who loves these little green balls – other than myself and my mum. The rest of my family happily eat them – but mum and I LOVE them … and do you know why?

Well, it’s all about how they are cooked! My mum had a real knack with cooking vegetables when we were kids (she still does!) – and this made our perception of them totally different to that of most of the kids I grew up with – and so many of the grown ups I know today.

I realised that it’s actually quite common for people to dislike or refuse to eat a whole range of vegies. I was surprised! But once I asked them why, a pattern started forming. Most people didn’t like vegies like Brussel spouts, brocoli and cauliflower because they thought of them as soggy and tasteless. This tells me that their issue has nothing much to do with the vegetables themselves.

It’s the cooking process that’s the problem, with most people I spoke to recalling how their mum’s boiled them forever in a pot of water on the stove, or had made the poor food do a few to many circles in the microwave. They were then plonked on the plate, with no love, care or attention (also known as seasoning). I mean look at this piece of broccoli as an example … who would want to eat this sorry-looking soggy thing? 

YUCK!!

But if you were served this … do you think you’d feel a bit differently about putting it in your mouth?

 Doesn’t this look so different to the first example?

Now if you aren’t a lover of these vegetables now, because you are used to boiled lumps of yuckiness – then I know even the latter version probably doesn’t look like a meal made in heaven. But I can tell you this now, with some love, in the form of sauteing these babies in a frying pan with some olive oil, pieces of bacon and some salt and freshly ground black pepper and a twist of lemon juice – you are VERY likely to enjoy every floweret of flavour they have to offer.

Don’t make your kids eat the same boiled crap you did when you were a kid. Just because it’s a side-dish and it’s healthy, it doesn’t deserve some care and attention before making it to the plate. It takes hardly any more time to inject a little flavour – and best of all – it’ll take less time to cook them too. A slight crunch and the bright, vibrant green colour is what you’re after, and it only takes 3 or 4 minutes to achieve it – not 10 or more in the microwave.

Now to share my mum’s trick with Brussel sprouts:

  • 15 Brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of butter
  • freshly ground black pepper, and salt, to taste

Method:

Remove the outer leaves from the sprouts, especially if they look a bit discoloured. Remove the stalky bit at the bottom and then chop the sprout into three pieces.

In a medium saucepan, place the spouts, water and chicken stock over a high heat, until the water starts to steam and boil. Stir the Brussel sprouts around in the water a stock cube mixture. They will start to loosen and go bright green. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until the spouts are tender BUT NOT OVERCOOKED!! You won’t need to cook them for longer than 7 minutes.

Take the spouts off the heat, and add the butter, pepper and you can add some salt, if needed (the stock cube would have added some salt).

Serve with your favourite meat. I love these with a nice juicy steak. This cooking method also works well for broccoli too 🙂

I know there are a million recipes you’d rather try before you do this one – but I promise, it’s super yummy! I know the butter adds calories to what would otherwise be a healthy meal – but if you can’t get anyone to eat their vegies, a bit of butter to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals of foods like Brussel sprouts and broccoli – then I reckon it’s worth it. This is the method my mum used to get my brother and I to LOVE our vegies. I know she was really on to something here!

Do you think you’ll give this a go with your kids, and for some vegies you don’t like? What things have you tried before to make vegies more yummy? Leave your comments below. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who would love your tips too!

Be Inspired~

Lisa

The Weekly Cook Up: Spezzatino di manzo (Italian beef stew)


My mother-in-law-to-be whipped this up for dinner on Monday night, and it was so super tasty, I just had to share it with you.

It does take more than 2 hours to cook – but the meat was so tender and succulent and the pancetta and wine added so much beautiful flavour. What can I say, I just loved every mouthful – and I’m not just saying that to get brownie points with my future in-laws 🙂

I know most of us don’t have time to do this on a weeknight – but it’s a perfect weekend meal, and with a fancy name like Spezzatino di manzo – your friends are sure to be impressed if you served this up at your next dinner party. It’s also an ideal recipe for The Weekly Cook Up, because it can be cooked and frozen in preparation to take the pressure off later in the week when time is more precious.

Spezzatino di Manzo (Italian Beef Stew)

  •  1/2 a cup of plain flour
  • 1.5kg of chuck steak, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 100gm of pancetta, cubed
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 400gm tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of beef stock
  • 1 tbs of chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbs of chopped, fresh sage (or 1 tsp of dried)
  • 2 tbs of capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Method

Place flour in a large freezer bag and season with salt and pepper. Add beef and shake to coat.

Heat 1 tbs of oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium to high heat and brown the meat, in batches, until it’s all browned and sealed. Set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the pancetta, carrot, celery, onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

Turn up the heat and stir in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the nice, flavourful brown bits at the bottom.

Stir in the beef, tomato, stock, rosemary and sage and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 20 minutes. After this cooking time, remove the lid for a further 40 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken.

Finally stir through the capers and parsley and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with some yummy, creamy mashed potato.

Be inspired~

Lisa

Nigella Lawson – whacky but wonderful


As you can guess from the title of this blog entry, I’m a bit of a fan of Nigella. In fact, she is my number one food hero.

She’s inspiring in the kitchen, doesn’t make you feel guilty for using tinned tomatoes or lemon juice out of a bottle – and always has a yummy short cut to make everyone’s lives just that much easier. What’s not to love?

However, Nigella has become famous for her overzealous use of adjectives and while it seems to annoy the hell out of some people – I find it extremely amusing!

Here are just a few examples of her wordiness, which I came across in just one episode of Nigella Kitchen:

On black olives in a bowl of spaghetti – “I just love how they look like teddy bear’s noses”.

Really? Not too sure that I can ever get a nose out of an olive – but each to their own, I guess.

On biscuit crumbs in a flan tin – “This case of golden crumbs looks like a fairytale crown”.

I think she has a slightly overactive imagination in this case:

And she really seems to have a liking for mini chorizo sausages referring to them as – “…my plumptious beauties”.

I’m not sure “plumptious” is even a word – but Nigella said it, so I guess it is now!!

Nigella may be a little crazy, but I respect the fact she takes a pan of pasta to bed (not even bothering to transfer it to a more manageable bowl) and that as she seductively opens her curtains in the morning, you get a glimpse of a jar of honey and a bottle of tobasco sauce on her bedside table! Now that’s dedication to food!

I’m always fascinated by her endless supply of crazy kitchen devices – not to mention the fact she has a whole entire trunk FULL of cookie cutters – in every shape and size you could ever imagine!

Some of her other devices include:

A brick covered in foil to hold down her quesadillas as they seductively sizzle on the griddle pan (like my attempt at using adjectives, Nigella style?).

A special ring pool opener – to ensure no manicure is harmed during the making of any meal.

The infamous rocking herb chopper – I always wanted one of these – and actually got one for Christmas. I haven’t used it yet – but I’m looking forward to pretending to be the voluptuous Nigella herself when I break it out for the first time.

A stand out Nigella quote for me would be this one – very inspirational, especially for those of us hell-bent on stacking on more flab around our waists:

“There are many eating opportunities in the world and I aim to celebrate as many of them as possible”.

I’m so with you on that one, sister!

And finally, I love how this woman is so down to earth, she even has her own spin on the old-school chip sandwich. In saying that, her version has a twist of lemon … very sophisticated!

“Get some flat bread, lay it out in front of you, slather it with some hommus and put a couple of handfuls of hot chips on top. Sprinkle with coarse salt, a squeeze of lemon, fold it into a package and apply to face “.

Crazy? Yes. Funny? Definitely. Delicious? Absolutely!

Whether you are a Nigella lover or hater – share some of the wordiest things you have heard her say, or the strangest implement you have seen her use in the comments section below. I know there is heaps more than the few I listed above!

P.S – Happy Birthday to my awesome dad, who provides endless inspiration for this blog, and spends so much of his time talking it up to all the customers at his fruit, vegetable and gourmet food store, Anglesea Fruitz (read more about this inspiring foodie heaven here). A girl couldn’t ask for a more amazing and supportive dad!! Love you so much!! XXX

Infused oils – a fast track to flavour


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We all know that meals can be time intensive, and during the week – we need all the ideas we can to get dinner done quick. So, I have a great trick that’s going to cut down the time you spend with your chopping board.

Infusing oil with different flavours, including garlic, chilli, rosemary and even ginger – is a great way to add flavours to your salads, sauces and marinades without having to chop anything up. Perfect! This is a concept the express cooking queen, Nigella is very fond of.

You can buy infused oils at the supermarket, but why not do it yourself when the process really doesn’t take that long, expect for the need to leave the oil and your flavourings to steep for a week.

You can do different combinations, depending on what food you like.

In the case of garlic oil, place about 500ml of olive oil in a saucepan, over a low heat. While it warms, break up a bulb of garlic and hit the cloves with the flat part of your knife. This will break the cloves and allow them to release their flavour.

Once the oil is warm, but not hot, add the garlic to the oil and switch off the heat. It’s important not to over heat the oil, as it takes away its natural flavour.

Transfer the oil into a sterilised, dry jar and pop it in the fridge for a week. This will make the oil go thick and cloudy.

After a week, remove the jar from the fridge and allow the oil to come to room temperature.

Strain the garlic from the oil and place it in a sterilized jar or bottle with an air-tight lid. Store in a cool, dark place in the pantry and use when desired. Keep for up to two months.

This garlic oil is very basic, but you can add more flavours, like chilli. Just cut 4 whole green or red chillies in half, and add them to the oil at the same time as you add the garlic. You could also do herb infused oil.

Mix and match however you like – and you will be very pleased to not have to peel and finely diced garlic cloves when all you want to do is get a tasty meal on the table, fast!

Have you used infused oils before? What kind of flavour combinations have you found work well for you? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Be Inspired~

Lisa

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