By Renae Leith
It improves your health, can help you stay or get thin, and cooking at home saves a serious amount of money.
These days I love cooking in two circumstances; when I have time and when I am in the mood. I think the best food and the best recipes are the simplest.
The great thing about winter eating is slow food. I love slow cooking a lamb leg or shoulder over a weekend so that the house fills up with scent of rich, slow cooked meat, and Sunday afternoon we have a healthy, home cooked feast.
I also love soups, as they are super healthy and tasty, and can sit in the fridge for days as an easy snack when anyone is hungry or drops by unexpectedly.
I also enjoy going to fresh food markets, and the Eveleigh markets in Sydney every Saturday only sells local, fresh in -season produce, which is the easiest way to ensure we all eat balanced, clean food full of vitamins and minerals.
I’ve been cooking these easy recipes since my 20’s.
Easy Roast Lamb:
Roast lamb is a family, and Sunday classic. I am yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy some lamb.
Leg of lamb
red cooking wine
salt and pepper
How: Ideally, you want to roast this for 4.5 hours o about 170 degrees covered in foil.
Keep it really simple. Season lamb in salt, and pepper. Slice small splinters of garlic and shove into small cuts you make into lamb flesh.
Cut two lemons in half and place at the bottom of the pan with some rosemary.
Sit lamb on top of lemons. Pout some water and red wine into bottom of pan, and pour olive oil on top.
Cover in foil and roast in oven for about 4.5 hours. Lamb will fall away from the bone and your guest will love it.
Serve with green salad and roasted vegetables and onion.
Clean Tomato soup
1 celery stick
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
600ml chicken stock or chicken stock cubes
How: Chop all vegetables including tomatoes into small pieces. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until transparent, then add celery and carrot, then tomato puree. Finally add tomatoes.
Sautee in a pan for 10- 12 minutes on low-medium heat and when all vegetables are cooked but still transparent, pout mixture into a larger saucepan and add 600ml chicken stock and bay leaves and bring to the boil for 5-6 minutes then turn to low and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, checking on it occasionally.
*If you prefer creamier tomatoe soup, you can add some milk or cream at this point.
Mixture needs to be carefully poured into a blender, after you take out the bay leaves, although my preference is a stick blender, as it is so easy and you can use it in the saucepan. It just needs to be blended with care to ensure the tomatoes are all 100% blended. You can add a touch of sugar at this point, but I prefer not to.
Soup can be frozen now or kept in the fridge for 3 days.
Serve with a dollop of cream and torn, fresh basil
Simple Roast Chicken
How: Preheat oven to 220 degrees
Peel potatoes and cut into quarters
Break garlic bulb into cloves, and peel.
Rinse and pat dry chicken
Gently tear skin on chicken breast and legs and slide butter & thyme under skin using a knife. Stuff cavity with lemon, butter and thyme and garlic cloves.
Rub chicken with olive oil and and salt and pepper.
Season potatoes with both butter and olive oil and salt and pepper
Place chicken on top of potatoes
Put tray with chicken and potatoes into oven and cook for 25 minutes
Reduce heat to 200 and cook for 20 minutes
Remove from over and turn chicken over
Cook for a further 30 minutes or until juices run clear when meat is pricked with a knife
Remove chicken from oven and cover with foil and a tea towel and let sit for 10-15 minutes
Meanwhile return potatoes to oven, put oven back up to 220 degrees and let them go crunchy
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