From The Editor: Easy winter recipes to get your head around in your 20’s

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Cooking is not a skill or a habit that happens overnight. But it is an essential part of life and it is something that is  important for people in their 20’s to get their head around.

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

2 lemons

garlic cloves

fresh rosemary

red cooking wine

olive oil

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

12 tomatoes

1 onion

1carrot

1 celery stick

3 garlic cloves

olive oil

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

sugar

600ml chicken stock or chicken stock cubes

Bayleaves

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 

Whole chicken

garlic clove

1 lemon

6 potatoes

butter

thyme

olive oil

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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Renae Leith-Manos

CONTRIBUTOR

Renae Leith-Manos travels the world writing (www.renaesworld.com.au). She has had a colourful media career as a journalist in many magazines and newspapers, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling.
She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips.
She spends most weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins.

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