Most of us have our go-to recipes, be it for a mid-week lunch, a dinner party pleaser or a sumptuous cake that Nigella Lawson would be proud of. In case you’re stuck in a food rut, however, here are some of our readers’ fail-safe recipes from around the world to add your repertoire. Bon appétit!
Jatin Sarvaiya, Indian
“I work as a research associate in the sustainable energy sector, hence I am very close to the notion of living ‘green’. I try to infuse vegan options into international recipes and firmly believe that with the right mix of ingredients, it’s possible to find a balance between eating tasty food with looking after your health.”
Spinach Beetroot Ravioli with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce (serves 3-4 people)
“This dish is packed with antioxidants and vitamins, from the tomatoes, to the spinach and beetroot. Plus it’s vegan; I’ve omitted the usual dairy – parmesan garnish and ricotta filling – by using cashews.”
For the ravioli:
• 200 grams plain flour
• 1½ teaspoons extra light olive oil
• 250 grams spinach (washed, drained, chopped)
• 200 grams beetroot (peeled and grated)
• 8-10 cashew nuts (blended to a paste)
• Salt to taste
For the sauce:
• Approximately 900 grams ripe tomatoes (seeded and diced)
• Bunch of basil
• 2 onions, minced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• ¼ cup extra light olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. To make the ravioli, combine plain flour, a teaspoon of extra light olive oil, water and salt to make a smooth dough. Knead well until dough is soft and doesn’t stick. Set aside in a covered bowl.
2. Sauté spinach, beetroot and salt in extra light olive oil in a medium skillet. Turn off the flame, add minced cashew nuts to the cooked mixture and spread it on a dish to cool down.
3. Make small balls of the pasta dough, then roll out thin sheets on a flat and dry surface using a rolling pin.
4. Cut the pasta sheets into uniform squares of 7.5 cm. Top half of the pasta squares with a blob of the spinach-beetroot mix. Place another square on top, seal the edges using water and crimp them. Lay them on parchment paper and cover them with a damp clean tea towel while you make the sauce.
5. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a large saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic till translucent. Add tomatoes and basil, season then simmer until soft (10-15 minutes.)
6. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook ravioli until they float (3 minutes).
7. Serve the ravioli topped with the sauce and garnished with grated cashew nuts and parsley.
Carla Macksey, Australian
“As a family we generally eat quite healthily, although we do enjoy going out for the occasional Mexican or Italian feast. Oh, I have a massive sweet tooth! I love baking and experimenting with simple recipes to make them special – like white chocolate chunks and Maltesers in brownie mix. One of my favourite cakes is this simple raspberry layer cake from Marie Claire’s Kitchen. The sour cream makes it lovely and moist; if kept in the fridge it can last up to five days without going dry like other cakes. It’s perfect for an afternoon coffee with the girls or for baby girl showers (thanks to the gorgeous naturally pink icing).”
Raspberry Ripple Cake
• 2 cups frozen raspberries
• 125g unsalted butter
• 1 cup superfine caster sugar
• 2 cups plain flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon table salt
• 3 eggs, lightly whisked
• 1 cup light sour cream
• 1 cup icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and lightly flour a 23cm spring-form baking tin.
2. Let the raspberries partially thaw and then lightly crush them. Set aside a tablespoon of the juice for the icing.
3. Cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Gently beat in the eggs.
4. In a separate bowl, sift the plain flour and add baking powder and salt. Continuing to beat the mixture, add the dry ingredients gradually, alternating with sour cream, until all ingredients are well combined.
5. Pour roughly a third of the mixture into the tin. Spoon half of the crushed raspberries over the mixture. Pour another third of the mixture over the raspberries and spoon remaining raspberries over the mixture. Top with the remaining mixture.
6. Cook for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If you need an extra five or ten minutes, place aluminium foil over the cake so it doesn’t get too brown.
7. To serve, sift the icing sugar and combine it with raspberry juice (you may need to add a splash of boiling water). Pour over the cake and serve with a dollop of double cream.
Be part of The Great Recipe Swap!
If you have a fail-safe recipe you’d like to submit for our next issue, please send the recipe, a photo of yourself, and a few words about your cooking style and the dish itself to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Chef! If we publish your recipe in our magazine, you’ll be adding a great cookbook or food-related book to your bookshelf. This month it’s Gordon’s Great Escape – South East Asia.