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 to your repertoire. Bon appétit!
“My husband and I love cooking together on the weekends. We enjoy taking cooking classes to expand our recipe knowledge and have a fun night in when the kids are finally sleeping! I’m Turkish and my husband is American, so we cook dishes from various cuisines.”
Recipe: Sticky chicken almond stir-fry (serves four)
“We went along to Expat Kitchen’s Classic Cooking Course where each night was a different theme, such as Meals from the Med or Asian Delights, which suited us perfectly. One of my favourite dishes, which has become a staple on our weekly menu, is this sweet and spicy stir-fry packed with flavour and delicious vegetables; it satisfies even the fussiest eater in our family.”
6 (about 800g) chicken thighs or fillets, thinly sliced
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
2 tablespoons peanut oil
100g skinless almonds, blanched and sliced
150g snow peas, trimmed
125g baby corn, halved diagonally
6-8 shitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
Steamed jasmine rice, to accompany
½ cup freshly torn coriander leaves, for garnish
1. Combine the chicken, onion, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and Chinese five spice and set aside for one hour to marinate.
2. Meanwhile, dry-fry the almonds until golden and toasted. Transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool.
3. Heat a wok over high heat. Add half the oil and heat until just smoking. Add a quarter of the chicken mixture to the wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat, in 3 more batches, with remaining chicken mixture, reheating the wok between batches and adding a little peanut oil if needed.
4. Heat the remaining peanut oil in the wok until just smoking. Add the baby corn and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
5. Add snow peas and mushrooms; continue to cook until the snow peas are bright green and tender but still crisp and the mushrooms have softened slightly. Add the chicken mixture, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce (optional), oyster sauce and kecap manis and stir-fry for another minute or until the sauce thickens.
6. Divide steamed rice among serving bowls. Top with stir-fry and garnish with coriander leaves and toasted almonds.
“I enjoy cooking and baking, and being retired means I have more time to experiment with recipes. Having lived in many different countries all over the world, I’ve enjoyed getting to know different cuisines.”
Super simple apple kuchen (serves 8-10)
“In Germany we have a sacred Kaffe und Kuchen (coffee and cake) time in the afternoon. This no-fuss, easy recipe can be whipped up at short notice. I’ve made this for my tennis partners a few times and it’s a real crowd pleaser. Guten Appetit!”
200g sifted cake flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
125g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
4 drops of lemon extract or lemon juice
125g soft butter or margarine
3 free-range medium eggs
750 g Granny Smith apples (1kg unpeeled)
3-5 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a spring-form pan.
2. Peel and core apples; sprinkle with lemon to stop them going brown. Set aside 2 apples for decoration (quarter these and score the rounded sides). Cut the rest into 1cm chunks.
3. To make the cake mixture, beat the butter with a hand-mixer until creamy. Add sugar, vanilla, salt, vanilla extract and lemon, and combine. Add one egg at a time and mix at the highest setting to avoid them splitting. Lastly, mix in the flour and baking powder.
4. Pour two-thirds of the batter into the spring-form pan and arrange the apple chunks to cover the batter.
5. Mix the milk into the remaining third of batter, then cover the apples and smooth over.
6. Place the scored quarters on the top, dollop the butter over the cake mixture and sprinkle everything with cinnamon sugar.
7. Bake for around 50 minutes on the lowest rack.
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 email@example.com. 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 Mini Delights – Tiny but perfect cakes, pies & desserts.