Darina Allen’s one pot wonder meals: three to try
One Pot Feeds All, her 19th book, is all about getting good food on the table with little fuss
Chorizo, goat’s cheese and tomato frittata from Darina Allen’s latest book, One Pot Feeds All
Just five minutes into leafing through Darina Allen’s latest book, One Pot Feeds All, I had to put it down, head into the office kitchen and heat up my lunchtime soup. “Hunger-inducing” must be one of the highest accolades a cookbook can receive, and this one made me ravenous, with its simple yet delicious meals that can be cooked, as the title suggests, in one utensil, be it pot, pie dish or baking tray.
It is dedicated to “all the heroic young couples who are trying to keep all the balls in the air”, but its reach transcends that demographic. Families will love its broad appeal, singles will appreciate the versatility of many of the recipes (lots of them freeze well, according to Allen), and everyone who wants to get a good meal on the table quickly will love the streamlined instructions.
Sometimes a book just captures the zeitgeist, and this one does, joining Diana Henry’s From the Oven to the Table, also published this week, in being just what people are looking for right now: recipes that are quick to cook or quick to assemble and stash away in an oven or gently simmer on a hob.
She had doubts about one-pot pasta recipes that went, she says, “against my better judgment”, but she persevered, “with great success”, and there are several recipes in the book where the dried pasta is cooked right into the sauce.
Basmati rice also gets cooked in the pot along with some of the curries – look out for the Keralan fish curry and the coconut chicken curry. Roasted fish and meat hit the oven on a bed of potatoes or vegetables, and stews and casseroles often have a starch such as potatoes, pearl barley or beans plumping them out.
It’s all fuss-free cooking, though you will have to seek out good ingredients, and sometimes a wide range of them. On the upside, there are many delicious meals to choose from – 100 new recipes in fact. And the potwasher will be happy, too.
“I can’t believe it has taken me so long to write this book as it’s been bubbling away in my subconscious for years,” says its author. It may have taken a while for this book, Allen’s 19th, to get into print, but it didn’t hang around on my desk for long, instead it made its way directly to my kitchen, where it will be a cornerstone of many delicious meals to come.
CHORIZO, GOAT’S CHEESE AND TOMATO FRITTATA
Every teenager should be able to whip up a frittata before they leave school. It’s a brilliant basic recipe to have in your repertoire, a one-pan dish that will feed family and friends. It can, of course, be super simple with just a few fresh herbs and cheese – or you could go all out with some delicious chunky morsels of smoked fish or spicy sausage, goat’s cheese or bocconcini, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a picnic, or cut into cubes to serve with drinks. A frittata can be served directly from the pan for a rustic family meal. Frittata were originally cooked on the stove, but nowadays I prefer to bake it gently in the oven.
10 large organic, free-range eggs
1tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp chopped parsley
2tsp thyme leaves
2tbsp chopped basil or marjoram
75g Gruyère cheese, grated
25g Parmesan cheese, grated
110g goat’s cheese
110-175g chorizo, merguez or saucisson de Toulouse, cut into 1cm dice
450g cherry tomatoes, halved
Either a good green salad or a tomato and basil leaf salad
1 Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk in the salt, freshly ground black pepper, fresh herbs and grated cheese. Carefully fold in the chorizo and tomatoes.
2 Melt the butter in a 22.5cm non-stick frying pan and when it starts to foam, tip in the eggs. Then arrange the goat cheese in blobs evenly over the top.
3 There are two cooking methods: Either turn down the heat as low as it will go and leave the eggs to cook gently on a heat diffuser mat for 12 minutes, or until the underneath is set. The top should still be slightly runny. Then pop the pan under a pre-heated grill for 1 minute just to set the surface, but don’t let it brown. Or after an initial 3-4 minutes on the hob, transfer the pan to a preheated oven at 170 degrees/gas mark 3 for about 15-20 minutes, or until the frittata is just set. I prefer this method.
4 To turn out the frittata, slide a palette knife underneath to free it from the pan and carefully slide it on to a warm plate.
5 To serve, cut into wedges and arrange some rocket leaves on top. Accompany with a good green salad or perhaps a tomato and basil leaf salad.
SPANISH RED PEPPER STEW WITH HADDOCK
Hake, cod, or even monkfish works deliciously with the sweet pepper stew. Add 225g diced cooked potato to the base for an extra-filling supper.
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 garlic clove, crushed
225g onions, sliced
40ml dry sherry
4 red peppers
1 red or green chilli, sliced
6 large tomatoes (dark red and very ripe)
A pinch of saffron threads
Flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar
A few fresh basil leaves
4 x 175g pieces of haddock fillet
1-2tsp smoked paprika
Plenty of chopped flat-leaf parsley,to serve
1 First make the pepper stew. Heat 2tbsp olive oil over a gentle heat in a 25cm/3.2-litre casserole, add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add the sliced onions, toss in the oil and soften over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes. Pour in the sherry, bring to the boil and reduce for 5-6 minutes with the lid off.
2 Halve the peppers, removing the seeds and stalks. Cut the peppers into quarters and then into 2-2.5cm squares. Add to the pan with the sliced chilli and stir to combine. Replace the lid and cook for 5-6 minutes while you prepare the tomatoes.
3 Scald the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, then pour off the water and slip off the skins. Slice the tomatoes and add to the casserole with the saffron. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar, and throw in a few fresh basil leaves, if available. Cook for 20 minutes, covered, until the vegetables are just soft.
4 Season the fish fillets with salt, freshly ground pepper and some smoked paprika. Lay the fish on top of the softened vegetables, cover with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes until the fish changes colour from translucent to opaque. Sprinkle a little more smoked paprika over the top of each piece of fish.
5 Serve as soon as possible, scattered with chopped parsley and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Accompany with lots of crusty sourdough and a good salad of organic leaves.
APPLE AND BLACKBERRY TRAYBAKE WITH SWEET GERANIUM SUGAR
You’ll find yourself reaching for this recipe over and over again. Here I use apple and blackberries with sweet geranium, but I also love it with green gooseberries and elderflower, or plums. I enjoy arranging the blackberries and apples in neat lines, but if you are super busy just sprinkle them over the top of the sponge base.
Lemon geranium plants are available from the majority of garden centres and can be used in a myriad of ways – lemonades, compotes, sorbets, granitas, crystallising – it’s really worth looking out for and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
You can substitute one teaspoon finely grated organic lemon zest for the lemon geranium leaves and mix with the 50g granulated sugar as stated in recipe and sprinkle over the tray bake as directed in final paragraph.
8-12 lemon geranium leaves (Pelargonium graveolens)
3-4 cooking apples, such as Bramley Seedling or Grenadier
75g caster sugar
crème fraîche or softly whipped cream, to serve
For the sponge base:
225g softened butter
175g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
4 organic, free-range eggs
1 Preheat the oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 33 by 23 by 5cm cake tin, or a 25.5cm sauté pan or cast-iron frying pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over the sides. Arrange 6-8 sweet geranium leaves over the base – these give the sponge a haunting lemony flavour.
2 To make the sponge base, combine the butter, sugar and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Whizz for a second or two, then add the eggs and stop as soon as the mixture comes together. Spoon the mixture over the base of the tin as evenly as possible (over the sweet geranium leaves).
3 Peel the apples. Cut into thin slices and arrange on top of the sponge in three lines. Arrange a line of blackberries in between each row. Sprinkle 25g of the caster sugar over the top and bake for about 50 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, whizz 2-4 sweet geranium leaves with the remaining 50g caster sugar in a food processor. Spread over a baking tray and set aside at room temperature to dry out.
5 Once it is fully cooked, the centre of the cake should be firm to the touch and the edges slightly shrunk from the sides of the tin. Serve in the tin, sprinkled with the sweet geranium sugar. Alternatively, leave to rest in the tin for 4-5 minutes before turning out. Serve with crème fraîche or softly whipped cream.
Recipes from One Pot Feeds All, by Darina Allen, published in hardback by Kyle Books, €25