A Cheat Canape

It is no easy task to be the editor of a food magazine! Yes because that job comes with the pressure of long working hours to keep with deadlines as well as in a way being surrounded by food all day long and having to do a lot of eating out too! All this can make it hard to find the time, energy and appetite for home-cooking! With that said, isn’t this the case for most working women? The high pressure jobs, the long working hours, juggling home, kids and work as well as having to manage cooking at least one wholesome meal for the family every day can become too stressful, and are the constant complaint of all working women.

When asked about whether she finds the time to cook and serve a home-cooked meal, editor of BBC Good Food Middle East Magazine, Sudeshna Ghosh said: “Not as much as I’d like. It’s very important for me to eat – and feed my husband – healthy, wholesome and home-cooked food as much as possible, and I try to minimise eating out on weekdays – as much as possible, work commitments permitting. Having said that, I probably end up cooking at home no more than three or four times a week at best, given work schedules etc.,… I wish I could manage more.” And this is probably the case for most.

With that said, Sudeshna also told me that over the past few years she had been consciously ensuring that she cooks and eats more at home and is therefore always looking for ways to produce delicious meals and entertain successfully at home (even on the busiest days). She has found a formula that works for her and her lifestyle and is always building on it. And this is exactly what she shares with us in today’s video and post. Watch as Sudeshna shares with us her go-to-recipe for entertaining on busy days, as well as explain the approach to cooking that works for her, which may be useful to you too.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grind of fresh pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp of sugar (can be adjusted to taste)
  • Pinch of za’atar
  • 400g puff pastry squares
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • A handful of parsley or coriander, for garnish

Add olive oil to a frying pan, toss in the onions and start gently frying. Add the balsamic, sugar, salt and pepper. After about 5 mins, add the za’aatar, toss through and continue to cook on low heat for about 10-15 mins until the onions are softened and caramelised. Keep aside to cool completely (can be refrigerated to speed things up).

On a baking tray, place the puff pastry square, add a spoonful of the caramelised onion mix into the middle, crumble some feta over it, and fold the edges to make a small parcel. Brush the top with the whisked egg wash. Repeat with the rest of the pastry squares.

Bake at 180C for about 20 mins until the pastry has risen, and is golden brown in colour. Garnish with the chopped herbs of your choice and serve.

Tip: If you have some onions and feta left over, just spread them over crackers to make a tasty snack. 

Cooking Tips For Working People

Most working women would agree that after a long day at work, thinking what’s to be served for dinner can get quite daunting. Perhaps the last thing anyone wants at that point is to cook, and most of us will just want to put our feet up and relax. Relax, this is normal, even for the biggest foodies, in fact ask any chef you know and they will tell you after hours they can’t even think of cooking dinner, and most chefs will settle for a quick sandwich! However, we all want to find ways to enjoy a home-cooked meal and remain healthy. Especially when we have such busy and stressful days as Sudeshna puts it, then the least we can do for our body is to nurture it with a wholesome, healthy and home cooked meal. So here are the tips that worked for Sudeshna and helped her cook and eat at home more often:

  • Keep comfort food and complex recipes for the days when you are on a deserted island! (basically have more time on your hands), like weekends or shorter working days. Simple and fast recipes help when we are pressed for time and are still home-cooked and can be healthy and delicious too.
  • Dedicating the time for pre-preparing your ingredients, such as chopping, portioning and freezing is a great way to save time. All that is left to do on the day is really mix everything together and cook.
  • Hiring a cook to help with prep as well as cook for you on the days when you are extremely busy helps a lot. I have a cook who occasionally comes and cooks for us (for those days when my schedule is mad).
  • Sometimes we have to cheat a little and use shortcuts. “Just please note that I am not into processed packaged food, I believe in cooking from scratch using natural ingredients. But when pressed for time, little shortcuts are needed, and as long as they are not overly unhealthy and practiced in moderation. So, for example, even though I use packaged puff pastry in this dish (I prefer to avoid processed food as much as possible), everything else in the recipe is fresh, natural, and also healthy – very little fat, olive oil and so on! So, this isn’t the sort of thing I’d recommend eating every day, but now and again, when entertaining guests at short notice, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.”
  • When it comes to health it is all about a balanced approach to food. Find the recipes that work well for you and the healthy shortcuts that help you cook in less time, don’t try and slave for hours in the kitchen after a busy day because eventually you won’t be able to keep it up. Cook simple, wholesome food to make sure you eat healthy home-cooked meals as regularly as possible.

 

Relative Links

Quick & Easy Recipes from this blog for Working Women

Pies & Tarts Recipes from this blog (Savoury & Sweet)

 

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