Here’s my usual dilemma when I’m back home from a long-ass day at work; I'm too tired to go out, I don’t like takeout dinners, but I’m too lazy to cook, and I also would like some me-time to relax after long hours at the office.
Enter the tray bake. I can’t live without my oven, and years of cooking for myself whilst a busy student/worker had turned me into a self-professed tray bake fan. The best thing about this recipe is that you can really just wing it with anything you have in the fridge, as long as you’ve got the crucial elements – sausages, any type of root vegetables, any sort of herbs, and perhaps a sliver of citrusy peel (orange, lemon, lime) to make it extra special and fancy-looking.
This is my favourite tray bake combination so far. The orange peel makes the whole dish smell amazing, and the slightly caramelised onions really compliment the roasted potatoes and carrots. Using rosemary gives it a heartier feel, and using good quality sausages really makes a difference (lower sodium levels, non-processed, high minced meat content = healthier and tastes better).
This recipe serves one with no leftovers, or great as a side to a roast.
What You Need:
2 good quality sausages (or cocktail sausages if you’re on a budget)
1 large Russet potato, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves (fresh or dried)
Orange/lemon/lime peel (optional)
½ red capsicum (optional)
What You Do:
Note** If you use foil as a base to your baking tray, you will end up with zero washing up, except for you knife, chopping board and dinner plate. (insert huge sigh of relief)
On my last trip to Thailand, a friend suggested that we take a cooking class. I was dreading this because the last thing I wanted to do while traveling was cook, but because she was really excited about it we decided to follow suit (you can read about it at www.bootsoverbooks.com/show-up). That class turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip! It was fun and beautifully located at a village around Chiang Mai, and I’m so glad I learned to make so many Thai street food (and left with a recipe book too).
My personal favourite has always been Pad Thai. There’s just something really delicious about a steaming plate of stir fried spicy flat noodles, with lots of tofu, egg, shrimp, veg and a generous helping of crunchy peanuts and chili flakes. Through the class I also discovered that it took literally five minutes to make in the wok – I mean, if that’s not a promise for an awesome quick midweek dinner, I don’t know what is. Be sure to get the flat Pad Thai noodles (not egg noodles, not glass noodles, not soba noodles) which you can easily get at any grocery store.
This recipe makes one serving.
What You Need:
1 shallot, sliced
1 firm regular tofu, cubed
5 medium sized shrimps, cleaned and peeled
60 gm/1 pack flat rice Pad Thai noodles (see picture), soaked in hot water for 1 minute
1 handful beansprouts/chives/both
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1.5 tbsp. tamarind juice
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp. chili flakes (see picture), or depending how hot you want it to be
1 tbsp. ground peanuts, plus extra for serving
2 tbsp. water
What You Do:
**Note: If you're interested in joining this class on your next trip to Chiang Mai, do contact them at http://www.cookingathome-chiangmai.com/ They will cater to your dietary needs such as halal, vegetarian, or any of the fancy shmancy mat salleh diet you may have (gluten free, vegan, paleo etc etc)
The type of flat noodles and Thai Chili flakes you can get at the local grocery store.
The cooking class.