One pan band

Anna Jones makes easy sup­pers in a sin­gle ves­sel

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - Anna Jones Anna Jones is a chef, writer and au­thor of A Mod­ern Way to Eat and A Mod­ern Way to Cook (Fourth Es­tate); an­na­jones.co.uk; @we_are_­food

Iread a res­tau­rant re­view this week­end in which the writer talked about the head chef be­ing “the rarest of crea­tures”: a chef with­out ego. The idea of ego in food has come up in con­ver­sa­tion a lot re­cently. It’s of­ten thought to be what dis­tin­guishes home cook­ing from res­tau­rant cook­ing, though there are ex­cep­tions: you’ll cer­tainly find ego-driven cooks in home kitchens and the most gen­tle, gen­er­ous cooks in restau­rants.

It’s had me think­ing about what home cook­ing re­ally means. What would be the most ego-less dish? A boiled egg? A bowl of ce­real? Beans on toast? They all stem from a need to get food on the ta­ble for hun­gry peo­ple quickly, be that your­self or those you love. It’s an act of giv­ing. And that’s the def­i­ni­tion of home cook­ing that I’ve set­tled on.

Th­ese din­ners both come to­gether in a sin­gle pan, and are ready, from the mo­ment you start chop­ping or grat­ing, in un­der half an hour. They make use of easy-to-find in­gre­di­ents and leave lit­tle wash­ing up. Most of all, they both bring the kind of flavour hit that makes you think they took longer to make than they did. I’m not sure I’ve quite man­aged ego-less cook­ing with them yet though; I still want to hear the hun­gry clat­ter of forks and spoons, the oohs and ahhs, the com­pli­ments to the chef … It’s a work in progress.

Crispy but­ter­beans with kale, parme­san and lemon

A sim­ple din­ner. I eat this with a green salad and, if I am hun­gry, a slice of bread, toasted and rubbed with a lit­tle gar­lic and driz­zled with olive oil. Ve­gans can eas­ily leave out the parme­san.

Serves 4

2 tbsp ex­tra virgin olive oil

2 x 400g tins but­ter beans, drained 400g vine or cherry toma­toes 200g kale, washed, stems re­moved, roughly torn

50g wal­nuts, lightly toasted 2 gar­lic cloves, finely sliced Nut­meg, freshly grated

The zest and juice of a lemon Salt

Parme­san (I use a veg­e­tar­ian one), for grat­ing on top, optional

1 Heat the olive oil in a large fry­ing pan over a high heat. Add the beans in a sin­gle layer. Stir to coat the beans in the oil, then let them sit long enough to brown on one side – about 3-4 min­utes – be­fore turn­ing to brown the other side for about the same length of time. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the out­side.

2 Add the toma­toes and al­low them to cook for a few min­utes, or un­til they be­gin to break down.

3 Add a lit­tle more oil to the pan and al­low it to heat a lit­tle. Add the kale and a pinch of salt to the pan, then cook for a cou­ple of min­utes, turn­ing all the time un­til it is ten­der and the edges have crisped.

4 Stir in the wal­nuts and gar­lic, then wait 10 sec­onds and stir in a good grat­ing of nut­meg. Wait an­other 10 sec­onds and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Re­move from the heat. Serve with grated parme­san and some bread for a hearty meal.

One-pot orzo with beet­root, thyme and or­ange

You can use any colour of beet­root you like here – I adore the deep ma­genta or the red ones, but yel­low and pink work well too. Ve­gans can leave out the feta.

Home cook­ing is an act of giv­ing. That’s the def­i­ni­tion I have set­tled on

Serves 4

4 large beet­roots, peeled and grated (pre­pared weight around 500g)

300g orzo pasta A small bunch of thyme 1 tsp salt 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for fin­ish­ing Zest of 1 small or­ange or cle­men­tine 100g feta cheese

4 hand­fuls rocket or other pep­pery leaves

1 Put the grated beet­roots, pasta and picked thyme into the pan with the salt, 2 tbsp oil and 850ml water. Put the pan on a high heat, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Sim­mer for 10 min­utes, or un­til the pasta has cooked and the water has been ab­sorbed. Stir reg­u­larly to pre­vent the pasta from catch­ing on the bot­tom of the pan.

2 Spoon on to warm plates and fin­ish with some or­ange zest, pep­pery leaves, a crum­bling of feta and a good driz­zle of olive oil.

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