Snacks with shortcuts
Prep Cook Serves
1 baguette (400g) 5-6 tbsp tomato puree concentrate (the stuff in a squeezy tube)
1 bell pepper, core and stem removed
125g ball fresh mozzarella, drained Mixed dried herbs, if you have them
Salt and black pepper 4 handfuls rocket leaves
Heat the oven grill to the highest setting and put the rack in the top third of the oven.
Cut the baguette in half down its length. Spread the tomato puree over the cut surface of each half – it’s strong, so you don’t need a thick layer. Thinly slice the pepper, tear the mozzarella into small strips and scatter these over the tomato puree. Sprinkle on some mixed dried herbs, if using, and some salt and pepper.
Put the baguette pieces on to a baking tray and under the grill for three to five minutes, until the cheese melts (keep an eye on them, as they can burn easily). Take out of the oven and top with a couple of generous handfuls of rocket over each half. Prep Cook Serves 5 min 5 min 2-4 5 min 10 min 1
Vegetable oil or olive oil 100g baby spinach (or 100g frozen spinach, defrosted)
3 tbsp ricotta
2 tbsp cheddar or parmesan, finely grated 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Salt and black pepper 1 large wholemeal tortilla
If using fresh spinach, heat a large frying pan with a glug of oil over a medium heat, add the spinach and leave to wilt, stirring occasionally, for about three minutes, then tip into a medium bowl. If using frozen spinach, squeeze any excess moisture out of the defrosted spinach and put into a medium bowl.
Add the ricotta, cheddar and garlic to the bowl with a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir together well.
Put the frying pan back over a medium heat. Put the tortilla in the pan and spread the spinach mixture over half of it, then fold the tortilla over to get a crescent shape. Fry until golden underneath – about a minute – then flip and let the other side get golden, too. Take out of the pan, cut in half and eat. Prep Cook Serves 5 min 20 min 3-4
1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 red onion, peeled and chopped into mediumsize dice
Salt and black pepper 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 pinch mixed dried herbs
1 pinch sugar 500g gnocchi
90g cheddar or mozzarella Fresh basil, torn (optional)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring now and then, for five to seven minutes, until slightly softened. Add the beans, tomatoes, herbs and sugar, stir through, then leave to simmer while you cook the gnocchi.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the gnocchi, cook for two to three minutes – wait for them to float to the surface of the water – then drain.
Taste the tomato sauce and season to taste, then tip the gnocchi into the sauce and stir through.
Sprinkle over the grated cheese, cover the pan with a lid, large plate or wooden chopping board, and turn the heat to low. Leave for a few minutes so the cheese melts, then remove the lid, top with basil, if using, and serve. Prep Cook Serves 10 min 1 hr 4
2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 onions, peeled and chopped into mediumsize dice
1 thumb-size piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2 tbsp medium curry powder
300g red lentils, rinsed
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk 750ml water 2-4 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp lemon juice, white-wine vinegar or cider vinegar 4 large carrots Salt
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Fry the onion and ginger in one tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over a medium heat for five minutes, until slightly softened.
Stir in the curry powder and cook for one minute. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, water, soy sauce and lemon juice. Stir together, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Add a splash more water to the pan while it’s cooking if it’s getting too thick.
Meanwhile, turn the oven to its highest setting. Cut the carrots in quarters lengthways, then into 3cm-long batons. Toss with the remaining oil and a pinch of salt on a baking tray and roast for 20-30 minutes, until starting to brown, turning halfway through.
Divide the dal between bowls and top with the carrots and chopped coriander. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days.
Izy Hossack is a student of food science at Leeds University. Her second cookbook, The Savvy Cook, is out now (Octopus)
Find recipes for roasted broccoli nachos and beetroot risotto at theguardian.com/food