Reading Sue’s comments about Masterchef in her latest post reminded me of some of the programmes I really used to enjoy way back when I was still married & could afford DSTV (OK, so it was my ex who could – and still can – afford DSTV, but that’s a minor detail)!
One of the most inspirational programmes for me was ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ – I was regularly awe-struck at the masterpieces the chefs could create in less than half an hour with only a limited number of ingredients.
This got me thinking (along with the fact that, although it’s only the 2nd of the month, various factors have conspired to make it the financial 20th of the month for me) and I thought it might be fun to set myself a monthly challenge called ‘Take-5′, where I post a recipe using only 5 ingredients (and, if it’s around the 20th of the month, these must be ingredients I don’t have to buy).
I realised it wouldn’t be realistic to count ‘everyday’ ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen, so my personal challenge allows me (or you, if you’d like to take up the challenge too, sometime) to exclude these ingredients, for example: oil & butter etc; seasonings, including herbs & spices; flour; stock, wine (and other liquids, unless they’re ‘unusual’ & have to be specially bought); ginger, garlic, curry paste/powder etc; bread/rolls/roti/pita/tortillas etc … this isn’t a closed list, but you get the general idea.
If you’d like to give this challenge a try, please let me know in a comment so I know to come and see what you’ve achieved … and please also include a link to this post of mine, in case anyone else is keen to give it a bash.
My first “Take-5 Challenge” recipe is creamy peppered mushrooms on toast. This is not only a perfect Meat-free Monday recipe (please ignore the fact that I’ve posted this on a Thursday – thank the Pope it’s not Monday!!), but it’s also great as a light supper for two, or a filling meal for one. But be warned: fewer ingredients does NOT mean fewer calories (just in case any of you were thinking of suing me for your increased waistline or cholesterol levels)!!
CREAMY PEPPERED MUSHROOMS ON TOAST – Serves 1 – 2
My 5 Ingredients:
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, sliced
a few spring onions, sliced (I used the last 8 in my fridge)
1 onion, chopped
1 tspn Robertsons Peppercorn paste (see pic below)
2 1/2 Tblspns sour cream (you could use normal cream, but I already had an open half-used tub in my fridge)
Other ‘non-counted’ ingredients:
1/2 Tblspn olive oil
25g butter (plus another 1 Tblspn softened butter for later)
1 tspn chopped garlic
ground salt to taste
a liberal dash of ground nutmeg
2 sliced buttered toast
Before I get to the method, I want to rave about the relatively-new Robertsons paste range – I’m completely hooked on the mixed peppercorn one, spreading it onto steaks before frying, mixing it into coatings for fish, combining it with softened butter for baked potatoes etc … ok, I’m sure I’ve convinced you that I quite like this paste!
Moving on …
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Add the garlic, peppercorn paste, mushrooms, spring onion and onion – cook for a few minutes, stirring until softened.
Stir in the cream and salt – cook for another few minutes until the cream has reduced and thickened.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the nutmeg and softened butter – when this has melted and the mixture looks nice and glossy, serve on slices of buttered toast.
Finally – and this is the most important part of this recipe … don’t even THINK of having your cholesterol checked for at least 7 days after eating this (rather just relax and wallow in the wonderful comfort-food experience that’s a so-much-nicer side effect of this recipe)!!