hrist, this lockdown thing has been going for a while now, hasn’t it? It’s got to that properly bleak “why can’t it just be over?!” stage of everything and I’m sure that, like me, you’ve become absolutely sick of doing the exact same thing day in, day out.
You’re probably also well and truly tired of eating the same five dishes that you’ve had in rotation since the pandemic began. There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve got to go through the palaver of cooking yourself a dinner that you’ve already eaten upwards of 137 times over the last 12 months after yet another day of endless Zoom calls. I know that if I have to look another store-cupboard chana masala in the eye again, I might just start weeping.
Thankfully, people like the talented recipe developers at MOB Kitchen are around to help alleviate that dinner time drollery. We’ve got plenty of recipes on the MOB Kitchen website that are: a) completely mindless to make, and b) taste like they’ve actually had hours of time and effort poured into them. To help you rekindle your passion for cooking – or to simply help you feed yourself when you’re not feeling up for doing much at all – I’ve provided you with three of the simplest MOB Kitchen recipes that are perfect for the days when life is getting you down.
Look, I don’t mean to brag but this is genuinely the easiest curry you will ever make. Like, seriously – calling up your local takeaway and ordering a chicken tikka masala would probably take more effort than making this bad boy. All you need are a handful of readily available ingredients (such as tomatoes, garlic cloves and a few common spices) and you can cobble this fresh and fragrant tomato curry together in about 10 minutes. It’s the ideal veggie dish for when your brain feels like mush and all you want to do is watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.
8 garlic cloves
½tsp cumin seeds
2tsp chilli powder
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
Large handful of coriander
1. Roughly chop the garlic and chop up the tomatoes into large chunks. Finely chop up your coriander, including the stems.
2. Pour two large glugs of oil into a large pan and heat to high. Chuck in the cumin seeds and fry until they start to pop. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until lightly browned. Add in the tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, and half a teaspoon of salt. Stir gently, taking care not to break the tomatoes.
3. Cook for 2 mins until the tomatoes are just warmed through. You want to keep them whole and avoid breaking them down into a mush. Stir in the coriander and serve on rice or with a few roti or chapati. Voila!
I’ve been an orzo fanatic ever since an Italian nonna once described it to me in Rome as “dummy rice that cooks as quick as pasta”. OK, maybe that’s not exactly what she said (she was speaking Italian, so I can’t be too sure) but I’ve been obsessed with the stuff ever since. This orzo carbonara is a belter of a dish that takes just 15 minutes to make. It’s cheesy, bacon-y and heavy on the black pepper. What more could you possibly want?
300g smoked streaky bacon
1 clove of garlic
2tsp chilli flakes
1. Grab a bowl, add egg yolks, grated parmesan and a generous amount of black pepper. Mix with a fork and set it aside.
2. Chop up your bacon into small bitesize pieces and throw into a frying pan. Cook until crispy.
3. Get your orzo on – and don’t forget to salt the pasta water generously.
4. Chop up the garlic and add this to your bacon followed by the chilli flakes. Take a ladle of pasta water and add this, too.
5. Once your orzo is cooked, add it to the pan and mix everything together. Add your egg and parmesan and give it a good mix. Add some more pasta water as you go until you have a silky texture. Serve it up and tuck into this delightful little dish.
A puttanesca pasta is a simple, sexy dish that – speaking from personal experience – can really reignite your passion for cooking when you feel that it’s dwindling. There’s something about that combination of slick, salty anchovies with fat, salty kalamata olives and little salty capers that can kickstart your palate and remind you that cooking can actually be quite fun. And also remind you that salt is really, really nice. This chickpea puttanesca is a riff on that traditional dish and perfect for when you really can’t be bothered; replacing the pasta with tinned chickpeas saves you both time and the mental stress of trying to juggle two different pots at once.
Large handful of kalamata olives
2tsp chilli flakes
5 cloves of garlic
Bunch of parsley
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
800g tinned plum tomatoes
1. Finely chop the anchovies (keeping the oil in the tin), garlic and parsley stalks (keep the leaves separate).
2. Heat the anchovy oil from the tin in a pan and add the chilli flakes, chopped garlic, and anchovies. Simmer this down until the anchovies begin to dissolve.
3. Whack in your parsley stalks and pour in your tinned tomatoes and chickpeas. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and mix them together with the tomato puree. Leave to simmer for 10 mins until the chickpeas soften and you get a lovely thick, rich sauce.
4. Add in your capers and olives.
5. Stir through your parsley leaves (saving some for garnish).
6. Season with salt and pepper then serve with some parsley leaves scattered on top and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
If none of the above dishes take your fancy, you can find plenty more easy and accessible recipes on the MOB Kitchen website. Happy eating!
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