Cooking for One: The Essential Equipment

cooking for one 2 Cooking for One: The Essential Equipment
Cooking for one can be challenging. As a single person there is a temptation to go for ready prepared meals and takeaway, but these are often not healthy options and you will have much more control over your diet if you cook for yourself. You may even surprise yourself and find it fun to try out new recipes.

There are many amazing recipes out there but they are often designed for at least four people. It isn’t always possible to modify these recipes for one person. Some ingredients are easier to reduce than others. It is easy to measure out a quarter of a tablespoon of olive oil if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of olive oil but chopping up a raw egg is not so easy.

Along with checking out the ingredients, having the right equipment can make your cooking more straightforward. This is my list of the top five pieces of kitchen equipment I recommend single cooks keep in the house.

 

Coca Cola Chilli Chicken

coca cola chicken 3 Coca Cola Chilli Chicken

A couple of months ago I was invited by the lovely Genie from Bunny Eats Design to join a linkup party, Our Growing Edge.  The link up party encourages food bloggers to connect and try new things.  I posted my first attempt at using liquid smoke in the September link up but missed October, with going on holiday and getting everything else sorted before I went on holiday.

I was already to participate this month by making baked donuts.  But I haven’t been able to find a donut baking tray for sale in the shops I have been in.  I have ordered one so I should be all ready for December, when it will be crazy to bake donuts in Australia. Fortunately I have been toughened by years of eating a full baked Christmas dinner no matter what the temperature so I should be able to cope with the oven on unless it gets super hot.

I might manage to squeeze in something else for November but the month is getting away from me.  I am afraid I am going to miss this month.  But check out what everyone else is posting as there are always inspiring recipes.  One thing I am working on is my food bucket list which I will eventually get around to putting up on the blog and I am adding to the list based on what I see in the link up.  A couple of recipes I already have on my bucket list are paella and making my own rice noodles.  What do you have on your food bucket list?

Which gets me around to the inspiration for this post.  I had originally thought I might try and sneak in a post for October for a stir fry cooked with coca cola.  I saw a recipe on Milk and Honey for Coca Cola Chilli Chicken that looked good.  But I ran out of time and then just before I went on holiday, Corina from Searching for Spice did her take on the recipe for Our Growing Edge.  Talk about great minds think alike – just not all minds are as good at implementing.

I have finally gotten around to trying the recipe out.  It has a lovely flavor to it.  It is fairly sweet with the combination of chilli and coca cola but not as sweet as I was worried it might be.  Like Corina I am not a huge fan of overly sweet savoury dishes.  The soy sauce is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness and adds a saltiness to the recipe that I love.

To make this for one I used the following ingredients:

  • 130g of chicken, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 tbsp  of cornflour
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (Corina uses light soy sauce but I used plain soy sauce)
  • ½ a birds eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic (equivalent to one clove)
  • 190ml of Coca Cola
  • 1 tbs of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs of cashew nuts
  • A cup of broccoli, chopped in to bite sized florets
  •  1/2 tsp cornflour mixed with 1/2 tbsp water

I basically followed Corina’s take on the recipe but used broccoli as my vegetable. The other change I made was to not toast the cashews.  I just tossed my cashews on top as I have had bad luck toasting nuts – think burnt messes.  Aside from that, it is very straightforward and apart from the marinating period, very quick to make.  The preparation time excluding the marinating is about 10 minutes.  I marinated for a couple of hours.  Cook time is 15 minutes.

There is some wastage in this recipe in that you won’t use all the birds eye chilli (but they are so cheap and small that to waste half doesn’t feel like a major deal) and you only use half a can if you are cooking this for one.  You can obviously drink the leftover can but I hate wasting calories on soft drinks.  And speaking of calories, this recipe (did you like the dodgy segue) has about 360 calories in it. You could reduce this by not including the cashews and still have a delicious dish.

Poached eggs with smashed avocado and goats curd on sourdough

poached egg and smashed avocado2 Poached eggs with smashed avocado and goats curd on sourdough

Breakfast out on the weekend is probably my favourite meal to out.  It is just such a lovely way to start the day.  And I love breakfast foods, not only for breakfast but also for lunch and dinner.  Some people would probably say these harissa eggs in purgatory are a fabulous breakfast but I love them for a quick and easy dinner.

I love the breakfast classics of eggs and bacon and eggs benedict but I am also falling in love with the current fashion for eggs with smashed avocado and cheesy goodness.  When I made this risotto with goats curd, I also bought some goats cheese in case the goats curd wasn’t quite right (at least that is my excuse for me cheese purchase).  After making the risotto I had left over curd as well as the goats cheese that was calling to be spread on toast. And you know how I hate to see food wasted.

This recipe for smashed avocado, goats cheese and poached egg on sourdough is super easy to make and is perfect as a meal any time of the day.  I am not normally a huge fan of avocado but the combination of the cumin and avocado is just magical.  The cumin really is the secret ingredient to this recipe.  Without it, it would be nice but pretty bland creamy mash up.

Aside from the cumin the other two things that make this recipe are buying the right avocado and using my secret weapon for poached eggs.  I am a disastrous avocado buyer unless I buy the avocado on the day I want to use it.  I have absolutely no skills when it comes to judging when an avocado will ripen.  I have to buy the avocado ripe and ready to go.

For the poached eggs, my secret weapon is a poach pod.  I love poached eggs.  They are my favourite way to eat eggs.  But they can be tricky to make.  All that swirling and vinegar and ack!  The poach pods make all this simple – they won’t have the vinegar hint but other than that they create a great egg.  If you are looking at buying some the one thing I would say is buy one that is fairly thin.  I initially bought some thick cheap ones and the eggs just don’t cook properly in them.  On the plus side they now make great little bowls for my mise en place.

poached egg and smashed avocado Poached eggs with smashed avocado and goats curd on sourdough

If you don’t want to use a poach pod then I have heard that using cling film works. You break the egg in the cling film and then sort of lift it at the corners and twist so that the egg is encased in the cling film  But I don’t have that level of coordination.

How do you poach eggs?  Do you have a trick for making them?

This breakfast is super easy to make.  Preparation time is 5 minutes max cause all it really involves is getting a few things out of a cupboard and squeezing a lemon.  Cook time is about 15 minutes. Probably less if you are better at multi-tasking than me.   The recipe below is for 1 and it has some wastage with the avocado and lemon.  But to be honest I used a whole avocado and just had left over smashed avocado for breakfast for the next few days with some of that sneaky goats cheese I “accidently” bought.

Calorie wise it has about 470 calories.  Not mega low calorie breakfast but such a great start to your day.

Poached eggs with smashed avocado and goats curd on sourdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 serve

Calories per serving: 460

A tasty weekend breakfast treat

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 spray of olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 tbs of goats curd
  • 2 pieces of sourdough
  • For the smashed avocado:
  • 1/3 of an avocado
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon

Instructions

  1. Put a small pot of water on to boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, spray the poach pod with the cooking spray, crack the egg in to the poach pod and carefully lower it so it is floating in the boiling water.
  3. Boil the egg in the poach pod until it is cooked how you like it. I find 5 minutes gets me a cooked but runny egg. When the egg is nearly cooked, pop the lid on the pot to make sure the egg white is cooked.
  4. While the egg is cooking pop the sourdough in to the toaster and scoop out the avocado in to a bowl and smash with a fork.
  5. Slowly mix the cumin and the lemon juice in to the avocado. Taste as you go until you get the flavour you like.
  6. Once the toast is ready, spread on the goats curd and the smashed avocado.
  7. When the egg is ready scoop it out of the poach pod and pop on the toast.
  8. You are good to go!

Notes

If you get some water in the poach pod, scoop the egg out on to a small plate first. If you put it straight on the toast then you will get soggy stuff going on.

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 Poached eggs with smashed avocado and goats curd on sourdough

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