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After two months of eating in thanks to COVID-19, our at-home menus may well be starting to feel a little samey and maybe you’re missing those Friday night take-aways. With a few easy hacks, you can create your family’s restaurant favourites at home and mix up that mid-week menu.
Executive Director at Thermomix Australia, Bianca Mazur says, “We can all recreate the convenience and flavour of take-away, while saving money and energy. You might feel like you’re limited to what you know how to cook and what you’ve cooked before. But the truth is, you can make incredible meals every day, just like the ones you’d be enjoying out – or maybe even better!”
We share some of Bianca’s ideas to mix it up in your mid-week below …
Executive Director at Thermomix Australia, Bianca Mazur is sharing her favourite homemade takeaway ideas … and YUM!
One of the dishes I always ordered at an Italian restaurant before I learned to make it at home is spaghetti and meatballs. Now, it is a firm family favourite at our house.
I have two top tips for great meatballs. Firstly, soak some bread in milk for a few minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid and add the soaked bread to the mix. It helps create beautifully moist meatballs that don’t break apart.
Secondly, remember to cook your meatballs slowly so they don’t dry out. We have a couple of different methods at Thermomix – we either steam them gently and then add them to the rich sauce or we slow cook them in the sauce. Both are incredible!
With a bit of tender care, your meatballs will be moist and delicious and won’t fall apart.
Let’s talk tacos
Who doesn’t love tacos? Whether it’s taco seasoning to sprinkle over meats or use as a meat rub, spicy fish tacos, or a healthy turkey taco salad bowl like the one at your local café.
It’s all about the spices – think chilli powder, cumin, turmeric, fresh herbs like coriander, spring onions and a variety of textures which will bring the taste of Mexico straight to your kitchen.
To get the most flavour from your spices like cumin and coriander seeds, roast the seeds whole and then allow them to cool slightly before grinding them to use in recipes. This will also save you money too as you get way more bang for your buck.
Learning how to use spices will take your Mexican game to the next level.
Cudos to curries
You can’t go past authentic, fragrant Asian flavours. We’ve just launched a new cookbook called Around Asia which was created alongside several consultants with Asian heritage.
Be it Chinese, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese or Taiwanese, the recipes are all a hundred per cent authentic and true to those cultures. My family and I have been cooking from it for all our ‘Friday night fake-aways’ since quarantine started and honestly, we might not go back to ordering in! Not only are we saving money but it’s great to see the kids getting excited about cooking, and it’s so delicious cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients.
We’re loving a warming Vietnamese Pho Bo which is a beef and noodle soup, Jiāo zi which are Chinese dumplings, and you can’t go past the totally authentic Pad Thai with prawns. I haven’t had it better at any restaurant!
Once you have the recipes, getting the authentic result is all about the ingredients. So, my tip for making really incredible Asian food at home is to find your local Asian store and buy your ingredients there. Also, avoid any short cuts when it comes to building those layers of flavour in a broth or paste – the depth of flavour will come from the fact you’ve made it from scratch.
Sourcing ingredients from your local Asian grocer will ensure you get the fakeaway flavour-bomb you deserve!
The convenience of simply browsing an online menu, ordering and then sitting back to relax can be very tempting after a long day! Although, with many take-aways it also means you wait at least 30-40 minutes, maybe longer, and sometimes your food rocks up, well… not-so hot.
So, for the convenience and flavour factor combined, choose speedy recipes at home that you can whip up in no time, with little effort. Some quick ‘fake-away’ favourites at my place are a chicken korma, Chiang mai noodles and tarka dahl.
The best way to do this is by making stocks, pastes and sauces in bulk so you can save time when you need them. For example, I always prepare extra Thai green curry paste, which I just keep in the fridge ready to combine with some protein, veggies and coconut milk for a super quick dinner. Freeze your pastes in ice cube trays so you have portions ready to go. It takes no more than 15 minutes of effort and it’s on the table in 30 minutes flat!
WATCH: Australian Women’s Weekly Chats To Peter Overton About Family Dinners