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Even with limited expertise and not much inspiration, you can make a meal that is not only nourishing, but super tasty too.

If you haven’t a clue what to cook for dinner, then Fuss-free Suppers by Jenny Kay and Elinor Storkey will help you make a meal with no fuss.  Here are some ideas from the books simple yet interesting collection of recipe ideas.

Lentil bobotie

serves 4

This is a favourite classic dish with a twist. It’s worth taking the time to fry the onions slowly as this will bring out the sweetness in them.

  • 30ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 10ml (2 tsp) chopped fresh garlic
  • 15–20ml (3–4 tsp) medium curry powder
  • 2 slices brown bread, soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 2 x 400g cans lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) white wine vinegar
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) apricot jam
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 160ml buttermilk or milk
  • 3ml (½ tsp) turmeric
  • 6–8 bay leaves
  • a few slivered almonds
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the curry powder and cook for a further minute until fragrant.
  • Squeeze out the excess water from the bread and add the bread to the saucepan, together with the lentils, vinegar and jam. Mix well and season to taste.
  • Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof casserole dish and smooth over the top.
  • Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
  • Combine the eggs, buttermilk or milk and turmeric in a jug and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the egg-mixture over the bobotie, spike with the bay leaves and scatter over the almonds.
  • Bake for 20–30 minutes or until the topping is set. Serve with yellow rice, chutney and sliced banana.

Herb-crusted fish fillets

serves 4

Use either white or brown bread for the crumbs. This crumb mixture also works well on flattened chicken-breast fillets.

  • 4 white fish fillets (such as hake)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 slices bread, crumbed
  • 45ml (3 Tbsp) chopped fresh herbs
  • 80ml ( cup) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 250ml (1 cup) cake flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • a little olive oil
  • Sprinkle salt over fish.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs, herbs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Put the flour and beaten egg into separate bowls.
  • Dip the fish fillets one at a time in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.
  • Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the fish for about 4 minutes a side until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel and serve with a side salad and potato wedges.

Stir-fry beef with cashews

serves 4

This recipe also works well with ostrich steaks. It is important not to overcook ostrich, as it tends to become tough. Instead of serving the dish over noodles, try folding the noodles into the dish so that they soak up the lovely sauce.

  • 30ml (2 Tbsp) peanut oil
  • 500g rump steak, cut into thin slices
  • 1 onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 125g broccoli florets
  • 10ml (2 tsp) chopped fresh garlic
  • 10ml (2 tsp) grated fresh ginger
  • 1–2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 60ml (¼ cup) hoisin sauce
  • 45ml (3 Tbsp) oyster sauce
  • 30ml (2 Tbsp) soy sauce
  • 50g toasted whole cashew nuts
  • a handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • rice or egg noodles to serve
  • Heat half of the oil in a large wok over a high heat. Add the meat in batches and cook quickly until well browned. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the wok over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper, broccoli, garlic, ginger and chillies. Cook, tossing continuously, for 3–4 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Return the meat to the wok.
  • Combine the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce, and add to the wok. Toss until well combined and heated through.
  • Scatter over the cashews and serve, sprinkled with coriander, over rice or noodles.

Roast chicken with feta and olives

serves 4

This is a great throw-together dish, full of colour and flavour.

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 10ml (2 tsp) paprika
  • 2 red onions, cut into eighths
  • 1 small red pepper, deseeded and cubed
  • 1 yellow pepper (small), deseeded and cubed
  • A small orange pepper, deseeded and cubed
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) chopped fresh garlic
  • 30ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 x 410g can chopped and peeled tomatoes
  • 100g black olives, pitted
  • 45ml (3 Tbsp) chopped fresh origanum
  • 125g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Toss the chicken portions in the paprika.
  • Put the vegetables, garlic and olive oil in an ovenproof roasting dish and season well with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken portions on top of the vegetables and roast for 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and add the tomatoes, olives and origanum. Return to the oven and roast for a further 15–20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Sprinkle over the feta before serving.

Chickpea fritters

makes 12

  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 60ml (¼ cup) plain yoghurt
  • 10–15ml (2 to 3 tsp) curry powder
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 375ml (1½ cups) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 125ml (½ cup) chopped fresh coriander
  • a little oil
  • Roughly chop the chickpeas and onions in a food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, and process until well mixed.
  • Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and drop in spoonfuls of the mixture. Fry until golden-brown on one side; then flip over and fry on the other side. Drain on paper towel.

You’ll find more recipes to make a meal quickly, in our easy meals category.

About the book

If you haven’t a clue what to cook for dinner, then Fuss-free Suppers by Jenny Kay and Elinor Storkey (Struik Lifestyle), with its simple and interesting collection of recipe ideas, is the perfect kitchen keepsake. Would you have thought that green curry chicken pies could be effortlessly done midweek? From fish laksa to cider pork and sweet-and-sour beef casserole, Jenny Kay and Elinor Storkey present recipes that will not only make the cuisine routine easier, but a little more creative too. It’s available at all good book stores nationwide.

Jenny Kay and Elinor Storkey