Do you ever put things in the too hard basket because it seems like more of a hassle to make it yourself than it is to buy? I am totally guilty of doing that but have recently made it my mission to at least try it before I decide there’s too much faff involved. Here are my top picks for things that I’ve made at home and realised are SUPER easy to do yourself. Also you don’t have to worry about the added salt, sugar and weird unrecognisable numbers that get stuffed into the packaged versions…speaking of packaging you’re also saving the planet by reducing waste. You deserve a medal.

Disclaimer – you need a magic bullet or food processor for a few of these or else the ‘5 minutes’ is going to turn into 50 minutes of you pounding a mortar and pestle until you swear profusely, give up and go get fish and chips instead. I’ve made a note where this is the case.

 

Pesto

*Device required*. What I like about pesto is that you can change up the recipe based on what you happen to have in the cupboard/herb garden and it still tastes yum. Also screw using pine nuts – way too expensive. I found this Annabel Langbein recipe when I wanted to get rid of an overgrown parsley plant and it is a winner  It’s easy to swap out the parsley and mint for basil to get your more traditional pesto and yes I realise it’s a bit controversial seeing as it doesn’t use parmesan but you totally don’t miss it! Plus it’s cheaper and healthier sans cheese- you’re welcome.

Ingredients: 1 packed cup mint leaves, 1 packed cup parsley, finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 cloves garlic, peeled, ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, ground black pepper.

Step 1: Bung it all in the bullet and blend in pulses (leave it so it’s still a bit chunky!)

Homemade pesto

Hummus

*Device required*. This was one thing that I was always like, nup too hard but once I tried this recipe I’ve never gone back. It tastes WAY better than the bought stuff. We have literally eaten a whole bowl in one sitting (no judgement please).

Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, 1 garlic clove, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp tahini, 1 tsp ground cumin, salt, ¼ tsp paprika

Step 1: Blend in a food processor or magic bullet type device. You’ll need to do in batches if you have a magic bullet as the chickpeas tend to clog it up – add a couple tablespoons of water as you need to get it to a smooth consistency.
Step 2: Make an arty swish on the top, drizzle over olive oil so it fills the swirl and sprinkle over the paprika…looks way profesh.

Homemade hummus

Overnight Oats

Maybe you thought overnight oats were already simple to begin with (and you’d be right) but personally I took one look and thought – overnight? Seriously? That sounds like heaps of effort. I had no idea that you literally just threw them into a container and slept. I make this every evening and so far Tom hasn’t complained about having the same thing for brekky for months on end so I take that as a good sign.

Ingredients (per person): ½ cup oats, handful walnuts, handful blueberries, teaspoon chia seeds, generous dollop of natural yoghurt, ½ cup milk.

We’ve changed this up with almonds and peaches so you can basically swap out the nuts and fruit for whatever you fancy!

Step 1: Put all this stuff in a bowl or brekky container and leave in the fridge.
Step 2: Sleep, then wake up and enjoy.

Worth noting that this makes a very substantial breakfast as Tom and I are big eaters. I workout in the morning and find that this takes me right through to lunch which is nothing short of a miracle.

Overnight oats

Lemongrass marinade

This is my go-to in Summer, grab a bag of chicken nibbles and coat in this for the ultimate plate to take to a barby. We fell in love with the taste of lemongrass in Vietnam and this is the most authentic at home version we’ve found.

There are two options – one where you hand pick the lemongrass that your husband has so kindly spent months growing and chop into tiny pieces and another where you buy the pre-crushed version from the chilled vege section of the supermarket. Guess which one I do 9 times out of 10?

Props to Nadia Lim – this is one of the many recipes from her ‘Fresh Start’ book that I’ve made so many times that the pages are filthy (the number 1 sign of a decent cookbook).

Ingredients: 3 stalks lemongrass or a tube of the crushed stuff, 2 Tbsp oil, 2 ½ Tbsp fish sauce, 2 tsp ground turmeric, 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic and 1 red chilli finely chopped

Step 1: Blitz all ingredients into a paste (using a magic bullet or food processor).
Step 2: Cover meat with the paste and marinate for at least 15 mins.

Lemongrass chicken with mango salad

Teriyaki sauce

This is another Nadia special and tastes amazing on salmon skewers (alternate chunks of salmon with pieces of spring onion) but would also be great on chicken. It goes really gloopy but that’s the charm of it.

Ingredients: 2 cloves garlic (minced – but I just chop up really small!) 1 Tbs ginger (again minced/chopped very finely), 1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar or liquid honey (I use honey), 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp cornflour mixed into a ⅓ C of water

Step 1: Brown whatever meat or fish you’re using in a pan. Remove the meat but keep the pan with all it’s juices on the heat.
Step 2: Mix honey (or sugar), soy sauce and cornflour/water mixture together in a small bowl.
Step 3: Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and fry for 1 minute before adding the soy sauce mixture. Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thick and sticky. Voila! Your sauce is now ready to meet your meat/fish and become delicious.

Teriyaki sauce