Food and Drinks

Recipe tin eats

I was an awful cook. My partner and I joked about how I could still stuff eggs.

I was also not interested at all. I would rather eat out or order take-out than cook a meal from scratch.

I decided to cook instead when I realized both options were no longer available during the lockdown. I’ve completely changed my mind.

Cooking can be therapeutic if you choose simple recipes you will enjoy.

I only go to one place for these recipes: the food blog RecipeTin Eats.

The Sydney-based Nagi Mahashi has created hundreds of easy-to-follow recipes full of flavor. Her followers include home cooks all over the world.

Nagi includes helpful notes for new cooks and valuable information on ingredients.


Sprinkle salt and pepper on the beef after patting it dry.

Sear the beef: Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on high heat in a heavy pot. Add the meat to a heavy-based pot and aggressively sear it on all sides until well-browned (3-5 minutes). Remove onto a serving plate.

Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the stove.

Soffrito – Add the garlic, onion, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.

Return the beef (including the juices) to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients for the Ragu. Turn up the heat and bring it to a gentle simmer. Then turn down the heat to low to ensure that it is bubbling very, very gently. (Note 6).

Slow Cook: Cover the pot for two hours or until the beef is tender enough to shred.

Use two forks to shred the beef coarsely. Return the meat to the pot. Stir the sauce for 30 minutes, until it is reduced and thickened. The heart will continue to soften during this time.

Salt and pepper can be adjusted to taste. Also, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar if the sauce is too sour to your liking (Note 5). Put the lid on the jar and leave it until you are ready to serve. (It is even better the following day and can be frozen for several months!) ).

To serve:

Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water.

Follow the instructions on the pasta packet and add the pasta. Cook for 1 minute less.

Transfer the pasta directly from the pot to the frypan using tongs.

Add 3/4 cup pasta water to the frypan.

Toss pasta gently (I use two wooden spoons) for about 1 to 2 minutes until all the water in the sauce evaporates, leaving you with a thick Ragu that coats your pasta.

You need to get your family to eat dinner immediately, so shout for them to come to the table!

Serve with lots of freshly grated Parmesan or, even better, Parmigiano Reggiano.

Caesar Salad

No picture of our efforts, sadly. We eat this immediately after we make it. Image: RecipeTinEats.

Never again reach for the Caesar dressing you bought at the supermarket.

When no one is watching, I will add chicken and eggs to this salad to make it a complete meal. The croutons can be eaten with dressing dipped while preparing the dish.

Garlic Croutons

Toast the bread for one minute in a toaster (or 2 minutes on each side of an oven) until dry but not brown.

Rub the cut side of garlic on both sides of the bread.

Slice bread into 1.5 cup cubes (optional). Remove the crust if desired. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until golden. Sandwich bread takes 7 minutes to bake, while sourdough and other similar bread take 12-15 minutes.

Optional Extras

Eggs Cover the eggs with water in a pan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer. Once the water has simmered, reduce heat to medium (gentle simmer), and cook for three minutes (for soft centers), four minutes (for firm yolks), or six for hard-boiled eggs. Remove eggs and run them under cold water for 15 seconds, then submerge them in a bowl with cold tap water for 5 minutes. Peel and set aside.

Chicken: Either pound or cut each breast into two halves horizontally—salt and pepper on both sides. The bacon fat in the skillet can be used. Turn the pan and cook for another 2 minutes after cooking for 5 minutes on one side. Cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for five minutes. Cut into slices.


Place the lettuce in a bowl and add 1/2 of the dressing. Taste the salad, and then decide whether you need more sauce.

Transfer to a serving dish. If desired, top with egg and chicken. Sprinkle bacon and croutons over the top. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top and serve.


The dressing is better than mayonnaise. I like Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise and S&W Whole Egg Mayonnaise.

The key to achieving a restaurant-quality flavor is using anchovy filets. You cannot taste it, but the seasoning gives the sauce its flavor. Use anchovy oil fillets that are dark brown. Substitute: 3/4 tsp of anchovy sauce. Next best: 1 tsp fish sauce (yes!). Okay – 1/4 cup extra parmesan and a pinch of salt.

Parmesan: Store-bought pre-grated Parmesan is dense than freshly grated, so you won’t need to use it as much. The mixture won’t be as smooth, but I am okay with it.

You will need enough bread to make 1,5 cups of croutons. This is generous, but nobody wants to be short! Use plain, ordinary sandwich bread.

Iceberg lettuce is also delicious. Wash lettuce in advance so that it can dry. Wet lettuce will not be coated with dressing, so ensure it is scorched before you dress it. I wash, chop and then spin dry my lettuce. Chop it into the size you prefer to eat.

Dressing: Refrain from thinking it too much, or the dressing will not stick to the lettuce. Use a stick or a blender to whizz up the sauce.

Garlic is added to give the croutons a garlicky flavor. I don’t like mixing the croutons with minced garlic because it burns before they turn golden.