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SOS: Save Our Suppers with Neven Maguire

19-04-2017 15:17


Thank heaven for Neven! Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook will be a lifesaver in every family’s kitchen. Our families are the most important people in our lives, so when it comes to mealtimes we want to give them the best we can. Dinner comes at the most demanding time of day. You’re tired. They’re tired. And everyone wants to eat NOW! It can be tempting to reach for something quick, which of ten can be unhealthy and unsatisfying. Instead, pick something from the SOS, Save Our Suppers section of Neven’s latest family cookbook. These are quick and easy recipes to get on the table – and always result in a happy mealtime.


Chorizo and Spinach Pasta


This pasta dish is easy to make and perfect for a cold winter night. The sauce can be made the day before, as chorizo seems to taste even better the next day and makes a nice change from your average tomato-flavoured sauce. Experiment with other gourmet flavoured sausages.


Serves 6

  • 450g (1lb) chorizo sausage, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces on the diagonal
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil
  • 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) penne pasta
  • 100g (4oz) baby spinach leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat a sauté pan and tip in the chorizo sausage pieces, then cook for 2 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Add the onions and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, until the onions are golden, stirring occasionally.

2 Stir in the chilli and basil and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tomatoes, add the sugar and season to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.

3 Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 8–10 minutes or according to the packet instructions, until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite). Drain well and return to the pan. Stir in the chorizo sauce with the spinach and mix well to combine – the heat of the pasta and sauce should cook the spinach instantly.

4 Divide the chorizo and spinach pasta among warmed bowls and scatter over the freshly grated Parmesan, then add a good grinding of black pepper to serve.


Sweet chilli chicken and vegetable stir-fry


Stir-frying is a traditional Chinese cooking technique that is actually incredibly easy to master once you follow some basic rules. First, purchase a wok if you don’t have one. Always prepare and measure out all the ingredients before you even think about starting to cook. I normally start with garlic, spring onions and ginger, often referred to as the ‘holy trinity’ of Chinese cooking.


Add vegetables according to how long they take to cook, starting with the harder ones. As a rough guide, use a ratio of three portions of vegetables to one portion of meat or poultry. Finally, and most importantly, once you start cooking, don’t be tempted to add more oil to the wok. If it becomes too dry, sprinkle over a little water, stock or wine. This should evaporate immediately but prevent the food from drying out.


Serves 4


2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp dry sherry

2 tsp cornflour

225g (8oz) boneless chicken breast fillets

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 small carrots, sliced on the diagonal

175g (6oz) baby corn, halved lengthways

2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced

100g (4oz) sugar snap peas

2 heaped tbsp sweet chilli sauce

egg noodles, to serve


1 Place the soy sauce, sesame oil and sherry in a bowl, then stir in the cornflour until smooth. Cut the chicken fillets against the grain into small, thin strips and add to the marinade, stirring to combine. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes, or up to 24 hours is fine.


2 Heat a wok until it’s very hot, then add the oil and heat until it’s almost smoking. Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and stir-fry in the wok for a few minutes to seal the meat. Transfer to a sieve or colander to drain off all the excess oil, leaving only 1 tablespoon behind in the wok.


3 Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 20 seconds, then tip in the onion and stir-fry for another minute. Add the carrots and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes, until softened, sprinkling over a tablespoon of water if the mixture looks like it’s getting too dry. Add the corn and peppers and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, again adding a little more water if necessary, then add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry for another minute.


4 Stir in the sweet chilli sauce and toss with the vegetables until coated. Return the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, until it’s tender and heated through.


5 Divide the cooked egg noodles between 4 Chinese-style serving bowls and spoon the chicken and vegetables on top.




Beef and vegetables with black bean sauce

Replace the chicken with fillet or sirloin steak that has had all of the fat removed and use black bean sauce instead of sweet chilli sauce.


Fragrant pork and vegetables

Replace the chicken with pork tenderloin (fillet) or boneless pork chops that have been well trimmed. Replace the sweet chilli sauce with oyster sauce.


Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook is available on our website, Eason, Amazon and in all good bookstores.


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