The recipes that I and my family and friends come back to, time and time again, are those that are tasty, easy to cook, nourishing and thrifty.
Eating well is for everyone and for every day. So I aim to create food that is straightforward to make, ready on the table in 30 minutes and, most importantly, really delicious.
Chicken thighs (or drumsticks) are perfect for this dish, but you could use wings, especially if you like eating with your fingers. The Korean-inspired sauce would go well with any meat or fish, as well as vegetable and noodle stir-fries. Look out for Korean chilli powder, if you can, and be sure to make the topping – you’ll be sprinkling it on everything! Serve these with a simple green salad or with my Herb & Pak Choi Salad, Vegetable Rice and Sesame Carrot & Courgette Noodles (all recipes in the book).
A one-pan dish packed with crunch, freshness and spice. Quinoa is protein-rich and the black version, if you can get it, looks beautiful set against the herbs and salad leaves. Regular quinoa is just as good (it needs 2 minutes less cooking time) or you could use red quinoa instead and cook for the same length of time as for the black quinoa. The combination of spiced salty-sweet fried halloumi and chickpeas is unbeatable – you’ll want to use this pairing with everything. This makes a bit extra and any leftovers make a great packed lunch.
There is so much variety when it comes to pasta these days. You could serve this with quinoa spaghetti, buckwheat pasta or mung bean noodles, for instance. It would also work well with spiralised raw courgettes or celeriac. The grated carrots add sweetness to the meatballs, sneaking in some extra veg while helping the meat to go a bit further. The meatballs freeze well, so why not make a double batch and freeze half raw? As both the meatballs and sauce use onions and garlic, you effectively save a step by frying it all up to begin with.
My friend and chief recipe tester Kitty made a giant pan of this the morning after her birthday, so I always think of it as a birthday breakfast, but it will do nicely for any breakfast – or indeed any meal of the day. It is an excellent way of using up any greens you have languishing in the fridge, not just spinach, and any cheese goes. All the action happens in the oven; you just need to crack the eggs into the dish and pop it back into the oven just before you’re ready to eat. You can serve it with my quinoa bread, guacamole or just a green juice as pictured here (all recipes in the book).
A really simple recipe to make on a Sunday night to enjoy for breakfast, pudding or snacks throughout the week. I love a piece of this for breakfast on the go, or a smaller portion as a snack or pudding. This bake would also work well made with raspberries, blackberries or cherries, halved and pitted. Enjoy it cold or serve warm with a dollop of yoghurt or my Soft-Serve Banana Ice Cream (recipe in the book).
If you love citrus puddings, these cupcakes are for you. They have a lovely spongy texture thanks to the ground almonds. You can adjust the amount of glaze to suit you, but I like my drizzle cakes to be really moist and tangy. Great for kids and adults alike!
SAVE 20 PER CENT ON MELISSA’S NEW BOOK
Eat Happy: 30-Minute Feelgood Food by Melissa Hemsley is published by Ebury, price £20. As well as Melissa’s introduction and brilliant advice and tips for time-savvy, good-for-you meals, chapters cover breakfast and brunch, bowl food, meat, fish and vegetable mains, salads, sides, snacks, dips and canapés, sweets and drinks. To order a copy for £16 until 18 February, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.