Peanutty gingery sesame soba

Bring water to boil. Place noodles in and wait for water to return to a boil; then turn heat to low and cook for 3mins. Drain and rinse in cold water.

For the sauce, mix 1tbsp sesame oil, 1.5tbsp soy sauce, almond/peanut butter (half to 3/4 rounded tbsp), and about 1/2tbsp pressed ginger. Add garlic powder and a dash of vinegar; mix thoroughly. Coat noodles with the sauce and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Basic one-pot spag bol

(This recipe uses angel hair pasta; if using spaghetti, linguine, or a slower-cooking pasta, boil for 3-4mins first, and then drain and set aside.)

In a large dry pot, sautee ground beef with pepper, garlic, diced onion (optional: finely diced carrots or mushrooms). Stir until meat is browned and no longer pink (3-4mins).
[The beef, onions, and mushrooms will release liquid, so you may need to drain the mixture before the next step.]

Stir in ~1/4-1/3 jar of red pasta sauce, as well as stock cubes or spices for more flavour. At this point, add the uncooked angel hair (or half-cooked other pasta), as well as optional leafy greens (e.g. chopped spinach, arugula, kale). Stir on high until the mixture boils; then turn heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until pasta is tender.

Basic sauteed scallops

(From frozen.)

Rinse and dry the scallops to get rid of grit.
Heat butter in a pan until simmering; there should be enough butter to cover the whole bottom of the pan. Add lemon juice. Add the scallops and toss several times so they are coated in the butter. Then cook on medium-high heat for ~4-5mins or until sear develops. Do NOT stir, do not overcrowd pan. Scallops are done when the flesh is opaque, the crusts are slightly cracked, and the texture is firm but bouncy.

Basic pan-fried salmon

De-scale the skin side of the fillet using serrated knife at a 45 degree angle. Rinse and PAT DRY with a paper towel.
Marinate in lots of salt and pepper for 15mins or until room temperature. NO PEPPER on the skin side!

Preheat a pan on medium high and add olive oil. Lay the fillet skin-side down. When skin begins to crisp, lower the heat slightly; white ‘bubbles’ at the side signal overcooking. (Press down with a spatula if skin curls. If adding lemon, squirt on top of fish, not into pan or oil.) Flip when fish is cooked 3/4 through and skin is rendered, crisp, and doesn’t stick to the pan.

Wilted arugula/mesclun and bell pepper salad

Prepare orange and yellow baby bell peppers by slicing off the top and bottom, cutting lengthwise into four, de-seeding, and then cutting into long strips. Quarter four or five cherry tomatoes.

Spray a large pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Sautee the peppers and tomatoes. When about half done, add bagged salad leaves (I used an arugula/spring mix blend) and season lightly with salt. Mix well and serve warm.

You can make things more interesting by starting the sautee with pancetta or bacon (and forgoing the salt). Or serve as a side with steak.

Verdict: Fresh, healthy, and really delicious.

Spicy tropical steak bites

(For 2 servings.) Cut one large or two small sirloin steaks into small, bite-sized cubes, trimming the fat wherever possible. Season generously with salt and rub with a bit of olive oil.

Spray a large pan lightly with olive oil spray and bring to high heat. Turn on vent fan and/or open windows. Steak should sizzle loudly when dropped into pan. Distribute the steak bites evenly around the pan and cook, without stirring, until one side is browned; then turn and cook the other side.

Drain one small can of diced or crushed pineapple and add to the meat. Add two tablespoons of canned diced tomatoes with green chillies (I used Rotel’s ‘mild’ version). Stir until heated through; then serve hot.

Verdict: Tasty!