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Tasty & Healthy Nuggets, Issue #001. Speedy Gonzales in the kitchen - time-saving cooking tips.
April 23, 2024

Get Me To The Stove On Time - Time-Saving Cooking Tips

One thing I’ve had to learn in many of my time-pressured cook jobs is how to get things done quicker.

In one of my first jobs in Britain - cooking for Sir and Lady So-and-So in their huge stately home - Lady So-and-So told me she loved how ultra-thin my pastry was in all my tarts. I never told her the reason for this was that I was forever pressed for time and made the pastry as thin as possible so that it would cook quicker.

I’m also rather impatient when at home and while I still want to eat food cooked from scratch on my days off, there are days when I don’t want to spend too much time making it.

When it comes to cooking things quicker, think:

Thinly Sliced


Finely Chopped

Methods that will make food cook quicker.

Grated root vegetables for example, will make your soup cook quicker.

They are also fabulous to add to a stir-fry together with vegetables like finely sliced broccoli, asparagus, kale and Brussels sprouts with some added spices.

For a spicy vegetable stir-fry recipe, click on: moong-dal-chilla-pancakes.html

Asparagus season is about to start here in Britain and I like making a green stir-fry with finely sliced broccolini/tenderstem broccoli, kale and asparagus, seasoned with some sea salt, black pepper and ground ginger - a fiery and healthy spice that adds a kick to your food.

I stir-fry this mix in either olive or avocado oil for about 4 minutes and serve it topped with an oven-roasted fillet of salmon. I drizzle the salmon with some olive oil, season with some salt and pepper and roast in an oven heated to 220c/425F for 11 minutes. Light, healthy and oh so tasty.

Another favourite, and something I often serve as part of a buffet, are root vegetable röstis/rostis. Take a look at my recipe for Sweet Potato Rosti on my website.


I often use a mix of grated raw beetroot, carrots and sweet potatoes in my rostis and add a fair amount of chopped spring onions, parsley and chives plus crumbled feta cheese and grated Parmesan. These are great to add to a lunchbox the next day.

Chicken will cook very quickly when you slice chicken breast or thighs into thin strips.

Add them to a marinade of olive oil plus things like crushed garlic, lemon juice and/or zest, grated or dried ginger and, if you want an extra kick, some chilli powder. Season with some salt and pepper, mix it all together and spread it out on a baking tray covered with parchment/baking paper. Heat the oven to 220C/425F and once hot, add the tray with chicken and roast for 7 minutes.

Add these chicken pieces to soups or salads to make your meal more filling, or eat them with the rosti I described above or add them to a tomato sauce served with pasta.


Pesto - Presto

Today I am making myself one of my favourite fast-food meals when at home on my own - my quick-fire pesto which I make in a food processor.

I make it with 2 large handfuls of either arugula/rocket leaves or watercress, 1 tablespoon walnuts, 1/2 tablespoon each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, 1 crushed garlic clove, some black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and Extra olive oil.

To get a pesto with some texture and more fibre, I don’t add the Extra virgin oil to the food processor. I only add it once I have transferred the pesto to the pasta plate I’ll be eating from. This also makes it easier to clean the food processor bowl, another win-win in my book. :-)

If you are making pesto for children who don’t like to see bits in it, add the oil to the food processor as well to make a smoother pesto.

To reduce my gluten-intake, I eat pasta made from brown rice. There are several different gluten-free varieties of pasta, including pasta made from pulses.

Recipe - Za'atar Spice Mix

This is a seed and spice mix recipe called za’atar that can add zing to many different foods.

Yes, you can buy a ready-made mix but, as is often the case, it tastes better when you make it yourself. Also, when you make it yourself you can experiment with different ratios of the ingredients.

I use natural sesame seeds, dried oregano, dried thyme, sea salt and sumac in my za’atar mix. Sumac powder is made from dried berries and has a lovely tangy, citrus-like flavour and you can buy it in well-sorted food shops, delis or health food shops, or order it online.

Talking about ratios, I prefer to use more oregano than thyme in my za’atar mix. Experiment to find your own preference.

Start by dry-roasting the sesame seeds - add 3 tablespoons natural sesame seeds to a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes, making sure the seeds don’t burn. Once done, add the seeds to a pestle and mortar and let the seeds cool down.

Add 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano, 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to the sesame seeds and grind to a semi-fine mixture. Stir in a heaped teaspoon sumac and your za’atar is ready. Store it in an air-tight container, I use a glass jar with lid, in a cupboard.


Toss diced root vegetables in a mix of olive oil and some of the za’atar and roast in the oven.

Mix za’atar and Extra virgin olive oil and spread it over fish and roast the fish in the oven. Sprinkle som za’atar over your salad.

Top oat cakes with hummus, avocado and za’atar.

Well, that’s it for this time. Thank you for reading Tasty & Healthy Nuggets. See you again next month.

PS. All healthy food aside, as you’ve seen on my website I eat both cake (occasionally) and chocolate (a daily dose of very dark antioxidant-rich chocolate). :-)

Happy cooking!

Margareta Wiklund

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think.

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