What is your simple, go-to home-cooked meal?

I’ve found that a lot of people I know have a meal or two or three that they will default to if they don’t have any better ideas, are tired, pressed for time, or just don’t want to think about cooking.

What I find particularly interesting is how different these meals are. Maybe it’s personal taste, maybe it’s availability of ingredients, maybe it’s just habit. Whatever it is, I feel like I can always learn something interesting by trying to make other people’s defaults.

I have two.

  1. Salmon and salad over rice.
  2. Tomato eggs over rice.

If I’m really tired or cranky I often skip the rice, because it takes 25 minutes to cook.

For the salmon I just boil water, drop the (thawed) salmon in and turn off the hob. It takes about 6-8 minutes. I eat it with Thai “Green Cap” sauce and butter over rice. For the salad I slice up an entire cucumber using a mandolin, and chop up some sweet peppers and maybe some sugar snap peas, and add a light vinegar and some salt.

Tomato eggs are even faster because there’s no chopping. It’s also the ultimate comfort food. I heat oil in a frying pan, dump in half a can of chopped tomatoes, and let it simmer. Add a bit of salt, sugar, and ketchup. Stir occasionally. While it’s simmering I crack some eggs into a bowl, and beat them with a fork. When the tomatoes are just about ready, I heat up more oil (high smoke point!) in another frying pan until it starts shimmering, then dump in the eggs, and stir with whatever is on hand. After about 60 seconds it’s all done, and I flop the eggs into the tomatoes, and then dump the whole thing over rice.

My husband and I joke that it’s not even really cooking; more like food assembly.

Do you have any simple go-to defaults that you make often?


I don’t know why, but I was surprised to see that you also cook on an open fire. We have an oven and a stove, but as long as the fire is there, it is a convenient way to cook, without using fossil based fuels. I don’t have a hob, but I find cast iron keeps things warm on the ground next to the fire.

Rice is also my go-to for quick and easy meals. Lately, I have been making some Mafé-like meals, I have lately been on a peanut sauce kick.


Rice and mixed vegetables started as a favorite meal with my daughter years ago.

Nowadays I boil the Minute brown rice in filtered water with cumin sprinkled in.
I nuke the frozen mixed vegetables (no lima beans!) in the microwave.
I nuke three or four links of Morningstar Farms soy sausage.
I put three or four tablespoons of olive oil in the cooked rice, then add the veggies and chopped-up sausage.

I have it almost every day for lunch.

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I have previously cooked on an open fire, but my current setup is fully electric. I think I’ve mixed up my Englishes. Is “hob” in the UK the same as “cooktop” in the US? I think maybe it is.

(Also: peanut sauce is fantastic!)

This sounds simple and delicious! I never thought of adding cumin to the water when boiling rice. I will have to try that.

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Ah such a great question!

My personal favourite is pretty basic…a tomato, cucumber and feta salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

It’s great for a refreshing, filling and tasty meal that is healthy. The cucumber gives a nice crunch and the feta that bit of cheesy-ness!


Yes, it could be. I am in the US, and familiar with open fire cooking, and so “hob” was indeed the strong hint that you were in the habit of open fire cooking.

Mine is a simple Mac’n’cheese. Just some nice macaroni, some grated cheese and ham from our local butcher. Add some salt and pepper and you have comfort in a bowl!


Meals? Hmm … not too good at that as yet. My area is more sourdough breads, cakes, biscuits (not the US biscuit though) and home-made pasta. On the mornings I’m not fasting I do a multigrain “oatmeal” (currently a blend of rolled spelt, rolled barley and rolled rye) in which I poach an egg (from our own chickens!) I’ve been collecting my recipes at Therapeutic Baking


I’m a big breakfast guy (“most important …”). I have a go-to pancake recipe:

Mix dry ingredients

  • 1 cup flour (could be half whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • (heavy) sprinkle cinnamon

Whisk wet ingredients

  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup milk (buttermilk is better)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter (or oil)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine wet & dry. Cook in buttered frying pan. Serve with (good old Canadian) maple syrup & butter.


For the sake of not thinking about it, the go-to meal was pasta with tomato sauce.

It frying sliced onions glassy in a pan, then giving 1.5 liters of passata to it and let it cook at a low temperature for an hour. After that hour put some pasta into salted, cooking water, sliced carrots and peas into the tomato sauce and about 10 minutes later get the pasta out of the water and serve everything. We love to have some fresh basil topping, though this depends massively on what grows in the garden.

If there is also ground meat at home, we fry that as well with the onions before adding passata.

Variations of this use sliced sausages or diced Schnitzel instead of the ground meat. Rarely canned thuna.

My son loves to fry a slice of toast with an egg for himself and his sister right after school/kindergarden as a quick meal (due to different day schedules we have “family meal” only in the evening).

Besides of that we are not cooking by recipes. It is pretty much checking what is available, smashing everything together that it feels right, adding some heat and having diner about an hour later :smiley:

Experiment driven cooking as my wife calls it.


Creamy Tuna Dish (my dad’s invention):

  1. Cook short-grain/sushi rice.
  2. Fry a sliced onion in olive oil.
  3. Add roughly chopped garlic (3-5 cloves).
  4. Once the onion is cooked turn off the heat.
  5. Mix in rice, tuna (canned in olive oil, not fresh!).
  6. Add mayonnaise and soy sauce to taste.

Pasta with some butter and spice blends :slight_smile:

I tend to batch cook and then freeze meal-sized portions so a lot of my meals are popping a glassware container from the freezer into the microwave.


If I have to do some simple home-cooking in a hurry, it’s either pasta or rice. For rice I would oven roast some veggies, which must include a lot of tomatoes, and whilst that is happening I can boil up some rice (brown for preference). When the rice is ready I like to dress it with some olive oil and wine vinegar whilst it is still hot. Then I will mix through the roasted veg. I like to also have peas through this and if I want protein, I can cook a little bacon in the oven at the same time as the veg (make the bacon into little rolls). If I’m in the mood for a sharper dressing, I’ll add in some capers through the mix in the end.
Substitute anything for the bacon (I have a weakness for Linda McCartney’s veggie sausages) that you like.
I practically lived on this during the period when my husband had to be away from home for work all week.


It’ll have to be eggs (in the million different ways you can make them).

I’ve recently been experimenting with making Cantonese-style eggs, which have an amazing mix of textures for something that might be considered a bit boring.

Outside of that, homemade beef burgers are a nice go-to (lettuce wrapped, no bun!).

Other midweek meals include salmon and brocolli (salmon is expensive so can only eat it once a week), or other fish or meat. The salmon is pan-fried (with butter), seasoned with salt and pepper (maybe some spices if I feel like it too). The brocolli baked in the oven with butter, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.

I’m big on keto, low-sugar, high-fibre, high-nutrient, low-gluten foods.

I try to eat high quality stuff or don’t eat at all.

Not always possible to eat cleanly, but that’s my north star.


Bobbi’s vegan chili

  • red chili peppers (green ones are unripe)

  • 1 can chipotles in tomato sauce

  • 1 can corn

  • 2-3 large onions (or more smaller ones)

  • 12 oz plant-based protein (Impossible Sausage is great)

  • 1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix

  • Beans/lentils

  • pearl barley

  • potatoes

  • many many cloves of garlic

  • peppercorns

  • salt/sugar to taste

Put dry beans in a crock pot. You don’t need to soak them. Cover with water, heat on high until simmering then low. Add water as needed.

Chop many more onions than you think you’d ever want. Trust me, it practically disappears into the stew in a few hours and it will be great. Throw the garlic cloves in whole, with the peppercorns, peppers, potatoes and any other veggies that you want soft. Cook on low for several hours, then add the lentils, barley and protein. If you might fall asleep, put it on warm first.

The barley and legumes will absorb a ton of water so add it as necessary to maintain a pleasant viscosity.

Add salt/sugar a little at a time until it’s just right. Keep in mind that it takes time for the spices to distribute throughout so go slow and taste it often.


Instead of advising people to “drink lots of water to stay hydrated”, we should be saying


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I add ~5cc of Jägermeister to the wet side of a very similar recipe. Gives it a very unique aroma.

I just pop a medium-size (~750g) sea bass in the oven (grill mode) for 15 minutes, while prepping a salad (Rocket, tomato, walnut, pomegranate, tulum cheese) to go with it.

If there are guests, then it’s just a bigger (1.5kg) sea bass, a richer salad, plus some oven-baked baby potatoes.

Keep the scales on the fish. Prevents it from drying out.


Many of you have seen me cook a full meal during the call(s), and if you ever want any of the recipes, just gimme a shout.

Extremely easy indonesian inspired chicken & rice

This dish usually takes me about 20 minutes to prepare.

Easy marinade:

  • 2 tbsp of fish oil
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
    • There is no good equal alternative, but any nutty oil would be the next best thing. Avoid vegtable oil or olive oil, because of the lack of flavour and the strong flavour respectively.
  • 2 tbsp of Ketjap manis (prefer indonesian over chinese).
    • Alternative if you don’t have this nearby or don’t know where to get: 1.5 tbsp of a low-sodium/low-salt soy, and add a bit of honey if you want (but make sure you don’t char the chicken).


Prefer chicken thigh over chicken breast. Cut into pieces, do NOT get rid of the fat, and marinade for at least 15 minutes (usually whilst you cut veggies) – 30 minutes is best. You don’t eat meat? Tofu would be a decent replacement, but tempeh is much better. Needs > 30 minutes to marinade in this case.


For veggies, I usually go with bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, avoid green which is both not that good for you and just bitter), or broccoli.

  • For bell peppers, cut into strips.
  • For broccoli, cut loose the “flowers” and cut the stem into “squares”. You can eat these too!


Pandan (also known as Jasmine), or alternative Basmati. Don’t be daft and think that any rice will do. Majority of white rices these days do not need to be washed, but check the packaging because YMMV based on where you buy it. If you are diabetic and are allowed to eat rice, Basmati has a better glycemic index for you.

Both these usually cook within 8 minutes (and no, that’s not a “fast cook variant”). Sometimes packaging says much longer time like 25. In that case… buy a different pack.

Extras: (optional)

  • I usually have Serundeng (Seroendeng), which is a sautéed grated coconut mix with spice and other ingredients, such as peanuts laying around,
  • …as well as various types of Sambal. Prefer a chilli based spice / paste / hot sauce if you do not have Sambal but you do want some kick, over something like “hot sauce, tabasco, bbq hot sauce etc.” as those will not taste right / mix well with the marinade. I usually go for Badjak, and recommend against Oelek.
  • I like to add Bawang goreng which are fried shallots, but a fried spring onion or even fresh ones work well too!
  • If you want you can also get some Cassava (Cassave), veg or Krupuk udang, shrimp to eat whilst you cook or after you’re done.


If you want to speedrun this and take 20 minutes, you’ll need to prepare the rice at the same time as you cook the rest. However, if you want to relax, feel free to cook the rice first, and whilst it sits with the lid on the top (at least 10 minutes (!) this is very important), you can make the chicken and veggies.

  1. Boil water for the rice, cook based on the packaging. I recommend you add half a piece of Chicken or veg Boullion to the water before it cooks. If you do, you will not need to add salt anywhere during the preparation as the salt from the broth and the salt from the soy or sweet soy will be plenty.
    • If you picked broccoli you want to boil the broccoli for about 2 minutes shorter than usual in a different pan.
  2. Cut the chicken, add the marinade, and stir. Leave for at least 15 minutes. If you want a longer marinade, do this step first.
  3. Cut the veggies.
  4. Heat a pan and do not add oil or butter. The marinade has oil, and whilst the soy will stick to the pan, as long as you don’t make the pan too hot right from the start, searing the chicken will work and afterwards you won’t have trouble.
  5. Add the chicken, fry on medium-high heat, after searing all sides. Searing is important or you’ll lose the water and it becomes dry. Fry until brown (but don’t mistake it with the brown from the marinade). If you are worried that the chicken isn’t “done” enough, pick a piece and cut it open on the counter.
  6. Optional: add a red chilly, cut into pieces. I generally include the seeds.
  7. Veggie time
    • If you picked bell pepper, you can use the same pan (add to the chicken) and fry on high heat for a minute. This keeps them crisp and snappy, which I like. Fry for several minutes if you want them softer, but in that case add earlier.
    • if you picked broccoli, I recommend a wok, but a regular saute pan or frying pan will work too.
      1. Over high heat, add same oil as you used for marinade. You don’t need a lot.
      2. Add brocoli.
      3. Fry for 1 minute.
      4. Drizzle some soy sauce over the top, and optionally add garlic. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, because it will go bitter.
      5. Fry for 1 more minute.

The rice should have been done by now, and you absolutely should have left the rice inside a pan without opening the lid, after getting rid of the remaining water. Prefer a wooden spoon for the rice, so you don’t break the grains.


  1. Add rice
  2. Add chicken + veggie mixture
  3. Optionally add Seroendeng and Bawang goreng over the top of the rice, or everything
  4. Optionally add sambal on the side