Living opposite McDonalds has its dangers for a would-be food snob like me- Especially last week when I found myself too busy to dream up new recipes and put them into action.

Thankfully, real food prevailed in the face of grimy temptation and by resorting to some of my quick dinner favourites learned from my travels around Europe; I was able to resist the siren-like lure of the golden arches.

So if you have a spare 15 minutes and want to eat some genuinely satisfying food, try any of the recipes below. Enjoy!

Puttenesca Meatballs with Spaghetti


For the Puttanesca sauce

  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 x clove garlic (minced)
  • 5 x sundried tomatoes ( minced)
  • 15 or so black olives (halved)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Olive oil
  • 1 x chilli (chopped) (optional)
  • Parsley to garnish.
  • Salt and pepper

For the meatballs

  • 4 x pork sausages
  • 400g x beef mince
  • 1 x clove garlic (minced)
  • ½ red onion finely diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 x teaspoon oregano


  • Spaghetti


  • Remove meat from the pork sausages and place in a bowl, discarding the skin
  • Add the minced beef and all other ingredients to the sausage meat and kneed it together until well combined
  • Roll the mixture into balls
  • Fry the balls in olive oil and discard any excess fat that exudes during cooking.
  • Put the meatballs to the side whilst you whip up the puttanesca sauce.

For the sauce

  • Fry the garlic, chilli, onion, sundried tomato and half of the olives in olive oil for a few minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook it all together for a few more minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
  • Add salt and pepper, capers, the remaining olives and parsley towards the end of cooking
  • Put the meatballs in the sauce and cook it all together until it is bubbling and hot

To serve

  • Serve in massive portions with mountains of spaghetti and grated hard cheese.

Pork Schnitzel and REAL German Potato Salad

For the Schnitzel


  • Pork Escalopes
  • 1 x beaten egg
  • Plain flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon zest of ½ lemon
  • Bread crumbs
  • Oil to fry

For the Potato Salad


  • 15 x Boiled and peeled new potatoes
  • ½ Cucumber – grated
  • 1 x tablespoon White wine vinegar
  • 5 x tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper


  • Combine all of the ingredients for the potato salad in a bowl and mix together
  • Cover the escalopes in cling firm and beat with a mallet until ½ cm thick
  • Combine the breadcrumb with the lemon zest and salt and pepper
  • Dip the flattened escalopes in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mix
  • Fry the breaded escalopes in oil on a moderate heat on both sides until golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve with gherkins / potato salad / capers / a litre of beer and lederhosen.

Perfect Mushroom Stroganoff


1 x cup basmati rice

300 g mixed mushrooms

1 x red onion chopped

1 x Tub crème fraiche (or for very low calorie version 0% fromage frais)

1 x cube of vegetable stock

1 x big squeeze lemon

Salt and pepper

2 x teaspoons paprika

Chopped  flat leaf parsley to garnish.

1 x crushed garlic clove


  • Cook rice in salted water until tender
  • Dice the red onion and mince the garlic and fry in olive oil until translucent
  • Chop the mushrooms (slice some, roughly chop others to add texture)
  • Fry the mushrooms along with the onions and garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and crumbled stock cube cook all together until the mushrooms are cooked through and juicy