Sofia Wood: Really Good, Early Autumn Cooking (When You Actually Don’t Have Time to Cook)
Every Friday, Sofia Wood shares cooking ideas on Make it last. This week is all about quick – and delicious – fixes.
The sad truth is that many of us struggle with time and fitting everything in, so cooking becomes a stress factor. Staying clear of prefabricated options, here are a few of my best recipes to ease the stress, a quick and easy soup, delicious no-hassle baked eggs and a cauliflower dish that will leave you with plenty of free time.
Green Pea and Zucchini Soup with Mint and Yoghurt
This is a far cry from the dullness of store-bought soups, but rather a fresh and zingy version. No fan of peas? Substitute with broccoli! Note that you’ll need a blender for this recipe.
3 tablespoons olive oil + extra for serving
1 onion, chopped
500 g frozen peas
1 cube umami or vegetable stock
6 – 7 dl water
3 tablespoons thick greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons of mint leaves, packed and shredded
1 small zucchini
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Add peas, stock cube and water. Turn up heat and let simmer a minute or two until peas are just tender – no overcooking!
With a slotted spoon, transfer peas to a blender, and pour the hot stock into a jug, reserving for later.
Add yoghurt and one tablespoon of the mint to peas and blend to a smooth purée. Return to pot, adding stock until you get the thickness and consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Slice zucchini into julienne sticks with a mandoline slicer or sharp knife. Pour soup into bowls, top with zucchini, rest of mint, some good olive oil and chili flakes.
Baked Eggs with Artichoke, Leek and Boursin Cheese
Baked eggs are one of my favorite go-tos for everything from brunch to late dinner, very little work and a very very good. If you are cooking everything in the same pan, remember that the pan needs to have a heat proof handle as it will go into the oven.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, just the tender white part sliced finely
Ca 300 g of artichokes marinated in oil
4-5 large organic eggs
1 Boursin cheese
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Optional: a couple of radishes, some asparagus or cress
Serve with good crusty bread
Preheat oven to 175 °C. Using a medium sized frying pan with a heatproof handle, heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium to high heat. Add sliced leek and cook until soft and slightly golden brown, stirring occasionally. Drain artichokes and add to pan, frying for a few minutes. Make little wells in the leek and artichoke mix and crack an egg into each well. Scoop spoonfuls of Boursin cheese all round the pan and drizzle the last of the olive oil over the egg yolks. Add a bit of salt and cracked black pepper before placing the entire pan in the oven. Cook for a few minutes until egg whites have just set and yolks are still slightly runny or to you liking. Serve the eggs with some crusty bread, you’ll want to scoop up all the goodness.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Chèvre and Thyme
This recipe will at first look like it’s a bit of work and although the cauliflower needs almost an hour in the oven it really handles itself in there, leaving you to do better things with your time. The whipped Chèvre can be made a few days ahead.
1 large head of cauliflower, about 1 kg
100 g butter, softened
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Two small bunches of thyme
200 g chèvre
4 tablespoons thick greek yoghurt
Preheat oven to 200°C. Trim the leaves of the cauliflower so the white part is exposed and level the base so it sits flat. Rub butter all over the cauliflower and generously season with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower to a snug fitting oven dish together with one of the bunches of thyme. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 150°C and cook for another 40-50 minutes, basting with melted butter occasionally, allowing the cauliflower to be nicely browned.
Blitz chèvre and yoghurt in a blender together with the leaves from the rest of the thyme, and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Serve large steaks of the cauliflower with chèvre, a squeeze of lemon, some additional olive oil and a good seasoning of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sofia Wood Is Make it last’s New Food Writer
We are so excited to introduce our new contributor Sofia Wood. She is our forever favorite foodie and has an eye for what's beautiful, sustainable and enjoyable in both food, arts and fashion. From now on, she will share favorite food ideas and recipes every week on Make it last. Get to know her here.
What sparked your interest in cooking?
– My mother always cooked, food was always, and is still, a big thing in my family and it’s just been a natural part of me since forever. I can’t remember ever not cooking, or talking food, or thinking food… You get the idea.
What does the act of cooking – and the space that is your kitchen – mean to you?
– It’s definitely a creative, explorative and calm space but most of all it’s about doing something for others and showing love I think?
Tell us about a special cooking experience that you’ll always remember.
– I recently made the wedding cakes for my dear friend Louise’s wedding. There were six individual cakes in all, consisting of four double layered dark chocolate cakes, filled with strawberries and covered in vanilla frosting and scattered with seasonal flowers because that’s my friends passion. Obviously there’s a lot of nerves involved in that, really wanting to make the couple happy and just the scope of baking that many cakes or whipping that much frosting haha. I’m really happy I did it, their faces were so sweet and happy when they saw the cakes.
How do you reason when it comes to cooking sustainably?
– Focusing on food that is seasonal, local and mainly vegetarian are the basic baby steps we all should be able to take. It tastes better (ever had a perfect sunripe tomato in late summer in comparison to a tasteless hard thing in winter?) and it’s also cheaper. Choosing not to eat meat or at least reducing your consumption is obviously also a big part of this, and honestly I get that it’s a hurdle for a lot of people, I’m no fan of unsexy lentils or soy meat either but there’s lots of inspiration to be found in other places – hopefully my recipes here being one of them!
What’s your best tip on making everyday cooking more imaginative?
– Cooking should be fun, not super serious or even a chore but foremost on an everyday basis it needs to be easy. I have two small kids and both my husband and I have full-time jobs so time is not something we have lots of. We tend to have a lot of dinners that are really more bits and pieces, a few smaller vegetable dishes and some good cheese, a few dips and a piece of yummy bread. That type of relaxed cooking tends to spark the imagination I think.
You work in the art industry and have worked in fashion, how do your interests relate to each other?
– I was in fashion for a long time but fairly recently started to work at at Bukowskis which is an auction house that mediates fine art and design. Both are obviously creative fields, where quality and sustainability is in focus. But what I’ve really appreciated in transitioning from fashion’s inevitable need to consistently push new products is how we through the auction market can cater to individuality, truly invest in pieces with history and actually consume quite a lot without anything creating more clutter, more things being put into the world – just cherishing what is already made.
What’s your favorite three course dinner?
– That’s completely impossible to say, there are too many options! I don’t have a favorite dish and could never answer what my last meal would be. My favorite dinner is one with lots of friends, or lazy weekend breakfasts with my kids, or fish and chips on the beach in Australia where my dad lives.
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