Easy wins: write down your favourite recipes and avoid the chaff of the internet | Life and style

Sometimes you get home after a long day, there are no leftovers in the fridge and you just know you really shouldn’t order out. And that’s when I reach for my handy list of go-to recipes and find something easy to make that I already have the ingredients for in the pantry.

Sure, it sounds simple – because it is – but until I bothered to formalise it, actually write recipes down as I made them, I was constantly looking up the same few recipes over and over again, forced to scroll past the mandatory “humorous” anecdotes and irritating pop-up ads every single time. Now, instead, I scribble down a shorthand summary – cooking time, ingredients, clear directions and any notes on how it turned out or possible improvements – on to a recipe card and file it away for later use.

As a huge nerd, I keep my cards on a digital Trello board, but any format will do, so long as you can easily add to it, browse it, reorganise it and read it. Tagging recipes based on various attributes – the type of meal it is, common ingredients, what utensils you need to make it, flavour profile, whatever – can also be a great help. Not only does that make it easy to pick a potato dish if you’re craving spuds, for instance, but it makes varied meal planning and ingredient shopping a breeze.

So did I stumble backwards into doing basically exactly what my mum did when I was a kid, only in a very slightly more digital way? Yes. Is it worth doing? Also yes, because sometimes you need to remember exactly how to make that perfect omelette and don’t have time to sort through the chaff of the internet to get there.

Mum’s mashed potato and mince combo

Cook 20-30 min
Serves 2

1kg potatoes
500g mince
(beef, pork, chicken or a combination)
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce
Sesame oil
Minced garlic
½ cup or less of milk
Optional: shallots

Make mashed potatoes (cut potatoes into small pieces, boil for 20 minutes or pressure cook for 6 minutes, add milk, season and mash). Set aside.

Stir-fry garlic, then mince meat, on medium-high heat. When one side is browned, stir to continually cook uncooked side.

Season with the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and pepper. Cook until all meat is nicely browned, then season to taste.

Add in a nice layer on top of the potato mash and serve (juices soak into the mash and make it even nicer). Add sliced shallots if you feel like it.


An absolute classic. Serve in a square glass container for maximum nostalgia.


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