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Family meals in a matter of minutes

Food guru Annabel Karmel is a best-selling author of 17 books on baby and children's food and nutrition -- and now she has come up with a new recipe book jam packed with quick and tasty meals for busy mums on the go.

A mum-of-three, Annabel has selected simple yet delicious meals which any mum caught up in a chaotic lifestyle can make in a hurry, for her new bestseller, Top 100 Meals in Minutes.

Little Chicken and Leek Pies

Makes 4 portions


225g (8oz) peeled potatoes, diced

225g (8oz) carrots, diced

20g (¾oz) butter

2 small leeks, roughly chopped

2 chicken breasts, skinned and sliced into 2cm (¾in) cubes

3 mushrooms, sliced

2 level tbsp plain flour

200ml (7floz) milk

50g (2oz) cheddar cheese, grated

25g (1oz) sweetcorn

salt and pepper to season


>Preheat the grill.

>Put the potatoes and carrots into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and keep it there for 10 to 12 minutes, until soft. Drain, then mash until smooth.>Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 minutes, until just soft. Add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes. Next add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the plain flour. Blend in the milk and bring up to the boil.

>Gently simmer for 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Add three-quarters of the cheese, sweetcorn and seasoning. Spoon into 4 size-1 ramekins. Spoon the mash on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

>Grill for 4-5 minutes, until lightly golden on top and bubbling around the edges.

Mild Massaman Beef Curry

Makes 2--3 portions


350g (12oz) sirloin steak, trimmed of fat

1tbsp sunflower oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp fresh ginger, grated

2 tsp red Thai curry paste, or to taste

8 small new potatoes (200g/7oz) cut in quarters

400ml (14floz) can coconut milk

125ml (4½floz) beef stock

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp lime juice

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped (optional)

1 tbsp chopped peanuts (optional)

Wedge of lime (optional)

Mangetout, cut into matchsticks (optional)


> Put the steak on a chopping board. Cover with a piece of clingfilm and beat with a mallet or rolling pin until it is 3 mm (1/8in) thick. Cut into pieces the size of a little finger.

>Heat the oil in a wok and sear the beef for 2-3 minutes. It should still be pink inside. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

>Return the wok to the heat and sauté the onion, garlic, coriander and cumin for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, curry paste, potatoes, coconut milk, stock, soy sauce and sugar and bring to the boil and simmer rapidly for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

>Turn the heat down to low and cook for a further 5 minutes. Try not to let the curry boil once the meat has been added.

>Stir in the lime juice. Taste after adding one tsp and then add more if you want to.

>Sprinkle with the fresh chopped coriander, if using.

To serve the curry

>Traditionally the curry is served in bowls sprinkled with chopped coriander and peanuts, a wedge of lime and some poppadoms.

> If you prefer to serve with rice, then omit the potatoes and just simmer the sauce for 10 minutes without potatoes in it. Cook 150g (5½oz) according to the packet instructions.

> Add the mangetout, if using, and add the sliced beef to the curry for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

>Drain the rice, divide between bowls and spoon over the finished curry.

Thyme, Garlic and Lemon Lamb Chops

Makes 2 portions.


4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

4 lamb chops


>Pull the leaves from the thyme sprigs and put in a bowl with the lemon juice, garlic and oil. Add the chops and coat in the marinade. Marinate for as long as possible.

> Put onto a baking sheet and grill about 20cm (8in) away from a hot grill for 8--10 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking time. This makes a 'pink' chop.

Cook for 12--15 minutes for a well-done chop.

Fruity Chicken Korma

Makes 4 portions


1½ tbsp sunflower oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

½ red pepper, diced

1 small to medium apple, peeled and sliced

2 chicken breasts, sliced in 2cm (¾in) cubes

1½ tbsp korma curry paste

1 tsp garam masala

100ml (¼ pint) low-fat coconut milk

100ml (3½ floz) chicken stock

1--1½ tbsp mango chutney

1 tbsp soy sauce

6 baby corn, sliced on the diagonal

50g (2oz) frozen peas

2 tsp lime juice

1 tsp cornflour


>Heat the oil in a deep-frying pan or wok.

>Add the onion and red pepper and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Next, add the apple slices and saute for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry until sealed. Add the curry paste and garam masala, then the coconut milk, stock, mango chutney, soy sauce and baby corn.

> Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the peas and lime juice and cook for 2-3 minutes. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water. Add to the curry and stir until slightly thickened. Serve with rice.

Top 100 Meals in Minutes, by Annabel Karmel, published by Ebury Press, and priced €13.20