When it comes to cooking for a family of four, comedian Urzila Carlson likes to tick boxes called healthy, quick and aromatically pleasing (she knows it’s going to taste great too). Here’s one of her favourite fixes.
“The problem with society today is, we are way too obsessed with food.”
This is what a man said to me a couple of weeks ago as a friend and I were discussing what we were making for dinner.
We were also in the queue to get coffee and scones for breakfast and he was eavesdropping in on the conversation.
I’m going to put myself out on a limb and say I don’t think our discussion would have been the first time in the history of human beings someone had opened their eyes, sorted out breakfast and then turned their attention to what the rest of the day had in store, meal-wise.
More than that in fact, I would say I find it rather odd when people don’t plan their day thus.
And I don’t think I’m obsessed with food; I just like to think of myself as a pre-planner.
I need to know how my day will go, and a large part of my day centres around food.
Let’s just say it’s because of my African heritage. Africans love food, we do it well. Obsessed with it? I don’t think so buddy. I said to him: “Well, I like to do it three times a day”, while assuming whoever is responsible for the cooking in his home was probably having a similar conversation to the one he had just interrupted.
Anyway, rude queue companions aside, here is what came of my conversation.
I have a family of four who I cook for. This includes my girlfriend and I, our 16-month-old daughter and my mother (who lives in our granny flat but eats with us every night – demonstrating quite clearly that she has her life better organised than I do).
I love cooking but I’m lazy too, so I like to cook food that looks like I’ve slaved away for ages but in reality it never takes longer than 20 minutes (which is a more realistic time frame to make dinner, Jamie Oliver – just saying).
On this particular day, it was tortilla chips with chicken mince and a salsa.
It’s healthy, it’s fast and it smells great.
For the mince
600g of minced chicken
1 large chopped onion
1 chopped green capsicum (or whatever colour you like)
2 tablespoons of chutney
Spices, salt & pepper to your liking
Fry it all up, you know the drill, until it looks and smells great.
For the salsa
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
A bit of fresh parsley
A bit of lime juice (or lemon if you can’t get lime)
Note: If you don’t have a baby at the table, chop some chili in too.
Chop it all up finely and pop it a fancy bowl.
For the tortilla chips
Bag of store-bought tortilla wraps
Cut into pizza slices, brush the slices with olive oil and grate parmesan cheese over it (you only need very little!) and grind some sea salt over and bake for five minutes or until golden brown and yummy!
Now I just pop it all on the table (I actually make them pop it on the table… I just did all the cooking) and we all just dig in. It’s great, it covers all the things you need, crunchy, soft, warm and the salsa is a salad, am I right?
Maybe I am a little obsessed.
Urzila Carlson a South African living in New Zealand, comedian, mother, radio and television person. Can cook, will travel. @UrzilaCarlson