Cooking More with Less

By Sheela Sheth, Food Expert

Cooking more with less should be the order of the day in our COVID-19 era. One of my favourite pastimes, when I lived in Ethiopia in the 1980s, was gardening and freezing as only potatoes, onions and tomatoes were available throughout the year. We relied mainly on dry ingredients like cereals, pulses, nuts and seeds, bottled sauces and canned food and flour. Here are some simple recipes to add to your routine.

Honey Roasted Munch


200 g cashew nuts

200 g almonds

150 g walnuts

150 g peanuts

50 g sunflower seeds

4 tbsp honey

½ tsp cinnamon powder

2 tbsp butter or olive oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp water


1. Bake the nuts (cut or whole) at 175°C for 12 to 15 minutes stirring in between

2. Set aside to cool in a bowl

3. Heat olive oil or butter in a wide pan, adding water, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon, stirring once

4. Let the concoction bubble on low heat for one to two minutes. Add the toasted nuts immediately and allow to cook for three to four minutes or until the liquid is completely absorbed

5. Turn off heat and move the mix to a baking sheet to cool, separating the nuts using a fork

Frankie Roll


4 rotis or tortillas

4 tbsp oil

For rolls

2 medium-size potatoes, boiled and mashed


1 cup onions, chopped

1 bunch fresh coriander, thinly cut

2 chillies, chopped

1 tsp allspice or garam masala

4 cloves or toothpicks

½ tsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg (for lacing)


1. In a bowl, add onions,  coriander, chillies, garam masala, lemon juice, salt and ginger garlic paste

2. Add mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs and mix well to form small long patties or cutlets

3. Roll the patties in breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown

4. Place them on paper napkins to absorb oil

5. Place these rolls vertically on the roti or a tortilla, add ¼ cup of onion and roll them, folding the two ends like spring rolls and using a clove or toothpick to hold them in place

6. Place on an oiled flat pan,turning on both sides until golden

7. Serve with tomato sauce or tamarind chutney

Dainty Delight


1 cup coarse freekeh, soaked

½ cup fruit of your choice (balance the colours)

½ unsweetened condensed milk

Few drops of vanilla essence

1 tbsp oats or soaked burghul (cracked wheat)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp coconut sugar or few drops of stevia

Almond and pistachio flakes for garnish


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except the garnish and cool. Sprinkle garnish just before serving

Sheela’s Kitchen Confidentials

I depend a lot on freezing, which often includes beans, curries, fruits and vegetables and seasonal sauces. Here are some tips I learnt:

Always cook double so you can freeze the same dish for the future; of course, some dishes cannot be frozen, so you will have to check

Defrost by letting the dish  thaw naturally. Refreezing should be avoided as it destroys the nutritional value of food as well as its taste

Freeze vegetable puree and sauces in portion containers or muffin trays

Freeze rotis and flatbreads or pizzas using parchment paper between each piece

Freeze fruit juices and sandwich spreads with herbs and greens to create a perfect marinade for meats and veggies

Freeze mixed leftover vegetables and greens for soups, stews or curries to create a delicious meal

Save leftover bread in the freezer for making cutlets and thickening gravies

Freeze corn, freekeh and spinach when in season