Recipes: Countdown to summer

Steamed prawn wontons, black bean quesadillas and flourless chocolate cake. Picture / Babiche Martens

A habit I must stop is buying my lunch so often. It is so much fun, however, making discoveries of new tasty morsels. Although mostly we are creatures of habit and tend to have the same lunches week in and week out. I remember going through a stage when I would have tuna coleslaw for lunch every day, making a huge bowl with cheese, herbs, red onion, a tin of tuna and my favourite dressing which was waiting on the bench.

Simple and delicious, I'd eat it with my crackers or a fresh bread roll.

Although daylight saving has started, the weather isn't quite warm enough for salads so, in a move to broaden my lunchtime repertoire, I've opted for some delicious, yet easy, warmer options. First up, I went to source wonton wrappers from the local Asian supermarket - only to find 300 in the packet! Plenty of meals in that lot, so keep them in the freezer ready for next time.

When the pastry is pre-made making dumplings is so quick and simple. A bamboo steamer is a handy piece of kitchen equipment you will find at most Asian stores.

Line it with baking paper and make a generous amount of holes in the paper to let the steam through and ensure the dumplings don't stick.

With a packet of tortilla on hand, quesadilla are the quickest thing to make for an easy lunch. I will often stick two together with pesto, ham and cheese and place into a hot frying pan for three minutes each side, and then cut in wedges and eat. These black bean ones are a little more substantial but well worth taking a few more minutes.

Taco seasoning is available from all supermarkets in varying heats. Add chicken or shredded pork for the meat eater. Up to your interpretation, but guaranteed to keep everyone in the family happy. When your teenagers are hungry, let them loose in the kitchen to make these.

Chocolate is a no-brainer, we all love a moist chocolate cake with lashings of cream. This is a rustic-looking cake, so don't freak about any cracks when removing it from the tin. Fabulous for the gluten-free chocolate lovers also. Chocolate and berries must be one of the best combinations in the dessert world, so if you have some on hand they are a nice addition for serving.


• Steamed prawn wontons 

• Black bean quesadillas

• Flourless chocolate cake

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