Three tasty and inexpensive recipes to try

Photo / Babiche Martens.

It's been interesting watching my daughter's culinary skills evolve as she evolves. Now flatting in Wellington at university, she has developed a tasty repertoire of quick - and cost-effective - meal options.

This chicken biryani meets all the requirements for an easy dinner. It's tasty, requires only one dish and there is enough to last for a couple of days. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but you will find many of them are already in your pantry. Add a little extra chilli if you like it hot. Serve with a tomato, red onion and fresh herb salad drizzled with good balsamic and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Perfect to impress flatmates, visitors or family when they come to visit.

Cannelloni has long been a favourite in Italy and is also one of ours. This vegetarian version is a great meal and not too heavy. The spinach in my garden has been growing like crazy and, of course, it's cheap at the supermarket. I use yoghurt mixed with an egg to help it set, not forgetting the parmesan to give it that delicious, rich flavour.

You can make a large dish and cut into portions and freeze or individual dishes as I have here.

To serve, all that is needed is a salad or crusty bread and it is good to go. If fresh mozzarella is hard to source, use a tasty cheddar or a little extra parmesan.

Finally, lolly cake - one of those sweets we love to hate, but find it hard to say no to. I have packaged up a number of parcels of this treat and posted it to more than one student flat in Wellington over the past couple of years, where it has become a special treat arriving on the doorstep. It takes no explaining, it's just simple, sweet and delicious.


• Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

• Chicken biryani

• Lolly cake

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