5 Easy 30-Minute Meals

Is it really possible to make a mouth-watering meal in 30 minutes? SL contributor Chloe Scott-Moncrieff reckons so. From comforting stews to supersonic moussakas, here are her go-to recipes.

1. Sausages, Red Grapes, Onions & Mash



  • 6 free-range pork sausages (RSPCA assured is the best supermarket label for this)

  • 1/3 of a punnet of red or black grapes

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 apple, grated

  • 1/2 a purple cabbage, finely sliced

  • 2 sprigs of thyme, stalks removed

  • 100ml of red wine

  • 100ml of vegetable stock

  • 400g of fresh mashed potato (available in the fresh aisle of all the supermarkets)


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. In a large heatproof pot, sauté the onion in olive oil or butter. Add the sausages and fry until just golden. Pour in the other vegetables and thyme (not the grapes) and the wine. Cook off the wine for a few minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the grapes. Don’t stir now. Pour over the stock. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Microwave the mash. Serve the sausage stew and mash together.

2. Gorgonzola & Walnut Fusilli (V)



  • 200g of gorgonzola or an alternative soft blue cheese

  • 250g of fusilli pasta

  • 100g of walnuts, finely chopped (if you’ve time, toasted in a pan quickly)

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 tub of half-fat creme fraiche

  • 90g of rocket to serve 


Simmer the pasta for 7-8 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile, in a saucepan on a hob, melt the creme fraiche with 2 tbsp milk, then crumble in the blue cheese to make a quick sauce. Crush the garlic clove and throw in to infuse. When the sauce is molten, taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove the clove. Sieve the pasta and stir the sauce in with the walnuts. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve. A heap of rocket is a tart green addition.

3. Smoked Haddock & Potato Gratin



  • 100g of taleggio cheese, sliced

  • 250g of smoked haddock or trout

  • 70g of smoky bacon or pancetta

  • 300g of new potatoes, sliced in 2mm thick rounds 

  • 150-200ml of half-fat creme fraiche or double cream

  • 1 onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 1/2 a white cabbage, sliced thinly

  • 150ml of milk


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Slice the potatoes and the bacon. Fry the bacon and onion in a pan. In a large pan, simmer the sliced potatoes and cabbage in some milk for 8 minutes, until nearly cooked. Then stir in the creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper. Include any herbs you might like, from tarragon to dill, parsley or thyme. In a large casserole dish, layer half the potato and cabbage mix. Add the smoked haddock or trout fillets. Continue layering until you’ve run out of ingredients. Put the taleggio in slices on top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

4. Mushrooms & Pheasant In A Cream Sauce



  • 2 pheasant breasts, sliced (you can use duck or chicken breast, but why not embrace wild, low-fat pheasant while it’s in season?)

  • 2 shallots, sliced

  • 300g of mushrooms

  • 100ml of sherry

  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds

  • 200ml of sour cream or double cream

  • 20g of butter

  • 1 pinch of paprika

  • 180g of rice (90g per person)


On a low heat in a frying pan, sauté the pheasant slices, shallots, fennel seeds and mushrooms in butter. Pour in the sherry and simmer off. Season with salt and pepper, then add the cream. Capers sprinkled in the stew could be a treat too. Meanwhile, simmer the rice in water, following the packet’s instructions for the type of grain you’re using. Drain and season. Serve the creamy pheasant with a sprinkling of paprika on top, alongside the rice. 

5. Moussaka Without The Faff



  • 2 tins of vegetable ratatouille, or 2 packets of passata

  • 1 onion or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp of red wine

  • 1 packet of fresh bechamel sauce

  • 1 jar of antipasti aubergine

  • 400g of minced lamb

  • 350g of ready-to-cook peeled potatoes 

  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

  • 1 tsp of mint (fresh or dried) or oregano


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Simmer the potatoes. Fry the packet of lamb mince with chopped onions and garlic; pour in the red wine and cook off. In a large baking dish, arrange the aubergines from the jar, then spread a layer of ratatouille and sprinkle the cinnamon. Top it with a layer of lamb. Include mint or oregano here. Now add slices of the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat the layers until you’ve nothing left except the bechamel. Spoon over the bechamel to finish (whisk an egg into the bechamel quickly if you want a more golden effect). Bake for 20 minutes under the grill.

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