Five easy meals that make it look like you know how to adult
Whether it’s a dinner party, a picnic, a date or a visit from your parents, sometimes you really need to make a meal that says ‘I know how to adult just fine, thank you very much.’ Here are five options that are super easy to make, but get the right message across.
It’s basically just soggy oats, but for some reason people are loving bircher muesli right now. All you need to do is soak some oats in water or apple juice (overnight in theory, but honestly, who’s got that kind of time? Ten minutes will be fine). Then just add grated apple, any dried fruit you’ve got lying around, yoghurt, and the brightest-coloured berries you can find. Bonus points for layering the ingredients in a jar like the ones you see in hipster cafes. This is your chance to really make that statement at work – saunter in with a jar of bircher muesli in the morning and you’ve instantly levelled up in the world of adulting.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about tiny little quiches that just screams ‘capable’. They also happen to be super simple. Making quiche involves chopping up whatever veggies and meat you'd like in your quiche, putting those things in a patty pan tray with some puff pastry underneath, pouring some whisked eggs on top and putting them in the oven. Mini quiches make the perfect share plate for that Instagram-worthy picnic you’ve been invited to on the weekend. Recommended ingredients for impressing your foodie friends include smoked salmon, feta and butternut pumpkin (i.e. the peanut-shaped ones).
Rice paper rolls
These ones take a little bit of extra skill, but if you get it right they will look super sophisticated. The inside bit is easy – just cut up your choice of meat and any combination of cucumber, carrot, capsicum, lettuce, and bean sprouts for your fillings. You also need some noodles – traditionally you use vermicelli (thin rice noodles), but if you’re on a tight budget you can use cooled two-minute noodles and it tastes almost as good.
Rolling them up is the tricky part. You will probably screw it up and let loose a fuming string of expletives. Keep at it. Once you’ve got it onto the bench, it’s just like rolling a mini burrito. Stir together some sweet chilli and fish (or soy) sauce to dip them into, and all of a sudden you’re a culinary genius. These are the big guns, so save them for prospective lovers or their parents.
This is one of those homely winter meals that gives you a real ‘I could be your grandma I’m so proficient in the kitchen’ vibe. The big trick is to roast your pumpkin first, along with a bunch of garlic and some herbs to add a heap of flavour. After that, you basically just blend it with some oil or cream and you’re ready to go. Drizzle it with olive oil and put a big generous dollop of sour cream in the middle for that extra ‘I’ve done this before’ touch.
When you’ve been invited to a dinner party, there’s something very potent and decisive about being able to say ‘I’ve got dessert covered’. Ice-cream sandwiches are a consistent winner, and there’s plenty of room for variety. Let your ice-cream melt a little and then mix in anything from chopped-up berries to crushed Maltesers or honeycomb. My favourite twist is to spread two malt biscuits with Nutella before you put the sandwiches together.
Whatever you decide on, when you show up with a dish that could literally turn to liquid if you make a wrong move, you’ll positively ooze adult responsibility. “Wow, those look incredible!” the host will say. “I know,” you’ll reply casually, with the nonchalant air of someone who has definitely not been freaking out about the melting situation for the entire drive over.
Matt is a freelance writer, poet, educator and student from Perth.