Homemade cookies, popcorn and pesto ... think you can't? Oh yes, you can!

Report image
Image: Pistachio pesto

Photograph: Maja Smend

Homemade pesto: stick all the ingredients in the blender, whiz and you're done! Get the recipe here

Cookies

Not much beats a biccie dunked in tea, but hang on a minute … is that ingredients list for real? These homemade cookies have just 5 ingredients and are ready in under 30 minutes. Time to get baking.

Report image

 

Guacamole

If you can squash an avocado, you can make guacamole. No ripe avocados? No problem. Leave unripe ones alongside some bananas and they'll soften up in no time.

 

Salad dressing and croutons

Homemade croutons make even a basic salad look sophisticated, and they're simple to make: just fry some stale bread with a little oil and seasoning. Make your own creamy salad dressing too with 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp crème fraîche and a tsp of mustard. Sorted.

Report image
Image: Warm pheasant salad with croutons and cider dressing

Photograph: Martin Poole

 

Muffins

Who doesn't love a mid-afternoon muffin? These beauties can be baked in just 35 minutes, so there's no excuse not to ... Just make sure you use muffin cases (not cupcake cases) so they don't overflow!

Report image

 

Salsa

Speedy salsa. All you need is 10 minutes, some pomodorini cherry tomatoes and a dash of balsamic vinegar and you're ready to dip!

Report image

 

Salted caramel sauce

OK, it's never going to be a healthier option, but this homemade version uses dark brown muscavado sugar for an extra fudgy flavour and butter, avoiding nasty hydrogenated oils.

Report image
Image: Salted caramel sauce

Photograph: Maja Smend

 

Soup

Soup, AKA 'a hug in a mug'.  Trust us, homemade is far souperior (sorry) to cans and packets. Whiz up your own for a much fresher flavour or to use up those wrinkly veggies at the back of the fridge.

Report image
Image: Pea and mint soup

Photograph: Brett Stevens

 

Pasta sauce

There's no denying ready-made sauces make life easier, but make a vat of this gorgeous homemade tomato sauce, freeze it in portions and you've got a go-to dinner staple which is perfect for pasta, meatballs or even a pizza topping.

Report image

 

Popcorn

Watching kernels pop can sometimes be as exciting as a movie (unless it's got Ryan Gosling in it – or maybe that's just us). Give yours a twist with a sprinkle of grated cheese and paprika, or a dusting of icing sugar for something sweet.

Report image
Image: Spiced cheesy popcorn

Photograph: Martin Poole