Quick cook tips for busy GPs

A team effort can keep ready meals at bay even for busy parents, says full-time GP Dr Anita Sharma

With a husband who is a physician, I took the lion’s share of housework and childcare. As both mother and a GP, my main duty was towards my children, particularly when they were young.

Both my husband and I have always been career orientated,and I have always worked as a full-time GP. My concession was not to work at weekends. This gave me the space to combine a successful career and a family life.

For me, the prescription for a happy family life is good food. I believe in involving everyone, doing things together in the kitchen, listening to each other’s day while sipping a glass of wine.

Despite long hours and an evening surgery, which never finished on time, I managed to ensure that there was a good nutritious evening meal for the family to enjoy.

During the weekend, I would plan the following week’s meals. The food list would go on the fridge firmly stuck with a magnet. My daughter took pleasure writing it and my son ensured it was stuck. Making salad, laying the table and clearing afterwards was my husband’s responsibility. It was a team effort and we took our roles seriously.

My meals are Indian based but not that hot or spicy. A typical weekly list would include a meal based on chicken, cheese, fish, a home-made pizza, and Indian vegetables, many with rice as part of the meal.

Some form of rice is served with almost every Indian meal, it only takes 15 minutes and there are many ways to do it: plain, pullao, mixed with vegetables and mixed with chicken or Quorn pieces. Try these tips to get your quick meals started.

The quick cook – rice

  1. When the last patient enters your room, ring home and give your team instructions to wash the rice twice and drain it. Even a six-year-old can learn this. If you ask nicely the grown-up present may put a medium sized saucepan with half a tea spoon of olive oil, two cloves, two cardamom pods and gently fry the rice for one minute. If you are extra nice he may put water equivalent to twice the amount of rice in a pan to boil.
  2. When you enter the house, water is boiling, all you have to do is throw in the rice, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat.
  3. Now change your surgery suit, pour a glass of wine and ask kids about the homework. No TV was allowed in the kitchen-cum-dining area in my house.
  4. Kids lay the table, partner makes the salad and your rice is done in 15 minutes. Add vegetable or chicken pieces, or serve plain.

Dr Sharma is a GP in Oldham

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