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Can you produce five dishes for under Dhs300? We put the professionals on the spot.

Alexandra Davidson, the founder of new family café Boston Lane, takes up the challenge, serving up five comfort food classics perfect for a relaxed lunch or dinner

Mum’s Bolognese toasties

Serves 6

4 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and grated

500g beef mince

½ cup tomato paste

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 beef stock cube, dissolved in 150ml boiling water

150g cheddar cheese, grated

1 loaf of good quality bread, sliced

Butter, to spread

Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, and cook for five minutes until the onion is soft and transparent. 2) Increase the heat to high and add the beef mince. Cook until browned. 3) Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Cook, stirring, for three minutes. 4) Season with pepper, stir to combine, then bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for an hour. 5) Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter and fill with Bolognese sauce, using a slotted spoon to remove any excess liquid. Top with cheddar cheese. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side up and place in toastie maker or sandwich press (if you don’t have either of these, you can use a hot pan, squashing down with a heavy-based pot). 6) Once golden on both sides, cut each sandwich in half and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Mexican Salad

Serves 4

2 chicken breasts

1 pack of rocket

½ head of red cabbage, shaved

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 can black beans, drained

1 sweet potato

2 corn on the cob

6 radishes, thinly sliced

2 avocados, chopped

1 bunch coriander, leaves picked

1 small handful pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp olive oil

½ a lemon

Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Preheat oven to 180ºC. 2) Wash and dry the sweet potato, prick the skin with a fork and place in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until soft in the middle. 3) Meanwhile, cook the corn and the chicken breast on the BBQ or under a hot grill. This should take around 30 minutes. 4) Once the sweet potato, corn and chicken have cooled enough to handle, chop each roughly and place in a large bowl. Add the rocket, shaved cabbage, cooked quinoa, black beans, sliced radish and chopped avocado, and toss everything together. 5) Chop the coriander leaves, mix through the salad
and season with salt and pepper. 6) Dress the salad with a good splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, top with the seeds and serve.

Aussie chicken sanga

Serves 4

2 chicken breasts

1 bay leaf

3 peppercorns

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

1/4 cup spring onions, sliced

1/2 cup whole egg mayonnaise

1 loaf of good quality bread, sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Place the chicken in a medium saucepan, pour in enough water to cover, then add the bay leaf, peppercorns and onion and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and set aside to cool. 2) Once the chicken has cooled, slice it into fine pieces. Place the chicken in a bowl with the celery, chives, spring onion and mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper and mix until well combined. 3) Spread half the slices of bread with the chicken filling, top with the remaining bread and serve.

Smashed avo on sweet potato

Serves 4

1 large sweet potato

2 ripe avocados

1 tbsp butter

1 pack cherry tomatoes

½ lemon

A bunch of basil, leaves picked and chopped

150g feta cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Preheat the oven to 180ºC. 2) Cut the sweet potato into thick slices, leaving the skin on. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, until cooked through. 3) Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan and add the cherry tomatoes. Cover and cook on a low heat for around 30 minutes or until the skin starts to peel. 4) Halve and deseed the avocadoes, then scoop the flesh out into a bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, the chopped basil and a pinch of salt and pepper, then mash together. 5) Once cooked, remove the sweet potato from the oven and place the slices on a serving plate. Top each slice with some mashed avocado mix, then add the cooked tomatoes and a generous sprinkling of feta cheese. Finish with another squeeze of lemon juice and a few fresh basil leaves.

Family chicken pie

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

6 chicken thigh fillets, chopped into chunks

40g butter

1 large leek, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp thyme leaves

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

2 packs frozen filo pastry sheets

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp pouring cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Preheat the oven to 180ºC. 2) Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, tossing regularly, until golden. 3) Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside and keep warm. Add the butter, leeks, garlic and thyme to the pan and cook for seven or eight minutes, until softened. Add the flour and cook for a further two minutes, then add the milk, season with salt and pepper and cook until thickened. Return the chicken to the sauce, mix, then refrigerate until cooled completely. 4) Line a 31cm-round, lightly greased pie tin with half the pastry. Fill with the chicken mixture, then place more pastry on top of the pie and trim any excess. 5) In a small bowl, mix the egg and the cream, then brush the top of the pie with the mixture. 6) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden, then serve with a side salad.