It feels like I’m complaining about sickness here every other week. I suppose that is the lot of parents to a toddler at nursery – there’s always a new bug being incubated somewhere in the family. This week, although E has been coughing and teething, I seem to be the one carrying the infection, very nearly losing my voice the last couple of days. This sickness led me to cancel our Sunday lunch plans last weekend, which also means that eating this week has been shaped by the leftovers we should have eaten with friends that day. So the fridge started the week loaded with cold roast chicken, baba ganoush, cooked chickpeas, and some little vegan chocolate puddings.
This wealth of resources is both a blessing and a curse. It makes meals easy to put together, but it also tempts you to skip planning things altogether, and as the week goes on, it gets harder and harder to put together useful combinations. So I tried this week to deliberately take each meal in a different direction to avoid the feeling that we were eating the same things over and over again.
- Smoky roast chicken, from Donna Hay in a recent Waitrose magazine
- Vegan chocolate pudding – there are lots of versions of this pudding, made by blending sugar syrup, silken tofu and melted chocolate together. I used this New York Times version. I made this as a gluten-free, dairy-free dessert, but it is really worth trying even if you have no dietary restrictions. It’s just a deeply chocolately, super-smooth pudding, that sets with a perfect texture. Make sure you get silken tofu though – you won’t get the right texture with a firmer pressed tofu. I used this Clearspring one.
- Baba Ganoush – loosely from a David Tanis recipe
- Roasted mushroom base – from Martha Rose Shulman in the NY Times
- Slightly adapted Riverford recipe box gnocchi with chicken, red pesto and spinach
Without a recipe:
- A mushroom bolognese, using the roasted mushroom base (above) cooked with an onion, a carrot, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some chicken stock and red lentils.
- A loaf of bread
- A Vietnamese-style chicken salad, with the peanut dressing from this recipe (which I found a bit too salty and sour)
- Chicken curry with chickpeas and butternut squash (using a Thermomix recipe for balti paste)
- Chicken fried rice with sweetcorn and cabbage, and with green stir-fry sauce mixed in
- Chicken stock in the slow cooker
- The stories behind some famous puddings (some of these have more than a little legend in them I think)
- Seven young London chefs, and the story of how they are changing the London restaurant scene
- 15 easy meals to make with a basic tomato sauce (most of which are also baby-friendly)
- Molly at Orangette itemises the cookbooks she has on top of her fridge right now – loved this post
- I’d never thought of putting pear in a treacle tart before, but it sounds like a great idea – from The Cake Hunter blog, with the recipe from Little Loaf’s new book.
- Rocket and Squash, he of the very useful weekly Supplemental post, is starting his residency in the Guardian’s cook supplement. This first column on what to learn from restaurants is very good.
Updated: I’ve just noticed that, as of the time of writing (Friday evening) Justin Gellatly’s excellent book Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding is on Amazon for only £4. So if you’re at all a serious baker, and you don’t already have this one, dash over there and get it