I didn’t really make a meal plan for this week. I’m still not doing it every week, but I am starting to *notice* it when I don’t have one, which I suppose is progress. This week was fuelled by tortillas, and a slow-cooker beef shin stew, based on this Guardian recipe from a few weeks ago. The Indian summer weather this week made the beef shin feel a little premature, but I’m sure I’ll be glad it’s stashed away when the weather finally turns.
Without a recipe:
- Roast chicken
- Leftover roast chicken fajitas
- Black bean and scrambled egg burritos – breakfast for dinner!
- Chicken stir-fry
A busy week this week, where I blurred the line between work and home a bit more than I wanted to. The meal planning went a bit better though, mostly making the most of leftovers and quick things to make when I got in. I mostly stuck to Jenny Rosenstrach’s strategy of doing something either the night before or in the morning to get a head start on dinner. Off to Food Blogger Connect today (Saturday), so more tales from that next week.
- Chocolate courgette cake (baked as a loaf cake) and Garden Cake from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding (made into cupcakes) – both for a MacMillan Coffee Morning at work.
- Sourdough English muffins from Brillant Bread – converted the dough into a loaf as I ran out of time to griddle them!
- Honey roasted carrots, tahini-yoghurt sauce from Plenty More
Without a recipe:
- Fish curry – frozen hake fillets plus Spice Tailor keralan curry sauce
- Yet more courgette parmigiana
- Steak with roasted veg
- Sausage pasta
- Takeaway curry
- Rice pilaf
Not time for much reading this week!
This week has been patched together, bits and leftover pieces stretched and sewn at the edges to fit as much as possible. E has been sick, and sleeping poorly as a result. This means staying home, going to bed early to comfort her, sitting with her while she naps – and then trying to fit in all the business of the week in the little gaps. So lots of planned things went out the window – including work! And a few day’s dinners were downgraded to simpler options to fit in. This week has, perhaps appropriately, been Jamie Oliver-themed. I don’t think any other British cook has put as much effort into getting interesting weeknight dinners on the table. I’ve made a recipe from the new Jamie Oliver Superfood series, and bookmarked the fish tacos for this weekend. I haven’t bought the book yet, but I’m tempted.
Without a recipe:
- Vegetable korma – with a Spice Tailor sauce
- Various leftovers for other meals – curry and rice, courgette parmigiana with leftover beans.
- I really enjoyed the Food Programme on jam, with Diana Henry – made me desperate to get into the kitchen and make some, despite my cupboard full. It’s also made me slightly obsessed with mulberries, just as they’ve all finished fruiting. She also has a guide to making jam in the Telegraph.
- Ruth Reichl is one of my favourite food writers, and this profile in the NY Times to promote her new cookbook paints a picture of her country life, post-Gourmet.
- Another American food icon, Alice Waters, is profiled by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette to celebrate her National Endowment for the Humanities award.
- Meatballs are my new favourite thing – easy to make in batches and freeze, easy to reheat, and can be baked instead of fried to make things even easier. The courgette and turkey meatballs from ‘Jerusalem‘ are on my list to make this weekend, and these ginger pork meatballs in coconut broth from Shutterbean look delicious too.
- I have a glut of carrots and of courgettes at the moment, which demands some baking this weekend. The Little Loaf reminded me about the carrot, apple and pecan crumble muffins from the original Ottolenghi book. This recipe for chocolate courgette loaf, with chunks of chocolate and walnuts, looks very good. And I’d like to try the Garden Cake in Justin Gellatly’s book, Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding, which includes both carrots and courgettes, along with lots of walnuts and orange zest.
- If you have a glut of plums, Thomasina Miers’ flourless plum upside-down cake looks good.
I think something went wrong with the meal planning this week. I seemed to spend most evenings cooking, right up until I went to bed. this is partly due to a desire to keep up with autumn gluts of courgettes and apples, and partly bad planning. The slow cooker was much used this week – tomato sauce for meatballs and a courgette parmigiana and a lamb curry. The success this week, however, was eating together as a family most nights, and almost always eating the same thing. E demanded a full-sized piece of pizza rather than her carefully cut-up squares, and has enjoyed picking up big (~5 cm) meatballs for more than one dinner.
Without a recipe:
- Chicken and ham pie with a puff pastry top
- Chicken stir fry with red peppers, served with stir-fried peas and beans
- Pizza topped with courgettes and shredded ham hock
Coming back to work after a holiday in the first week of September feels like you should bring a new pencil case and some sharpened pencils along. The modern equivalent is clearing out the email inbox, and getting back to taking 10k steps a day (the goose above was seen on one of the walks contributing to this target). I may buy some new stationery anyway to celebrate the start of autumn. And the combination of darkening skies, ripening apples and leaves that are just starting to fall means it really does feel like autumn has drawn a curtain across, abruptly closing off any option of warm sunny days until the spring. So it feels appropriate that the slow cooker has been on this week, and black beans, meatballs and lasagne have been the anchors for our eating.
Without a recipe:
- Ham hock – in the slow cooker for about 6 hours with a few vegetables
- Lasagne made with the slow cooker ragu
- The black beans made into burrito-style wraps with a little of the ham, some red onion and tomatoes.
- Beef stir-fry, with stir-fried veg in Dirt Candy herb sauce
- I’ve been really impressed with the cooking.nytimes.com site, which results in me bookmarking lots of their recipes. Now they’ve added the ability to bookmark recipes from other sites, and to sync with Evernote, which is making it my preferred place to store all sorts of recipes to make.
- The Bon Appetit foodcast spoke to Sam Kass, personal chef to the Obamas, amongst other things – a very interesting guy.
- I caught only the second half of Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush programme, but as always, I was incredibly impressed with his energy and commitment. If you want to support his call to introduce a 10% tax on fizzy drinks, there’s a petition here.
- Hang on to summer with these BLT bowls – bacon, cucumber, tomato and croutons.
- If #GBBO has encouraged you to bake with honey (note: honey is still sugar), Dan Lepard has mini honey pistachio cardamom biscuits.
This has been another week of holiday. We went to visit my Mum and Dad in Somerset with E. Despite the weather, we’ve managed a good deal of slides and swings, pigs and chickens, trolley rides and general messing about. All this meant a holiday from cooking (for me). But before we left, there was a lunch with friends, and while we were away, there have been some notes on things to make next:
Plans to make:
- Ruth Reichl has been to London – and has a blog about the trip in three parts. She took in Barshu, Barrafina, Quo Vadis and more (and that was just day one!).
- And she also has a cookbook coming out this autumn – My Kitchen Year. As her memoirs are some of my favourite food writing, I’ll definitely be adding this to the wishlist.
- I found this in Food52’s round-up of the best cookbooks that are coming out this autumn. The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats is another wishlist book.
- Yet more cookbooks: this extract from the new Sally Clarke book suggests it’s going to be beautiful, and beautifully written.
- Via Signe Johansen, a NYT collection of ‘Do It Yourself’ recipes for preserved lemons, fresh cheese and more.
- Radio 4’s programme The Reunion was on Food Writers this week. It’s an excellent programme on food in Britain from after the war until the eighties, with Claudia Roden, Mary Berry, Prue Leith and others. Available on iPlayer now.
This week has been Holiday week – a week of staycation. We have romped around Kew Gardens, been swimming, had some time together as a family, and some time to ourselves too. It’s been a good week. Lots of leftovers building on each other, quite a lot of quick cooking. Tomorrow we have friends visiting for lunch, so there has been a bit of preparation for that, to make tomorrow as effort-free as possible (including the trifle above). E has tucked into bolognese, a lot of yoghurt, nectarines and doughnut peaches, as many cherries as she could get her hands on, and for the first time today, an ice lolly.
- Tagliata – with a beaten out piece of topside, from Nigella’s Feast
- Fish curry, approximately from Curry in a Hurry in Nigella Express
Without a recipe:
- Pork with green lentils
- Bolognese from the freezer with pasta
- Takeaway chinese
- Pizza with courgette, tomato, yellow pepper and bacon