lunch – 15th November 2012

I know I menu planned. Even whilst I plan it I know I’ll never stick to it, it’s like a rule telling me what to do and the second something becomes just a little bit bossy I lose interest. So lunch today was this…

French bread spread with Boursin, grapes, tomatoes drizzled in garlic infused oil and balsamic vinegar sprinkled with just a touch of seasalt. A few black olives, a dollop of caramelised onions, a dollop of leftover homemade hummus and some grapes.

Serving as a reminder that fast food never needs to be junk.

hash browns

This week today my fad is eating less bread and so breakfast today was hash browns. What’s not to like about fried salty potatoes?

what you need: serves 1 (well maybe 2)

  • 3 largish new potatoes
  • a small onion
  • 1 egg
  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • olive oil for frying

what you do:

  • peel and slice the onion into thin moons
  • wash the potatoes and keeping the skins on coarsely grate
  • squeeze the moisture out of the grated potatoes using hands/kitchen towel
  • mix in the beaten egg and some salt & black pepper.
  • warm a splosh of olive oil in a frying pan – dollop little piles of the mixture into the hot oil and squash down the a fork a little to flatten.
  • fry on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.

to serve:

piled on a plate maybe an extra dusting of salt and definitely a cup of coffee not tea. You could always make this more substantial by adding a spot of bacon, maybe a poached egg or a splat of beans or perhaps throw a chopped chilli into the hash brown mix and drizzle over a trickle of maple syrup when cooked.

minestrone soup

It’s soup weather now… soup, bread, cheese, it’s just what’s required lunch wise.

what you need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 big red onion
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 3 big carrots
  • 2 courgettes
  • a bag of spinach (approx 150 – 200g)
  • tin of borlotti beans
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • a big splash of red wine
  • 1 pint chicken or veg stock
  • handful of tiny soup pasta (or snapped up spaghetti)

what you do:

  • peel and finely chop the garlic, onion and carrots, finely slice the celery.
  • add a big splash of olive oil to a large pan and gently fry the garlic, onion, carrot and celery for around 15 minutes
  • dice the courgettes and chop the spinach
  • add a splash of wine to the pan (you can leave this out or add a glass it’s up to you)
  • add the tinned tomatoes
  • add the courgettes, spinach and beans
  • add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes
  • add the pasta and cook for another 8-10 minutes
  • sprinkle on any chopped herbs and season to taste

to serve:

My preference is with parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and lots of black pepper, bread essential. This is also sent in thermos pots for packed lunches.

You may also like – spicy lentil soup or twister bread

meal plan Monday

This week I’ve gone with an Italian theme in order to boost energy levels and hopefully eat more healthily. The last week or so with poorly children eating habits have well… mainly been take away, nice at the time but afterwards blurgh! So this week it’s all Italian.

Monday

  • B – chocolate twister bread (okay… it’s LIKE a pain-au-chocolate… France, near Italy)
  • L – pasta & bean soup
  • D – braised chicken & artichokes with rosemary roast potatoes and green beans

Tuesday

  • B – chocolate twister bread…. again
  • L – minestrone soup
  • D – sausage & borlotti casserole with couscous and wilted spinach

Wednesday

  • B – pancakes (I’ll call them crepes then that’s almost Italian)
  • L – minestrone soup
  • D – flatbreads with beetroot, walnut & lentil salad, goats cheese and hummus

Thursday

  • B – not sure it’s a long way off but it will involve coffee
  • L – hummus & sun-dried tomato twister bread
  • D – tomato & lentil sauce with short pasta

Friday

  • B – who knows
  • L – spanish omelette – tomatoes/olives/red onions/baby potatoes
  • D – pizza made with whatever veggies and cheese is left in the fridge

I’ll probably blog some of the recipes throughout the week.

Head over to Mrs M to see what everyone else is having this week….

chunky vegetable chilli

This is a very cheap dinner to make, it happily feeds six people. The recipe can be easily altered to suit what veggies you already have in and need to use up.

what you need:

  • large onion – red or brown
  • 2 big carrots
  • 2 peppers – any colour
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • tin of kidney beans
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a grating of cacao or spoon of cocoa powder (optional)

what you do:

  • peel and chunkily chop all the veggies & garlic
  • add a splash of olive oil to the pan – add your veggies and cook gently for 10 minutes until softening
  • add the spices and continue to cook for 5 minutes
  • add the tomatoes and kidney beans and a can full of water
  • season with salt and pepper – add cocoa if using
  • transfer to oven on 180C for 2 hours or put in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours

to serve:

serve with boiled rice and a dollop of yogurt, also great just served with a chunk of bread, maybe a scattering of grated cheese.

tip: 

  • if you are needing this meal to go a lot further – mix it into the rice and serve it as spicy veggie rice.
  • any leftovers are nice in a wrap for lunch the next day or maybe as a jacket potato topping.
  • spices are often available at much lower costs if you buy them from the world foods sections in supermarkets rather than the spice aisle….

spicy tomato and lentil soup

Simple, easy to make, filling.

what you need (serves 4):

  • small onion
  • 2 carrots
  • a large ripe plum tomato or two
  • a couple of handfuls of puy lentils
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp of dried sage
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a splash of red wine
  • salt & pepper
  • a small crumbled chilli

what you do:

  • peel and chop the onion and carrots
  • chunkily chop the plum tomatoes
  • add a splash of olive oil to a saucepan – slowly fry the onions, carrots and plum tomato with the garlic and sage for 10 – 15 minutes
  • add the red wine, tin of chopped tomatoes, crumbled chilli and puy lentils
  • top up the pan with enough boiling water to cover everything well (approx 1-1 1/2 pints)
  • season with salt & pepper and leave to simmer for an hour – do keep an eye on it you made need to top up the water depending on the quantity of lentils you use.

to serve:

  • my preference is sprinkled with a mound of double gloucester cheese with plenty of homemade bread to dip in. I also send this in flasks for the children’s packed lunch.

Abel and Cole – fennel steaks

I’m trying to eat less meat, yes I have been watching River Cottage Veg Every Day again and yes every time I watch it I immediately want to be vegetarian and eat gorgeous simple veggie food.

This week in my Abel & Cole veg box I got a lovely big Fennel and a quick search of the recipe section on the Abel & Cole website brought up sizzled fennel steaks. Such a simple idea, so few ingredients and so I gave it a go, I did accessorise a little, think gorgeous bread, cheese and chilli….

The result was very moorish, aniseedy oozy melty chilli and cheesy a combination of all my favourite flavours and surprisingly filling (may have been related to the enormity of the bread… but you can never have too much bread, right?)

what you need (serves 2):

  • a big fat bulb of fennel
  • some nice bread (homemade is nicest)
  • lettuce (I used red oak leaf)
  • 250g mozzarella
  • dried chilli
  • lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • a little salad – cucumber/plum tomatoes

what to do:

  • slice the fennel into thick slices
  • heat a good splash of oil in a frying pan and add the fennel slices
  • sprinkle them with salt, pepper, crumbled dried chilli and a good squirt of lemon juice
  • sizzle for around 5 minutes on each side
  • meanwhile… slice your bread, add your lettuce, tear strips of mozzarella, make a little side salad
  • add the sizzled fennel steaks to the bread on top of the mozzarella so it all turns oozy and melty.

to serve:

eat straight away, preferably with a nice glass of white wine…