Tuesday dinner: mezze
Chickpea and chorizo stew. Cook diced chorizo in a little olive oil, slowly, so it releases its own fat. Add diced onion, carrot, celery, and fennel along with thickly-sliced garlic; sauté gently until soft. Add tomato purée and cook a couple of minutes longer; add a splosh of white wine and cook off. Pour in some vegetable stock along with a generous quantity of paprika. Add cooked chickpeas and chopped red pepper; bring to the boil and simmer until it tastes good.
Baba ganoush. Cook whole aubergines on a griddle pan until the skins are blackened and the inside are softened. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove and discard the skins. Purée the interiors with tahini, squeezy garlic, and depipped preserved lemons. (Normally one would use lemon juice, but I had no lemons.)
Griddled courgettes. Slice courgettes thickly lengthwise. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook on a griddle pan, turning once, until softened but still with some bite.
Quinoa salad. Mix cooked quinoa with finely-chopped spring onion and lots of freshly-squeezed lime juice.
Served with: Turkish sesame flatbread, olive paste, chilli paste, beetroot and horseradish purée, black olives, and mixed salad, all bought on London Road.
Tuesday dinner: Mackerel, cucumber, tomato, avocado, quinoa
Mackerel and cucumber salad. Simmer a mackerel fillet very very gently in Hugh F-W’s fish poaching liquid for 2-3 hours until it’s cooked and flavourful but still moist. Leave to cool, remove and discard the bones and skin, and pull the flesh into large flakes. Mix these flakes in a bowl with chopped cucumber, and dress with sushi vinegar.
Tomato and avocado salad. Peel and cube an avocado, and toss with freshly-squeezed lime juice. Add halved or quartered cherry tomatoes, season with celery salt, and toss again.
Quinoa with preserved lemons. Cook quinoa until done in vegetable stock, then drain, spread on a large plate, and leave to cool and dry. Mix in some chopped preserved lemons, some snipped garlic chives, and a few spoonfuls of liquid from the preserved lemon jar. Mix well and transfer to a bowl to serve.
(Spreading the quinoa on a plate before mixing in the other ingredients helps to stop it getting mushy.)
Friday dinner: Lentils, sausages, red pepper, quinoa, rice
Everything came from the freezer except the red pepper, parsley, olives, and Worcestershire sauce.
Puy lentil and sausage stew. Puy lentils from the freezer stash (previously cooked in bulk with onion, carrot, garlic, and tomato; portioned out and frozen), sliced previously cooked sausages from the freezer stash (if I only need a couple of cooked sausages, I cook the whole pack and freeze the rest), halved green olives, splash of Worcestershire sauce, chopped red pepper. Simmer all together with a splash of water until the pepper is cooked, then add chopped parsley.
Quinoa with preserved lemon. From the freezer, previously cooked in vegetable stock (from a bottle, Touch of Taste brand) and mixed with chopped spring onions and preserved lemons. This was left over from a large batch I cooked a few months ago.
Jollof rice. Also from the freezer, left over from the Nigerian dinner I cooked last month.
Wednesday lunch: Puy lentils, vegetarian sausages, quinoa, peppers, mushrooms, beetroot, olives
Bento lunch: Leftover Puy lentil and veggie sausage stew from yesterday; leftover quinoa with preserved lemons, also from yesterday; sliced sautéed peppers, from the freezer; sliced sautéed mushrooms with celery salt, also from the freezer; sliced pickled beetroot, from a jar; mixed marinated olives, from a deli tub.
This didn’t work too well as a bento. I think it was too similar to yesterday’s dinner, so felt too leftoverish. Also, the olives had stones in, which is OK when I’m eating them as a snack but annoying when they’re in my lunchbox.
Tuesday dinner: Puy lentils, vegetarian sausages, quinoa
Puy lentil and veggie sausage stew. I try to keep a stash of portioned-out cooked lentils in the freezer, so I can make stews and things quickly. At the moment I have some packages of Puy lentils cooked with onion, carrot, garlic, and tomato. I just defrosted one of these, mixed in some cooked, sliced vegetarian sausages, and simmered it for about 5 minutes to let the flavours of the sauce get into the sausages.
Served with quinoa, also from the freezer, which I’d previously cooked in vegetable stock (from a bottle, Touch of Taste brand) and mixed with chopped spring onions and preserved lemons.
Saturday dinner: Pigeon peas, vegetarian sausages, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, quinoa
New house is finally at a point where I can start cooking regularly again. Yay!
A simple vegetable stew tonight. I asked bob to choose whether the protein component should be vegetarian sausages or beans or both, and he chose both. So I used a tin of pigeon peas and some frozen Linda McCartney sausages; I cooked the latter in the oven for 15 minutes and then sliced them thickly before putting them in the stew.
The stew base was chopped onions, carrots, and garlic; and the vegetables were red peppers and chestnut mushrooms. I flavoured it with a small glass of red wine, half a jar of Loyd Grossman puttanesca pasta sauce that needed using up, a squeeze of sundried tomato purée, a slosh of Touch of Taste vegetable stock concentrate, and a sprinkling of sugar.
Served with quinoa. Since I was cutting carrots anyway, I also made some crudites as a starter.
Saturday dinner: Pork, sweetcorn, greens, quinoa
Slow-cooked pork ribs. The ribs were cut up into individual pieces. I started by blanching them in boiling water for a couple of minutes to remove the scummy bits, then simmered them for 3.5 hours in a mixture of mirin, fish sauce, and soy sauce. The simmering liquid is reusable if you strain it and store it in the freezer between uses. I last used this batch in January this year. It’s now frozen in a bottle because I plan to take it with me when I move house later this month.
Corn-on-the-cob. Boiled and served with butter.
Sautéed beet greens. Left over from Wednesday.
Quinoa with lemon and spring onions. Also left over from Wednesday.