Saturday dinner: Tuna, celery, carrots, bread
A light dinner tonight since bob and I had dim sum for lunch.
Tuna salad. Mix drained tinned tuna with grated carrot and finely-chopped celery. Season with fish sauce and black pepper. Bind with mayonnaise. Serve in sandwiches or on toast.
Saturday dinner: Leeks, oats, duck
A solo dinner as bob is out at the rugby.
Leek and pistachio porridge. A variation on Eat Cheap Cook Well’s pork and leek porridge. Wash two smallish leeks, cut them finely, cook in 200ml stock (mine was chicken/pork stock) with a pinch of salt and a slosh of white wine until collapsed. Add a small handful of roughly-chopped pistachios, three heaped tablespoons of oats, and enough water to get it to “almost runny”. Cook until oats have softened, adjust seasoning.
Duck. Take duck breasts, cook however you like, serve on top of leek porridge. I used Gressingham duck “mini fillets” which upon defrosting turned out to be sliced for stir-frying. I heated a griddle pan until very hot, brushed on some oil, and seared the duck pieces for a minute, turned them, gave them another minute, served them. Ideally I would have rested them before serving but I was hungry.
Saturday dinner: Sausages, bacon, lentils, bread
Sausage and Puy lentil stew. Sauté chopped onion and chopped bacon in a bit of olive oil until onion is soft. Add chopped carrots and leeks and cook for a bit longer, then deglaze the pan with a slosh of red wine.
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a handful of Puy lentils, and vegetable stock to cover. Season with soy sauce, black vinegar (Chinese or balsamic), and Worcestershire sauce; balance the sharpness with some jaggery (brown sugar would do).
Simmer until the lentils are nearly cooked. While this is happening, grill some sausages, let them cool enough to handle, then slice them thickly. Add the sausages to the pan and continue to simmer until the lentils are done.
Serve with sourdough bread.
Saturday dinner: Mackerel, potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes
Grilled mackerel. Fillet, bought frozen, defrosted and patted dry, grilled on a piece of foil, skin-side down first then turned to crisp the skin. (Note that “grilled” in UK English means the heat comes from above.)
Mashed potatoes. Peeled, cubed potatoes, boiled until soft, mashed with Eastern European-style sour cream.
Caponata. Made with courgettes and cherry tomatoes instead of my usual aubergines and tinned tomatoes, hence more watery/saucy than usual. This came from the freezer too; it was a spare portion I froze a while ago.
Saturday dinner: Squid, tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, cornmeal
Squid and tomato stew. Tomato sauce made with sautéed onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, red wine, sugar to balance the sourness of the wine and tomatoes, little bit of African fish sauce to add spiciness, bit of soy sauce to add umami. Simmered some chopped aubergines and peppers in this, adding frozen squid rings a few minutes before they were done.
Served with plain polenta.
Saturday dinner: pumpkin, green beans, chickpeas, rice
Pumpkin, green bean, and chickpea curry. Chop and sauté an onion and some garlic; add hot curry paste and tomato purée and cook for a few more minutes; add vegetable stock, tamarind paste, grated jaggery, coconut cream, cooked chickpeas, and peeled, cubed pumpkin; cook for about 20 minutes; add sliced green beans; cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Served with jasmine rice done in the rice cooker.
Saturday dinner: Lentils, chicken, kohlrabi, bacon
Chicken and lentil soup. Render fat from chopped bacon, add chopped onion, garlic, and celery; cook until onion is lightly browned. Add red lentils and plenty of chicken or vegetable stock; bring to boil and simmer until lentils are softened. Add peeled cubed kohlrabi and simmer until kohlrabi is cooked; add cooked shredded chicken and heat through.
For the chicken, I used grilled spicy chicken left over from a takeaway a couple of nights ago. It came on the bone, so after stripping the meat I made a small amount of chicken stock from the bones (just put in a small pan, cover with cold water, bring slowly to the boil, reduce heat to minimum and leave for 3 hours). The rest of the stock was made up with Touch of Taste veg stock concentrate (an ingredient I recommend highly).
I used kohlrabi mainly because I had some to use up, but it worked very well and I might put it in lentil soup again on purpose.
A buffet lunch for some friends, to serve as both lunch and dinner. Some was home-made, the rest was bought from TFC.
- Aubergine with preserved lemons. Sauté chopped onion and garlic in olive oil; add a bit of tomato purée and some finely-chopped aubergine; cook for about 10 minutes; add chopped preserved lemons and a splash of vegetable stock; reduce heat, cover, and cook until aubergine is soft.
- Okra stew with pomegranate molasses. Sauté chopped onion in olive oil; add a can of chopped tomatoes, a squeeze of squeezy garlic, and a splash of vegetable stock concentrate (I use Touch of Taste); simmer for a bit; add sliced okra and a splash of pomegranate molasses; cover and simmer until okra is very soft and the sauce had reduced.
- Black bean and chickpea salad. Black beans cooked from dried, chickpeas from a can. Mixed with vinaigrette, chopped red peppers, and finely-chopped parsley.
- Vermicelli rice. Done in the rice cooker, with the vermicelli cooked separately in olive oil in a frying pan and added to the rice cooker along with the normal amount of rice and water. Stirred well before serving.
- Borek (spinach/cheese pastries) and vegetable samosas. Bought frozen, cooked in the oven.
- Muhamarra. A spicy dip made from chopped nuts, bought ready-made.
- Hummous. Again bought ready-made.
- Mixed olives.
- Turkish bread. We bought flatbreads and the puffier style of bread; the flatbreads got entirely ignored.
Saturday dinner: Black beans, okra, bacon, polenta
Black bean and okra stew. Cook black beans in boiling water until tender (or open a can of them, rinse and drain). Fry chopped bacon in its own fat until crispy, remove from pan and reserve. Sauté chopped onion, carrot, and garlic in the bacon fat (add a bit of olive oil if you need to) until browned and fragrant. Add bacon to black beans along with onion mixture, some canned chopped tomatoes, and sliced okra; add vegetable stock to cover. Season with Worcestershire sauce, then simmer until okra is soft and stew is thick.
I served this with soft polenta. If I’d been cooking for vegetarians/vegans I’d have left out the bacon, used vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, and probably added some extra spices and/or herbs. Cumin would have been good.