Meal plan #20

Last week I decided to forgo my meal plan and as a result, we’ve eaten just as well as usual but with a little more middle class guilt. I mean, on Friday, after I failed to buy anything sensible at the Brighton Food Festival we went to Sainsbury’s where I bought a leg of New Zealand lamb. Now this is no sin, but shortly after I started this blog I decided that I would buy seasonal British meat from my local butcher. The trouble with making resolves like this, is that after a while, your actions become habitual, and once something becomes a habit, you start getting edgy if you don’t do it. And so as I put the leg of lamb in my trolley on Friday I felt a bit… wrong, so I turned to Keane who put me in my place by saying, ‘Fuck. Feeling. Guilty.’

mp20-mixI have since rechristened the leg of lamb the ‘lamb of guilt’ because when I came to cook it, I sealed it nicely and studded it carefully with garlic, anchovies and fresh rosemary. I put it in the oven, and when the bell went after the suggested time, I decided to leave it in, unchecked, for a further hour. A leg of lamb is always improved with slow cooking, right? Wrong. The thing was totally roasted. It was still good to eat, but the gravy tasted burnt and bitter, and the meat was NOT PINK AT ALL. For shame, the poor animal really did die, and fly, in vain.

Things got a lot better after that. On Sunday Keane made a tasty tagine with the leftover lamb and I was pleased with my homemade hot cross buns. On Monday I made a spicy soup for lunch with friends, made with chorizo, beans, brown rice and ras el hanout. After ‘panic-blending’ the soup, not usually advisable when using brown rice but necessary to balance the flavour, I served it with a last-minute beetroot and caraway soda bread. (Beetroot loaf: 175g each of grated beetroot and plain flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp each of toasted cumin and caraway, 1 egg, 50ml plain yoghurt and 50ml water. Mix together to form a wet dough, cook at 180c for 40 minutes.) On Tuesday I bought two whole fresh mackerel at Waitrose for just £2 which I pan fried simply and served with fresh coleslaw and sauteed new potatoes. My regular ‘slaw recipe worked well with the addition of some grated celeriac.

On Wednesday I made wholewheat spaghetti with a creamy mushroom sauce for lunch. I don’t usually buy wholewheat spag but it was half price in Tesco the other week so I thought I’d try it. Big fan! More flavour and bite than regular dried spaghetti and it certainly works well with this sauce. (Mushroom spag: two handfuls quick fried baby button mushrooms, one clove garlic, fresh thyme, three dried porcini soaked in hot water and finely chopped, splash of the mushroom soaking liquor, splash of double cream, plenty of Parmesan and a garnish of fresh mint.) For dinner on Wednesday we had sausages, beans, spuds and coleslaw, then I nipped out to buy some beers and this happened… In April!


Leftover tagine, grilled halloumi, bean salad

Sri Lankan chicken curry from Atul’s Curries of the World

Leftover chicken curry with cauliflower and cashew curry from Atul’s Curries of the World

Lamb chops with wild garlic salsa verde

Mushroom risotto with barley

Baked eggs and potato hash

Jacket potatoes with bean chilli and cheese

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About Chloe King

I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.

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