It’s a long time since I’ve done one of these ‘My Week in Food‘ posts and necessarily this one will be very different. Usually the posts are a way of me revisiting favourite restaurants and recipes that I’ve already written about, and just reminding myself and you of how good they are. But there’s no going to restaurants at the moment while we’re living through the coronavirus pandemic and most of the world is in lockdown. And there’s no popping out to the shops and buying just what you fancy cooking that day. It’s looking at what’s in the fridge, freezer and store cupboard and picking some ingredients, then deciding what you could do with them. It’s about making things stretch further and not throwing leftovers away; not if they’ll make a lunch, or another meal, perhaps padded out with a few other things. The positive way to look at this is: it gives us a chance to be more creative in the kitchen. I appreciate though that this is easier for people who enjoy cooking and are quite experienced cooks. But here’s what I’ve been eating this past week and hopefully it will give you some ideas.
Friday – Moussaka
Moussaka is one of my favourite things and something that the family will request more than any other dish if I ask them what they’d like me to cook. Usually when they come I make a large moussaka for us all to share and enough extra to make one or two individual ones to go into my freezer. Making moussaka from scratch is a bit of a mission; it takes a while. But of course it’s worth it! But it’s also nice to have one or two of your homemade ready-to-cook portions in the freezer. Taking one out in the morning, leaving it to thaw, and then popping it into the oven for supper always seems like a wonderful treat!
Last Friday I took my last packet of beef mince from the freezer. I had a couple of large fresh tomatoes, eggs and some UHT milk. I’ve always been rude about UHT milk, especially when it’s put in one’s coffee in France, as often happens still (or that was my experience in Nice last September). But now we’re all learning to live with ‘less than perfect’; learning to be not quite so fussy. And really, there’s not much wrong with a béchamel sauce made with UHT milk to go on top of a moussaka, over which you’re grate a generous shower of Parmesan!
This time I made 4 little individual ones. I enjoyed one for my Friday evening meal and 3 went into the freezer. Three more supper treats to come!
Saturday – Focaccia & Burger with Freekeh Salad
I’m used to going out and buying good bread from the local artisan bakeries. I rarely freeze bread as I tend to like it fresh. However, fresh bread is not so easily bought on a regular basis at the moment so I decided to make focaccia on Saturday with the flour (also hard to come by now!) that my local Italian deli delivered with some fresh yeast. Now the freezer did come into play. I sliced the focaccia into pieces that would be a perfect size for lunch – filled as a sandwich or to eat with soup or cheese. It freezes beautifully. I find if I take a slice out in the morning at breakfast time, when it comes to lunch I can just pop it in my toaster and soon it’s warm, soft and delicious.
I think we’re all burrowing down in the freezer to find out what’s lurking there. Actually it wasn’t long ago that I bought some of Waitrose’s lovely venison burgers when they were on offer. So I took one out with a brioche bun. I had no green salad. But I did have a courgette that needed to be used fairly soon, so I decided to make my Freekeh and Courgette Salad. This not only stretched the one courgette – quite a big one, it must be said – but would provide a nice grain salad to use up after with another meal or at lunchtime.
Sunday – Griddled Chicken Breast, Roast Potatoes & Spinach
I love spinach (my little grandson Freddie would say ‘Yuk!’ to that). And the deli had brought some fresh veg on Saturday, including a bag of spinach. Wonderful! I was possibly more pleased with that than anything else. On Sunday I took a chicken breast from the freezer. For supper I marinated it for about an hour in lemon juice, olive oil, Herbes de Provence and seasoning, then griddled it for supper. I like to par boil potatoes before roasting and cut them into quite small pieces. More crispy bits to enjoy! I scattered some za’atar over the top. The spinach was simply cooked in a small amount of water, drained thoroughly, and dressed with just olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Monday – Griddled Halloumi with Black Garlic Dressing & Freekeh Salad
I keep halloumi in the fridge and some feta. Generally they have long ‘use by’ dates on them. I decided the halloumi would go well with my leftover freekeh salad. And it did! I had some black garlic that my daughter gave me so I made a dressing for the halloumi with that, adding it to olive oil, a little cider vinegar and seasoning.
Tuesday- Souffle Omelette with Spinach, Parmesan & Chives
This was an example of doing things a little differently with often-used ingredients. I wrote about it in this post – click here. It also made good use of the second half of the bag of gorgeous spinach.
Wednesday – Pasta with Broccoli, Tomato & Chilli
I eat pasta a lot. I had a big head of broccoli that the deli had brought; half a large tomato. I gently fried them in olive oil with a shallot and a pinch of dried chilli (because I put chilli in lots of things) to make a sauce to go with pasta for supper. A generous shower of Parmesan over the top of at the end, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and I had a simple but delicious supper – using ingredients to hand.
Thursday – Courgette & Fresh Mint Risotto
Another courgette and Parmesan in my fridge, a pot of fresh mint in the garden, risotto rice in my cupboard – all the ingredients for a delicious risotto supper. Quick, easy and a gorgeous creamy comfort of a supper.
Has your cooking changed in the lockdown? What kind of things are you cooking? Do please let me know.