discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Friday, 5 July 2013

Menu Planning....is it really that exciting?

Such a boring title isn’t it, it conjures up an image of too much mince and uninspired food for my liking and I’m the one wanting to go through the process, am I mad?? Am I alone? Do any of you write up a plan of what’s cooking? I never have, until now.

So far my menu for this fortnight has things like wraps, roast meats, fried rice, frittata,  homemade pizzas,  a cry-vac of scotch fillet steak, salmon or tuna patties, pasta bakes, a few different soups, puff pastry put through its paces and salads using whatever’s in our garden and pulses & nuts from the cupboard.
But this shopping for a fortnight due to a fortnightly pay is messing with my head. How do you know what you will feel like in 5 days’ time!! What I am liking about the process especially when I’m not feeling 100% is that the thinking has been done for me, I just look at the list and its decided for me, or pull something already pre done out of my growing stock in the freezer, it really has been a godsend. And at the end of the menu it’s like cooking on Masterchef creating your own mystery box without the time limit and pressure that George has to eat it!

I also really love eating vegetarian food, don’t get me wrong, I love meat too but I think it’s good for our bodies to give meat a rest for a few days at least each week.  And vegies are cheaper than meat and can be made into something just as tasty. I’ve been pawing through a new cookbook I discovered from the library but had to purchase after the librarian wouldn’t let me borrow it again, for a month!!! Sacralige…It’s written by my foodie crush Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  It’s called “River Cottage Veg everyday!” It has page after glorious page of recipes full of beautiful veg, it’s hard not to be inspired.

One recipe I have been consistently making and freezing with great success is this warming soup.  I made it for a friend who was passing through town and wanted lunch at the last minute, this can be rustled in no time and you probably have all the ingredients lying around. I served it with a zucchini bruschetta that day, but is just as good on its own, with sour dough toast and I reckon a poached egg wouldn’t be too bad on it either.

Puy lentil and spinach soup
2 tbspn evoo
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 stalk of celery (my own addition) finely chopped
1 zucchini (my own addition)finely chopped
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 tomatoes, cored and finely chopped, deseeded if you can be bothered
150g Puy lentils, well rinsed and picked over
1.3 litres of vegie stock or chicken stock, made with a stock powder is fine
A small bunch of parsley finely chopped
½ a birdseye chilli (my own addition) finely diced
Couple of handfuls of baby spinach (I also throw in rocket and beetroot leaves from the garden) roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
To serve
1-2 tbspns of evoo
Parmesan cheese finely grated ( I like to use a micro-plane as you get the feeling of having lots more cheese but only using a little)

Heat the oil over a medium-low heart in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme and sauté gently for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, chilli and tomatoes and sauté for a further minute.
Tip in the lentils, stir then add the stock and a little salt & pepper.  Bring soup to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Add the parsley and spinach and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Check the seasoning, then spoon into warmed bowls, trickle over a little oil and shave over some cheese....bring it to me!

Ciao, Jan



2 comments :

  1. I've been planning weekly/fortnightly menus for over a year now. Makes budgeting so much easier as well as shopping. Not to mention how it saves my sanity when the kids are constantly asking "what's for dinner?". They just refer to the menu plan stuck on the fridge!!!!

    Loving the blog Jan x

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jules, glad you are enjoying my ramblings lovely!

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