A week in meals

I’m fussy – I don’t often enjoy eating processed or pre-made food as I always feel that I could make it better myself! You’ll never find me with a ready meal (even from Marks & Spencers). I also love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, so spending an hour making dinner is an an hour well spent in my eyes!

I cook meals from scratch almost every day for myself and my boyfriend. The food I cook is quite rustic in style and I try to keep it nutritious and balanced. Most importantly, it’s easy and usually takes me no longer than 20 minutes. Cooking from scratch also means it’s cheaper – I’m super boring and organised, so I plan our meals in advance and buy only the ingredients we need which means no waste!

So… here’s what we ate this week!

Chorizo and Goats Cheese Frittata

I decided to bake this in a cake tin as our frying pans can’t go in the oven – it actually worked really well! I fried red onions and chorizo and added them into the pan with goats cheese, spring onion and cooked new potatoes. I then whisked up enough eggs to cover, seasoned with salt and pepper and filled up the pan. It cooked in about 25 minutes at 180C.

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Lamb and Aubergine Curry

For this I kind of just slightly cheated and used one of these curry kits from ‘The Spice Tailor’. It comes with 2 different packs, whole spices and a sauce. These taste so incredible and take a bit more cooking than just a jar – really couldn’t make these myself – so I use them guilt free! For this meal I used the ‘Coconut Keralan Curry’, but there are about 5 in the range and we’ve loved them all. I fried onions, then added the raw spices. When the smells started to release I added the lamb to brown off and seal. I then added small cubes of aubergine, allowed them to colour slightly (2 minutes) and then added the pack of sauce. After this had warmed through, I put it in the slow cooker with half a pint of lamb stock. I used some fresh stock that I had made and frozen. After 2 hours of bubbling away I checked for seasoning and added a touch of salt and sugar. I then added ground almonds to thicken before serving – this is a great tip for curries!

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‘Everything that needs eating in the fridge’ kinda dinner

This was simply fried polenta with black olives and basil, fried salmon in garlic oil and lemon juice, fried aubergine (the leftover cubes that didn’t fit into the slow cooker!) and some steamed broccoli with rock salt and Caeser dressing!

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Pearl barley, pea and bacon risotto

I love cooking risotto, but it can be extremely indulgent. (The way I make it anyway). By using pearl barley you can make it a lot healthier – I’m no nutrition expert but pearl barley has around 1/5th of the calories of arborio rice and is a superfood. It does however, take ages to cook, so start by boiling the barley for around 30 minutes. When this is almost cooked, add some frozen peas. When these are just on the edge of being done, drain them and put to one side. Then fry lardons/chopped bacon and put to one side. In that delicious bacon fat, fry some onions along with a dollop of butter, when they are almost done add garlic puree and mushrooms. After a few minutes add your barley and peas back in. Pour in a mug full of hot stock and allow to boil down. When this has almost evaporated add a big dollop of Philadelphia – this replaces the creamy starchyness that risotto rice gives (and it tastes great). Season with salt and pepper and when it’s the wetness you want – we like it fairly dry – serve with grated parmesan, the bacon bits and some spring onions for a bit of sharpness. The reason you add the bacon bits at the end is so they stay crispy and tasty, if you leave them in they will go chewy after boiling down the stock!

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