What to cook this week?
Sunday, 19 February, 2017
The British eat almost half of the ready meals consumed in all of Europe and in 2016 coughed up £3billion on the plastic trays covered with cling film. On the other hand we spend something like 2 hours a day watching cookery shows or browsing foodery on social media and Internet.
What emerges is clearly a picture of ever so slightly obese (64% of adults are classed as being overweight or obese in the UK) individual with a plastic tray on his lap gawking at images of dishes far more appealing than the fodder in front of him/her. God help us.
When I say 'we', I truly hope I don't mean you or you, or you - or me. Have kitchen will cook is the meme. And what indeed to cook this week?
I think I'm craving a good meatloaf so that's going to be on the menu. And the leftovers make impossibly good sandwiches. Have it with baked fennel - still available after the salads scare, although I prefer not to think where and how it's grown at this time of year.
Roast chicken is another sure winner. My rotisserie style roast chicken-and-potatoes combo is tried and tested. Big chicken - small family - sandwiches the next day. Yesss!
Fish is one thing that does not survive ready-mealing easily. I'm certain even the fierce two-dine-for-a-fiver aficionados will admit that. And it's so simple: fillets are best quickly pan fried and whole fish needn't be scary. Buy it cleaned and gutted, tuck in some herbs and slam it in the oven for 20 minutes. Sea bass, bream, brill or snapper - and share it if it's biggish.
This is good, and meat free: courgette and spinach tian. Tian is a Provençal pan made of clay, enamelled in bright colours, which they use to cook vegetable gratins in. Or, indeed, tian, as it’s also the name of the dish. You can bulk it out with plain rice or sauteed potatoes for a satifying supper.
And for dessert? How about St Louis gooey butter cake which will also double up as a divine breakfast? A bit of fuss, a bit of hassle, scary yeasty dough but the result is pure edible knockout. Or a much easier, simple orange macaroon cake, and I suggest you make it with blood oranges, currently in season, for extra zest (lame pun intended...). Happy baking!