January is a weird month when we swing between healthy, lean and mean (because of the Christmas past) and comfort food, drowning in cheese and creamy sauce (because it’s cold and miserable). No, I haven’t invented yet a dish that would be both (and don’t you dare mention courgetti) so I do what we all do – see-saw from tartiflette to steamed fish and greens.
I guess it’s not such a bad policy, a bit like 5:2 diet but more fun (and more food). A carrot and stick diet. Let’s start with carrot, the carrot cake specifically. It’s a good thing to bake in January because we can pretend it’s almost healthy, I mean – there is VEGETABLE in this cake after all. And if you’re bored of carrot cake (which is impossible), try my parsnip cake for a change. Not too shabby either.
The stick now and I promise it won’t be too painful. Steamed fish and kale? How about salmon wrapped in lettuce? Or in kale if you like – be my guest. It’s really excellent. No potatoes to go with it though, mind!
Or how about a whole roasted or steamed sea bass? It’s easy, it’s good for you and it’s minimum effort if you cook a whole smallish one per person; DIY filleting. Smashed cucumber salad will go nicely with either dish.
Now comfort: chicken pie is a bit of a chore to make but insanely rewarding. And if you really have no time or inclination for a pie, make the leek and potato bake and throw in extra cheese.
After which there’s no escape: twice roasted beets with pomegranate, red and virtuous. Or a rainbow salad to go with a dish of savoury porridge. Porridge for dinner – and why the hell not?
And finally – cook a cauldron of comfort supreme, aka chili con carne. Have it at least twice (reheated is the best) with jacket potatoes or warm corn tortillas. Let’s keep warm – and healthy! And warm… and healthy… and warm… and…