What To Cook: dinner ideas and recipes, quick and easy cakes, meat and vegetarian dishes
As I’m writing this, we’re getting conflicting pieces of information about what’s going to happen in the next few months. Some news items proclaim complete breaking the chains and all back to normal as soon as April or May. Others say social distancing and masks will have to last for the foreseeable future. I am just waiting for the love letter from NHS: for once in my life it’s an advantage to be old.
We are all numbed to the pandemic, restrictions and uncertainty. When there’s nothing to look forward to, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about anything. I know, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, the infections will drop and we’ll be vaccinated – but what if, come autumn, it’ll roll all over again? The future of jabs as frequent as filling up the car beckons.
Thank heavens we have to eat. In my case even more thanks, seeing as my primary occupation revolves around food. When I'm cooking a meal, I have no time for brooding and glooming especially if I’m focusing on constructing a lamb and spinach filo pie or a veggie version: spanakopita. The latter also comes in the Spanish version of spinach empanada, and it might be interesting to compare the two recipes.
For the week ahead, I'd like to cook a vat of chicken soup with noodles in case I need serious comfort. I also want to make the shaved brussels sprout salad once before the sprouts finish, and serve it alongside roast shoulder of lamb which I’ve been obsessing about for a while now. Or roast some turnips which are so undervalued and toss them into a smoked fish salad for a healthy dinner. And maybe spend a morning prepping cabbage rolls stuffed with pork and rice and freeze in portions for meal plans.
I think the orange and walnut loaf cake might be fitting as our weekly bake. If you use blood oranges, the effect could be interesting. Blood oranges also make very decent muffins ready in just over thirty minutes. And if you’re after something a bit more demanding, you can make candied orange slices and use them in orange tartlets.
Keep well, keep safe and keep cooking.