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What to cook this week?

Sat, 16 November, 2019

Apparently one of the methods to ensure a good night’s sleep is to have a small snack before bed; and before brushing your teeth I hope. That seems against all my beliefs: that sleep comes easier on an empty stomach, that nil by mouth from eight p.m. onwards is the way to go, that if you are ingesting anything before bed, it better be served in a wine glass. And cheese, cheese of all things apparently can help fight insomnia. So it may not in fact be the infamous giver of bad dreams.

I have been learning, second hand but still, a lot about mindfulness, relaxing and good sleeping patterns – hence the newly acquired wisdom. The pragmatic cook in me responds immediately: what to have for the snack? Can’t really stuff yourself with sandwiches close to midnight, and a piece of fruit might be too acidic and result in some stomach rumbling. Dr Breus advocates cheese and crackers so here we go: oatmeal biscuits, savoury but pretty neutral, will be just the thing. Or cheese biscuits, the two in one.

If you’d like to kill two birds with one stone and transform your supper into the before bed cheesy snack, go for baked camembert in shortcrust. It’s really an appetiser but of the type that you want to eat so much of, it becomes a main course. Another variety of posh ‘cheese on toast’ type dinner is baked scamorza, the lovely smoked variety of mozzarella, served with garlic bruschetta. And don’t forget tartiflette, now the nights are getting properly cold!

Not by cheese alone though, so here’s a good chicken tray bake recipe. Flat fish is coming into season (as my fishmonger says: flat fish winter, round fish summer), so you could roast whole lemon sole or two one night. Serve it with winter rainbow salad or grilled radicchio.

Try vegetarian bulgur wheat pilaf if you’re bored with rice; I honestly can’t decide which I prefer. Or make a batch of mushroom ragu to toss with pasta or gnocchi. For dessert, how about the super easy chocolate yoghurt cake? Or maybe the flourless one that I call Morticia’s cake, it’s so dark and gothic? If not, there are always white choc and raspberry muffins as an option. Have a good week and sleep well!

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