What to cook this week?
Sat, 9 March, 2019
Meals made from kitchen cupboard essentials – don’t we love them? In theory they should not only be cheap but eliminate waste as well. The only problem is that ‘store cupboard staples’ for various recipe writers include things that Ottolenghi would be proud to keep in his kitchen: harissa, gram flour and yuzu juice.
I’d rather go for a fridge-cleanout meal every now and then: open the thing, look at the random little that’s in it, throw it all together and add lashings of cheese. Cheese makes almost everything tasty.
Spinach casserole is one of those cleanout dishes; granted, you need to have spinach but I can’t help that – it’s not cooking out of nothing. Vegetable parmigiana is another ‘rubbish bin’ meal as is the courgette and spinach tian. It is really easy to put together seemingly random vegetables and it’s surprising what ensembles work: bacon and spinach, leeks and carrots, mushrooms and anything. If you don’t have to or don’t want to have meat, as long as you have rice or simply good bread to go with the veg in your fridge, there will be food and there won’t be waste.
If you’re a meal-prepper or meal-planner you don’t do the open-the-fridge spontaneity, and that’s the right approach too. You could do a large braised roast this weekend, cider braised gammon or short ribs of beef, served with broccoli salad or parmesan turnips (another under-rated vegetable). And there will be plenty of leftover material for tacos, pastillas, sandwiches or stuffed vegetables for during the week.
For another weeknight dinner there are always noodles, takeaway-style sesame noodles for instance. Or prawn pasta bake made with cooked and peeled frozen prawns – if that’s not a staple, I don’t know what is (or else I’m weird).
Cake of the week: maybe lumberjack’s cake? Or perhaps you have some egg whites knocking around the fridge or freezer; you can use them up in financiers, delightful and easy to make little bites.
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