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What to cook this week?

Sat, 22 June, 2019

I’m on holiday. It’s 34 degrees – 93F in other words – and it’s supposed to be 38C next week. I’ve crawled out of the pool and dragged myself in front of the laptop to think of the suggestions for what to cook this week; thus putting myself in the mind of someone else, who isn’t pleasantly sunburnt in a few really irrelevant places, full of French rosé from the local wine co-op and convinced fresh baguette with butter is all you ever need to eat. Do you envy or admire me?

I go to France frequently and it’s always been the country of lots of meat for me so I am amazed to discover I eat much less meat even here – together with everybody else. Végétarien and even végétalien menus spring up everywhere and in Burgundy I came across a vegan kebab shop – would you believe it? Oh no, it doesn’t mean my meat days are behind me but, you know, less of a good thing is a good thing.

So there: sautéed courgettes with magic breadcrumbs helped along with crusty bread (baguette!) might be a welcome lunch option or even a main course. Or you could make spiced aubergines and consume them in the same way.

Butter beans and chorizo are really a good canvas because you could swap butter beans for any other pulses, chorizo for tofu or halloumi and thus adapt one good recipe into several equally good ones. Following my example of eating fresh baguette at all times of day you could try your hand at sourdough baguettes if you’re knowledgeable, or simply bake a rosemary focaccia if you’re not quite there yet.

I’ve had really good white asparagus here in France so if you can get hold of a bunch, cook them simply. That will be a good side to smashed chicken thighs under a skillet or garlic fried chicken. For a fish idea, here’s cod and crisp, herby potato bake; or a lighter dish of poached lemongrass sea bass with samphire that is really delicious.

Finally, desserts: hope you still have some ice cream from the other week in the freezer? Bake a batch of these sponge fingers and build a massive sundae with fresh strawberries and grated dark chocolate. And if you’re a cake rather than a dessert person, just bake blueberry polenta cake.

I’m back next week, probably lower in spirits but with renewed energy levels, I hope, so until then! Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter, and don’t miss the chance to accept my notifications. I’m off, back into the pool.

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