It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! I have been persisting in doing real shops & real cooking, I promise, but I’ve found that I tend to spread out my “planned” meals with simpler meals made up of the “leftovers” from the shop (e.g. I’ll buy a pack of sausages for a couple of sausage meals and use the rest throughout the week). Here’s what I’ve been eating and what I made of it all – and as ever, I apologise for the horrible quality of the photos. I never have my actual camera on hand when I’m cooking. I will try and do better!
Balsamic Chicken (Waitrose.com)
This was delicious, and definitely one that I’m going to make again. The Waitrose website proved a hit for recipes this time around! Really easy and the mustard/honey/vinegar mixture on the chicken was delicious. I had some left over after coating the chicken (quite a lot actually – the recipe is for 4 and I had precisely one chicken breast) so I just poured it into the tomato/bean mixture for a little extra kick. Ingenious, I know…
Thai Steamed Fish (BBC Good Food)
I had to use some improvisation here since we haven’t got a steamer and happened to run out of tin foil the very day I wanted to make this, but in the end and after some intense googling I steamed it by balancing a plate on balls made out of the last of the foil and putting a lid over the pan. I was sceptical about this method and was fairly convinced the whole thing was going to explode, but it worked fine. I like dishes that make you feel virtuous and healthy and this is definitely one of those.
Jamie’s Sausage Pasta (“Jools’ Pregnant Pasta” in 30 Minute Meals, or reproduced here)
This is an old favourite of mine from first year and as far as I’m concerned, it’s basically the ultimate comfort food. Sausages, balsamic, celery, tomatoes…all that good stuff. It’s my go-to pasta dish and I love it!
Ginger Chicken (BBC Good Food)
This was not a photogenic dish at ALL but it tasted good. I didn’t let it reduce for as long as I should have – way too impatient for that – so it became almost like a soup with rice in it, but that worked for me: the broth was really flavoursome and fab. I was thinking about doing it again but cooking the rice in the broth so that it soaks up the liquid.
Mustard-y Pork & Apples (BBC Good Food, ish)
This began as an improvised meal – I had a long-lost pork chop in my freezer and decided it was high time it came out to play. I also had one lone apple, which came in very useful here. It was super simple to make, just brown the pork, set aside, fry the apple & onion until softened, then add some stock and throw the pork back in there to finish cooking. I served with mashed sweet potato, which tasted divine with the onion/apple/stock mixture. I might actually make this one again!
Sicilian Sausage Casserole (The Red Bistro)
I think this might actually be my favourite of the week, you know. I’m sure I photographed it but the photos seem to have disappeared somewhere into the depths of my laptop, but it entailed sausages, red onion, wine, cannellini beans and so on. I did well this week actually at re-using ingredients, which is definitely a top tip if you’re cooking for one (i.e if you’re a student): you probably don’t want or need a whole can of cannellini/any sort of beans in one dish so find 2 different dishes that use them and make them close together! This stew is very easy to make compared to how impressive it tastes, just a case of putting everything in a pan in the right order and basically leaving it to do its thing. It would be fab with some fresh bread if you are so inclined/could be bothered to go to Waitrose on the day.
“Aromatic” Chicken with Apricots and Almonds (Waitrose.com)
This wasn’t my favourite dish of the batch, but it was still pretty good. I probably made a slight error in that I don’t really like apricots that much. They’re fine, but I found myself eating them cause I knew I had to, like a little kid eating all their vegetables. I think I would make it again, but with more almonds and maybe sultanas instead of apricots.