Cooking everything from scratch mid-week is usually quite a mission, but I made an extra effort for my challenge for Food Revolution day – and actually ended up getting a bit carried away with the baking!
While I’d like to imagine myself making amazing daily meals from scratch like this superbe Moussaka recipe, the reality is that my normal approach involves a bit of help from the freezer, the odd quick fix (pasta) and a couple of improvised meals made with anything in the fridge (stir-fries, soups, salads).
I normally have porridge or cereal for breakfast, so I was a bit lost for ideas when it came to making something from scratch – especially something that would be easy and convenient for a quick mid-week breakfast.
I had some eggs lurking in the fridge that were near their use by date. So I thought I’d try putting together my own version of a savoury cake that Leo had once suggested. I say my own version, because I didn’t actually have the two core ingredients that made this cake special – goat’s cheese and pistachio nuts.
I did, however, have the end bit of some cheese (Gouda, I think), some olives and some prunes (these were in the original recipe so I thought I’d throw them in). Beat 4 eggs, add ¾ cup oil, ½ cup milk and a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt. Add 250g flour, baking powder, a bit of salt and pepper – then throw in the improvised ingredients above. Bake for 30 mins on 180C.
I always bring lunch in to the office – it means healthier food and less expense. Usually I just cook a bit more the night before for dinner, and take the leftovers for lunch. That’s what my lunch is today.
It’s bulgar wheat, a really tasty, really easy dish to make. Bulgar is a cereal and can be eaten as a side dish (we had it with chicken last night, instead of rice), but it can also be the main dish – add a bit of salad, and you have a great vegetarian dish.
This is how I make it: Fry an onion and some garlic, add a tin of tomatoes, a stock cube, seasoning, any herbs you like cooking with and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add water (two parts water to one part bulgar wheat), bring to the boil, throw in your bulgar wheat (half a cup is enough for one person), then remove from the heat, cover the pot with a kitchen towel (to absorb extra moisture) and the lid. Set aside for 10 minutes or so, and it’s ready.
I usually eat this with plain yoghurt, maybe some olives.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge cookie-baker, but I still had 2 eggs close to their use by dates, and the oven was already on and cooking my breakfast cake, so I decided to make some treats.
I blitzed 225g softened butter with 225g sugar, added 2 eggs, some vanilla, a pinch of salt, 350g flour, some chopped walnuts and hazelnuts, and some chocolate bits ( I didn’t have chocolate chips so I cut up some cooking chocolate and the remains of a sad-looking box of chocolates).
I spooned gloops of this onto a baking tray, then cooked for around 15 mins.
Another super easy one. This is my version of a green bean stew. It only takes 10 minutes to throw together, and another 30 or so to cook.
Fry an onion and garlic, add a tin of tomatoes, some seasoning and stock, throw in two packs of green beans (I used Sainsbury’s – already topped and tailed so I just snipped them in half), a couple of peeled and sliced carrots and a couple of peeled and chopped potatoes. Add some water (just enough to cover all ingredients) then leave to simmer until everything is cooked.
If I have some leftover red wine (which I did) I add a slug of this. I also threw in a handful of fresh herbs as we have some growing in a window box. If you have feta cheese, add a few chunks into the bowls as you serve it up – delicious!