I always struggle to find the right balance, I can’t cook from scratch everyday, I work odd hours which often coincide with meal times and I often can’t cook more than the quickest meal beforehand due to the tooing and froing of after school activities. So I live off cheese sandwiches and pasta and although that is probably not going to change I’ve been trying recently to at least menu plan for one cooked from scratch meal a week and so far it’s working.
I try and make a game out of it, so that my many many recipe books don’t get neglected, each week as I do the online food shop, I stand in front of my bookcase, shut my eyes, wiggle my arm around and pick the first book my hand lands on, I then open a page at random and keep going, page by page, until I find a recipe I like the look of.
Left to right, top to bottom, the recipes I’ve cooked recently are Bang Bang Chicken, from Tana Ramsay’s Real Family Food, which was nice (and I don’t even like peanut butter, which was an ingredient), Apple and Blueberry Shortcake from Bill’s Food (which was yummy but extremely fragile and unfortunately (due to my cackhandedness) rustic looking, it tasted lovely and lemony) and (I pushed the boat out this week, two recipes) insalta di radicchio e rughetta (raddichio and rocket salad) and insalata di farro con verdure al forno (farro salad with roasted veg, except I couldn’t find farro so used bulgar wheat as suggested, I also added pancetta) from Jamie’s Italy, both were gorgeous. I do my weekly food shops on Friday, so to have used my planned for recipes already is actually a little bit gutting (which is actually a good sign), although I have plenty of the roasted veg salad as left overs, which would be good for meals before work …. except I’m on holiday this week, typical! I need to slowly encourage myself back to cooking, not over do it, so I end up with a fridge full of ingredients I haven’t used. All the recipes I’ve chosen so far have been relatively quick to make, even the shortcake and the roasted veg salad, which both involved lengthy time in the oven (and in the shortcake’s case, time to rest the pastry in the fridge), the actual hands on time was low, it’s just a case of being organised.