Over the past 2 or 3 years I’ve got into a really good habit of planning most of the week’s meals in advance and doing most of the food shopping for the week in one go. I use a meal planning pad for this – because it makes it more fun and it’s got a magnet so I can keep it on the front of the fridge.
Then at the end of each week I add the plan to the pile of used plans, next to the piles of old cookery magazines and pages torn from magazines, with the thought that at some point in the future I will mine this pile for all sorts of ideas and inspiration.
But recently I’ve got more and more frustrated with thoughts like “what was that thing we really liked the other week, I think it had mushrooms in, and perhaps some lentils, and it was quite spicy” so I’m going to try a new approach and record my weekly meal plans and how they turn out here on the blog. Maybe at some point in the future they’ll be interesting to look back on and at least they’ll be more easily searchable than looking through 100+ bits of paper!
And maybe there will be some people out there who are as obsessed with vegetarian food as I am and will find the minutiae of my daily food life interesting or even inspiring 🙂
So here we go …
What we ate in the week commencing 2nd April 2017
I was busy this week with work and our very lively foster dog, Bingo, so this was purposefully a week of easy old favourites.
Lunch: A warm salad of roast butternut squash, puy lentils, semi-dried tomatoes and red onions, served with pitta bread and houmous.
This was inspired by half a butternut squash that needed using up and based on a similar ‘formula’ to this roast carrot and puy lentil salad (but without the cheese) and it made a really good vegan lunch. I plan to make it again and blog the recipe.
Dinner: We often have a roast dinner of some sort on a Sunday. This week we tried some ready-made spinach and ricotta bakes from Morrison’s and they were very good. I was particularly impressed by the “chunky pumpkin and sunflower seed crumb” coating. I served them with roast potatoes, chopped carrot and swede (what a great combo!) and veggie red onion gravy.
Dinner: Our old favourite, far eastern noodle hot pot with the addition of tofu.
If I’m adding tofu to anything like this I usually use half a block of Cauldron tofu for 2 people (so about 200g), chop it into cubes and fry it until it’s golden brown. I then added it to the stock with the first vegetables. The other half of the block gets turned into scrambled tofu (one of my partner’s specialities) for breakfast the following morning. Bonus!
My original recipe for this dish used egg noodles but recently I’ve been using Blue Dragon Wholewheat Noodles. I discovered them because I’ve been cooking more vegan food recently and I really like them.
I was pretty late starting to sort out dinner this evening and quite tired – then I realised I had all the risotto ingredients except risotto rice! That was enough of a hurdle to put me off cooking and we went to one of our local pubs, The Ball Inn, instead. I had macaroni cheese with garlic bread which wasn’t the best but was just the kind of comfort food I needed and Tom had a very good spicy veggie burger with chunky chips.
Dinner: Leek and pea risotto
Last night’s cooking fail shifted the plan along by a day so today I got some risotto rice and we had a simple leek and pea risotto. I occasionally try different risotto recipes but this is one I always come back to. Simple but good.
Dinner: Lentil bolognese
This is one of my partner’s regular dishes so I sat back tonight and let him cook me his lentil, mushroom, carrot and tomato sauce with spaghetti. I told you it was a week of old favourites!
Dinner: Mezze Medley
I rarely get as far as Friday when I first do the week’s meal plan. Sometimes I get inspired to cook; other times we will eat out to celebrate the start of the weekend. On this Friday I hadn’t made a plan and we didn’t fancy eating out so we decided to have a bit of a medley: on this occasion a combo of falafel, pitta, houmous, cous cous and salad.
Lunch: Cambodian tomato and tofu curry
It was Peddler Market weekend here in Sheffield, a monthly market showcasing street food, craft beer, live music and art. There was plenty of veggie choice this time – it does vary a lot – and I decided to try Canoodle, a Birmingham-based street food seller offering Pan-Asian cuisine. The food was really good – well-flavoured, ample and beautifully presented (I wish I’d thought to photograph it).
Dinner: Potato, spinach & cheese pie with chopped salad.
The original plan for this evening was to make “Saffron potato, spinach and Fontina cheese pie” from Nadine Abensur’s “Cranks Fast Food” that I picked up in a charity shop recently. But drinking at lunch time, a lack of saffron and having Brie instead of Fontina led to me making it up instead. So we had more of a ‘slice’ than a pie, with potato, mushrooms, spinach and brie layered between two pieces of puff pastry. It was okay but I think I still need to make the effort to source the right ingredients and make the proper recipe.
Food plan for the week commencing 9th April 2017
I rarely plan the whole week’s food on a Saturday because I’ve found if I do it makes me rebel against it! (I know that’s a bit teenage.) I definitely like my plan to be a tool rather than my master. But I do find it useful to look at the week ahead and any evening plans that might affect things then put in 3-4 evening meals. That way there’s room to shift things around without wasting food if other stuff crops.
So here’s what our food plan looked like at the beginning of the week …
We use the ‘grab bag’ bit in the bottom right-hand corner to keep a note of anything that we fancy but that doesn’t fit in the plan yet.
Make sure to come back next week if you want to see how it turns out 🙂