Menus for the week (MFTW) was one of the most useful tricks I ever did when I was working in London.
At the weekend, partner and I would happily write down what we were going to have to eat the following week.
So when I got in from work, there was no dilemma about what to do – I looked at the list and got on with the allocated meal.
If I was feeling naughty, I might swap a couple of days around, but basically I stuck to the list.
And if I was late in, Partner would look at the list and start the meal instead.
Chatting about what I now eat over on Clouds where I posted about becoming vegetarian, I thought it would be interesting to have a quick look at a week’s menus these days.
I’m looking back over the last week, so it won’t be a perfect balance – but it will be an honest reflection. It even helps to answer that nosy question about what I eat.
Readers of Pippadogblog will know that our routine has changed somewhat as Partner is now working long hours, and we fit in two Pippawalks before we eat the evening meal, so it needs to be a relatively light meal.
During the day, Partner’s already had breakfast, and sandwiches at work, I’ve probably had left overs for breakfast and maybe a sandwich. Or a salad.His breakfast includes any or all of Cauldron vegetarian sausages (tofu-based), tomatoes, mushrooms, egg, potatoes, any left over spicy sauce, and sometimes I’ll buy Quorn peppered steak or lamb grills for a change for him.
Sandwiches tend to be Redwood sage and onion or beef slices, these are vegan and excellent, assuming you don’t want them to taste like meat. If they aren’t available then I buy the Quorn turkey stuffing ones. I have a bowl of onions soaking in red wine vinegar in the fridge all the time, and they get added to the sarnies. For a change, there is always cheese (vegetarian cheddar usually) and beetroot and/or tomato.
So this list is just main meals.
Spanish lunchtime meal: Paella – with runner beans, broad beans, oyster mushrooms, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olives, and lemon juice (as in the previous posts on here and on Everypic).
Evening supper: fresh artichoke salad, artichoke cooked that day, salad greens out of the garden, tomato, cucumber, capers, olives, served with mustard dressing.
Spinach lasagna using the acelgas (spinach beet) picked that morning at the finca. I didn’t bother with any cheese in the white sauce as the spinach was well rich enough. White sauce made with soya milk.
Baked jacket potatoes (organic so I can eat the skins happily), with broccoli and lemon butter sauce. I add cheese on top of Partner’s and finish them quickly under the grill.
Tamarind tofu with shiitake mushrooms and sesame seaweed (or whatever the recipe’s called – link on the previous post). Tofu, carrots, broccoli (left-over from Monday), kale, shiitake mushies and served with chilli noodles.
Shepherds pie made with Granose soya mince. By the time it has soaked, and then cooked it slowly in a sauce, it makes a good main ingredient for any mince-based recipe. For the pie I cook it with onion, herbs, grated carrot and veg stock, which is virtually the same way my mother cooked hers, except she used minced beef. You all know how to mash potatoes and put them on top. Although I suppose some people don’t as they buy them pre-mashed. Served with cauliflower.
New salad potatoes, boiled and served with broad beans (from the finca again) and those tiny Chantenay carrots which seem to be fashionable at the moment, cooked in stock.
Hot curried potatoes and lentil dahl, with tomatoes, onions, and spice perfumed ‘butter’ (actually olive oil).
All the stock used is vegetarian, low salt, organic, by Kallo. With the exception of the lemon butter sauce, I use extra virgin olive oil for all cooking, even white sauce. Works just as well.
Quick analysis of evening meals – in terms of carbs, one rice, two pasta and four potatoes. Partner likes potatoes :D Protein – tofu, soya mince, lentils, beans. Negligible cheese. Fresh veg – with virtually every meal apart from the curry. No fruit, we aren’t fruity. No desserts either as we are sweet enough. Only one salad. Last time I did salad as a starter we ate very little of the main course!
It’s important not to examine any meal in isolation – remember that we have eaten other food during the day.
If I’d hung onto one of my MFTW from twenty years ago, it would have looked different. It would have been far more pulse-based with lentils, haricot beans, chick peas, and butter beans playing a bigger role. They would be in casseroles, salads, bakes, and the inevitable shepherds pie. I didn’t eat tofu, seitan or tempeh – doubt I knew about them or where to find them. I didn’t want to end up living on cheese and eggs. And if you’ve read the Clouds post, you’ll realise MFTW probably included chicken initially, and fish for a couple of years.
Might as well add a recipe to this list, so I’ll add the delicious lemon butter sauce, which I only make occasionally due to the butter content. The sharp lemon beautifully offsets the richness of the butter though, and it is great with brocs, cauli, and asparagus to name but three that I’ve served it with. It is similar to a hollandaise, but without the faff that involves, and it is relatively quick to make.
Lemon Butter Sauce – Courtesy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, Beck, Bertholle and Child. An unsurpassable cookbook IMO.
To be more accurate:
Beurre au Citron
For about 1/4 pint
1/8 pt lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper
4 oz chilled butter cut into eight pieces
2-3 tbspns stock/hot water
Boil down lemon juice, salt and pepper until reduced to around a tablespoon.
Remove from heat and beat in two pieces of butter. Place over very low heat and beat in the rest of the butter, a piece at a time to make a thick creamy sauce. Do not keep sticking finger it to taste it or there won’t be enough. (OK I added that bit). Immediately remove from heat.
Just before serving beat in the hot liquid drop by drop to warm the sauce. Correct seasoning and serve in a barely warm sauceboat.
Like anything it’s about taste, so squeeze as much lemon juice as suits you, and add proportionately, more or less, the right amount of butter. The recipe calls for a wire whisk but I tend to use a wooden spoon. Easier for tasting really. I don’t bother with a sauce boat, preferring to pour it over the veg, or whatever else it is accompanying. As usual, less is more, you don’t want to kill the other flavours, this is an enhancement not a drowning. Bon appetit.