21 February 2012

Is it too early to be planning salad in the week's menu?

Goodness, but I hope it's not!  Although, having said that, it'll probably snow on every day that I've booked even slightly salad-like meals.

I don't know about you, but my taste buds are yearning for something fresh (and by "fresh", I mean uncooked!) in my diet.  Yes, we've had the occasional little bit of side salad with various dishes, but I'm definitely yearning for a complete full-blown salad that contains rather more than just lettuce, cucumber and tomato.

I haven't gone so far as to be planning a full-blown salad (yet!), but I think you'll agree that this week's menu is definitely headed that way.  Hopefully it'll be enough to satisfy the need.

So what are we (theoretically - it could change and very often does) going to be eating?

Tues : Trinidadian Prawn Curry with chapatis and rice
Wed : Spicy Pork Steaks, baked sweet potatoes and peas
Thur : Smoked Mackerel with winter couscous & mushrooms
Fri : Tomato & Brie Tart with mixed salad and marinated beetroot
Sat : Mexican meatballs with rice
Sun : Roast bacon with creamed leeks, roast potatoes & parsnips, carrots & peas
Mon : Turkey & bean enchiladas with potato wedges.

Pic c/o www.dragonchillies.co.uk
No, we STILL haven't managed to have the Trinidadian Prawn Curry - but I am completely determined to have it tomorrow evening.  I'm armed and dangerous, having bought the Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers, so I won't be thwarted - bad back or no bad back.  (I think I must have torn some muscles in my back, dragging the darned stool around the kitchen after me so that I can sit down and cook.  Either way, it hurt - and continues to hurt!).

The Spicy Pork Steaks are going to be along the lines of Galton Blackiston's Spiced Chicken Legs, except with pork.  I thought it would be interesting to see how the marinade translates to pork, particularly with half an eye towards barbecuing in the summer.  I've also got some sweet potatoes waiting to be used for something, so this seemed like the perfect match.

Pic c/o www.freshfishdaily.co.uk
Now, the Smoked Mackerel with Winter Couscous and mushrooms was sparked off by a recipe I saw in a magazine, ages ago (so long ago in fact, that I've forgotten which magazine - oops!).  Anyway, it involved flaking the mackerel into the couscous and included orange and watercress.

In my fevered imagination, that turned into a dish of mackerel fillets beside a luscious looking pile of couscous that contained the watercress, but also cherry tomatoes, red onion, some griddled strips of courgette, some squares of griddled red pepper, together with some sort of herb - probably parsley.  I'm also toying with what dressing to put on the couscous.  I'm tempted by a red wine vinegar/capers/olive oil combination.  The mushrooms will be upturned onto a baking tray, dressed with a teaspoonful of garlic and parsley butter and oven baked.  Mmmmn - in my imagination, it's fabulous!

Pic c/o www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk
Friday's dinner requires rather less imagination and rather more careful preparation.  The tart is simplicity itself, as it is purely and simply cherry tomatoes in an egg/cream base with cubes of Brie cheese.  However, it sounded absolutely lovely and just had to be done.  This recipe originated from Delicious magazine and can be found here, if you're curious.

The Mexican Meatballs is a recipe that came from a Good Food Magazine (can you tell, I've been going through the file marked "Recipes cropped from magazines") and the recipe is available on their website here.  Hopefully it'll make a nice change from a straight chilli - and be teenager friendly, as several of this week's recipes are a bit of a challenge for son & heir.

Not me - too cool, calm and collected!
Sunday's meal will be as close to a Sunday Roast as I can get, without killing myself and/or my back.  A piece of bacon is one of the easiest things to roast, the potatoes and parsnips will be happy in the oven, the creamed leeks are dead simple to make and the carrots & peas almost cook themselves.  Fingers crossed for a nice, fairly relaxed, Sunday dinner - instead of winding up limping, gasping and red faced, into the living room to eat when I feel more like laying down for a half an hour.

The Turkey & Bean Enchiladas is another Good Food recipe that I've adapted.  The original recipe says to include leftover roast chicken, but I see no reason why good old Turkey mince won't do as good a job.  I've done a bit of research into the spices required for a home-made fajita seasoning and there's nothing there that we haven't got individually in the herbs & spices collection (that now takes up a shelf of its own).  I'll just have to concentrate a bit when I'm mixing up the seasoning, to get the right balance of everything, but I'm fairly confident I can reproduce something acceptable.

Son & heir will usually eat anything contained in a wrap, whilst hubby usually will eat anything that has enough chilli involved with it - so I'm hopefully onto a winner here.  I'll either make some potato wedges or cop out in a big way with a bag of frozen wedges.  It all depends how knackered I am by Monday!

Throughout these meals, I've had half an eye to trying to provide a balance between everyone's likes and dislikes versus what they need to eat for either dietary reasons or health reasons.  Like most teenagers, son & heir would be very happy if he never saw another vegetable or green leaf appear on his plate again (as would hubby, in lots of cases!), but I can't just close my eyes to the degree of vitamins, minerals etc. etc. that he's missing out on.  Especially at a time of such growth - he's beginning to tower over me! - when he needs his body and brain to be supported in every way possible.

Damn! He got there first!
This is one of the great strengths of meal planning.  You can see what you're proposing to feed everyone, in context with what they will have had the day prior and what they're going to have on the day after.  Put into context like that, a fairly vegetable free day (Meatballs) can be offset against a vegetable heavy day (Mackerel and couscous).  A dairy heavy day (Tomato and Brie tart) can be offset against a lighter fish day (Prawn curry).  As for me, well, I just have to watch the fat, sugar and carbohydrates.  A lick of the pan should do for me ....



  1. Sounds lovely - as always! I definitely don't think it is too early for salad, we've had quite a few over the last few weeks and thoroughly enjoyed.


    1. Hooray! At least I'm not alone in yearning for salad! :)

  2. Hi Jenny....came in thru bloggers......I liked ur space....n the salad looks so delectable.....I can hav this netime....following ur blog now.....do visit my space sometime!


    1. Hello Sonali - and thank you for your kind words. Fish is something that I'm such a novice at cooking, so your blog will be a regular stop for me! Thanks! :)

  3. I think salad gets a bad name by so often being lettuce, green peppers and tinned sweetcorn, or some other shoddy option. It needs to be re-branded into being a 'fresh meal' or maybe a 'tossed mezze'. On the now rare occasions we eat out (prices went up and food quality dropped, so we stopped bothering) I look forward to seeing the salad as a main option.

    As for the chillis, I think you're brave to even be the same room as a scotch bonnet!

    1. We recently went for lunch at a New Forest Pub with my parents. The salads there were absolutely mahooooosive - I'm talking seriously, seriously big. Not one of us could finish even the starter portion - and the main course portions were just laughably huge. For all that though, they were gorgeous - with lots of different veggies prepared in differing ways. Mega-yum. The problem was the waste. Obviously, salad can't be re-used (well, one hopes it can't) and their waste bin must have been full to the brim. I can't imagine what it did to their profits, never mind their reputation.

      As for the Scotch Bonnet chilli, OMG. ~gasp~ I used half of one and it made me cough for a good ten minutes after chopping it. Having put it in the curry, I was a tad concerned that the curry might eat the plate! LOL Oh boy, but the pain was worth it. I think I might trot out another half on the spiced pork steaks tomorrow. :)


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