19 September 2012

Meal planning for eventualities of the sniffling kind

It seemed highly likely that as son & heir currently has a bit of an upper respiratory infection (I hesitate to label it a cold and cough - but that's basically what's going on), the rest of us are liable to go down with it.

Hubby is already showing signs of wilting and I've felt generally a bit low, so I thought it wise to make this week's meal plan one that concentrates on the simple and the easy.  It's not a good thing to have to knuckle down to cooking a dish that requires several tricky processes, when you'd really rather just go back to bed.  All that results in, is our reaching for the nearest takeaway menu - and considering home cooked is so much better for us, it's a bit self-defeating.

However, I didn't intend for this week to be quite as dominated by bacon as it has turned out to be!

Both hubby and I seem to be going through a serious bacon fancy and the large part of our ideas for this week turned out to be centred around the lovely stuff.  I suppose there's no real harm in it, as I can't see us going off bacon any time soon!

Here's what's on the list for this week :

Tues : shop-bought frozen Pizza
Weds : vegetable curry and rice
Thurs : Carbonara and garlic bread
Fri : Bacon & sausage pilaff
Sat : Bacon & onion pie with baked beans and peas
Sun : Roast of some denomination (probably a bacon joint!)
Mon : Chicken Kiev and savoury rice.

Shop bought frozen pizza is our usual "get out of jail free" card.  Son & heir loves it, hubby approves and I get fed, so it'll do.  Hubby is our pizza chef, so I don't even have to venture into the kitchen in order to get fed.  Can't argue with that!

Something like this - except with more veggies!
Wednesday's vegetable curry began life as Cornish Pasties.  I know!  Talented shapeshifting going on there!  No, I'm afraid I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer, which negated the Cornish Pasties as I was going to make them early on in the day.  You see, son & heir is back involved in his Rock Choir practice which means a late pickup from school, so it would have fitted perfectly.

I realised that I had rather a lot of leftover vegetables in the fridge and initially considered some kind of soup for dinner.  That was, until I pondered on currying the soup - whereupon I thought I may as well just go for a vegetable curry and be done with it.  I know that son & heir isn't hugely struck on vegetable curry as a concept (no meat, you see), so I figure if I boil a couple of eggs, I can include a hard boiled egg in son & heir's.  That should cheer him up, as he loves his eggs.

Photo c/o BBC Good Food
Thursday's Carbonara is the first of a rush on bacon dishes and I'm really looking forward to this.  Rather than use spaghetti, I thought (to ring the changes) I'd try some of the Mafalda Corta pasta instead.  Its ruffles should grab the sauce beautifully and it is just so easy to make, plus it has the benefit of being one of those enigmatic processes that shouldn't work, but does - and beautifully.

The Bacon & Sausage Pilaff is actually an adaptation of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe which you can find here.  I'm going to take it a little bit further and add a few more ingredients to the mix (mushrooms & peas, for instance) along with the bacon, sausage and black pudding.  I'll also turn the sausages into little sausage meatballs, as I think they'll suit the Pilaff structure more elegantly than rough-cut sausages.

Photo c/o Jeff's Great British Eats
Saturday's Bacon & Onion Pie is a James Martin recipe which you can find here and which I expect I'll follow pretty much to the letter.  It's a recipe which involves bacon, fried onions, mashed potato and cheese - what could go wrong?  He recommends serving it with baked beans or peas - well both works for me!  I might even throw in a tin of carrots, just for fun.  Oh, for those who don't realise what I'm going on about here, my hubby is a man who considers both peas and carrots should never appear on the same plate as baked beans.  I consider them to be perfect bedfellows - so bring it on!

Hubby has promised us a roast for Sunday, although what we're going to be roasting is a matter of conjecture at the moment.  It will all depend on what Spring Fields Butchers has that looks nice, I suspect!  We haven't had a true roast dinner for quite some time, so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Another property from a similar road in Oxshott - I'd have lived behind the tree on the right.  lol
Monday's Chicken Kiev is a) a step back in time for me and b) something of a misnomer.  To begin with, when I lived in Oxshott in Surrey, I had a small granny annexe by the side of a huge Victorian country house.  My little flat consisted of two rooms, a bathroom and share of the utility room where there was a sink.  My two rooms I divided into living & bed, plus cooking & storage.

Cooking was something of a challenge, as the sink was away down the corridor and I had a two-ring Belling oven and a microwave.  I wasn't in to cook a great deal anyway, as I would leave to walk the dogs at 6.30 a.m., then go to the stables to feed, turn out into the field and muck out my horse & donkey, returning home to shower and change for work at 9.30am.  Then I'd leave work at around 6pm, collect the dogs and go to the stables to bring in the horse & donkey, feed them and settle them down for bed - maybe even cramming in a ride, in the summer months.  Lastly, I'd walk the dogs (in the pitch black, through the woods!), getting home at around 9pm-10pm when cooking was the last thing on my mind.  The slow cooker came into its own during the winter months!
Me, with my No.1 Highland Pony, Kellie of Whitefield
However, one of my favourite meals was a Chicken Kiev with savoury rice.  The Kiev would go into the oven while the savoury rice (or "slavering mice" as it came to be known) would be twirling in the microwave.  They'd both co-incide in time to sit down and eat before I fell asleep.  Perfect.  Eating was all about fuel, in those days.

Slavering Mice - mmmmn! lol
Now the misnomer comes in, because the Kiev isn't a Kiev at all.  It's a Chicken Cordon Bleu after-a-fashion.  For all that it's sold as a "kiev", it is in fact, chicken (although that's arguable - probably more "chicken bits, stuck together with carbohydrate glue") filled with cream cheese and ham, cooked in breadcrumbs.

Either way, it will be a super-simple meal of disgustingly processed food that is full of everything that's bad for us.  Yes, I know I could make the same thing from chicken breasts and it would be much nicer, more trustworthy and better for us.  However, it won't be done with the minimum of effort.  Well, you have to kick over the traces from time to time, haven't you?

Hopefully, a normal, healthy menu plan will return next week.  *wink*



  1. Oh no hope you are all feeling better soon. I owe you more thanks just done your cottage pie with a bit of artistic licence as I didnt have a stock pot - I've been told its the best cottage pie I've made!!- lol - wondering if I can tempt my fussy kids with the lamb and flatbreads I think they'll go for it!!(sorry for turning into a bit of a recipe stalker - but I really needed some inspiration!!

    1. Ali, please, please don't ever think you have to apologise for taking one of my recipes to use yourself! That's exactly why they are here - for people to take, adapt how they want them, and use them for inspiration! So I've packaged up your apology and, here it is with a bow on top, neatly handed back to you as lovely, but unnecessary. Thank you. :)

      Wow, that Cottage Pie has been something of a success, as you're now the fourth person who has used the recipe to great effect! I'm so pleased! :)

  2. When the weather gets cold or I am feeling sniffly, I make a big bottle of Leon Restaurants' Coldbuster drink concentrate. It's really effective and comforting.

    The recipe is in their 1st cookbook, or you can find it at:

    Hope the colds & flu clear up soon!

  3. Hope you all feel better soon, with all these great recipes it would be hard to feel completely rubbish! I love all of these meals but carbonara would have to be my favourite!


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