Monday, 30 May 2016

Tomorrow will mark one of the main reasons as to why my blog has slacked off the past year or so - I am proud to work for the NHS and tomorrow marks the 'Go Live' date for one of the biggest IT projects its seen, and one I have been very lucky and proud to be a part of it over the past 10 months! Its going to transform so many services for my Trust and really transform it for the better, not only improving patient care but improve efficiency in a lot of processes and a whole host of other things! So meal planning this week is essential, whether I stick to it is another thing but at least with what we are going to survive on is out of the way, everything else takes care of itself! I am also seeing the Dietitian soon so it needs to be full of good things, not the emergency draw noodle pots and chocolate!!

Last week I managed to stay fairly on plan, saying that it was only 3 of the 5 nights on plan but our lunches and breakfast were on plan at least! Friday night I really wanted to make the battered quorn sausages but in all honesty I was tired, still had several hours of work to do and I couldn't be faffed with deep frying so opted for easy fish fingers! If I say so myself, the wedges along side were outstanding, I took the trouble of part boiling them first, coated in rapeseed oil and a dried herb mix consisting of thyme, garlic and smoked paprika and they were most excellent! The veggies were frozen mixed veg, when cooked I tossed them in a teaspoon of EVOO mayo and a sprinkle of cheese - naughty but so nice!

As those who know me well, I hate wasting anything - and on Thursday night I used a packet of Ras Malai dessert mix (its an Indian sweet) and I had loads of the scented poaching milk leftover (think didn't boil it enough!) , I kept hold of the liquid whilst deciding what to make and the following night I used it to make baked semolina pudding, to which I jazzed up with some gloriously sweet Amarena cherries in syrup, and in a proper no waste clear the fridge purge, swirled through the last of my pot of Greek Yoghurt with honey and in the oven it went until nicely golden and fluffy - there is no way I could recreate it, but it was spot on! Comfort food in a bowl!

This week breakfasts are planned - my breakfast tomorrow is being bought for me, I have to go in to work at an ungodly hour but the rest of week will most likely be overnight oats, made up with almond milk, oats, sultana, chia and hemp seeds and some fresh raspberries.

Lunches for the next few days for me is a roasted butternut quinoa salad that I put together tonight and towards the end of the week most likely the green soup that's lurking in the freezer too long! B gets leftover Pancit (A Filipino noodle dish I made last night) and after that most likely a tuna sandwich.

Today as it was bank holiday Monday, I didn't cook and we went out with friends to the coast- I had a giant 'California' burger with avocado, cheese, bacon and a beef patty, with some rather lovely chips! I somehow managed that and two scoops of icecream too!! Probably why my jeggings feel so snug tonight perhaps?!

So for Tuesday through to Friday:

Gammon and courgette Pesto Fusilli
Tuna melt baguettes, wedges and mixed veg
Either Shashouska or Miso braised aubergines with coconut rice
Baked smoked cod fillets with Orzo and spinach
(unless I convince B he really wants to eat the puy lentils shh!!)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Monday Meal Plan

This week has fortunately started a lot healthier than last week! I am so glad that tummy bug has long gone, it really knocked the wind out of my sails! My appetite has fully returned, and I returned to my day job - the project I am on is about to launch so I couldn't really afford much more time off! Last week's post was a bit moany, so I apologise! I try to err on being more optimistic, than pessimistic but after a week of broken sleep and tummy pain from hell I was feeling more than a bit sorry for myself!!

Despite my no-plan last week, we ate quite well in the end including a rather tasty crustless tuna quiche, which did both dinner and lunch for work easily, a definitely handy standby considering we always have a tin of tuna in the cupboard and a good supply of eggs! However by Friday night I was more than happy to have a rare night off cooking, and we were chip shop bound! Our chippy makes some really good 'gourmet' calamari rings - this was my only one as B ate the rest! And I know its so sinful and god knows alone what goes in them but I couldn't resist a jumbo battered sausage! IT was sooooo good and really hit the comfort spot!! Its very rare we get a takeaway so it was a nice treat!

So onto this week - the fridge is restocked with a variety of veg and a few of the dishes have been lurking on the planning radar for some time but not quite made it - hopefully will have better luck this week! Breakfast for me is usually overnight oats, plus maybe a cheeky banana flapjack I bulk made, B gets his usual cereal (I don't do cereal, something about soggy things floating in milk, ick!)

Our lunches are mostly already made - I did a bulk batch cook last night to save time during the week! I made one large pan of smoky sausage and tomato rice for my boyfriend, for me its roasted feta and veggie couscous - its jam packed with roasted chard, carrot, pepper, baby aubergine, courgette and olives - yum! When they run out it will either be leftovers or a hastily thrown together salad of fridge surprises!

This week will potentially be:

Breaded fish, mash and peas (easy freezer meal!)

Chicken Balti, roasted broccoli and pilau rice (a jar of posh sauce that's been in the cupboard far too long!)

Tofu okonomiyaji (Jamie recipe, meal for one!), pickled carrots 

Creamy pork meatballs, leeks and spaghetti 
(bought some lovely free range pork mince on offer and we have a tub of cream cheese to eat up!)

Crispy battered Quorn sausage bites-
had to put these on the plan after salivating over Tinned Tomatoes recipe!  Probably have with potato wedges

Monday, 16 May 2016

The No meal plan week

Ahhh my dear readers... if you are still out there!! I feel all I do is either apologise or give you a sort of meal plan of late!! Without wanting to rant too much I am starting to feel that blogging for me personally is going to whittle out soon, or at least judging by the year so far!! Maybe the blogging gods have got it in for me as I do feel the odds have been stacked against me?! With three separate repairs to my laptop (including a new hard drive and a complete re-set each time!), each repair also resulting in at least 2 weeks downtime, not to mention the enormous amount of time wasted in between restoring my rather large photo collection, not to mention documents and other software to reinstall, the latest currently running painfully slow in the background as I type, its been somewhat challenging! And that's just been the technical issues!

Food has also been a bit tricky this year, as mentioned earlier in the year my long term digestive 'issues' came to a head and I had a nasty bout of reflux oesophagitis on top of it all, which basically means when it comes to meal planning, I write down all the things I want to eat, remove half as I can't eat it then still find the joy to both cook and eat it. Fortunately the reflux is abating slowly and I am off to see a specialist dietitian soon to try and tame my digestion! I've been experimenting with a few different alternative food options, and I've been fairly successful with reducing my dairy intake, and swapping to either almond or hazelnut milks instead for my morning porridge - or overnight oats, and it has done wonders for the reflux and IBS, so will be continuing with that. Though I can't stand either milk in my tea - so that remains moo milk!

When I look back at my first blogs, almost 10 years have passed and both my cooking and diet has evolved so much! I think its not just me either! The UK food scene has also evolved so much, talking about food now is 'normal' and chances are if you know me in person, we talk about food or drink in some way! During my imposed rest I've been catching up a lot on Masterchef episodes on the hard drive and the style is so different too, especially compared to when I remember watching it as a child, in the dark TV studio with the three coloured pods- they were red, blue and yellow if I recall correctly?! So you can see I am hugely interested in food still, and I really do hope I get back into blogging properly again. I love to create food, made with love to share with you all so do bear with me a while longer whilst I find my feet again!

Despite everything I've been trying to meal plan, often on my lovely paper planner I received for Christmas, however my last few attempts at meal planning have failed a little, with the technical and food issues, I then caught a bad sinus infection a month ago and was off my food again (don't ya love antibiotics!), then oh joy - last week I went down fast with suspected food poisoning, and only this afternoon I am starting to feel a bit more human and regaining a small appetite. I swear if the grim reaper had knocked at my door on Friday night I would of taken his hand willingly, I have no idea what triggered it but I really don't want it ever again!

As I am pretty much restricted to very plain foods for the next few days at least, I've not bothered to meal plan at all but I will be feeding my boyfriend via a mixture of freezer cheats I.e. fish fingers or sausages and mash. I felt bad the other night packing him off to the chippie for his tea but I doubt he was that disappointed hehe!! My only food highlight in the past week was toasted banana sandwich - it may sound a bit weird but I learnt it off a fellow patient when I was in hospital a few years back!

So overall I think my own personal plan if anything will be well cooked porridge, banana toasties and lightly cooked eggs! 

See you soon,
Anne's Kitchen 
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