Friday, 8 January 2016

Spicy tomato sauce

A very simple spicy tomato sauce which I use to top mushroom and lentil bake, but which you could use for anything. Very few ingredients and super-easy, all this baby really wants is time. So get it going first and let it simmer in the background.

Mushroom and lentil bake

For a writer, I'm pretty rubbish at naming things. My twelve-week writing course was called, for the first four years, "the twelve-week course", before in a fit of uncharacteristic brilliance and after four years of writing emails in which I explained that it covered the key elements of stories, I renamed it "Story Elements". The follow-up course I created at my students' request is now in its fifth year of being known as "the follow-up course". Occasionally, this troubles me.

I called this dish "lentil bake" for years before I had the epiphany to make it sound at least a tiny bit nicer by mentioning another of its key ingredients, so now it's "mushroom and lentil bake". But in my defence, most dishes are named after their ingredients, it just sounds fancier when you're naming them in French or Italian or Hindi or Urdu. So feel free to rename it champignons et lentilles cuits, funghi e lenticchie al forno, masharoom aur masoor kee daal bekd (shoot Google translate, not me), or indeed مشروم اور دال پکایا. (The original recipe is from Rose Elliot's Bean Book, but I can't remember what she called it.)

It's much tastier than its name suggests and it's also a good one for the leftovers list because you could substitute whatever leftover veg you like, in the place of the mushrooms, and it's an absolute winner for using up old bits of hard cheese and even edible rind.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Eating List

As I said on the liver paté post, both Mum and I felt uneasy about the huge amounts of food and food-wastefulness around Christmas. And my take on it is, "As long as we don't throw anything away." Put stuff in tupperwares, freeze stuff, cook stuff as needed, pay attention to leftovers, make an "eating" list the way you'd usually make a "shopping" list - putting on a feast and having leftovers really doesn't have to be wasteful. And if you're exhausted, just get everything you can into the freezer, in small containers, and you'll have lots of easy meals to come. I've already frozen everything that could be frozen (here's the freezing & food-hygiene post) so now we're down to non-freezables and mustn't-refreezes.

Mom thought the Eating List was worth blogging, so if she thought so, with her amazing cooking know-how and years of experience, I figured I'd share it! It's like a shopping list, except you're shopping in your own fridge, so it's a bit quicker than going to the shops and also it's free. TL;DR: list everything in the fridge, note its use-by dates and put it on a traffic-light system, plan meals accordingly.