Honestly I don’t theme my week’s meals deliberately but it just seems to happen. I’m not sure if it’s basic home economics or my tendency to get slightly obsessed with foodstuffs that it seems to work out that way so often, but this week it was a case of deep passionate love.
Seventeen years after leaving home and buying a pack of two frying pans for a tenner which were as good quality as you’d expect for that price, I finally treated myself to a beautiful anodised frying pan last week and so I anticipate that 90% of what I eat for the next six months will be fried because this is love (possibly infatuation) on my part.
Being the organised (ie: skint) type I make sure to switch my energy tariffs annually although I refuse to leave Sainsburys Energy as their customer service is great and they treat customers like me who are disabled and on benefits as equally as their other customers unlike most providers. This year for the grand total of £2.61 more than I was paying per year on my gas I could switch to the Fix and Reward 2018 tariff and get a £100 gift card back.
A few years ago I might well have bookmarked that for booze but instead I spent my Saturday afternoon comparing frying pans and pillows in a Sainsburys superstore instead (the card is instore only FYI). Despite spending so much of my life in bed, I plumped for the frying pan first and we’ve been getting cosy all week.
I did start with my first cooking project of the week first and finally made this Polish sour rye soup after weeks of bookmarking it and more importantly fermenting the rye sour on my windowsill. I adapted it from this Tesco Food recipe substituting the sausage for a spare gammon steak I found lurking in the freezer as smoked sausages rarely seem to be fodmap friendly I find.
It was ridiculously easy to make. I boiled an egg separately, steamed the potatoes in the microwave before chucking them in and fried off the gammon, before adding some chicken stock and dried oregano and added the fermented sour along with a tiny bit of instant mashed potato to thicken it all up. I served with it with the egg on top and a chunk of chive butter for an allium taste. It took less than 20 minutes, if you excuse the 5 days of fermenting first and it was fantastic.
I loved the sour tang and creamy texture (despite the unauthentic style of cooking that is probably giving Polish people apoplexy) and absolutely recommend this for this warm, wet summer weather as it’s light but incredibly tasty and filling.
Unfortunately it did not love me back as I’m finding that fermented foods might be a fodmap trigger for me and on Sunday I felt hungover enough that I might as well have spent that gift card on booze. All I wanted to do all day was eat my emotions so dinner was the bargain sirloin steak I’d been hiding in the freezer for an emergency with leftover spelt Yorkshire puddings and some slightly overcooked green beans I pushed round the plate like a spoilt child.
I aimed to do better on Monday night but my brain sabotaged me with a massive panic attack in Waitrose of all places and I came home and slept for three hours, possibly sulking that my happy place had been slightly sullied. So I cracked out the spare veal burger in the freezer with some roasted potatoes and a hefty squirt of mayo from a tube and went back to bed.
Tuesday’s dinner crept up on me and my new frying pan’s next moment of glory was two potato farls and a couple of fried eggs which it handled beautifully and means I need a weekend stocking up the freezer with the potato bread for breakfast.
Wednesday night was also a rushed dinner as I ate incredibly late with that kind of ravenous hunger where if you aren’t careful you might inhale the whole fridge’s contents if you don’t eat exactly the right amount. I chucked some potatoes in the microwave to steam while I dipped a pork shoulder steak in egg replacer (much cheaper and more economical for this kind of thing than cracking open a whole egg for one person) and then into some mashed potato flakes.
Fried up in my magic pan this creates a crisp gluten and wheat free crust that makes a piece of pork (or chicken) much juicier and more filling especially if you bash the meat a bit thinner for a schnitzel vibe. I devoured it while researching meat hammers online as you do.
I took the night off from my frying pan on Thursday and made the world’s worst omelette instead. One of my favourite recipes in Slow Cooked is the Omelette Arnold Bennett made light and fluffy with egg whites whisked to soft peaks and gently cooked in the slow cooker. Rich and creamy, it’s omelette royalty.
I wasn’t especially hungry at dinner time after a large post blood test plate of roast turkey and parsnips at lunch so I thought I’d use my spare egg white after some pre weekend baking to add some whisked luxury to my standard frittata along with some feta and leftover steamed potatoes. Unfortunately I learned the heard way that fluffy egg white enriched omelettes do not take well to fast cooking and I ended up with a leathery egg sandwich instead of the glories I achieved in the slow cooker.
Friday night needed something good to erase those memories and add some colour to the week at the last minute so I went with freekeh, lamb mince, feta, tomatoes and black olives with basil as a combination of fridge roulette and having been grocery shopping on the way home from therapy. Simple and tasty, it was spectacularly filling. (And I learned from last week to stick to the fodmap friendly portion of tomatoes…)
Saturday meant I had lamb to use so I made quick kofte with some of the lamb mince. I spiced it with cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, ginger and mace and shaped the well mixed mince around skewers to shape into cigars, flattening the sides slightly. I fried them for about 2 minutes each side until they’d formed a good crust on them and scattered them with ground sumac for a citrussy tang. They went well with some cucumbers and the last of the feta from Lidl from a few weeks ago.
I also realised I’d bought 36 eggs this week and look forward to showing you the dessert that 8 went into next week!