Meal Planning- Monday

This was so satisfying. Bolognese sauce from the freezer and spagetti and grated cheese. The bolognese sauce was one of my hidden vegetable sauces where I included half mince and half red lentils. If you cook it well and then blitz through the blender even Baby-G has trouble realising there are hidden nuggets of red lentilly goodness contained within.

Defrost sauce. Heat sauce. Cook spagetti. Grate cheese. Ready in about 15 minutes.

Meal Planning- Sunday supper

This was the easy Sunday supper. eaten early evening so that we can all have baths and showers and preapre for the week ahead. The act finale for the evening is either hot chocolate and a book (War Horse by Michael Morpurgo for Baby-g); or tea and a book (peppermint and Brick Lane for me; tea and terry Pratchett for H-G).

Quiche. green beans, and garlic butter baby potatoes. Marinated cucumbers. This is my favourite way to make cucumbers…. thinly sliced sprinkled with sugar and a little bit of white vinegar and left to steep.

Meal planning

I try to meal plan weekly. I love flicking through cookbooks and I like to be prepared and to know what I am going to serve up for dinner without shopping on the hoof. That said, my meal planning tends to be a bit of a struggle between ‘expectation versus reality’ but in any case I like to give the week ahead some thought every weekend.

I start by collecting some cookbooks that I wish to flick through. This was this weekend’s selection.

Then I get my meal planner out. I have one for every week.

I have a few regular dishes – or themes- that I utilise to make my working week alot easier. Tuesdays is more often than not Taco Tuesday. Thursdays has become Hotdog Thursdays- but it is more flexible than that. I use Bratwurst, brockwurst in a variety of guises and also just regular sausages some week. On Saturdays I like to make a casserole or roast and Sundays I prefer something very simple and cosy.

So this is the starting point of my meal planner. I then fill in the days I have already allocated.

Once this has been planned there are only a couple of meals left to sort out.

This week I am using up some freezer dishes- bolognese sauce will go to a spagetti bolognese with a fresh greek salad on the side. Tacos will be chicken with leftover greek salad- it may not be wholly authentic but it works. Wednesday is one of my longer working days and so I am making classic New York deli style subway sandwiches. With pickles, fresh vegetables, coleslaw etc. Friday again I am in the office so it will be easy -crusty breads, cheeses, egg salad, and freshly sliced vegetable crudites. The designated sunday supper is meant to be a cheese and onion quiche (I have shortbread in the freezer) but I am already planning to head to Mr Waitrose and buy one from their delicatessan. Shortcuts are great when needed.

Because I plan these at the weekend, Saturdays or Sundays tend to be the first day of the week. Saturday night then was a chicken avd vegetable casserole with a bit of added cream. THis is a really versatile dish. It can be used as a casserole with vegetables ; over pasta (which is how we had it today); as the innards of a chicken pie and with extra water or wine for a rich and comforting soup. It’s not a pretty dish, but it is nourishing and good and Baby-G eats it.

Raspberry Madeira cake

Baby-G wanted to bake a cake today. I am a keen cook, but baker I am not. So i cheated big time by using a cake mix from Aldi. I also got a tub of raspberries and macerated them with sugar and mashed them through a sieve as raspberry seeds in a cake would have sent Baby-G into a frenzied meltdown of ‘I’M NOT EATING THAT WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE CAKE MUM, OH I HATE IT’.

The cake came out really well. It was lightly pink and very fluffy. It was apparently the best cake ever eaten in the history of cakes. Baby-G had his warm with icecream. I had mine warm with icecream and a [glace] cherry on top. Not too bad.

Blueberry’s Cafe – Shanklin

In my workplace alot of our conversations revolve around food. When we are not talking about the corona virus anyway. Admittedly I am the instigator of many of the food discussions, and the provider of the bulk of the office comestibles. The issue of covid and comestibles have come together as we are not permitted to bring food to share anymore….unless it is NOT made by us and IS individually wrapped. I have decided that ferrero rocher falls into the category of covid-compliant comestibles and provided a box of the same this afternoon to my colleagues. They were gone in seconds.

Anyway- a colleague had told me about Blueberrys’ cafe. She told me that they had the best homemade cakes and I promptly joined their facebook page in order to spy what was planned for each day.

Sunday was B-day. Blueberrys cafe day. H-G, Baby-G and drove all the way over to Shanklin (28 minutes drive according to google maps). We were in a part of the Island we have never been before. H-G and I were peering at the street signs and failed to spot the one that said Blueberry’s cafe but B-G saw it and after a quick and careful u-turn we were there.

It was epic. A small cafe, on the cliff path with an unrivalled view. Baby-G had a sausage bap and H-G and I shared scrambled eggs on toast. But the standout were the cakes. Victoria sponge with real whipped cream. Moist and rich. A raspberry ripple with buttercream icing and for me the unrivalled lime and pistacchio cake. The cakes were so moist and light and so fully flavoured. The lime and pistacchip clearly had real lime juice in it. It was truly food for nourishing the soul.

Then we walked along the cliff path and looked at the lovely houses and the gorgeous views.

It was a truly wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning. We realised that we have not yet exhausted all that the Island has to offer – good thing too given the current situation. Ooops, there I am talking about Covid again.

Coffee and Cake

Apple cream cake from Tiffins

I was going to call this post ‘It’s a cakewalk’ because sadly that it the kind of weak pun that amuses me. But truth is that sometimes you forget what is on your own doorstep. Husband-G lived in London for decades and tells me that it indeed took decades before he visited any museums or St Paul’s cathedral. Similarly we have not been to Tiffins for months and months. It used to be a summer staple for us – bacon butties before sailing anyway.

So Baby-G and I decided to go and have morning coffee and cake. That was the plan anyway but Baby-G opted for a sausage sandwich and a chocolate yoghurt shake which is his favourite.

I had an apple cream cake. It was really good. Packed full of apple, cinnamon and the ‘cream’ was custardy and light. Perfect.

I am told this is the best sausage sandwich EVER

We sat for a while and read our books. Then wandered around Cowes and took photos of some of the shops. Just because.

Tides- a new shop with gorgeous homewares

Chivertons newsagents.

Sunday Supper – cheesy broccoli pasta

I am becoming quite attached to the concept of pasta as the starchy side dish rather than potatos. Cheesy pasta works for me as a side to steak, fish and chicken. This was meant to be a side dish to something or other. But as usual my serving sizes went a little out of control and so it was the main meal instead. It is an easy supper, and Baby-G loves it too so that works for me.

Simple. Boil broccoli and pasta and layer in a dish. Whip up a quick white sauce and add nutmeg and grated cheddar cheese. I like to sprinkle extra cheese on the top so it bubbles and goes golden brown. Perfect for eating in front of the tv on a wet and cold Sunday. I think we skipped Autumn and went straight to Winter.