Getting a jump on the week ahead means I hit the ground running on Monday. I love cooking, but my thought process when it comes to food is – “if I can’t get it on the table in 30 minutes or less, then it’s simply not working. And like many of us, if we don’t put some prep. time in beforehand, we reach for food that’s not always the best for us.
So my Sundays’ are spent planning and preparing – it’s a relaxed day of reading writing and cooking and then into the garden if there is time.
The music goes on, the coffee is expressed and whilst it sounds incredibly boring, I start by cleaning out the fridge. There are usually a few things lurking that need using up and made into a Frittata or soup. From there I make a quick menu plan and then a shopping list. For those of you who think you might get it done if the stationery is beautiful … you might – but I just grab the nearest note-pad and get cracking.
Many years ago my lovely husband took on the job of the weekly shop … its driven me crazy for 20 years. His reason all those years ago was; “I work really hard to earn an income for the family and when I unpack all the shopping there is satisfaction in seeing the shelves full and I can see how I am helping provide for the family”. When I do shop, I wander around and get inspired. I especially like additions to my spice drawer and flavoured oils - this weeks purchase was Truffle Salt. When hubby shops he tries hard to adhere strictly to my list - previous attempts to be spontaneous with the groceries have been met with my less than enthusiastic response – However, his sentiment is one I love and support, so while he shops, I cook!
This is my basic Sunday cook. It takes no longer than the time you need to roast the chicken. A good rule of thumb is to never heat your oven up for one job. Use all the trays and get a couple of pots of water on the boil at the same time. The basic principle is to use time wisely and roll one of your main dishes like a roast chicken (or two for a family of four) out into other meals for the rest of the week.
Frittata (use up meal)
Roast Chicken and Veg
A couple of dressings (pesto, vinnegarate, yoghurt)
Blistered tomato and red pepper
Cooked grains (freekeh, barley or lentils)
Chopped raw veg (carrot, broccoli, snap peas - whatever you like for dipping)
Dry roasted nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin)
Having a good supply of pantry staples alongside the basic equipment is vital to being able to get the job done; as is understanding what herbs and spices make something Mexican or Jamaican, or when you’ve gone to the Mediterranean and then crossed the border into France. From there your roast becomes French Country, or spicey Jerk chicken, your hummus gets a jazz up to roast garlic and lemon or smokey blackened peppers.
We are all so incredibly busy and healthy, nutritious eating can be done simply and quickly with some good planning and a little kitchen confidence - which will be expanded on in the coming weeks along with some basic recipes.
Preparation is Key to taking the messy and stressy from your kitchen.