Red Lentils

Saving cash for frugal times ahead means meals that cost as little as possible and provide plenty of leftovers…

Soften an onion then chuck in some spices (coriander, cumin, curry powder), chunks of root vegetables, slices of ginger, some red lentils and cover with stock or water and simmer for about half an hour. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh coriander. 


Press Night Pasta

After driving back to Stratford from London and before Richard II press night at the RST…

Soften an onion

Add three finely chopped smoked rashers of bacon

Once they are cooked chuck in a tsp of chilli powder

Then a tin of tomatoes. Reduce.

At the last moment stir some pine nuts and rocket in and mix with the cooked spaghetti and chopped chunks of mozzarella.

Lamb and Date Tagine

One of my favourite parts of a Stratford Saturday is nipping to the butcher around the corner and picking up something to get an afternoon of cooking underway. Last weekend it was lamb and date tagine to accompany an evening of watching Strictly and The Adjustment Bureau.

Soften an onion in some oil and a knob of finely chopped ginger. Brown the lamb and add 1tsp each of cumin, coriander, harissa paste and cinammon. Pour over some passata and water until everything is covered. Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours. Then add chunks of sweet potatoes and cook for a further 20mins or so. Stir in some chopped dates right at the end. We ate it with rice and a scattering of coriander but I’m sure it would be yummy with cous cous and some flaked almonds.

A sort of Spanish Omelette

There were some eggs that needed up in my kitchen, as happens frequently. Often I’ll buy them to eat for Sunday breakfast but then have most of the box left over and I don’t tend to eat eggs very frequently. But I hate food to go to waste and so was determined to use them before their use-by date. Now I know traditional Spanish omelettes do not contain a lot of the ingredients I am about to list, but things in my fridge needed eating…

Soften an onion and a thinly sliced pepper in some oil and butter. Add a teaspoon of harissa and some cooked, sliced new potatoes. Pour over four eggs (that have been beaten with a teaspoon of thyme and some salt and pepper). Cook in the pan on the hob but finish off under the grill. If I’d had some feta/goats’ cheese I would have added that and ideally I’d have fresh parsley to put over it, but I didn’t so never mind. Tasty none the less and there’s plenty left over for lunch tomorrow. 

Tagine for Mum

After yet another quite indulgent weekend, some meals mainly made of vegetables was definitely on the cards. I also needed to prepare something that could be made in advance and heated when required to fit in with meeting Mum at the station and then watching the play. This is what was concocted. It makes masses. I will be eating it for days…

A butternut squash, peeled and cubed

A yellow pepper (or red)

An onion

Two cloves of garlic

A teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, chilli powder and harissa 

Some new potatoes

A courgette, chopped into chunks

A few carrots, chopped into chunks

A tin of chickpeas

A tin of chopped tomatoes

500ml of either chicken or veggie stock

Fresh coriander to serve

Soften the onions then add the spices and garlic. Fry for a few minutes. Chuck in all of the vegetables and then the  tinned toms and stock. Simmer for 30mins. Add the chickpeas. Either serve now or reheat later. We had this with brown rice but cous cous would be tasty too. As would a handful of flaked almonds scattered on top.

Pearl Barley with some stuff in it

A tendency to over-indulge at the weekends has led to an attempt to be nice and healthy during the week. I’m also trying to be good and make sure I have tupperwares of food at the ready when eating at home isn’t a possibility. On Tuesday evening I had to go Birmingham for work and wouldn’t be home until way past suppertime, so a box of the following was made for the train there…

Cooked and cooled pearl barley (simmer in water for about an hour)

Cooked, chopped beetroot

A handful of babyleaf spinach

Cooked and cooled broccoli, green beans and sugar snaps

Lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil

Some chunks of goats’ cheese

Beef stew for two

A lazy Sunday in Stratford called for a few things: eggs for breakfast, a nice walk along the river and some comfort food for a snuggly evening in watching the unbelievably brilliant Homeland. Sunday happened to be day two of the Stratford food festival, which meant that right outside my door were a host of stalls selling all sorts of yummy things. Having had a peruse, Chris and I opted for some olives, French cheese and a nice saucisson for a snacky lunch and we also grabbed some casserole beef…


Season some flour with thyme, oregano, salt and pepper and cover the beef with a dusting of it before browning in a pan. 


In a separate pan soften a red onion, two cloves of garlic, a stick of celery (finely chopped) and some big chunks of carrots. Then add the meat and a big glass of red (we used pinot noir). Let this simmer for a moment before adding a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato puree, two bay leaves then some beef stock (make sure there’s enough liquid to cover the stew). Simmer for as many hours as you possibly can. 

We served it with new potatoes and buttered green beans and the rest of the red. Yum.