Ready for this?
But it’s not yet time to be tempted off our resolve to stay on the straight and narrow! With Easter just weeks away, here are some delicious mid-week meal ideas to help keep you on the wagon. All of these meals are easy to rustle up using your Bosch hob and oven, making cooking a dream.
Still Celebrating Root Veg
There may be a feeling that spring is on its way, but there are still some wonderful root vegetables to celebrate which make hearty, filling meals on the remaining cold evenings of the winter months.
Currently in season are some old friends, such as leeks that make a great classic, leek and potato soup. Or the relative newcomer, sweet potato. This is such a versatile root with its sweet flavour and smooth texture.
Sweet potato fries are now a very popular sight in most restaurants. You can make a healthier version at home by chopping whole sweet potatoes into wedges, skin on, then toss in oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven. Or for a delicious filling meal, try this tasty and high protein pilaf that stars the humble parsnip.
In the 1950s, chicken was an expensive luxury product, but now we eat chicken around twice a week. The reason that chicken is now much more prevalent on our plates is because it is cheap. Chickens are quick to rear and easy to mass-produce. Also for health reasons, we are being advised to eat less red meat to reduce cholesterol and chicken is seen as a leaner, healthier option. Then finally for environmental reasons. Meat is a large producer of emissions, however chicken is deemed to be a smaller contributor than other meats such as beef.
If you are going to choose this meat, it is worth considering that mass-produced factory-farmed processes are incredibly bad for the environment, the meat has fewer good nutrients that can benefit our bodies and are not kind to the animals. Why not try supporting a local, British, small-producer? You will be benefiting the environment and the flavour is out of this world! Let the chicken be the crowning glory in this spring chicken all in one tray bake.
Bring on the Greens
At this time of year, we are beginning to come out of the dark nights where all we wanted was heavy stodge and we’re beginning to think about summer and eating more healthily. So, many of us are reaching once more for the vegetables and this recipe from Jamie Oliver can be easily adapted to use the British greens that are in season now.
Swap in some local sweetheart cabbage which has a lovely sweet flavour and crunchy texture. Pak choi works well with the noodles and spring onion adds a lovely punchy flavour to finish. Why not also use purple sprouting broccoli for a pop of colour? If you’ve never used miso paste before, this is a good place to start. It is made from fermented soya beans and is used to add a salty, umami flavour to Japanese cooking. You can buy miso paste from Tesco, Holland and Barrett or online.
Eggs, Eggs, Eggs
(The savoury kind, not the chocolate ones!)
But hang on, isn’t it unsafe to eat more than one egg a day?
Actually, according to the NHS, there is no limit to how many eggs you can eat per day, which is good news for all you egg lovers out there! Are all eggs equal? There are many different types to choose from whether it’s a supermarket budget brand or a high-end, organic, free-range egg.
There have been many studies on the various health benefits of different eggs. The results are that whilst you can make a choice which benefits animal welfare, the environment or your purse, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference to the nutrients in the egg. But why not try a different variety and enjoy the range of flavours, richness and colour of yolks and choice of shells?
Did you know that young chickens initially lay smaller eggs which are called ‘pullet’ eggs? Most eggs are sold by size and as these fall beneath industry sizing standards, they are often wasted, despite being just as delicious. Keep an eye out for them at a farmers market and maybe try them in this Indian inspired frittata. Try serving it with a seasonal salad.
You’ve made it to the end of the week and you normally grab a fish and chip supper.
But what if you want to 'posh it up' a bit, maybe do a dish that brings a little 'wow' to a Friday? This salmon en croute (which just means ‘in a pastry crust’) is simple to make and will have everyone asking for seconds!
If you want to get super efficient, why not make it the night before then whip it out of the fridge and into the oven as you are serving a little pre-dinner drink? For those vegetarians out there, there’s no need to miss out. This beetroot alternative is a winner and will have your fish-eating friends looking on with envy. Serve with crushed new potatoes and fresh greens.