Happy Friday! It was put to a vote and What to Cook is back by popular demand on a trial basis! If you like what you read, please support me by following my blog and my Instagram @everlyskids and spreading the word on social media. It’s a lot of work putting it all together, so I can only justify continuing this series if I have enough readers! I hope you enjoy reading it!
March is a funny time of year. It’s that period of transition between winter and spring where (at least if you’re in the UK) the spring bulbs have emerged and the leaf-buds on the trees have started to open, but it can still be pretty freezing. Every morning is a mental battle over whether to wear your trusty Ugg boots that you’ve been living in since late September or your beige suede ballet flats (you know, the beautiful Spanish ones with paper thin soles that would meet their demise after one drop of rain). It’s the same with food. At this time of year it can be hard to decide between a hearty stew and a springy pea pesto pasta. In an ideal world we would all be able to eat fresh, locally grown produce all year round and striving to get as close to that as possible is certainly admirable. But the fact is, there’s not that much in season in March in the UK. And, in my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating fruit and veg that has been frozen, pickled or even canned as this means we can continue to have a varied diet throughout the year (I will publish a post on seasonal eating another time). So feel as free to eat (frozen) peas in March as in season broccoli, kale and cauliflower. Now for my top recipe picks for this weekend and the coming week. Happy cooking!
If you’re looking for something a little special for a Friday or Saturday night ‘date night’ at home (to be eaten in quiet peace with a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed), try one of my all time favourite recipes – Miso Marinated Black Cod by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa (yes, that’s right, the celebrity chef of the Nobu restaurants). And guess what? It’s actually super simple to make. I have never been able to find black cod in the supermarket fishmongers, but that’s okay. Regular cod, as long as the fillets are good quality and fresh, will be just as good. In a fix you can also swap regular brown miso for the white miso, but you should be able to find white miso in a good supermarket such as Waitrose. The mirin rice wine and sake are also available at Waitrose and any larger Asian supermarket should also carry all the ingredients. I serve mine with jasmine rice and tenderstem broccoli which has been stir fried with sesame oil, garlic and soya sauce. Be careful not to overcook the fish because if you get it right, it’s absolute perfection!
And for dessert?
My top pick for the week is BBC Goodfood’s sticky toffee cake. I recently made this for a weekend away at a Cottage in Dorset with good friends and not a crumb was left by the end of our stay. Have it now, while the nights are still cold, by the fire or cuddling under a warm blanket or make it for a dinner party with friends and serve with a glass of dessert wine. This is one of the cosiest, most comforting and most delicious cakes I have ever made and it’s easier than it looks to make. If you don’t want to mess around with layers and icing, leave out the icing and bake the sponge in a rectangular baking pan and pour over the toffee sauce as you would a regular sticky toffee pudding. But honestly the icing is worth the extra effort!
Eggs on toast. Eggs Florentine. Bagels with cream cheese. An omelette. All Sunday brunch staples, which are very nice but rather ordinary. Why not be a little adventurous this weekend?
Spice up your Sunday with Delicious Magazine’s Masala omelette with spinach and soured cream dressing. This recipe by Chetna Makan is unique in that the omelette itself is spiced with garam masala and turmeric and mixed with chopped coriander and served with spinach topped with a soured cream dressing. And you can make the whole thing from start to finish in around 30 minutes!
Or if you have a bit more time on your hands, try Delicious Magazine’s Kimchi parathas. Kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage) is slowly becoming an accepted breakfast food, with dishes like kimchi breakfast bowls, kimchi omelettes and kimchi breakfast tacos on the breakfast menus of more trendy establishments. I love the idea of kimchi parathas. They shouldn’t go together, one component being from Korea and the other being from India, but surprisingly they do! The recipe calls for homemade parathas which add to the prep time and difficulty of this dish, but if you want to make things super easy, you can buy pre-made parathas at your local Asian supermarket (why not try making them though – it’s half the fun and the kids can get involved!)
Finally, I love the sound of this recipe Smoky chickpeas on toast recipe by Cassie Best, which takes a total of 12 minutes to make! And the best part is it’s two of your five a day done, boom!
If you have a bounty of brassicas*, then check out my collection of vegetarian brassica recipes, including a spiced Romanesco cauliflower Dahl, a cheesy cauliflower pasta bake, spaghetti with a lemony broccoli sauce and an easy penne with purple cauliflower, spinach and parmesan.
This week I will be making Delicious Magazine’s Tomato, dill and feta Orzo as all of these ingredients bring back wonderful, balmy, summer memories of our trip to Greece, years ago when my husband and I got engaged. This dish is still warming enough for a cold evening but reminds me that the long, lazy summer nights will make their appearance soon. Serve it with a green salad dressed in a simple lemon and olive oil dressing and some fresh bread for a perfect meal.
For something a bit meatier, I wholeheartedly recommend Jamie Oliver’s Chilli con Jamie which is the perfect, hearty meal while the nights are still cold. The coffee, added during cooking, really sets this chilli apart and you can substitute the same quantity of good quality minced beef for the beef brisket (which is what I usually do), if you wish. This one will quickly become one of your favourite chilli recipes!
And finally, if anyone is looking for ways to use up that left over batter from last week’s pancake day, look no further. BBC Goodfood has a list of delicious recipes made using pancakes. Click here to visit their site!
I hope you enjoyed reading this week’s edition of What to Cook. Have a great weekend and I hope to see you again next week!
* Also informally known as cruciferous vegetables, ‘brassica’ is the horticultural term for the genus of plants in the mustard family and includes vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, collards, kale and bok choi.