Last week was not the healthiest of food weeks. As England slipped back into lockdown, we found comfort foods on top of comfort foods showing up to console us. There were disappointments along the way but also an absolutely stunning chicken pot pie, a deliciously spicy lamb & aubergine stir fry and a phenomenally fast and tasty Thai salad which we had with steak, but could easily be adapted for pescatarian or vegan diets.
From November’s Delicious Magazine, in a feature on recipes from Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen
Reader, I managed it. I actually managed to bake eggs without them being either over or under, which is not something I’ve ever achieved before- nevertheless I still had to adjust the timings given in the recipe. I’d argue that this dish was more Shakshuka than Huevos Rancheros. It was pleasant, healthy and quick to make. It wasn’t earth shattering or particularly memorable.
Would I recommend it? Not particularly- there are better baked egg recipes out there.
Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites
First things first- I know a pot pie isn’t really a pie, it’s a stew with a lid. You don’t need to tell me. That is the only problem with this dish and, as it does call itself a pot pie, I don’t think it’s even a real problem. That is how hard I have searched for a flaw in this beautiful recipe. Admittedly, it owes a lot to the vast quantity of butter required- it’s not one for dieters unless they’re having a cheat day- but it is worth the calories. Silky creamy sauce, deep savoury chickeny taste running through every aspect. I didn’t even use Bourdain’s stock or pastry recipe, just a Knorr Stock Pot and my classic lazy girl shop bought shortcrust. I can only imagine how blissful this would be with the other homemade aspects. Set aside a couple of hours to make this- I promise it’s worth it.
Would I recommend it? Yes, along with every single other recipe I have made from his book.
Hot Mustard Tuna with Herby Couscous
A tuna steak cooked rare is one of my favourite things. It’s also very good for you. This was lovely, although the mustard didn’t really come though. That didn’t matter too much, the tuna went very nicely with the lemony herby couscous. On top of that, it was so quick and easy to make and felt like a treat on a Friday evening.
Would I recommend it? Yes- I wouldn’t make it for a dinner party or anything, but if you’ve had a long day and need a dish that’s minimal effort but still feels a bit more special than beans on toast, this is your gal.
Macaroni Cheese Lasagne
This was the cover recipe for October’s issue of Good Food. I had been looking forward to making this for over a month. I had originally planned to make it as a bonfire night treat, but as it happened it was eaten as a weekend treat instead. It was not more than the sum of its parts. It was a bolognese pasta bake with a more exciting name. It was a very nice bolognese pasta bake, but I would rather have an actual lasagne for the effort, or macaroni cheese or spaghetti bolognese for less effort. Serves me right for letting my head be turned by novelty.
Would I Recommend It? Afraid not.
Slow Roast Beef Brisket
From November’s Waitrose Magazine. The recipe isn’t on their website but the magazine is free to download in their app.
This was a lovely brisket recipe, as brisket recipes that take upwards of four hours tend to be. Of course there was the added advantage that the delicious smell of the slow roasting beef filled the house with anticipation ahead of our Sunday Roast. Darling husband made the Yorkshire puddings and best ever roast potatoes as always. He has almost been convinced to type up his roast potato method for me to feature on here. The brisket itself was cooked in a fairly classic way and ended up with tender, yielding, tasty beef. I shredded up the leftovers and used them for a spicy fried rice fish for our lunch the next day, which was also yummy.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for a Sunday when you have all day go let the oven work it’s magic.
Crispy Cumin Lamb Mince Noodles with Aubergine
This is in our family book but was originally featured in Waitrose Magazine. It is not on their website but is searchable on their app.
If you like flavour you’ll probably like this. I have to tone down the spice significantly (2tsp of the crispy chilli, half a tsp of Szechuan pepper) for my husband’s sake. Admittedly the first time I made this I toned down the spice slightly less than that and it was even on my limit- regardless we loved it enough to add it to the book. It’s sweet from the aubergines, sour, salty, hot and fragrant. It’s also ready and on the table in less than half an hour.
Would I recommend it? Yes, especially if you’re a spice lover and don’t have to tone things down like we do!
These were definitely comfort food. Mildly spicy, little bursts of sweetness from the sweetcorn, chicken that had taken on the other flavours beautifully and all encased in starchy, cheesy goodness. A bit like a hug on a plate. If you use corn tortillas instead of flour, you need to warm them through before you make the individual wraps. I learned this the hard way.
Would I recommend it? Yes, especially if you need some comfort food that’s less than 600kcals a portion.
Basic Yum with Steak
From Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s Baan
A steak salad has to be one of life’s great joys. You have the luxury of steak, but you get all the smug feelings from eating a salad- tick and tick! This was super quick- the meat didn’t require marinating, all the flavour was provided by the dressing which was made in seconds and provided the hot, sour, sweet and salty taste you expect from a Thai salad. There’s definitely a reason it’s called ‘yum.’
Would I recommend it? Yes, maximum results for minimum effort and easily adapted to seafood or tofu if necessary.