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Meat-free Month - menu plan update

Tuesday, 22 March 2011  |  Admin

Alas, my meat-free month is over - we ran for a slightly longer period of time this year, it came to an abrupt halt last weekend when I craved one of my favourite Sunday lunches, boiled ham, carrots, parsley sauce and spuds - Yummy!
This is what we ate over a 12 day period but as you can see for quite a few of the days we had freezer surprise or similar - and if it says 'Fish Fingers and chips' it means that H and I were out that night!
As you can tell from the menu this is probably the period that I've done least cooking, partly because I'm knackered and partly because I'm in the late pregnancy / indigestion hell and don't feel like cooking big meals that I'm not going to enjoy eating. There's also quite a bit of comfort food.... As always I'll identify any highlights below.
Menu Plan
Sunday - Poached Haddock with Mustard & Spinach sauce, Mashed Potatoes & Peas
Monday & Tuesday - Freezer Surprise
Wednesday - Macaroni Cheese
Thursday -Potato Wedges, sour cream, sweet chilli sauce
Friday - Falafel in Pitta bread with Hummous and Tzatziki
Saturday - Enchiladas (Yotam Ottolenghi Plenty)
Sunday - Oven Roast Salmon with green beans, tomatoes, olives and anchovies (Jamie Oliver). Roast Potatoes & Salsa Verde
Monday - Fishcakes (made with leftover salmon from Sunday)
Tuesday - Creamed mushrooms on toast
Wednesday - Pasta & Tuna Bake
Thursday - Charlies African Sweet Potato Stew
Friday - fish fingers and chips - Meat-free month officially over!
Highlights
Both Sunday dinners were lovely. The haddock in creamy mustard sauce is just the thing if you fancy comforting rich sauce, smoky fish and a big pillow of mash. The baked salmon probably had the edge on it however, especially because the children seemed to prefer it. Or maybe it was the roast potato chunks that I served with it which were practically chips and therefore always a crowd pleaser in our house. The salmon is one of Jamie Olivers original recipes (book 1 or 2 I think) but worth reproducing here:
Roast Salmon, Green Beans, Olives & Cherry Tomatoes
400 grams green beans

200 grams cherry tomatoes

1 to 2 handfuls black olives, destoned

2 Tbs olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 handful fresh basil, picked2 x 200 gram salmon fillet steak

1/2 lemon

12 anchovy fillets
Method
Preheat the oven and a roasting tray to about 230c.
Tail and blanch the green beans until tender (3 minutes) in salted, boiling water, and drain. Put in a bowl with the cherry tomatoes and the destoned olives. Toss in the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the basil.
Wash and pat dry the salmon. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the fillets, on both sides, then season both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
Take the hot roasting tray from the oven. Put the salmon at 1 end of the roasting tray. Add the green beans mixture next to the salmon in the tray. Lay the anchovies over the green beans and place an extra couple of lemons halves in the pan for roasting too.
Roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Another fantastic recipe which we tried for the second time was again from Yotam Ottolenghis 'Plenty' and was for Enchiladas. I'm not suire if it's the enchiladas or salsa that has me hooked though - I LOVE the salsa so much I've been making it randomly for evening snacking. (Yes, once baby comes, I'll be replacing the crisps with healthy carrots, but until then...)
One surprising winner was the creamy mushrooms on toast. Again, not a recipe to make if you're watching your weight but as an indulgent comfort food it was right up there:
Creamy Mushrooms on Toast
500 grams Mushroomsbutter - 40 grams1 onion / 3 shallots2 cloves garlicsplash of madeira or white wineparsleyseasoningBread for toast - I used home-baked wholemeal, but sour dough would be perfect too
Method
Gently fry the shallots / onion in butter until softened, then add garlic and cook for a further minuteAdd the mushrooms and fry until the water oozes out and is reabsorbed againAdd a splash of wine / madeira / wine vinegar to deglaze the panOnce it bubbles away, add the cream and then simmer gently for about 10 minutesAdd parsley and seasoning to tasteServe on thick slices of toasted bread
The last highlight was Charleys 'African Sweet Potato Stew', the recipe for which was posted in my comments earlier this month. Just two words describe this - De-licious!
Hi Helen

Give this a whirl, It’s delicious.
african sweet potato stew

serves4-6
1 inion

4 tbs oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp grated fresh root ginger

1/2tsp cayenne pepper

12oz sweet potatoes

1 tbs curry paste

1/2pt passata

1/2pt veg stock

8oz spinach leaves

8oz mushrooms

4tbs peanut butter

2tbs chopped fresh coriander
1. peel and chop onion and gently fry it in the oil with garlic, ginger and cayenne for 10mins.
2. peel sweet pots, cut into cubes. add the curry paste to the onion mixture and cook stirring for 1 min. add potatoes, stir to coat and fry for 3-4mins. add passata and stock, bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 mins till potatoes are almost tender.
3. roughly tear up spinach. heat a little more oil in another pan and stir fry the mushrooms till they start to release their juices. add to the potato mix with the spinach and cook for 5 more mins or till veg is cooked through.
4. mix a few spoonfuls of the stew juices with the peanut butter to soften it slightly then stir back into the potato pan. add the coriander, season and heat through.
We eat this with couscous.
Hopefully you've enjoyed this meat-free month and it has inspired you to try something new!