I decided to concentrate on my lunches this week. I go through phases of having the same things every day – baked potatoes with beans and cheese, cheese omelette with rice. Other times I run so late I just grab a bowl of rice krispies with soya milk. When I put my supermarket food order on, I concentrate on what to have for dinner and not what would be good for lunch. I have now baked some baps, I have a variety of fruit and veg and I’m going to give it a go.
Monday: egg bap
Wednesday: jacket potato with beans
Thursday: cheese and pickle baguettes
For dinner, I’ve got a lot of evenings where I can’t spend time cooking, so it’s lots of quick meals or ‘Here’s one I made earlier’ dishes.
Monday: cold roast beef and bubble and squeak
Tuesday: pork medallions and veg
Friday: baked potatoes and salad
Saturday: Mr CG and the Craftyguidelets are fending for themselves as I’m on a residential Guiding training
Linking with At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday. Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.
I love my freezer. As well as the usual ice cream and frozen veg, I store as much as I can in there. All my butter and any other multibuys go straight in so I can bulk buy when it’s on special offer. I don’t eat much bread so when I bake a loaf, I slice it up to go straight into the freezer to use slice by slice so there’s no waste. I also cook batches of vegetarian meals for me so I just need to defrost something for me and cook a meat version for everyone else. Cheaper food, less waste and convenience – I’ll go for that!
It is important to freeze, defrost and reheat food safely so take care!
This week I’m batch making a vegetarian chilli to add to the bolognaise in the freezer. If I can do one meal a week, it gives me a selection to pull out of the freezer.
Vegetarian Chilli – serves 6
225g dried white haricot beans
125g dried red kidney beans
1 tbsp oil
2 large onions, quartered and sliced
14oz tin chopped tomatoes
3-4 bay leaves
1 veggie stock cube made up into 850ml stock
2 red and 2 green peppers, cut into medium strips
chilli powder to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Soak the beans for 8-12 hours or overnight in plenty of cold water.
- Drain the beans and rinse really thoroughly.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions until they are just turning golden.
- Add beans, tomatoes, bay leaves and stock.
- Bring to the boil uncovered, and once boiling, boil rapidly for 10 minutes (very important when dealing with dried beans to kill toxins).
- Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add peppers, garlic and chilli.
- Cook slowly for 45 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and serve with rice.
I have been freezing this in individual portions for years. I just defrost a portion the night before in the fridge and microwave it until it is completely reheated throughout.
Our weekly meal plan is as follows:
Monday: Jacket potatoes and salad – should have had this last week, but after a day of cleaning and decluttering the kitchen, we had a celebratory takeaway pizza so we didn’t get it dirty again!
Tuesday: Veggie chilli/Chicken and Vegetable Stew
Wednesday: Creamy Haddock and Broccoli
Thursday: Vegetarian Goulash
Saturday: Fish Pie
Sunday: Beef Hotpot/Veggie Bolognaise
Linking to At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday. Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.
Unfortunately I couldn’t watch the Bake Off live this week so I don’t know how the bakers got on with the challenges. Looking at an episode write up, the 3 rounds were quick breads, baguettes and 3D bread sculptures.
I tend to try gluten free bakes so that Mr CG can help share the calorie load. However I am yet to find a decent gluten free bread recipe that the gluten eating members of the family could enjoy, so on this occasion, the gluten stays. I chose baguettes which was the technical challenge, and consulted Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book for his recipe.The dough came together well. It was quite wet but that’s what Paul said it should be like so I didn’t argue. I proved it in a square container as suggested, but then it came time to turn it out and form the baguettes. The dough was still very sticky and I ended up with 4 slug shapes rather than baguette shapes. After proving, it was difficult to score the dough, but I managed to ooze the loaves onto baking trays.They may not be perfectly formed, but they were lovely and crusty and great with some butter. Big thumbs up from the Craftyguidelets!
I’ve had Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book since it came out in 2012 and I have used it for simple bread recipes. The problem is that it is a gluten fest and anything I bake from it can’t be eaten by gluten intolerant Mr CG. This means extras for the Craftyguidelets and myself, but that means an expanding waistline for me!To try something different, I used Paul’s recipe for Hot Cross Buns rather than my normal cut-from-a-magazine-and-stashed-in-my-recipe-file one which I’ve used before. I say “used the recipe”, but I follow my Master Baker Dad’s advice and bung in much more dried fruit and spices than normal recipes state.The recipe was easy to follow, and some of the techniques such as piping the crosses on brought back memories of when my brothers and sister and I “helped” in the bakehouse when we were young.It took several hours to keep proving the dough at each stage before I could bake them, but having been brought up in a family bakery with my Dad’s fruity, spicy hot cross buns, I can’t buy the sorry excuses that supermarkets sell these days.They turned out really well and were probably a bit knobbly because I’d crammed in so much fruit, but they were delicious.Warm from the oven and spread with butter. Definitely not Slimming World friendly, but Easter only happens once a year. Unless you count Orthodox Easter of course!
Disclaimer: I own this book and I haven’t been asked to review it, or been paid to review it. All opinions are my own, and I have added some links to the normal Amazon site where I bought my copy. They are not affiliate links and I don’t get any money if you click on them.
In my quest to use more of my book collection, I had to start somewhere, and cake is a very good place to start.
Mr Craftyguider has a gluten intolerance, so to make sure he can share some of the responsibility of consuming cake calories, I mostly bake with gluten free ingredients. Because of the nature of gluten free ingredients, I usually follow recipes that are specifically gluten free rather than just substituting gluten free flour for wheat flour in standard recipes.
Michael McCamley’s Gluten Free Baking book was recommended by someone on twitter and there is a wide variety of bakes inside. I am after the elusive recipe for decent gluten free bread and pastry I can bake at home.The book starts with an introduction on what gluten is, the different problems people can experience with an allergy or intolerance to gluten, where to look for gluten in foods, and what alternatives are available.I chose the recipe for banana muffins with maple cream frosting from the first chapter as I had all the ingredients to hand, as well as some very spotty bananas to use up. The recipe method isn’t as detailed as some I’ve used in the past, and the mix looked wrong at some stages of the process. However, I trusted the recipe and got to a mix consistency I recognised as cake batter at the end.The resulting cake tasted as good as it looks, and I couldn’t tell that it was a gluten free cake. It was lovely and moist, had loads of banana, and the maple syrup cream cheese frosting was divine. We ate them over 3 days and they kept perfectly well in a tin in the fridge.There is a wide variety of cakes and biscuits in this book and I will definitely be trying more out based on my first success. The book gives recipes for flours to blend at home to make the various mixes (e.g. bread flour, self raising etc.), but I prefer using the Doves Farm branded pre-blended flours available from most supermarkets where I can. I once counted 19 different types of gluten free flours and standard wheat flours in my baking cupboard when I used to do home blends. That was too much to store and keep track of, so I’m currently at about 8.Breads and Savoury Pastries are the gluten free recipes I’ve never mastered. I think that the structure the gluten gives them is more important than in a cake. Perhaps this is the book that will solve these problems.These Phil Vickery books were the first gluten free books I tried that I had success with (and also the reason I had lots of flours to blend in my cupboard!).My go to book for easy baking is the Cake Angels book by Julia Thomas. It uses basic ingredients that are easy to get hold of, the instructions are simple to understand, and there is a wide range of cake recipes. Again, the recipes don’t taste like they are gluten free. She does also make the recipes dairy free, but I sometimes substitute the dairy free ingredients for ones that contain dairy as we don’t have a problem with lactose.
Do you have a favourite gluten free baking book which always gives you good results?
Disclaimer: I own all of these books and I haven’t been asked to review them, or been paid to review them. All opinions are my own, and I have added some links to the normal Amazon site where I bought my copies. They are not affiliate links and I don’t get any money if you click on them.
I’ve been away from meal planning for a few weeks. Time, disorganisation and a weekend away have meant that I’ve been winging it or planning and not blogging. This week needs a bit more careful planning.
Last Monday’s storm knocked out our power and tripped the mains switch. We were away, so when we came back on Tuesday evening, we had to clear two fridges and freezers of food. I rely on my freezer a lot. I am a vegetarian, husband is gluten intolerant (amongst other things), and therefore I cook most meals from scratch. Rather than be a slave to the kitchen, I batch cook and keep my freezer stocked up. Therefore I can cook one type of meal and just defrost the other. I also keep uneaten portions of food, homemade bread, herbs, some fruits and a whole host of other bits in the freezer, and they are now in the bin. It’s such a waste.
No more freezer diving for a while. I even ate a commercial ready meal for the first time in years last week. Not good. I had to bake two loaves of bread last week because the Craftyguidelets were at home. I normally have a jacket potato or something else that suits my Slimming World programme so just pull a couple of slices from a frozen loaf if they are home. I also came unstuck with a lack of gluten free breadcrumbs and other ingredients that I normally just pick from the freezer or fridge.
We do have a glut of chocolate though after a trip to Cadbury World. Or we did have. I seem to have eaten rather a lot…
With a food delivery today, this is what we’ll be eating this week.
Monday Fish pie
Tuesday Toad in the hole
Wednesday Chicken cordon bleu
Thursday Spaghetti bolognese
Friday Vegetable goulash
Saturday Tuna pasta bake
Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.
Last week’s menu had it’s successes and failures. Last minute changes to my afternoon schedules meant that the ratatouille had to be made in the slow cooker and turned out a bit soggy. However the chicken cordon bleu went down very well with the family and I’ve been asked to add it to the list of regular meals.
I love making vegetable goulash. The smell of smoked paprika is divine, and look at all these lovely colours together.
I’ve also been busy on the baking front. Rather than make a loaf of bread, I chose to make some rolls from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book. I’m so pleased how they came out, although I’m yet to try one and they went straight into the freezer.
I’ve also been baking with the kids. Eldest Craftyguidelet saw a truffle recipe in her Moshi Monsters magazine which contained biscuits. As Mr Craftyguider is gluten intolerant, I chose a truffle recipe from the Eat Yourself Thin book instead, and we coated them with the hundreds and thousands that were in the magazine, with some gluten free sugar strands for Mr CG. I don’t think chocolate and honey mixed with coffee is ever going to make me thin though, so I might leave the family to munch through these.
We also made the Millionaires Shortbread recipe from my favourite gluten free baking book, Cake Angels. The Craftyguidelets rechristened it Minionaires shortbread due to their obsession with all things Despicable Me.
This week is a bit on the busy side so the menu will be fairly simple.
Monday: Ham, egg and chips
Wednesday: Fish pie
Thursday: Something in the slow cooker
Friday: Vegetable pasta
Sunday: Roast something!
Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday. Have a look to see what everyone else is cooking up this week.