Always thinking of my next meal

Having barely finished dinner, I am already thinking about tomorrow’s grub. I suppose at least I waited until I had finished eating – that isn’t always the case! So, Ocado had beef brisket on special offer today which I had delivered. It’s not a massive piece (I thought it was supposed to be dirt cheap so I had expected it to be bigger), which is a bit disappointing as I was expecting large portions plus plenty of leftovers. I am going to cook a sort of pot au feu with some onions, leeks and carrots. Along with some dippy bread that should make a nice sunday dinner, and as the oven will be on low for a few hours I will do a rice pudding as well. I only have skimmed milk in the house so will have to see if it turns out okay. Usually I bung in some vanilla bean paste and sugar and a bit of cream – we eat it cold instead of hot as Andrew is not a fan of hot puddings, the weird boy. He doesn’t like the skin either, so I get that all to myself.

I got up early today so that I could clean the house now the builders have gone (they built my beautiful new bookshelves which now house my extremely large collection of cookbooks), and so just had a cuppa for breakfast. For lunch I decided to have sardines on toast – I can’t remember if I have ever made it for myself before but I had some sardines in the cupboard (boneless fillets in sunflower oil which I keep handy to top salads) and for some reason I was reminded of when I worked at an old people’s home and that used to be one of the suppers I made the residents (my first ever experiences of mass catering – and they were probably the pickiest crowd I have ever cooked for, but supper chef shift was infinitely more preferable to care assistant shift – I will never forget my first day being told that “the red flannel is for washing their privates” and realising that a care assistant job wasn’t just going to be chatting to the old ladies). Well it was super tasty and very filling (ever the greedy guts I made 4 slices of toast into two “toasted sandwiches”).

The sardines saw me through until this evening when I made a favourite of ours – chorizo style sausages (sold in Waitrose – not dried like normal chorizo but with a similar flavour combination) baked in a tray with chopped potatoes, onions and drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and cook for around 40 minutes. You need to move everything about regularly so that the onions don’t catch, but apart from that you can pretty much ignore it.

I originally got the idea from a Nigella show years ago – she used chicken thighs and added peppers, then sprinkled with thyme. That’s a good one as well, although I overdid the thyme once and everything ended up tasting a bit soapy (well, according to my brother anyway who hates the majority of my cooking). Now I use various combinations of meat (bone in pork chops with a decent fat layer are really good – especially the chops from Frank Godfrey butchers), potatoes (old or new, although old go squidgier and soak up the fat nicely!) and onions / peppers / garlic. Nigella always left the skins on her onions but that is exceptionally lazy, and I don’t fancy the idea of the skin staying chewy. I never peel the potatoes though – I am quite lazy.

It is a great dinner because there is hardly any washing up, it tastes great and is very low maintenance. Normally the ingredients will be in the house and so you just need to defrost the meat the day before. Plus, mushing up the potato with the onion and oil and making sandwiches out of it is bloody lovely. Not very healthy but so worth doing. Oh, and any leftover potatoes are AWESOME as well.

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