Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My week in dinners

I don't know if there was ever a time when food was simple. The ingredients we cook with, the way in which we cook them and how we eat have always been indicators of status. Here in Ireland, the high society who lived in grand houses dined on the finest foods for centuries while peasants subsisted on potatoes, oats and hardy vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, cabbage and kale.

However, I think food has become more complicated in recent years. Turkey Twizzlers or tofu, chia pudding or Coco Pops, sliced pan or artisan sourdough; what you eat has never said more about who you are and how you want others to see you.

Food bloggers have certainly had a part to play in this. We all work hard to style our food photos to make them look as appealing as possible. Everything from the dish the meal is served in to the artfully-placed green herb placed on top has been carefully considered.  The words and images we use convey a message about food and it's not always a helpful one. And nor does it necessarily represent the way we eat every day.

While I'm lucky in that I love cooking and experimenting with new flavours and dishes, I don't always have the time or energy to cook at the end of a long day. And while I certainly pay some attention to how I present the food when I plate it up, the pressure to put food on the table means that I don't style it to within an inch of its life. For one thing, the food would be stone cold by the time I was satisfied with how it looked!

This is why I was intrigued by an idea suggested by fellow food blogger Bumbles of Rice. She called on food bloggers to tell their readers just what they had for dinner for five consecutive days. 

So, here is my week in dinners:

Wednesday: Minestrone soup
A solo dinner: which explains why I'm eating early and reading the paper

I usually try to make a batch of soup for dinner once a week.  I always make extra as I mostly work from home during the day and a bowl of soup makes for a quick and easy lunch. It's also a good fall-back option if I'm too tired to cook dinner on another evening during the week.
You can find the recipe for this soup here

Thursday: Jamie Oliver's cauliflower risotto with anchovy breadcrumbs

Forgive the god-awful picture but this is what it looks like when you use your camera phone and  there is no natural light - it is dinner time and February in Ireland after all!

Friday: grilled miso salmon, brown rice and veggies

Once again: the evening light is rubbish
I eat at least three servings of fish every week, with a focus on oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc. This ties in with my OMS diet which prioritizes intake of omega 3 fats, which we should all be trying to get more of.

Saturday: Potato and cauliflower curry from Olive Magazine - I adapted this to suit my diet and added this mushroom and spinach dish, some flat breads and yoghurt. (I know it's cauliflower again but it's cheap at the moment and I had lots of it in the fridge!)

Sunday: Pork roasted in the oven with onions, apples and wholegrain mustard served with mashed potatoes, crushed carrots and parsnips and brussel sprouts 

Because my diet means I can't eat meat, my boyfriend rarely eats meat during the week. To make up for this, I usually cook him something meaty on Sundays, serving myself something that is easy to rustle up alongside. On this day, I had a baked mackerel dish with the same sides.
But I forgot to take a picture as we were rushing out to the cinema.

Monday: I had some mashed potato and mackerel left over from Sunday as well as some tuna in olive oil in the cupboard so I used them to make this:

Tuna (and mackerel) fishcakes with parsley and caper salad from Olive Magazine again

(I know this is six days of dinners. But because I forgot to photograph one, I thought you deserved one extra!)

Your daily dinners are probably different to mine. They may not focus as much on fish and vegetables. Maybe you don't have the same amount of time or inclination to cook as I do . You might also live closer to a good takeout or a restaurant where you can eat cheaply and well (8 miles from Dingle town - where most good restaurants are pricey - I don't have such luxuries). Whatever the case, I'd love to hear about your week in dinners.


  1. OK, I had to wait for the week to be over before reply. Last week was somewhat less varied than I normally like it, that was due to the limited supply of vegetables in our fridge, and I didn't have time to go shopping. So here's a week of German lunchtime meals (we eat warm for lunch):

    Monday: Pasta and a vegetable sauce with red peppers, mushrooms and canned tomatoes (and onions, garlic and celery).

    Tuesday: A variation of our potato and leek salad that's always very popular with our party guests. I added celery, ate the whole warm and dribbled some chopped dill and olive oil over it.

    Wednesday: Pasta again, with a sauce of red peppers, celery (as I said, limited supply, and I find it hard to use up all that celery) and tomato puree

    Thursday: Inspired by this blog post, I assembled some kind of minestrone, too. With leeks, carrots, a can of tomatoes and (you guessed it!) celery and some broken maccaroni. As an experiment, I let two raw eggs slip into the finished soup and let them set there with very low heat. They were unusually soft on the tongue, but lacked some salt.

    Friday: Fried organic sausages, mashed potatoes and boiled carrots.

    (The remainder of the celery went into Saturday's bolognese sauce.)


  2. Katja! Long time no hear. I loved reading all of your responses - you appear to focus a lot on veggies too. There definitely appears to be a move towards that, doesn't there?

  3. Yes, we eat a lot of veggies, and I actually think most people I know do. About two years ago my man and I read a very interesting book and after that decided to only eat meat that has been produced by organic standards. It has made buying meats a little less easy and a lot more expensive, but we try to make up for that by eating less. It's better and healthier anyway!


  4. That's great, Katja. I think a lot of people are moving in that direction and it certainly is much healthier. It does require a bit more imagination on the part of the cook though - meat and two veg is an easy dinner to put together, I find!