When not to do what it says on the packet

Breakfast

Weetabix type cereal, grapes, soya milk

001

The weetabix type cereal was the Sainsbury’s economy version. Although they’re very nice, they’re also tiny and I found that you needed about three for a decent breakfast! The great thing about using sweetened soya milk is that you don’t need to add sugar to this kind of cereal (which at least feels healthier).

Lunch

Salad, ciabatta bread, peanuts, apple

002

The salad was the same as the one I made yesterday- just leaves, a tomato and some cucumber, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and drizzled with olive oil. This went really well with the olive ciabatta from yesterday and I couldn’t resist a few coconut peanuts either.

Dinner

Roasted polenta with aubergine, salad

Dessert: apple, cranberry and cinnamon pot

004

This is a really delicious meal that only takes a minimal amount of effort to prepare (although it takes a while to cook itself in the oven).  Polenta is another fabulous Italian food that doesn’t get as much publicity as pizza and pasta. For this recipe you need the kind of polenta that looks like a block of cheese, not the one that looks like a packet of flour. It can (hopefully) be found near the dried pasta in supermarkets.

Ingredients for roasted polenta with aubergine (serves 2):

– 2 medium aubergines

– A packet of polenta

– A little olive oil

– Zest of 2 lemons

– A little lemon thyme

– A good splash of soya cream

Method:

I’ve included the aubergine cooking method (and pictures) from the Aubergine Roulade with Lemon and Tarragon Sauce which is inspired by Ottolenghi but simplified a bit. Today I did it in a different oven and found that the aubergines took longer and I had to finish them off in a saucepan. To be fair though, I did start off cooking them on gas 6 rather than 7 and this particular oven is rather idiosyncratic with the flames at the bottom and not the back.

1. Preheat the oven to gas 7 (220 C)

2. Top and tail the aubergines and place on a baking tray, whole.  Roast for about 45 mins-1 hour until the skins are really charred and the aubergines feel soft when a knife is inserted. You can turn  them once half way through cooking but this isn’t essential.

3. When the aubergines only have about half an hour left, slice the polenta, brush with a little olive oil and place on a baking tray on a lower rung of the oven. You’ll probably want to turn them once. When I made this meal I was only cooking one aubergine so put the polenta slices alongside it on the baking tray. They should cook fine on a lower rung though and you could always temporarily swap rungs with the aubergines if you felt they needed an extra boost of crispiness.

4. When the aubergines are ready, remove from the oven, cut open lengthways and scoop out the flesh. It may help to steady the aubergine with a fork and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. You may want to cut up some of the larger pieces (kitchen scissors are useful for this).

004 (2)

005

007 (2)

5. Place the aubergine flesh in a pan and add the lemon zest, lemon thyme and a good splash of soya cream. This is where we rebel against the packet, as the one enclosing Sainsbury’s lemon thyme says it’s ‘perfect with poultry fabulous with fish’. I can think of some much kinder ways to use it though, including this one. Heat gently for around five minutes until piping hot, stirring constantly.

6. Remove the polenta from the oven, arrange the slices on plates and top with the aubergines.

005

The dessert was really lovely, although it did feel a little to Christmassy to be eating in a warm (or at least not freezing) garden. To make it for one person, you just need an apple (chopped), a good handful of dried cranberries (or sultanas) and a good sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar.

007

008

Snacks

Morning: A couple of oaty biscuits

Evening: Diet coke and an apple

As promised, the new inclusion of snacks.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s