On the menu – January

When I first moved out of my parents’ house and into my first flat, I struggled to find food-spiration.

As a consequence, pasta a la carbonara made (too) many apparences, until I came across a (now closed) French blog where a young mum would share her weekly menus.

It was brilliant – full of new ideas and inspiration, balanced without being diet-oriented or too restrictive and very aware of the time- and money-scarcity sides of things.

I learnt a lot from reading those weekly menus, especially on how important yet bloody difficult food planning really is. Even more so if you’re cooking both lunch and dinner from scratch, with a balanced diet on your mind and a limited amount of time and money to do so.

I’m sure I’m not the only one struggling with this.

Which is why I thought I’d start sharing my own version of those menus, featuring easy recipe/combination ideas as well as tips to prep it all efficiently and make the most of your ingredients.

I want to make this transparent (hence the mention of take away food etc.) and as convenient/helpful as possible, so please do let me know of any changes or features you’d find most helpful in the future!

On the menu – January

Monday

Breakfast
  • Yoghurt V
  • Fruit Ve
Lunch
  • Hard boiled eggs (2) V
  • Cabbage with juniper butter (from Ed Smith’s On the Side) V
  • Fruit
Dinner

Lazy fish tacos ● Easy dinner recipe ● Cake + Whisky

Tuesday

Breakfast
Lunch
  • Leftover corn salsa + crumbled feta V
  • Canned tuna
Dinner
  • Cauliflower katsu curry*: In a large bowl, combine the florets of one large cauliflower with some olive oil, 1 tsp turmeric powder & chilli powder to taste. Place on a roasting tray and bake at 200°C until well golden (about 40 min). In a small saucepan, heat up the katsu sauce (I used Waitrose’s). Pour the sauce on top of the roasted cauliflower, sprinkle with chopped spring onion & coriander. Ve
  • Hard boiled quail eggs V
  • Basmati rice Ve
  • Fruit + chocolate V

 Cauliflower Katsu Curry (V) ● Cake + Whisky

Wednesday

Breakfast
  • Soft boiled egg (5-6 min in a pot of boiling water) V
  • 1/2 avocado Vg
  • Clonakilty black pudding (roasted in the oven for 15 min at 180°C)
Lunch
  • Nutty quinoa salad (from M&S but you could easily make your own by mixing cooked quinoa with a small handful of mixed nuts and a little bit of sesame oil) Vg
  • Roasted cauliflower leaves: Mix together cauliflower greens with a bit of oil, salt, pepper and chilli, then roast for about 20 minutes at 180°C until the stalks are tender and the leaves crispy. Makes 1-2 servingsVg
  • Hummus (store-bought but home-improved) and carrot batons Vg
  • Piece of fruit Vg
Dinner
  • Beef, udon & vegetable stir fry: Heat up 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and a good squeeze of ginger paste in a wok, then add thin strips of beef sirloin and a lot of stir-fry-appropriate vegetables. Cook until almost done, then add 100g of fresh udon noodles and 1 pack of Lee Kum Kee’s sauce for broccoli beef. Add some soy sauce / chilli powder to taste. Makes 2 servings (for a vegetarian option, switch the beef for tofu puffs and use vegetarian oyster sauce) 
  • Piece of fruit Vg

Curried cauliflower cheese soup (V) ● Cake + Whisky

Thursday

Breakfast
  • Yoghurt V
Lunch
Dinner
  • Miso salmon: In a small bowl, mix together two spoonfuls of miso paste, 1 spoonful sesame oil, 2 spoonful soy sauce, 1 spoonful chopped garlic, 1/2 spoonful chopped garlic, a little bit of chilli powder. In an oven-proof dish, place salmon fillets skin side down and top with the miso mix. Leave to marinate for 30min, then bake at 180°C for 15-20 min. Makes 2 servings (for a Ve alternative, replace the salmon with halved sweet potatoes. Roast for 20 min at 200°C, then top with the miso paste and bake for another 5 min).
  • Roasted asparagus: Layer the asparagus in an oven-proof dish. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, a pinch of chilli and one of sumac and roast for 20 min at 180°C. Ve
  • Sauteed spinach with garlic Ve
  • Leftover nutty quinoa salad Ve
  • Grapes Ve

Friday

Breakfast
  • Yoghurt with fruit and honey V
Lunch
  • Leftover miso sweet potato Ve
  • Leftover garlic-y spinach V
  • 2 slices black pudding
  • Dates Ve
Dinner
  • Burgers & fries from Byron (via Deliveroo)

Saturday

Brunch
  • Scrambled eggs V
  • Baked beans Ve
  • Roasted sweet potato Ve
  • Air-dried beef ham
Dinner
  • Massaman curry from Busaba (via Deliveroo) 
  • Basmati rice V

The best squash soup recipe (vegan) • Cake + Whisky

Sunday

Brunch
  • Moroccan meatballs box from Leon
  • Macarons from Pierre Hermé V
Dinner
  • Vegetable soup: Swede, onion, leek, carrots, sauteed in a little bit of olive oil, then cooked in water until very soft and blitzed with a hand blender. Ve
  • Leftover miso sweet potato Ve
  • Soy sauce roasted Brussel sprouts: Halve 2 big handfuls of Brussel sprouts. Place in an oven-proof dish, then drizzle with a bit of vegetable (or sesame) oil, salt and 2 tsp soy sauce. Roast at 200°C for about 20 min. Add a tiny bit more soy sauce when you take it out of the oven. Ve
  • Brussel sprout slaw: Slice 2 big handfuls of Brussel sprouts as thinly as possible. In a large bowl, mix with 2 spoonfuls plain yoghurt, 1.5 spoonfuls mayo, chopped fresh coriander, 12 crushed almonds, juice from 1/4 lemon, 1 tsp curry powder, salt & pepper. Ve
  • Fruit Ve
  • Christmas chocolates V

Prep & tips

Sunday: Buy all the groceries / Prep the cauliflower (separate it into florets, stalk and green leaves) / Make the cauliflower soup / Roast the cauliflower leaves and florets / Peel and cut carrots into batons (2 portions) / Hard boil eggs / Cook cabbage with juniper butter / Pack Monday lunch

Monday: Make lazy fish tacos / Make corn salad / Pack Tuesday lunch

Tuesday: Make cauliflower katsu curry / Cook rice / Pack Wednesday lunch

Wednesday: Cook breakfast (+1 extra soft boiled egg +2 extra black pudding slices) / Prep & cook the stir fry / Pack Thursday lunch

Thursday: Cook dinner / Pack Friday lunch

Friday:

Saturday: Make brunch

Sunday: Make soup / Make roasted Brussel sprouts / Make Brussel sprout slaw

 

To freeze or not to freeze? If you have a little bit of extra time on your hands, the recipes with an * are perfect for big(ger) batch cooking as they freeze well. Make extra, you’ll thank yourself on lazy days!

On intentional leftovers: When I’m prepping food, I find it more time/energy efficient to prep/cook an extra portion at the same time. However, to ensure I don’t eat the exact same thing for 3 days in a row, I like to pack each element separately so I can then mix & match.

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