Weekly Meal Plan #9: Sunshine Suppers
If feels like we’ve been waiting for months, but we’re finally at the point where we can cook bright, sunshine suppers that remind us of warmer climes for dinner every night. I don’t know about you, but while I do love a steaming bowl of soup or a comforting stew, dinners designed for warmer weather and lazy evenings sitting outside by the barbecue with a chilled glass of rose in hand are what I infinitely prefer. So, while this scene sounds like it would involve a lot of time and effort to put together, if you choose your dishes carefully this can be your reality every evening. So, here are five of my favourite sunshine suppers for you to try next week!
Yes, I know. I keep on including these Baked Eggs with Chickpeas, Tomato & Basil in my Weekly Meal Plans, but I need to make sure you make it, as because you should have noticed by now this combo of runny centred eggs, crisp chickpeas and juicy tomatoes ticks so many boxes, as well as being super good for you as far as Meat Free Mondays are concerned, too. It’s actually adapted from the breakfast section of Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Superfood. So yes, this also makes the perfect filling breakfast/ weekend brunch dish, too!
Tuesday: Steak with Pickled Jalapeño Relish
In the warmer months as a family we fire up the barbecue every single day, usually to cook steak. There is just no beating the lovely, smokey flavour on a perfectly cooked, barbecued steaks, and as far as getting them just how you like them over the open flames, practice makes perfect! While my family are traditionalists, for me steak night means playing around with fun sauces and sides while someone else cooks the meat: my sunshine month obsession is this amazing pickled jalapeno (the ones from the jar – I pickle my own at home when I’ve picked up a bag to make salsa and they’re starting to soften in the bottom of my vegetable drawer) and coriander relish from Julia Turshen’s fantastic book Small Victories. Seriously, it is life changing.
A couple of years ago I could not do an interview without being asked what is my signature dish. My cooking style has changed a bit over the past few years since I transitioned from cooking predominantly for one person to cooking for a few, but it use to be that I’d turn any type of spare or leftover veggie into a fritter. These fritters made from the scraps of summer veggies you sometimes get gathering at the bottom of your vegetable draw, fried up in a batter flavoured with Indian spices come out of my Los Angeles kitchen, and make a great mid-week supper for one or two of you. Either just enjoy a mountain (perhaps with a bit of mango chutney and some cooling yogurt on the side?) or a big green salad.
Thursday: Mediterranean Roast Chicken
It’s Thursday. You’re getting towards the end of the week and while traditionally this used to be the time some of your friends took the opportunity for a night out, now it is when you forgot you had people coming over for dinner. My Mediterranean Roast Chicken is stupidly forgiving, you can really throw in whatever veg you have to hand, all comes together in one pan, and looks impressive if you carry it to the table as one before dishing up. This produces loads of delicious juices, so one of those cook from frozen crusty breads would be perfect.
Fish on Friday does not have to mean big fillets of white cod or a hunt of salmon; use Fish Fridays as an excuse to include more shellfish in your diet. Usually it is my default to cook king prawns in homemade garlic butter, but this fresh, bright and colourful prawn dish from the Honey & Co. Cookbook really makes a lovely change, perfect for a Friday night when all you want to do is open a bottle of wine and kick back ahead of the weekend. Don’t forget to pick up some nice crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices on the way home!
A few ideas for the weekend (or even next weekend for the Early May Bank Holiday?): on the barbecue why not try my Barbecue Turmeric Chicken Thighs, my Herby Lemon & Garlic Barbecue Prawn Skewers, my Whole Lemon & Honey Barbecue Chicken Skewers, or my Skinny Sticky Store Cupboard Barbecue Chicken, with my Skinny Buttermilk Ranch & Crispy Bacon Wedge Salads on the side? Then, why not try my Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, Boozy Gin & Tonic Jellies with Fresh Blueberries, or my Chocolate, Summer Berry & Amaretti Cheesecake Cups for afters? Oh, and don’t forget a big jug of Classic Sangria to go with!