Now I’m all excited about things again I spend my mornings on the train writing lists on my phone. Mostly lists with sub-lists and even further sub-lists with ideas of what to write about. And now I am indeed excited about things again and my mind is feeling a whole lot quieter and more peaceful my lists are beginning to make sense.
So yes, one list contains little story ideas. And above that list of story ideas live the story idea sub-categories. And above that lives one big category. Which in this instance is Food. So in this little branch that we find ourselves here there reside many little ideas – some of them have not even been entertained as thoughts yet. But many have. And in this little sub-sub-category called Weekend Eats, under the category of Food, I am going to entertain us all with my wonderful and marvellous quick meal ideas.
You must understand, dear reader, that only in the past week or two we changed our lives. Only by a small fraction, but an important one nevertheless. It was a fragment of a second when I saw and grabbed an old idea from childhood. My mother with the serrated knife, cutting down the horizontal centre line of a baguette. Buttering both sides and filling the entire length of it with ham, bean salad and sliced tomatoes. All bought from Foodtown Barry’s Point Road in the 80s.
The baguette would then be cut into four smaller baguettes and that was our lunch. Eached wrapped in a paper towel at one end, and taken to be eaten wherever one wished. Rarely at a table. Often outside. So this fragment of an idea I grabbed the other day has coincided with this new(re)found enthusiasm for the wonders of the weekend. And mealtimes have been transformed. Both in input and output.
Gone are the days of me spending an age cutting vegetables up and arranging them on Burleigh sandwich plates with people being able to choose bits of salad and bread. The new day of the small, zero-choice, concise meal has been heralded in.
Children now eat. They have enough. They stop arguing. They finish their meal because it’s easy. They go out into the garden to play. We look for birds – “Where are you birds?”, we cry – “We have birdseed here for you!” Children come inside, paint paintings, fold some origami foxes, mess up their bedrooms and tidy them up again.
The cogs are oiled. Weekend Eats is working for us.
Last week we had lunch at Wahaca and one of the specials was beetroot and feta with pumpkins seeds on a bed of spinach. I craved it so much after that meal out I’ve made it every second day for my dinner. Today I tried it out on the kids with a small amount of success. Only the pumpkin seeds and some spinach were sent back.
Oven fries need no explanation. Super easy to prepare – and if you want them to be absolutely perfect get the McCain french fries – the perfect accompaniment to any salad. They have a few special extra ingredients over and above potatoes that do a bit of naughty cooking magic for a golden crispy coating.
Beetroot and feta salad with oven fries
- 2 cooked organic beetroot (currently on special at Waitrose for 75p a packet), chopped into large chunks
- 1/3 block feta (I used oak barrel aged feta because it crumbles beautifully), crumbled
- 2 handfuls of baby leaf spinach
- Pumpkin seeds for scattering
- Oven fries for 2 people (approx 2 cups)
- Pre-heat the oven to 230°C.
- Cook oven fries for 20 – 25 minutes until golden (check pack instructions).
- Place a handful of spinach on one half of each plate.
- Arrange the beetroot on top and crumble the feta over the salad.
- Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
- When the oven fries are ready put them on your un-saladed side of the plates and serve.