Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cooking for One

This week, being on my own, I now have to cook for one. Not an easy task as most of the time I feel it is not worth the effort. Yet I can spend half a day preparing a meal just for my husband, and that I enjoy doing very much indeed. So yesterday I decided to experiment a bit. Something simple but which worked out very well. I planned to make myself a pot of soup - the usual chunky mixed vegetable, but then I realised how the same ingredients were often used in other dishes, so I began with just the Holy Trinity (as the chefs call it): diced carrot, onion and celery sauteed in a little butter (in Italy this is called sofrito - not sure about the spelling). On went the lid and the vegetables were fried/steamed for 5 minutes or so. Then I removed a third. When cool this went into the fridge and will be used as part of the classic bolognese sauce (fry the minced meat separately then add to the vegetables). To the remaining vegetables in the pan I added some diced parsnip and potato, some stock and finally some red lentils, then simmered for about an hour until thoroughly cooked. Seasoned to taste.
With a slotted spoon I removed about 2 mugfuls of vegetables, put them in a strainer to get rid of as much liquid as I could then mashed them with a few cooked borlotti beans I took (and microwaved) from the freezer. Added a little wholewheat flour, more seasoning, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and formed them into flat rissoles (like fishcakes). These were then coated in flour and left in the fridge to chill and firm up.
The soup I had for lunch, the veggiecakes I fried until golden and ate with salad for supper.

Today I will be making a batch of spag.bol meat sauce, using the 'sofrito' and a little of this can be tucked into a jacket potato for my supper. Again with salad. Will probably have a good bowl of porridge for 'brunch' as it is real comfort food this cold weather.

There are many easy dishes to cook for one - Spanish Omelette; Kedgeree; Vegetable Curry;
Croque Monsieur; Pasta Carbonara; Pasta with Tuna; Pasta with Mushrooms; Pasta with just Pesto and Parmesan. I won't starve.