January Eating

First off, sorry for the delay in getting this out of my head and on to the page – all of a sudden it’s mid January, how did that happen?!
The vast majority of us will fall into one of the following tribes this month:
• ‘I’ve overindulged so I’m detoxing/ fasting/ juicing/ booze free’ tribe
• ‘Going on a health kick trying to change everything all at once’ tribe
• ‘Eek that was expensive, what exciting *read cheap* things can I make with beans and pulses?!’ tribe
If you’re reading that little list feeling slightly smug that you don’t fall into one of those, then well done you.   As you know if you are a regular reader, we’re not big fans of detoxes or trying to overhaul your life all at once, but that need not mean that January is all about empty cupboards and living on toast.   At this time of year, we often feel the need to cleanse after the food fest that Christmas can be, but salad isn’t very seasonal or local in January…or is it?   If we step away from the refrigerated isles of the supermarket for a moment and take a stroll around our local market, we might be surprised with what we can get our mitts on that is seasonal, tasty and local.
Many of our winter veg can be eaten raw such as grated raw beetroot, sliced celeriac and cabbages alongside carrots in coleslaws, broccoli florets and cauliflower are also good in salad/ with dips, shredded raw brussel sprouts (sorry Mrs W, they *are* delicious!) also make for tasty ‘salad’ eating; potatoes however should always be cooked.  Likewise, roasted veg is excellent in all manner of dishes: for example parsnips and carrots added to bacon and feta make a great topping for watercress or spinach (which are available year round).  Let’s not forget my standby faithful of soup…in this house soup comes in many guises, with/ without pulses/ pasta/ rice, more often than not it’s ‘green’ or ‘orange’ soup with the kids guessing the contents with varying degrees of success!
I get a weekly veggie box from Abel and Cole, I’d reached a stage where every time I looked in our fridge, the same veggies peered out at me, week on week, in short I’d lost my food shopping mojo. Bored with eating the same things, we decided to give A&C a whirl, and a few years on, we’re still regulars.  My veg box forces me to use seasonal vegetables, try things I’d swerve in the supermarket because I either couldn’t think what to do with them or how to prep them (turnips, Jerusalem artichokes anyone?) or (an even more pathetic excuse) wasn’t sure the kids would eat them.  Turns out my children really are total dustbins, who, thanks to the weekly influx of varied veg now know their kale from their cavolo nero, are the creators of some amazing soup combos and wicked cakes.
I guess it’s all about how creative you feel like being, which let’s face it can sometimes be 90% of the battle!  Something we have started doing in the Nicholas household is writing a list of meal ideas for things that are quick and easy to make from what we have in the cupboards/ fridge each week.  This list sits on the fridge door and is used particularly on the nights when there is a lot going on and my poor brain is fading or refusing to process.  It is surprising how useful a little list can be, it only takes minute to write one but can save the day in an instant.  Examples from our current list include: green soup, bacon and halloumi salad, savoury rice, omelette, spicy veg noodles, chorizo and butter bean stew, veggie curry.  Have a trawl through your cook books or mine the many websites out there for inspiration.  A little planning not only saves time, but also pennies which we could all do with!

Image from Redonline

Image from Redonline

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