Solo working week

March 11, 2017

 

 

COOKING FOR ONE

 

There's a spring in the air. Or at least a heavy bluster. I’ve been rehearsing in London this week while shacking up with my parents in soon-to-be-leafy Chiswick. As ever, their hectic so-cal means they're out most nights, leaving me to get creative for some solo suppers. Luxury lunchbox leftovers are an occasional bonus and save me spending most of my fee on fancy cafe lunches in Brixton Village.

 

People often tell me that they don't bother to cook for themselves when their on their own. And why NOT, I say? You are just as important as anyone else. Plus, cooking for one can often be quicker, as there is less chopping/peeling/prepping to do. Get to it. 

 

My London visits also entail plenty of delicious meals out (for research) and multi-course-mama-prepared banquets in (on a rare free night). Solo suppers and packed lunches are my opportune antidote to gluttony, leaving me to feast freely elsewhere. I recognise that not everyone wants (or has the time) to spend hours slaving away, so here are three, twenty minute(ish) plates. Many of the ingredients are handy kitchen staples, which should make for a quick shop, too. Both of the salads could also serve as a hearty and vitamin-rich side to some meat or fish, if that’s your vibe.

 

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Baked spinach, eggs, chickpeas and pine nuts

Serves 1, takes 25 minutes

 

main / brunch / vegetarian / easy peasy / nothing fancy / winter / spring / gluten free / dairy free / detox 

 

I had something very similar to this out at brunch last year. I quizzed the chef and my subsequent home trial came out pretty well. The ideal receptacle would be a shallow, plate-sized casserole dish, so you could eat straight out of the pan rather than having to grapple with turning it out. Delicious as is, or with a side of sourdough or roasted cubes.

 

* Spinach – 300g, washed

* Olive oil - a couple of glugs

* Chickpeas – A handful, cooked

* Eggs – 2

* Pine nuts – A handful

* Paprika - a generous pinch

 

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

 

Pack the spinach into a colander and slowly pour a kettle-full of boiling water over the leaves to wilt them. Squeeze out as much of the water as possible with the back of a spoon (careful of the steam) and then press the spinach into the bottom of a small oven dish.

 

Scatter the chickpeas on to the spinach, drizzle a glug of olive oil over the top and season well with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

 

Remove the dish from the oven and reduce the heat to 200 degrees C. Make two indentations in the surface of the spinach using the back of a spoon, then crack an egg into each one. Scatter over the pine nuts, sprinkle some cayenne pepper and salt over the eggs and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Serve immediately.

 

 

Broccoli, bulgur and preserved lemon salad

Makes two portions, takes 20 minutes

 

salad / side / easy peasy / nothing fancy / dairy free / vegetarian / vegan / spring / winter / detox / hands free / ready in a jiffy / party / on a budget 

 

 

The first time I made this (and took these pictures), I didn't roast the broccoli. Popping it in a piping hot oven for 10 minutes gives it a nice golden brown and crispy finish, but you can skip this step if you're short of time. This is a guide recipe - if you don't have all the ingredients, don't fret. Pecans, hazelnuts or roasted pistachios would all be good alternatives to sunflower seeds. Coriander, dill and mint all work well too. For something more substantial, add some goats cheese, or a smoked mackerel filet. 

 

* Dark bulgur - 1/2 cup

* Broccoli - 1 head, chopped

* Olive oil - a couple of glugs

* Sumac - 1 tbsp (optional)

* Parsley - a handful, chopped

* Preserved lemon - 1/4, diced (optional)

* Lemon - juice of half

* Orange - zest of half

* Toasted sunflower seeds - a small handful (or other seed/nut)

* Dried cranberries - a handful

 

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C.

 

Bring the bulgur to the boil with 1 cup of salted water or stock. Leave to simmer, covered, for ten minutes. Then remove from the heat and leave to steam for a few more minutes.

 

Meanwhile, boil the broccoli in plenty salted water for a few minutes, or until just tender. Strain, then place on a large roasting tray with a drizzle of olive oil. Season and sprinkle over the sumac. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

 

In a large bowl, mix the bulgur, preserved lemon, parsley, sunflower seeds, orange zest and cranberries. Add a glug of olive oil, some black pepper and the lemon juice. Mix well and check for seasoning.

 

Finally tip in the broccoli and toss to combine. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

 

Carrot, quinoa, apricot and hazelnut salad

Makes two portions, takes 20 minutes

 

salad / side / easy peasy / nothing fancy / dairy free / vegetarian / gluten freevegan / spring / winter / detox / hands free / ready in a jiffy / party / store cupboard

 

 

Another fruity, nutty salad. Of course you could use any sort of roasted vegetable here, or different sorts of seeds and nuts. This salad is also lovely with a tahini dressing - simply whisk equal quantities of tahini and water, then add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt. A sprinkling of zatar would always be welcome.

 

* Carrots - about 500g, cut into batons

* Olive oil - a few glugs

* Paprika - a couple of pinches

* Quinoa - 1/2 cup

* Parsley - a large handful, chopped

* Toasted hazelnuts - a handful, chopped

* Dried apricots - a handful, chopped

* Lemon - juice of half

 

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

 

Toss the carrots in olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika, then place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Bring the quinoa to the boil with 1 cup of salted water or stock. Leave to simmer, covered, for fifteen minutes. Then remove from the heat and leave to steam for a few more minutes.

 

In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, carrots, parsley, hazelnuts and apricots. Add a glug of olive oil, some black pepper and the lemon juice. Mix well and check for seasoning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@2016 by Lucy Rose Page