This week, we're adding a twist to simple dishes to show a little bit of innovation can go a long way for your tastebuds. From a butternut & chickpea salad with kale pesto on Monday to the harissa & honey sausage bake on Thursday, you're in for a treat this week...
6 sausages of your choice
150g cooked prawns
2-4 chicken drumsticks
150g natural yoghurt
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 bag salad leaves
1 bunch spring onions
1 green pepper
1 medium bag kale
Approx 300g prepared butternut squash (fresh or frozen)
1 red onion
2inch piece ginger
2 naan breads
1 tin tuna
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Approx 200g pitted black olives
25g nuts (almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia best – I used hazelnuts)
Pasta (I used vermicelli)
Cajun spice mix
Red wine vinegar
Monday – Butternut & chickpea salad with kale pesto, 40 mins
A vibrant yet earthy – and filling – veggie bowl to start the week well
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place all of the butternut squash and half the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle generously with olive oil and roast for about 35 minutes (add some whole garlic cloves if you like), adding half the can of chickpeas (drained) for the last five minutes. While that is cooking, make the pesto by whizzing up a garlic clove, handful of nuts, half the basil and one third of the kale (this is a good time to use the bigger, thicker pieces as it will all be blended up) with a good tablespoon of olive oil, a splash of water and the juice of half a lemon. Taste and adjust the seasoning and liquidity to your liking – you can add parmesan too if you have some. Toss most of the salad leaves through the squash tray mix, sprinkle over a third of the olives and serve with the pesto spooned over it all.
Tuesday – Tuna tomato and rocket pasta, 15 mins
Pretend it’s summer with this almost-no-cooking-required pasta dish
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. While it’s boiling, finely slice three cloves of garlic and fry very gently in two tablespoons of olive oil taking care not to let them brown. Take half the punnet of tomatoes, halve them and add to the garlic oil, continuing to fry gently for about two minutes then take the pan off the heat. Drain the pasta when it’s cooked, reserving some of the pasta water in case you need it. Add the tomatoes, garlic and oil to the pasta, along with the tuna and a handful of olives. Tear the rest of the basil through it and finish by stirring a couple of salad leaves in the pasta. Season and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Wednesday – Cajun dirty rice, 25 mins
A mildly spiced Southern style rice dish handy for using up that one sausage that always seems to be left over.
Take one of the sausages and squeeze the meat from the skin, then put the rest back for tomorrow. Slice up two thirds of the spring onions, roughly chop half the red onion, dice the pepper and fry it all in two tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes using a large non-stick frying pan. Add the sausage, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, then when the sausage begins to brown add in a small half mugful of rice and two tablespoons of Cajun spice powder and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Coat the grains well, then pour in a mug of water. Let it begin to bubble, stir then turn down to a simmer, stirring occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick. When the liquid is almost all absorbed, check the rice is cooked and add in a handful of roughly chopped kale and the prawns. Season with lots of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
NOTE: If you don’t eat prawns, leave them out. If using veggie sausages then you might want to add paprika to the mix.
Thursday – Harissa & honey sausage bake, 35 mins
A warming, nourishing sausage one-pot for all the family.
Take a large oven proof dish and place the rest of the drained chickpeas, the kale, the rest of the olives, a tin of chopped tomatoes, two crushed garlic cloves and the rest of the spring onions, finely chopped, into it. Drizzle with olive oil, spoon in a tablespoon of harissa paste and mix to combine. Add the sausages to the dish – whole or halved - then bake at 180C for 25 minutes. Turn the sausages then brush with a teaspoon or two of honey then bake for a further five minutes until gently burnished brown. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and scatter generously with mint and coriander.
NOTE: spice things up with a red chilli or two in the mix if you like. You can use any sausages you like here; veggie ones, pork, chipolatas or even beef.
Friday – Chicken tikka naan ‘pizzas’, 30 mins +marinating time
Throw the rule book out the window for this Friday night Indian flatbread – but hold the cheese please
Marinate the chicken for at least an hour ahead of time and ideally overnight, by combining a teaspoon of garam masala, a teaspoon of ground coriander, a teaspoon of chilli powder and a teaspoon of paprika with two crushed garlic cloves, the ginger (grated – no need to peel it) and half of the remaining yoghurt. Mix well and slather all over the chicken then refrigerate until needed.
Pickle the remaining red onion by finely slicing and placing in a small ramekin dish. Pour enough red wine vinegar to submerge the onion and add a pinch of salt and sugar to it. Leave for 30 mins.
Prep the dressing by finely chopping the remaining mint and mixing with the yoghurt.
Cook the chicken by shaking off any excess marinade then grilling for about 7 minutes each side under a medium grill. Let cool a little then strip the chicken from the bones and distribute evenly over the naans. Sprinkle with water then place in a very hot oven for 5-10 minutes. Finish by dolloping the yoghurt sporadically over the top, adding the onions then finishing with the rest of the fresh coriander.
NOTE: You can use prawns, paneer or tofu in place of chicken and go wild with any other toppings you can think of. Try chargrilled peppers, roast tomatoes, spiced mushrooms or keema style mince.