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5 Nights, 5 Meals, No Waste- Delicious Dinners In 30 Minutes Or Less

Thursday and Friday nights are a particular favourite of ours...

Your weekly installment of what exactly you should buy for 5 delicious dinners that result in absolutely zero waste (that means no random leeks rolling about at the back of your fridge) returns. This week, look forward to puttanesca pasta and Middle Eastern lamb flatbreads for a drool-worthy end to the busyness of London Fashion Week.

Shopping list:

2 chicken breasts, skin on

2 salmon fillets

300g lamb neck fillet

Small ciabatta loaf

2 peppers

2 red onions

1 large Cos or Romaine lettuce

Large cauliflower

1 potato

1 white onion

1 lemon

Parsley

Tiny piece of root ginger

150ml natural yoghurt

150ml double cream

300ml chicken stock

Small tin anchovies

Parmesan

Spaghetti (or other pasta)

1 tin tomatoes

Small jar capers

Small jar olives

Pomegranate molasses (get it in the middle eastern or Mediterranean food section of large supermarkets and most Waitrose stores, I like the Odysea brand)

Dried chilli flakes (optional)

Butter

Dijon mustard

Garlic

Paprika

Ground coriander

Ground cumin

Hot chilli powder

Tomato puree

Olive oil

Monday – Cauliflower Floret and Leaf Veloute, 30 mins

© Joanne Gould

Get the week off to a good waste-free start by making this indulgent soup that uses the whole cauliflower. It also freezes beautifully should you want to make it in bulk.

Roughly chop one onion and two cloves of garlic and fry off gently in olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft and translucent – about 10 minutes. Cube the potato (don’t bother peeling) and add to the pot with about half a cauliflower and all the cauliflower leaves, both roughly chopped. Add 300ml of chicken stock and simmer until the cauliflower and potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes). Blend using a hand blender until perfectly smooth, then stir in 150ml double cream, a knob of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with warm ciabatta.

NOTE: You can of course adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more stock, cream or milk. Vegetable stock can be used for vegetarians, though it will lack a certain richness. A swirl of truffle oil on top is delicious if you have it.

Tuesday – Chicken Caesar Salad, 20 mins

© Joanne Gould

Surely the best salad ever invented; quick, easy and actually filling. If you’re having some for lunch the next day keep the dressing and croutons separate until eating.

Make the Caesar dressing by whisking together a couple of anchovies with one small clove of garlic, salt, a handful of grated parmesan, juice of half a lemon, a tsp Dijon mustard, three tablespoons of natural yoghurt and a tablespoon of olive oil until emulsified and creamy. Season the chicken breasts well with salt and pepper and grill under a medium high heat for about five minutes each side depending on the thickness of your chicken. Rest for two minutes whilst you tear up most of a lettuce and place in a serving bowl, then slice the chicken and add to the bowl. Toast a slice of ciabatta left over from yesterday, cut into squares and add to the bowl with a few slivers of anchovy and all the dressing. Grate a generous amount of parmesan over it all and serve.

NOTE: This is an egg-free Caesar dressing recipe designed for this week’s shopping list to reduce wastage and is lower fat than a standard dressing, but feel free to use any other recipe you like. It’s also quite garlicky so tone it down if you prefer.

Wednesday – Tandoori Salmon Skewers and Cauliflower Rice, 10 mins plus marinating

These spicy little skewers look impressive but couldn’t be easier to rustle up. If you can make the marinade in advance, all the better as it will be on the table in 10 minutes tops, then.

Cut the salmon, red onion and a pepper into bitesize pieces and put in a bowl to marinate with a tsp ground cumin, tsp ground coriander, tsp hot chilli powder, tsp paprika, 1 tbsp grated ginger, a crushed garlic clove, 1 tbsp tomato puree and the juice of half a lemon. Set aside for as long as you have (ideally overnight, but even half an hour will do). When you’re ready to start cooking, fire up the grill on the highest setting and heat a baking tray under it. Thread the salmon, onion and pepper pieces alternately onto wooden skewers (soak the skewers in water first if you have time) and place on the tray under the grill. They should take about 3 minutes each side to cook but this depends on your grill. Make the cauliflower rice by putting about 1/3 of the cauliflower into a food processor until it resembles couscous. Dry fry in a pan with a pinch of turmeric until the colour is well distributed and the cauliflower is starting to soften (this takes about 2 minutes). Serve with a dollop of yoghurt.

NOTE: If you’re not into salmon, small pieces of chicken fillet, prawns, lamb or paneer are also delicious using the same method. Vegans might enjoy firm tofu (I like Tofoo).

Thursday – Puttanesca Pasta, 20 mins

© Joanne Gould

The classic slutty spaghetti made from ingredients almost everyone has in their cupboard. Even if you think you don’t like anchovies these are really necessary for their inimitable savoury saltiness – it’s not a fishy pasta dish so feel free to ladle on a tonne of parmesan if you like. Chilli optional.

Chop the remaining anchovies (about half a tin) and gently fry in plenty of olive oil with two cloves of crushed garlic and some dried chilli flakes – if you have them – until the anchovies have started to melt away and the chilli and garlic are fragrant. Add the tin of tomatoes and a tbsp of tomato puree and let it all bubble away for 10 minutes or so whilst you cook the pasta in boiling salted water. When the pasta is almost cooked, turn down the heat and add half a jar of capers, a handful or so of olives, a large handful of chopped parsley and check the seasoning. When you’re happy, add the pasta to the sauce with half a cup of pasta water if it begins to stick together. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Leftovers of this pasta, in the unlikely event of not eating it all, are a weirdly good basis for a frittata for lunch, especially if you have purchased eggs for the Caesar salad.

Friday – Middle Eastern Lamb Flatbreads, 30 mins

© Joanne Gould

An easy dinner with plenty of flavour layers to ramp up the Friday feeling. Use any flatbreads, wraps or similar you can get your hands on and fill generously.

Rub a teaspoon of cumin into the lamb fillet with salt and pepper and set aside whilst you prep all the other bits. Finely chop a red onion (if you have a mandolin use this for speed) and pop into a small bowl with red wine vinegar (cider vinegar, white wine vinegar etc also fine) to cover. Cut the final 1/3 of your cauliflower into small florets and thinly slice a pepper then place both on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil. Grill until lightly charred. Chop any lettuce left and sprinkle evenly over two flatbreads with a handful of olives, lots of chopped parsley and the remaining capers. Put the lamb fillet in a large non-stick pan or griddle and cook on a high heat all over until nicely browned. Drizzle two tablespoons of pomegranate molasses over the lamb, turn the heat right down and let it cook for another couple of minutes then cover and turn the heat off to let it rest for a further three minutes. Drain the onions and put them on the flatbreads with the cauliflower and peppers then dollop plenty of yoghurt over it all. Slice the lamb and add to the flatbreads to serve.

NOTE: Don’t like lamb? Duck breast is great too but you’ll need to finish it off in the oven for another 10 minutes afterwards. You could also try chunks of halloumi. Any soft herbs, roasted root veg or salad you’ve got hanging about is also very welcome in this wrap. Pimp it with pomegranate seeds or a sprinkling of za’atar if you have them.