The food week that was – 16/03/15

Recording what we eat is proving to be an interesting and valuable exercise, although it’s not actually what this blog was supposed to be about (which reminds me, I must get ’round to changing the description line before I get called out as a big fat fibber).

The primary benefit I’ve noticed so far has been the accidental promotion of mindful eating.  Quite clearly it’s not a complete transformation but it’s definitely happening.  Let’s face it, you’re far less inclined to have a packet of Doritos, a Snickers and three cookies for dinner when you’re kinda committed to taking a picture of it and publicly displaying it.

On top of that, in order to keep things interesting and avoid repetitiveness, again knowing things will be posted publicly, I’m tending to put much more thought and effort into meal planning.

That said, it’s become apparent that this all goes to hell in a hand basket when we’re tired, under pressure in our day jobs and generally having a tough time one way or another.  The times when we most need nourishing food, and extra vitamin dosage, are when we get ourselves into a downward spiral of increasingly lazy and poor food choices – how insane is that?  This was dreadfully evident this week as we finished a takeaway or ready made meal, declared it to have been unsatisfying/flavourless/greasy/horrid, then up and did it again within 24 hours.  How brainwashed by advertising and hooked on fat and sugar are we?  On the upside – at least I’ve noticed it!

Anyway, this is how we alternated between abusing and restoring ourselves with food this week:

Gnocchi with GorgonzolaMonday: Gnocchi with gorgonzola, spinach and toasted walnuts.

I have a confession: this was the first time any of us had eaten gnocchi.  I don’t know why…  It will definitely not be the last time – this meal was absolutely gorgeous, and unbelievably quick to make.  Here’s how:

  • Toast around 40g walnut halves or pieces and set to one side.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil – keep it boiling!
  • While the pan of water is coming to boiling point, put about 200ml of double cream and around 200g gorgonzola into a different pan (!) – stir gently over a low heat until cheese has melted – add plenty of freshly ground black pepper – keep it warm.
  • Add 500g chilled gnocchi to the pan of boiling water – cook until they float to the top (2-4 minutes).  Drain well and return to pan.
  • Stir in gorgonzola sauce, about half of the toasted walnuts and around 150-200g of fresh spinach leaves.  Transfer to an oven proof dish.  Top with remaining walnuts and a good grating of parmesan cheese and bung it under the grill under it’s golden brown and bubbling.
  • Serve with green salad leaves (watercress is good) – a simple lemon juice dressing works well.
  • Stuff food into face and make ‘mmmmm’ noises.

Subway signTuesday: We ate from here.

Fish & ChipsWednesday: That’s what we had.

Mushroom risottoThursday: Mushroom risotto made with wild chanterelle, porcini and chestnut mushrooms and topped with toasted sunflower seeds (I like the crunchy contrast with the creamy rice).

You will be pleased to know this tasted waaaay better than it photographed 😉

Subway signFriday: And here we were again…

Fish & ChipsSaturday: Déjà vu?

CarbonaraSunday: Pasta Carbonara – no spaghetti in the house so we used Rasta Pasta and I think I preferred it.

Debates rage about what is true, authentic and right for a carbonara sauce.  The version I like and make involves cubed pancetta, 2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk, a 50/50 mix of pecorino and parmesan, LOTS of black pepper and either spaghetti or fusilli lunghi bucati.  I also mix in flat leaf parsley at the last second because I like the flavour and the touch of colour it brings to the dish.  Oh, and of course, there’s the all important splash of pasta water, saved when draining the cooked pasta.  That’s it.  No short pasta, no mushrooms and no onions thank you!

Well, at least we started and finished the week with good stuff.  It was a pretty grim food week though – not even any Sunday brunch!

I’m determined that next week will be filled with culinary good stuff – onward I charge with trusty spatula in hand…

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