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What I've been eating: Winter 19

What I've been eating: Winter 19

January can be a pretty dismal month can’t it? Christmas is over, it’s back to work, the weather is cold and you’re skint after all the festive celebrations. It’s also a month when many people try and eat more healthily to lose any additional Christmas pounds and to be honest, that only adds to the melancholy mood for me.

I am all for cutting down in January but I also think that doesn’t have to mean cutting foods you like out completely or simply eating salad / fish and steamed veg. January cooking can still be fun and actually, it’s a month that’s perfect to nest away in the kitchen, trying out dishes from all those recipe books you’ve not had chance to use yet. Hands up if you’ve got cookery books you’ve never even used?! I know I have and a New Year’s resolution of mine is to actually get all my cookbooks out and use them rather than let them gather dust on the bookshelf.

It’s also the time to make big one-pan recipes that you can freeze and pull out when you’ve got a busy day but still want something warming and nutritious to eat. These are often cheap to make (think chilli, curry, pasta sauces, soups etc) and a Sunday spent batch-cooking your tea for the month is a well spent day in my opinion.

WHAT I’VE BEEN COOKING:

I made a tasty Carrot, Coriander, Cumin & Orange soup which was really warmed me up on a cold Monday! I’ll share the recipe for that soon as it’s really easy and has a nice sweet and spicy flavour.

I’ve also been making more filling breakfasts to try and cut down the amount of snacking. Midweek, I keep being drawn back to mushrooms and poached egg on toast (fry the mushrooms with garlic and parsley and lots of black pepper - thank me later) or Shakshuka (main picture) and my favourite weekend brekkie has been a veggie fry-up with homemade potato rosti, which I’m going to tell you how to make as they’re very easy and very delicious.

Potato Rosti (makes 2):

Peel one potato, grate it into a bowl and then season with salt and pepper and mix together with your hands. Heat a tbsp of butter in a wide frying pan and add then scoop half of the grated potato into your hands and pat it down into a round in the frying pan. Repeat with the other half of potato. Fry on each side until golden (should take about 5 minutes each side) and then transfer to the oven for 15minutes. Crunchy, buttery and so, so good!

Because of the snowy weather I’ve also been craving carbs, which are something I think you can reduce but are still important to have for a completely balanced diet. One of my all time favourite pasta dishes is crab linguine and my husband made this for me after work one night with crab from the local fishmonger. I think a lot of people worry that meat from a butcher or fish from a fishmonger is going to be lots more expensive, but often it’s not and it really depends what you buy. I have to say, it’s generally much better quality even if it does cost a little more and I would sooner eat less meat and fish and buy better. We got a dressed crab for £4.50 and it was so much tastier than any fresh crab I’ve ever had from a supermarket.

RECIPE BOOKS I’M LOVING:

Two new cookery books I’ve been very much enjoying trying out recipes from have been:

Ottolenghi’s new book Simple

Sabrina Ghayour’s book Persiana.

Images: Ottolenghi’s Curried Lentil, Coconut & Tomato Soup and Sabrina Ghayour’s Lamb Patties with Feta & Pistachio dip and salad, served with couscous and flatbread

I got both as Christmas presents and they really have been livening up the start of the year for me with their fresh and fragrant Middle Eastern flavours. I absolutely love getting cookbooks as presents - I like to curl up in front of the fire with a cuppa and read them from front to back cover, noting every recipe I want to make along the way!

My husband also received a couple of cookbooks as presents - Jamie Oliver’s new book Jamie Cooks Italy and Dan Toombs The Curry Guy Easy - so we’ll definitely be exploring those this next month.

WHERE I’VE BEEN EATING:

Leaf on Portland Street: I love popping into here for a midweek brunch when I’m working in Manchester city centre. They do inventive things served on toast and have a great selection of teas. The decor is rather nice too!

Libby’s Bread & Wine: One of my favourite Stockport eateries. I’ve never had a bad evening meal here and with it’s Italian tapas style menu, it reminds me of Polpo which I loved when I lived in London. Every risotto they ever have on the menu is incredible so if you visit, definitely try the risotto!

Anyway, until next season… I’ve begun to think about my allotment for this year and what I’d like to grow so I’ll share more of that then, as I start getting my seeds ready to plant at home.

You can always see more of what I cook and eat over on Instagram.

Cheesy Potato Bake

Cheesy Potato Bake