Dinner for one - my meals this week


agghhh - all I can say is agggh! Which doesn't relate to the food I've cooked this week, but rather the photos!

You may have noticed that I have been rather quiet on this blog for a while. That is because I was trying to take better photos. (Which if you compare the photos here and here, vs the awful, yellow-toned ones you see in this post, you will see I achieved).

However that meant taking photos in natural light which meant two things:

a.) I was cooking earlier than I would cook dinner, which meant I was very consciously thinking about what to cook. So my meals became more elaborate. And I didn't think they were being 100% true to being a dinner desperado, e.g. I'm not 100% sure they were what I would have cooked if it was 7.30, I was just home from work and staring in the fridge, thinking, 'what can I make'

b.) it was summer and natural light lasted a lot longer.

So lately there has been no natural light, so I have not been taking photos, as I didn't want to go back to the horrible, flash-based, yellow-y photos I took in the beginning.

BUT at the same time, I have been making some really good (well - to me!) meals, that truly portray desperado-ness, i.e. not having a plan, being confronted with a random array of ingredients, but somehow pulling off a meal that is nutritious, tasty and vaguely interesting. And I hate not being able to share that.

So I am going to keep working on my night-time light solution, but in the meantime, share pictures, that are less than great - but at least let me share ideas on real things to cook.

So this week I only managed to capture 3 meals, but they were all tasty, all pretty much whole foods, and fairly nutritious.

All three however, were cooked as I was able to take a pre-cooked 'filler', e.g. rice or barley that I had  cooked in a batch and then frozen in individual portions.  If you don't have these to hand, it means the time taken to cook each meal is roughly the same, as generally it only takes 15 -20 minutes to cook rice, but - and this is the part I hate, there is more washing up!

Tuesday: Pork fllet & vegetable stirfry with ginger, garlic and lemon

Recipe for one - Stirfry with pork fillet, ginger, garlic and lemon


I felt a cold coming on at the beginning of the week, so I decided a meal rich in lemon, garlic and ginger was needed! Plus I wanted to use up a lot of the vegetables in my freezer.

This was a really simple, standby meal that 'did the job' but definitely wasn't something to crow about. More one of those, simple, nutritous meals that is good to have in a weekly rota. I used to use stirfy sauces or something like a hoisin, oyster or teryiaki sauce from a bottle, but these days, in my 'wholefoods' bent, I tend to stay away from those and instead added flavour just by adding lots of the garlic, ginger and lime.

Thursday: Roasted beetroot risotto with pearl barley

Recipe for one - roasted beetroot risotto with pearl barley, lemon zest and parmesan

This meal was my surprise meal for the week. First time I had made risotto with pearl barley, let alone beetroot. (A vegetable I really only started cooking with last year. Until then I thought it was something slimy that came in tins! But oh how I have been missing out.)

BUT in all honesty, dinner nearly didn't happen. 

At 8.30, I was starving, couldn't be bother cooking and was craving something sweet. 

This is when the danger of cooking for one kicks in. Having nothing in my apartment that I could think of that was quick, and nothing sweet - I literally reached for the container of golden syrup and a spoon .....

A near-miss dinner disaster

 I would like to pretend I saw the error of my ways before this spoon went anywhere near the container, but in reality it was only after I was about to dip into it for the THIRD time that I managed to have a reality check! 

This is when having batch cooked barley came in handy and having done some pre-prep roasting earlier in the week. I had roasted beetroot with the idea of wanting to make a warm salad like I did in summer , however had yet to summon enthusiasm for it, and it was languishing in my fridge.

Lucky tonight it was!

You can see from the pics below, I basically chopped and sauted some onion, then added some wine (that I had frozen in half cup quantities in my freezer), cooked that off, added some water and a stock cube, then cooked the beetroot in this for 5 minutes or so to warm the beetroot through and for it to pick up some of the flavours. I then got out my trusty stick blender, blended, then put it back on the stove with the frozen pearl barley. 5 minutes later, some lemon zest, lemon and sharp parmesan and it was a delicious dinner.

As usual I remember extra ingredients after I had taken the 'ingredient' photo. However both the colour and the flavour of the lemon really made this dish.

I'll definitely write this up as a recipe for one, starting from scratch. But leave a message on FB or Instagram if you would like it SOON.

Saturday: Tinned salmon with vegetables

Recipe for one person - warm salad of tinned salmon with rice, peas, celerry and carrot with sunflower seeds

Yes - yet another version of a one pan wonder with tinned salmon. A great way to use up what's left in the fridge. AND it was actually delcious.

Once again, it was made very quick and easy and reduced to one pan as I was able to take one of the pre-cooked packets of rice out of the freezer. I didn't bother with a dressing, but you could definitely add one.