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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Is it that simple?

Why howdy there, watcha diddlin at? Raining here so a day indoors, sewing and looking after animals and  suchlike. I am thinking about going shopping, but after a quick stock take, I don't really need to. I have a £4 off voucher for Tesco which must be used by Sunday, but I can't be bothered to go just yet. Not doing the yellow sticker dash tonight, not going shopping just for the sake of it. I'll maybe pop down there before 4pm on Sunday as there are a couple of non food items I might be interested in buying. 
What have I got in, plenty to make more meals.
Rice - Pasta - 12 packets cheap noodles
Red split lentils - cous cous - bulgur wheat
Porridge oats - bran flakes
Tins - chick peas - rice pudding - tomatoes - baked beans - spaghetti hoops 
Soya milk - fruit juice - cider
Pickled onions - pickled beetroot
Peanuts - raisins - sultanas - lemon curd
Bread - home made stew and curry - runner beans - sweetcorn - cooked rice - Quorn sausages - Quorn roast - pizza bases yellow sticker I use as bread 
Cheese - tortelloni - carrots - spinach - lettuce - grapes - yogurt
Veg and fruit
Onions - pears - bananas
Here is what I knocked up for lunch today. Cook some spinach, and chopped spring onions in oil in a small pan. Cut up Quorn burger into small pieces, (hard when it's frozen, use sharp knife), and add that. Add garlic powder. Cook slowly for 8 or 9 minutes. Add two eggs when ready, and scramble, mix it all together. Serve on bed of raw spinach. It was lipsmackin wonderful. The eggs were given me, big bag of spinach for £1.50 enough for lots of meals, and a few leaves for the neighbours rabbits. Four spring onions  from a bunch, 15p
A thought occurred to me, why don't we just choose the most nutritious food we can get, and forget all the add on's? The bits and bobs we faff around with. Surely it isn't really necessary to move it through several stages before it is ready to eat. From processor, to blender, to pan, to grill, to oven, to slow cooker, then mashed and bashed, and when it is finally mushed to death it ends up on the plate.

Ok, so I know we need to have a variety of different foods for a balanced diet, but do we have to have them all on the same plate? Wouldn't it be much simpler to have a meal of just two main ingredients, spend a bit more on healthy food, drop the jars and tinned sauces and eat our food naked, or with a sprinkle of herbs and spices? Master chefs seem obsessed by prettying up their food, for this reason I don't watch the programmes, I want to shout at the screen, 'For goodness sake, stop mucking about with it and just eat it'

Seven days in a week, two main meals a day, excluding breakfast which working people never have time for. So, what about making those 14 meals with the least amount of main ingredients you can come up with, one, two, or maximum three. Let's see what ideas are out there. Those of you who eat a sunday roast, you could bulk up on veg and drop the meat and gravy, and what the heck is a couple of puffs of pudding doing on the plate, absolutely not necessary. Those that eat a sweet pudding immediately after a meal stop now. If you are full you don't need a pudding. Stop faffing, simplify your cooking and cut down on your time in the kitchen. Are you up for the challenge to simplify your cooking?
Toodle pip


  1. Ilona, I'm already pretty much a simple cook, using just two things. It's usually a piece of meat and a vegetable or salad for a main meal. We try not to eat too much at a sitting and seldom eat dessert unless we have company. I know you would go for two veggies instead of the mean, but we are farm people and meat eaters, as you might have gathered. But we do keep it simple.

  2. I'm with you on the puddings. I think it's a shame to spoil that lovely savoury taste that still lingers on my tongue, with a dose of sugar.

  3. Yep I'm up for the challenge, funnily enough last nights dinner for me and DH [who is a lorry driver BTW] was poached eggs [eggs given to me by a friend] and homemade oven chips. Potatoes from a 10 kg bag costing £2 local grown. meal must have cost a few pence . really enjoyed it too :-)

  4. I need to cut out the afters. I'll try to just have a piece of fruit or nothing. It won't be easy but it will help the waistline.

  5. I prefer to spend more time "faffing about" - not too much, but a bit - because food is more than just fuel for me. I enjoy cooking and eating, so I think very plain and simple food would be too botring for me.

  6. Simplifying is great! DB has to go on a diet (according to the GP, as his sleepapnea would be reduced with less weight around the mid riff). So, now we are dispensing with the fuffing and use the veggies mostly in their raw states to make some salads. Grating cucumber, peppers, kohlrabi, beetroots and carrots makes for a sizeable amount of fresh veg on the plate. Then we add minute amounts of cooked chicken or ham to make a lovely meal.
    I whip up a quick dressing with yoghurt and a pinch of mustard powder and the whole lot goes down as a healthy, quickly assembled plate of lovely foods. Simple and without fuffing!

  7. I honestly don't think it would be possible to further simplify my cooking :)

  8. Hello.We cook very simply here,using inexpensive healthy food choices.On special occasions we "push out the boat" and make and spend more on food at those times.Day to day we have very simple and easy meals that are balanced and have all the food groups.Plain, nourishing "peasant" food is how someone describes my cooking and I do make traditional German and Ukranian dishes.Hubby and I always find ourselves either with a malaise and tummy troubles and sometimes even the trots after going out or pot lucks etc.We're gun shy now. Also many extra ingredients add up and sometimes my experimentation with a new recipe has tanked.The grownup children of ours still talk about the spinach souffle I attempted when they were little,I think I traumatized them!We have fruit and berries as snacks but I do bake with health wise ingredients too but less now that's it's just us two.We enjoy and are happy with that.Have a good one, D.

  9. Now that I have the time and my caregiving days are in the rear view mirror, I love to cook for myself. Different food most days, all very simple ingredients, but not as simple as just two things per meal, perhaps. Never buy processed foods, including sausage, the only thing in a packet is instant mash, which I use for many purposes as well as mash! most of my food is from the farm. But there's a pleasure in making good food to enjoy. And I share it with neighbors, some of whom have a brutal commute. To leave them a nice bit of supper on the step ready to heat and eat is a great pleasure.

  10. Ewwww, your getting tough with us ! I do have an orange after dinner every night but agree with you that plain food is best.

  11. In her book , How to cook a Woolf, MFK Fisher has a whole chapter about simplifying meals . According to her , and I think she is right , we need a balanced diet , but not every single meal has to be balanced. Just the food for the whole day . So she advise to cook one thing , make it tasty , make enough , and don't bother with the rest. Though she add a salad , bread and a glass of wine to the meals . The book is nice and funny , a little dated too as it was written during WW 2 . And another very good book about food is An everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace , by Tamar Adler. She is inspired by the first book but is more modern . Funny too!
    They are not cookbooks but more reflexions about food , preparing and eating it.

  12. When I worked as a Postman. Always had breakfast (at 4-15 am) Weetabix and an Oatibix with Oatbran and skimmed milk. Agree wth you about all the add on's though, not really necessary.

  13. We eat fairly simply, frugally and don't feel that I spend lots of time 'faffing' but I do love to cook. Making interesting and tasty meals from minimal ingredients.

    1. PS For instance, today I made a 'shepherd's' pie mix using red and green lentils, onions, carrots, celery, leeks, herbs, stock and a few other bits which were hanging around the fridge. Quite a lot of 'faffing, you could say, but there is enough filling for 10 people, 2 portions for tonight and 8 for the freezer and faff free meals. Seems like time well spent to me!

  14. I too only eat simple food - all mine is cooked by me. Natalie

  15. Ilona do you want us to post what we are having for meals or is that going too far?

    1. Hello. Thanks for that question. I'm curious as to what two or three main ingredients you are using to make a meal. What you do to them, minimum cooking or no cooking at all. No jars or tinned sauces, you can use herbs and spices, a dollop of mayo or yogurt. How quick you can make the meal, and if your recipe works well, or not. You don't need to apply this to every meal at first, ease yourself into it gently, experiment. Let's give it a try.

  16. I enjoy cooking most of the time, and my family likes to eat! I guess chili is one of the simplest meals that I make...ground beef, tomatoes, beans and spices.
    Since I am a southern girl, I cook beans and cornbread occasionally. :D Fajitas are simple, chicken, onions, spices and tortillas although they are better with sour cream, cheese and salsa. Stir fry with lots of veggies and rice and soy sauce.

  17. Nice simple lunch of yesterday's home made soup, leeks, potatoes, carrot, onions and a handful of lentils. Oh and a stock cube. All needed using up ... it was delicious :) x. Barbara South Shields

  18. ok. I'm finding that something with a potato works well. This can be egg and chips or baked potato with cottage cheese baked potato with coleslaw baked potato with baked beans.
    Also sliced potato and onion into a casseroledish add stock and herbs then cook in oven for 1 and half hours top with crispy bacon.
    Lentil soup made with lentils and a bag of mixed veg and stock and herbs.

  19. Jacket potato and baked beans (no butter because I'm vegan). Can't beat it :) CP

  20. All the ingredients we use in meals was one of the reasons for the Capsule Kitchen 333 catching my imagination. You simplify your cooking (and therefore your shopping) to just 33 items for a 3 month season.

    I love my food simple, in fact it's getting simpler and simpler as we are using up all the foods in the cupboards and freezer that are not included in my thirty three chosen items, when I go shop I only replace foods that are,

    Although I love the Masterchef type programmes their fiddling with foods and putting smears of food on plates more for decoration than flavour really annoy me.


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