I post a lot of recipes for sweet treats and healthy snacks, but I haven’t really done anything on what to make for dinner. Dinner is the meal we often most look forward to. It’s a chance to cook without time pressure, as opposed to breakfast when you’re always running late, and it’s often a social cook with your partner or maybe your kids.
Mark and I love to cook together. We like to challenge each other to see who can be the most inventive with flavours – we are completely obsessed with Masterchef Australia - and we’re always searching for our signature dish; the one you break out at a dinner party and watch in satisfaction as your friends' eyes widen in impressed disbelief. Like a Nigella special without the sexy pouting over your ragu sauce.
I’m not sure we’ve nailed the perfect dish yet, but we have a great time trying new things. That said, we tend to follow a fairly simple formula when it comes to weekday dinners:
Protein + starchy vegetable + big pile of greens
Eating fish in SA is not very affordable, so we take a good fish oil supplement and eschew supermarket fish in favour of chicken or lean pork with a bit of ostrich every now and then. We eat mainly white meat with a red meat dish once a week. White meat is leaner, contains less cholesterol and doesn’t place as much pressure on sensitive digestive systems like mine. Besides which, I would rather get my red meat quota in biltong!
Our starchy vegetable depends on our mood – often it’s a gem squash, sometimes it’s a sweet potato and occasionally I get creative and make a turnip puree or cauliflower mash. Let me add here that I ADORE cauliflower in all its forms – mash, puree, rice…it’s so versatile! Mark is not a fan though, so I don’t eat it as much as I’d like. The poor man has already adapted his dinner preferences to be entirely gluten and dairy free every night, so there are limits to what I can ask of him.
Our big pile of greens is whatever I have in the fridge, the greener the better. Standard faves include broccoli, baby marrows, green beans, spinach, leeks, carrots and some onion for flavour. I chuck everything in a wok, fry it up in a bit of coconut or olive oil and season with chilli, garlic and soya sauce.
We do experiment with other types of dinners….this winter we made a lot of stews and casserole dishes, while still always sticking to our healthy formula. I’ll share some of my favourite recipes for these in the coming weeks. Usually though, we keep it as simple and quick as possible so we have enough time in the evenings to chill out and unwind from our day.