Category Archives: Meal Planning

Menu artistry


It’s sometimes difficult to decide what two dishes will complement each other.    If you are like me, sometimes what you are looking for is a particular texture, even if the flavours of a recipe aren’t exactly what you need for the occasion.

My approach to solving this problem is similar to what artists do when using a colour wheel.

I start by selecting the protein that will be the basis of a meal, and then I look at the flavours that go well with that:

  • Beef: pepper, chili, parsley, garlic, onion, tomato, mustard
  • Pork: apple, sage, cinnamon, mustard, bay leaves, thyme
  • Lamb: rosemary, lemon, olives and olive oil, tomatoes, mustard, onion
  • Fish: citrus, saffron, fennel, white pepper
  • Tofu: ginger, turmeric, garlic, citrus

You get the idea.   Then I select one of those flavours (just one) and I carry it through to the next dish.

For example, if I was making a lamb roast for dinner, I might prepare it with a mustard and rosemary crust.   In that case, I’d probably add rosemary to my potatoes.

If you are making three dishes, make sure each has some common element of the other two but that no flavour is shared across all dishes (even if people aren’t aware of it, they’ll detect the similarity of flavours and get bored with the meal).




Grocery List (July 3 2011)

I think that, like most non-vegetarians, I plan most meals around a portion of meat or a substitute (fish, generally, but sometimes I do make vegetarian options).

For this week’s meals, I’ve purchased:

  • Sea bass (3 whole fish)
  • Prawns (pre-cooked)
  • Lean beef mince (I’ve frozen the 2.5kg pack in 10 equal portions)

In addition, I’ve purchased the following vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Baby spinach
  • Onions
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms

Finally, I purchased a supply of fruit for snack and dessert purposes:

  • Cherries
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • peaches
  • apricots

The season is very short here so I try to make the most of it.    I have assorted grains, pulses, and beans in my larder already; and some good quality oils and vinegars.   I also have a well stocked spice rack.

Total cost of this week’s shop was £103.   I’m hoping that out of that, I will get two weeks worth of meals.