Wednesday, 10 June 2015

BBC Good Food 7-Day Summer Diet Plan - Day One

Dee – Yesterday we went shopping to gather the ingredients for the week’s recipes.  I could have written a blog entry about it, but decided instead to leave it until we started work on the recipes.  In a nutshell; we managed to get most of the ingredients, with no real surprises about which ones eluded us.  Tuesday is not the best day to go food shopping as stocks were running low, but on the other hand it was less crowded, and with a list of this size I think it would have been a nightmare at the weekend.  We managed to sort out replacements for the ingredients that we couldn’t source, and these will be dealt with in the commentary accompanying each dish.
Cost-wise, it came to between £60 and £70, but that doesn’t count the ingredients that we already had at home, so price remains a significant factor.

Now, on to the recipes for Day One

Breakfast:  Date and Buckwheat Granola with Pecans and Seeds
For our first meal we came up against our first hurdles:  We were unable to find either buckwheat or medjool dates, so had to use farro and khouat allig dates instead.  The required an overnight soaking but the rest of the dish was quite quick to prepare, which was just as well as I had to get lunch ready too.
The farro and dates were then baked to produce chewy clusters, which were then mixed in with seeds to add a crunchy texture, and sultanas to add small bursts of fruit.  I’m fond of toasted nuts and seeds so decided to adapt my version accordingly, though it isn’t specified in the recipe so is by no means essential.
The yoghurt and sliced nectarines which the granola was served with made for a tasty and filling breakfast.  I especially liked the inclusion of cinnamon, taking the place of sugar.
We made the full amount, and look forward to having it again.

Lunch:  Barley Couscous and Prawn Tabbouleh
Second meal, second obstacle:  This time we were unable to find any barley couscous so used the more readily available semolina based version.  It was also nice to use some of the mint which has recently sprung up in our back garden.  We bought ready-cooked prawns, the smaller sized ones rather than king prawns.
The Tabbouleh was more of a couscous salad, which made for a nice fresh lunch.  Light and quite subtly flavoured, with the lemon and mint leading the way.
Once the couscous had soaked, the rest of the dish was quick and simple to prepare and I managed to get it near to completion while the granola was in progress.
The one deviation from the recipe was in the use of the nectarines.  Neither Jay nor me could bring ourselves to add them to the salad, mainly because of the prawns, so we ate them separately as dessert.
We made the whole quantity, listed as serving 2, but we found there was plenty left over for at least another day’s lunch.

Tea:  Herby Lamb Fillet with Caponata
Again we had to compromise with the ingredients to make this dish.  We used lamb leg steaks as we couldn’t get loin fillet, and used black olives instead of kaponatas.  We also bought two standard sized potatoes as baby new potatoes were only available in large bags.  All of these substitutions worked out fine as this proved to be a great evening meal. 
The caponata was nice and rich, with attractively chunky vegetables and characteristic piquant flavour coming from the olives, capers and vinegar.  Although listed as serving 2, we found that there was plenty left over, so will be freezing it for use at a later date.
With the lamb steaks, we had to pan fry them and served them sliced up with the fried garlic and rosemary on top as a cooked garnish.  Because we weren’t roasting the meat, we decided not to roast the potatoes either, and settled with just quartering and boiling them.  There was enough sauce in the caponata to enjoy them with.
This proved to be a good hearty meal which we would happily make again.

The diet has got off to a good start, and we are looking forward to trying out tomorrow’s recipes, the results of which will be up on the blog tomorrow evening.

Right, let’s get that quinoa soaking before I forget...

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