I’ve done really well and actually kept to my plan this week, not eating out at all except for two coffees and a macaroon (an acceptable indulgence). So it was with some dismay that I had to work late unexpectedly, and then spend some time dealing with some home computer troubles, and then found myself hungry and in need of dinner at 9 pm. The meal I’d planned (roast veggies with potatoes and whole garlic cloves and spices) was going to take over an hour to be edible – even though prep time is low it spends a long time slowly becoming delicious in the oven. So, what was I going to eat?
I had a quick look through my cupboards because I recall having some packet food I hadn’t eaten and lo and behold I had a quite fancy pack of Tibetan dahl. I hadn’t cooked this yet because it also required a tin of tomatoes, which I never had to hand, but oh look I bought a spare one of those when I did my pasta sauce… Also suggested – fresh coriander – some of which I had in the fridge spare from the laksa experiment. I think I’d also avoided cooking this because it had several steps – you know, fry the spices in oil and put to one side then boil the lentils, then add the tomato etc. etc. I think it had seemed like too much work – it was more of a kit than an instant food, but with my new found cooking determination it was perfect. 20 min to cook.
So, while I have no idea how this will taste, I think there are a few lessons learned. First of all, I have to plan for occasional nights when everything is too hard and it’s late and I just need food. Which means having some easy to make stuff ready to hand – like this dahl kit for example. It might be a good idea to plan a few. I could also buy frozen meals of course, but I’ve been eating a lot of those recently and they’re kind of expensive. I want to move away from that for a while – perhaps I can add them back into my repertoire later when I trust myself not to eat them every day. The other bonus of this dahl kit is that it’s produced a prodigious amount – I’ll have lunch for a couple days out of it.
Secondly, it’s really good to have a few ingredients lying around to make stuff better. Tinned tomatoes seem to be a winner, and some fresh herbs. I’m also going to eat some pita bread with it that I had in the cupboard. I’m out of basmati rice alas, and my spare brown rice is in the fridge at work after I accidentally over catered for today’s lunch. But that would also have been handy. I think I will ponder some common ingredients, especially the kind that either keep for ages or are the sort of thing I’ll use in multiple meals throughout the week. A tub of yoghurt wouldn’t have gone astray. I also need to get my herb production up and running again in my potted balcony garden.
Finally I’ve discovered that while I do need to plan my food in the morning, I can be fairly flexible with it if I decide something else is more appealing, or if I run out of time for my original recipe. I think just deciding what to eat and resolving to eat at home each day is helping to make me more motivated when it comes time to cook, even if I make something else.
So, it’s now quite late, and time to try this dahl.
Takeaway Lessons: Have a backup plan, and some common ingredients and quick foods lying around. Best of all if they make multiple serves so I’m still sorted for lunch.