It’s the summer holidays. Routines have been merrily thrown out of the window and I barely know what the day of the week it is anymore. After a fun day out, or a less fun day of juggling childcare and work, I’m ready to flop. Yet, every evening all eyes still turn to me and ask: whats for tea?
I could talk about the unfairness of this situation at length, but for now I’m just going to tell you my current coping strategy. It’s called the summer plateful and it’s keeping me sane.
The basic idea is to fill my fridge with pots and pots of simple summery food which can be eaten cold. When it’s dinner time, everyone can have a plateful of what they fancy. And when we’ve run out, we can just eat pizza or boiled eggs.
Here’s some of my favourites:
Cook up a batch of wholemeal pasta and mix with some tomato pesto while it’s still warm. Add in whatever else you fancy – we like parmesan, black olives, fresh basil and those roasted red peppers in a jar.
I love a combination of wild rice and wholemeal basmati. When cooked, combine in a big bowl with some harissa paste (or pesto) and add peppers, peanuts, sweetcorn, cooked green beans or peas – plus plenty of salt and pepper.
So simple and easy. I like to mix together a few grated carrots with some thinly sliced white and red cabbage. You can add raw onion, but I think it’s nicer without. I use shop bought mayonnaise and sometimes add a handful of dry roasted peanuts for added crunch. If you want something with less fat, try low-fat natural yoghurt instead of mayonnaise.
I love cooking strips of chicken breast in a hot griddle pan. It’s excellent in a wrap with all the salads above!
Super easy tzatziki
Absolutely delicious with the grilled chicken. Finely chop about a third of a large cucumber. Mix with natural yoghurt (about half a big tub) and add a tablespoon of dried mint.
Blitz up a tin of chickpeas with a tablespoon of tahini, a glug of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Add lots of seasoning and sprinkle with paprika.
Always make sure you keep some tortilla wraps or pittas in the cupboard, or make up a batch of homemade flatbreads yourself. They go perfectly with all the salads above.
Tarts and quiches
If you’ve got the time, then a big homemade quiche will keep you going for a few days. This recipe for mushroom and spinach quiche is lovely.
Cold new potatoes
Fabulous with the quiche, chicken and salads! Just cook up a big batch, drizzle with butter and keep in the fridge.