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Anyone who knows me probably knows just how much I love my food (just ask my husband!) I feel very blessed that my husband, David, loves to cook and bake, and makes some of the most amazing and beautiful meals (he has over 300 cookbooks!) Although I was always quite a fussy eater when I was younger, and would only really eat the same things, such as potato waffles and fish fingers, over the years growing up, I began to be more adventurous when it came to food, and I started to love trying new things. I would say that now I eat most things, with the exception of just a few and the foods that don’t make my tummy very happy! Although just recently, I have introduced garlic, onion, leek and asparagus back into my diet (I’ve had stomach problems for quite a lot of years and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease back in 2017).
As I love my food so much, I thought I would share my week in meals. A collection of yummy meals that my husband made from his many cookbooks and Pinterest, and I must say I can’t wait to have these meals again! We also went out a couple of times that week too to eat, which was a very lovely treat (we definitely don’t do that every week, or even every month), so I’ve included them below too. David loves to cook all our meals from scratch, and I really love helping him in the kitchen and watching how he makes the meals. I’ve always liked cooking and baking, but I would say I’m the type of person who doesn’t really follow recipe books, who sometimes just guesses the amount of ingredients I need, and who makes enough pasta to feed a family of 10! But I think with all of David’s cookbooks, I’ll give some a go!
As David loves to make things from scratch, he’s always in the kitchen baking bread and delicious cakes and meals. You really can’t beat homemade bread and cakes, and especially the wonderful smell that drifts through from the kitchen. In the afternoon, we always sit down to have tea and cake, which has very quickly become one of my favourite things to do. I always look forward to a piece of cake in the afternoon. I’ve got quite the sweet tooth!
Definitely over the last few years (especially with my Crohn’s) I’ve become very conscious of what I put into my body. Just sometimes, looking at the back of ready-made meals almost leaves my mouth wide open with the amount of different ingredients, additives and sugar used in them! I’ve definitely noticed how diet has, and is playing a key part in helping my mind, body and my stomach, and even helping with my healing. In one of my recent posts where I’ve shared how my Crohn’s Disease is 4 years on, at the end of the post I included how I’m looking at how I can help and heal my stomach using natural remedies. You wouldn’t believe how many health benefits herbs and plants have! After all, these are what our ancestors were using for thousands of years. God did bless us with all the nature around us for many different reasons. I think this is something that is so important that has been long forgotten about and pushed aside.
If you asked me what my most favourite meal is, I honestly don’t know what my answer would be! I suppose I’m a big fan of pizza and pasta, I love sausages, fish and chicken, and I wouldn’t say no to an avocado! I must admit I do have a weak spot for a nice Sunday roast. I think having had to cut out so many different types of foods over the years, it’s really given me a whole new love and appreciation for trying different foods. For many years I was told to cut out dairy, wheat and gluten, so you can imagine how good it was to be able to start reintroducing them back into my diet!
I love to start my day with a glass of water. I always find it very refreshing and hydrating. For breakfast, I always have a glass of 100% pure orange juice. Got to get that vitamin C in! Recently, I’ve been having a bowl of Shreddies every morning (you have no idea how much I look forward to my bowl of Shreddies in the morning!) I also love having toast or a bowl of Special K. David and I also experimented a while back making our own overnight oats, which I highly recommend trying if you haven’t had them before. I actually read something on Instagram a while back, and someone had posted that having a glass of orange juice and cereal that has iron in, is a good combination. As a treat we will sometimes have bacon, egg and fried bread, which I always look forward to having. Usually, when we are on holiday together we will have this.
I’ve always loved fresh bread. Especially when it’s still warm so the butter melts. My favourite bread when I was little was the one I always called the ‘nutty bread’! Basically, the bread with different grains in it. I would always ask my mum if we could have some of the ‘nutty bread’! David usually makes a few different types of bread each week. I’m a huge fan of his sourdough bread (I’ve actually got some reading to do about IBD and sourdough bread). I’ve yet to have a go myself at making some! David has a whole shelf just of bread books, and this one came from Baking School.
For dinner (I must just add that I say breakfast, dinner and tea. Anyone else?) we sometimes have either homemade soup with bread, scrambled egg or boiled dippy eggs with soldiers, which are my favourite. We also sometimes have fish fingers with fresh bread (obviously a favourite of mine throughout the years), jacket potato and we may have meat or cheese with bread and some salad. Oh, and I especially love having cheese and biscuits! In the photo above we have some lovely red peppers. These were used to make red pepper and tomato soup, which was so good. A lovely combination to have in a soup, the red peppers add that extra sweetness to it. I think my favourite thing about homemade soup is that you can literally throw almost anything in together! I always find soup to be a really nice comfort food. For example, today we had cheese and parsnip soup. Very yummy!
My husband is very organised. I must admit that I’m not, but I think his organisational skills are slowly starting to rub off on me! David always plans our meals for the week, so whatever veg is in the fridge and any other ingredients in the cupboard can be used up, made into soup or made in bulk to freeze. He loves trying out new recipes from his cookbooks and ones he finds on Pinterest. I love that having a meal plan set out also helps us to know in advance what different foods we may need to get that we may not have in already, so shopping can be done in bulk too.
For tea, first up is Roasted Cauliflower Bolognese. You would honestly not even know that this dish didn’t have meat in. It tasted just like bolognese with minced beef in it. Very delicious. I can tell you now it didn’t last very long on the plate! Even though I do eat meat, I love having dishes that are vegetarian or vegan, and if you are looking for a meat alternative to minced beef, I definitely recommend giving this recipe a go. I’m quite excited to give cauliflower steak a try.
Next up is Ricotta Gnocchi with Herby Mushrooms and Sage Browned Butter. I really do like gnocchi, and I think it was David who first introduced me to it. I’d always seen people raving about it, but I just hadn’t tried any before. Probably because I wasn’t too sure what to do with it! Having only had the potato gnocchi before, ricotta gnocchi was completely new to me! (I’m a huge fan of cheese by the way). If you are looking for a new way of having/making gnocchi, I highly recommend trying this one. I think it may be one of my new favourite dishes. I especially loved the mushrooms with it, and the sourdough crumbs for that extra crunch.
I love pasta, but this pasta dish was actually new to me. This dish is called Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli. Apparently, it means ‘little ears’ which in fact it does kind of look like! We had this with sausage and broccoli. It was very delicious but very filling. I love sausage, so I was definitely excited to try this meal. And I think broccoli has always been one of my most favourite vegetables. For this, David took the skin off of the sausages and then placed the sausage meat into a pan to fry and until it looked like minced meat. This added a lovely texture and crunch to the dish.
We did also have fish for tea one evening, but I was a little bit too excited to eat it and forgot to take some photos. We had fish fried in the pan with potatoes and veg. Oh, and tartar sauce too of course! David uses Delia Smith’s recipe to coat the fish in a mixture of milk, parmesan cheese and flour, which keeps it deliciously moist. Usually with fish, my favourites include the above, fishcakes and fish pie. I like to think that fish pie is a speciality of mine, and I like to make it with cheese sauce too!
As I mentioned above, we went out a couple of times for a meal which was a really lovely treat. We had afternoon tea at Ego in Lichfield, which you can read all about here (we loved it so much I just had to write about it!) We also went to Ask Italian, which I think has quickly become our go-to place to eat when out. As we were going to a concert in Birmingham, we stopped there after for something to eat. I absolutely love their food. I feel it’s really great quality and reasonably priced. When we went there previously, we went for pizza, and I will warn you in advance, one pizza is definitely big enough for two people. We didn’t realise this and ended up ordering 2 pizzas which meant we needed a box to take away the leftovers, which was fine with me, as I love cold, leftover pizza.
So, this time we decided to try their pasta dishes. For starters we chose the folded garlic bread with mozzarella. We both said that we would happily come here and just have that, (but maybe one each). It’s so good. On my list to try there some time is the rosemary and olive oil bread. David had the beef brisket pappardelle, which I had a little try of and I would definitely have that myself. I decided to go for the asparagus and pancetta carbonara frilly tagliatelle. Sadly mine didn’t seem to have any asparagus in, but it was very delicious and very filling. It did, however, have a lot of the pancetta and smoked prosciutto in it, so I think that definitely made up for the missing asparagus. You really do get a very generous sized amount in Ask Italian. I would definitely have this dish again.
I would love to know what some of your favourite meals are? Have you tried any of the dishes mentioned above? Finally I would love to know what your favourite pizza toppings are?! Let me know in the comments below.