Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Making A Menu (At Last!)

If you are looking for a bit of greeness in your life, one marvellous way to do so is to make a menu for the week (or two, or three, or even the month if you are that organised!) Not only do you get to save money shopping, as you know exactly what you need and buy that and that only, you also save time and shopping trips (and petrol if you drive to the shops!) because you have a list and can get everything on it, and you waste less, as you don't end up throwing away things you forgot to use etc.
Ok, I know all this off by heart and backwards, so why do I still not manage to achieve such a simple thing each week? Anyway, rather than rueing the past I am celebrating the fact that this week we actually have a menu! At present it is scruffily written on the back of an old envelope (more greeness!) but at least it is made.
One of my aims here has been to cook with local foods, and bit by bit I am trying. However, my other aim is to cook healthily and organically where possible. The two don't always go together... Then there is my desire to buy more local produce. But aside from some veg (and not all that much it would seem), the main thing the island produces is...sugar! Sugar, sugar and more sugar! I would actually like to try healthier alternatives to sugar, such as Sucanat, but then I feel bad at not buying the one local produce here! Oh, shopping is always such a mindfield! In fact, shopping locally here, seems to refer to buying produce from France!
I won't go into the further dilemma of trying to buy frugally - however, I have started lists of what costs what where and I will try and keep my shopping down to a trip to Carrefour every other Monday and then a trip to Leader Price on the other one and a trip to the market in the week, with a trip to the Biocoop (organic shop) thrown in every now and then.
I will be trying to cook extra each week, but my freezer is tiny and is already full of ice (I miss our no frost one!) and baby food for Baby JoJo, and unfortunately the big freezer has gone kaput downstairs, so it is not as easy to freeze things as I would like.

Back to the menu. Well, before that, I chuckled when Mum was over as she apparently told her vicar's wife that she would be eating pasta and tomato sauce and broccoli over here, as that is what I mostly cook - and lo and behold that is what I had planned for that day! How well she knows me... So another aim (and use of menu) is to cook with just a little bit more variety (though you must remember I have two rather fussy under 4s!). Oh, and another advantage is it allows you to soak and defrost things in time. If you remember to consult it!
Menu (and things to do)
Monday - colombo au poulet (defrost meat Sunday - I used a whole chicken as it is tastier, and cut off the breast meat for to make some meals for Baby JoJo. It made enough for another meal)
Tuesday - pasta carbonara - as I am out all morning it is my pasta day - quick and easy! The family loves it with croutons. If there is any leftover, my nephew always joins us, but unfortunately he was out of luck today!
Wednesday - sandwiches for lunch as we will be off to the beach.
Thursday - Chick pea curry and brown rice (soak the chick peas and the rice the day before. I've not made this before but am basing it on this recipe)
Friday - Minestrone soup (this is a recipe from my Gina Ford weaning book - need to soak beans)
Saturday - Bertie is out all morning so I keep it simple and make leftovers - I think we shall have tuna and potato pie that is in the freezer
Sunday - we eat with Mamie! saves cooking after church. She usually makes beef with rice and peas which is a traditional Sunday dish here

As Mum discovered, evenings are a lot more stressful, as Bertie is not back from teaching till 7pm or later, and I often have lots of tired, fractious or hyper children (not all mine!) running around the place! So it needs to be simple...It tends to be one of the following, but still needs a bit of work:
Salad and baguette
Omlette/scrambled egg (each time I hope the girls will start liking it, but they still don't!)
Pancakes (made with wholemeal flour and eggs from Mamie's hens!)

Oh, and breakfast is a choice of...
Bread and local jam (we are waiting for a new batch from Mamie!)
Porridge with cinammon and banana
Granola - this is my new discovery, based on this recipe here and with lots of grated coconut from Pika. It is most delicious and a big hit with Bertie!

If anyone has menu tips or suggestions for healthy meals with Caribbean ingredients I am all ears to hear!


David C said...

I'm hungry now. What a clever idea though! It means you can look forward to a meal and your stomach can rumble all day... :-)

Mum said...

Take my word for it granola is delicious!

Judith said...

You have my sympathies - Matthew has gone off potatoes and pasta so we have lots of stews with rice and coucous. Pork and pineapple curry is one of my standbys, also chicken with homemade sweet and sour sauce. I'll send you the recipes. Lots of love, Judith

CBE said...

Very organised! I can empathise with you about the stressful and chaotic evenings with husband not getting back till lateish... keep meaning to email and ask your advice on evening routines with children (well toddler/babies) at completely different stages.

Hevs said...

Thanks for all your comments!
We have our main meal at lunch (typical french 2 1/2 hour lunch break!) so not too long for the stomach to rumble!
Poor you Judith! I would be lost without those staples! LissaLou wont eat couscous which is a shame as it is so quick. Does he like grains, perhaps pancakes/tortillas, or barley/oats etc? Would love the recipes!
Not sure that I have much wisdom to give you Esther, but I will let you know what we do. Try Tasha!!