Day 26 – I cheat and Mac makes me feel guilty

1

February 28, 2009 by missmegany

I cheated. I had lunch out with my friend Dave. I felt bad, but it was my last Friday lunch to have with him (he’s leaving his job) so we went out. Last time we went out and I just watched him eat (except he bought me a hot chocolate) but this time I bought a cranberry & brie baguette and a side of chips. I felt even worse when I got home and Mac told me how hungry he was because he didn’t have anything for lunch because we didn’t have leftovers (because we cheated the night before) I’m a jerk. Especially because we could totally have had a nice dinner the night before.

Hopefully Mac has forgiven me after I made him nice eggplant dinner!

Melizanes Me Lathi (Aubergines with Olive Oil)
The recipe is mostly taken from this, except I tried to get it to look and taste like the AMAZING melizanes they have at the Fat Fig, a wonderful low-key and very tasty Greek restaurant on Bedford Place. They manage to make these lovely eggplant slices (they call them “medallions” in the menu) that have a crispy skin and melt in your mouth. They are incredible). I want their secret!

In the meantime, here’s my version of the recipe.

Served 3 – 5p excluding eggplant (but then Mac ate the third portion when he got home last night). There’s a bit of tomato sauce left over. (Tomato sauce: served 4, 1.13, 28p per serving)

(O) 1 eggplant, sliced thickly (RIVERFORD)
(O) 1 tin tomatoes (79p)
1T tomato paste (4p)
(O) 4 cloves garlic (30p)
1/2 tsp sugar (less than 1p)
pinch of salt and pepper (nil)
3T veg oil (6p)
1T olive oil (10p)
3T water

For eggplant:
Heat a pan on medium-high heat. Add veg oil, olive oil AND water.
Slice eggplant thickly.
Once hot, stir oil and water together quickly and then immediately add slices. Turn about 20 sec after adding so both sides are covered with oil. After that, turn every 2-4 min or so, and move around in the pan because most stoves don’t heat evenly. You want them to brown on both sides. The eggplant skin will turn brown, which is your first indication that they are cooking. Add a bit of salt and pepper.
Once browned on both sides and cooked fairly well through, put in oven at about 160C (350F or so) to finish cooking.

When you first add the slices to the pan, that’s when you should start your tomato sauce. It’s VERY easy.
Put a can of tomatoes in the pan. Put on medium heat
Mash up the garlic in a mortar and pestle, or mince. Put in with tomatoes.
Add tomato paste.
Once it reaches boiling, turn down heat (you can be more precise if you use gas, but I’m forever turning things up and down with an electric stove) and allow to simmer for 20min+. I usually keep the lid on half the time. You don’t want it to reduce too much.
About halfway through, add 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt.

Spoon some tomato sauce directly on top of eggplant slices when serving. You could make loads of this and freeze it, or save it for an Italian dish or Mexican dish later in the week. Just add some herbs or chili later on to give it another feel. If I had a freezer that wasn’t the size of a very small breadbox, I would consider doing exactly that.

Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Cous Cous recipe
(I make this ALL the time) It’s from his Naked Chef book. I don’t own the book (or any celebrity chef books) but Helen does, and I called her up years ago and wrote down the recipe on an envelope. It’s been treasured ever since.

Usually serves 4, this served 3 for 24p

Ingredients:

  • 425 ml stock or water (I made slightly less- 325 L of stock – I used 1 tsp bouillon -2p)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (Mac’s super cheap ones–about 4p)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used veg – 2p)
  • knobs of butter (I skipped this)
  • 1 level teaspoon cumin seeds (1p)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds (1p)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds (8p)

[a HUGE difference in pricebetween supermarket small amounts and in bulk from ethnic food shops TIP: Buy in bulk and share with friends! Why pay more unless it’s organic/fair trade]

  • 1/2 small dried chili, or to taste (I used a shake of chili flakes– 4p)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (less than 1p)
  • 1 bay leaf (I forgot)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (I left this out because of the tomato sauce)
  • (O) 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (4p)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (1p)
  • (O) 255g couscous (I only used 200g – 44p)

Directions:

  1. Bring the stock to the boil. In a thick-bottomed, deepish pan slowly fry the onion with the olive oil and half the butter, without colouring.
  2. In a pestle and mortar smash up the cumin, coriander, fennel, chili and salt.
  3. Add the spices, bay leaf and garlic to the onions and continue to fry – they should look and feel like marmalade, but not be coloured or burnt. Add the vinegar and sugar and reduce to a syrup.
  4. Add the couscous and stir. Add the hot stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fork through the rest of the butter to lighten.

Breakfast (O) porridge – 8p, Mac had a bowl of (O) porridge with (O) 1T jam (17p)
Lunch – Mac had nothing, I cheated and ate out with Dave.
At work – I had
(O) 1 cup of tea 4p, Mac had (O) 1 cup 3p and a free muffin
Dinner – Mac was starving, so he had 4 pieces of bread with
(O) pate (24p + 12p?) as soon as he got home. Actual dinner was (O) eggplant (5p) with a tomato sauce (28p) and Jamie Oliver’s spicy cous cous recipe (24p)
Riverford – 75p
(Always Organic!)
Mac then had the third portion of the eggplant and cous cous when he got home. greedy. (29p)

Megan: 1.44 (but I cheated on lunch. If I make up lunch, I’ll be able to eat a feast for 56p!!)
Mac: 2.17 He shouldn’t have eaten an extra portion of dinner. OR should have waited after work for me to make him something. OR we shouldn’t have cheated Thursday night and had leftovers!

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One thought on “Day 26 – I cheat and Mac makes me feel guilty

  1. Robin says:

    Ohhh…. you cheated! But I’m glad that you went out with Dave and got to have a nice lunch with him. That’s an experience!!! I thought those were ok? It’s too bad that he is leaving his job. Do you have another friend that you can start doing lunch with every Friday? I should start doing that with Niles, and we can just set a specific day of the week!That eggplant stuff sounds delicious, ESPECIALLY that sandwich that Mac made. Yum. I don’t think its eggplant season here yet, though.

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Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.

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