20 January 2021


It wasn't so when I was working but nowadays I prepare 99% of our meals. Even though my son Ian has written four bestselling cookbooks with his Bosh! colleague Henry, I myself hardly ever look at a recipe book. I just go with what I know and my culinary instincts.

It occurred to me this morning as I lay in bed like a lazy sealion upon some remote shore that when it comes to main evening meals I have developed a repertoire. The wheel keeps turning and old favourites reappear. These are the eleven staples in that repertoire:-

♦ Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings - might be chicken, pork, beef or rarely - lamb. Vegetable accompaniments will vary.
♦  Spaghetti bolognese with fried mushrooms and parmesan.
♦ Oven broiled salmon with fresh pasta in a pesto sauce, broccoli,  roasted tomatoes and lemon wedges.
♦  Chicken thigh fillets in Sicilian tomato sauce with mushrooms, peppers and grated cheese served with farfalle and tender-stem broccoli
♦  Beef stew with swede, green lentils and dumplings
♦  Chicken stir fry in a satay or black bean sauce with noodles
♦ Rump or sirloin steak with fried onions, mushrooms and green beans plus baked potatoes
♦  Chicken curry with basmati rice, peshwari nan breads and mango chutney
♦  Cauliflower cheese with gammon, pineapple and roasted potatoes
♦  Slow-cooked mince with gravy, mashed potatoes and garden peas
♦  Tossed summer salad with quiche and fried rice

Occasionally I will try other things - often influenced by what I encounter at the supermarket but essentially these are the meals I make. And that reminds me...

I love Greek cuisine and it is about time I got round to baking stuffed peppers. It's something I have thought about doing before but have never got round to. On the isles of Greece I have also enjoyed stuffed tomatoes but that requires those massive beefsteak tomatoes that you rarely see in English supermarkets so I think I will just stick to peppers in the first instance. Watch this space.

By the way, please pick a favourite staple or two from your own meal repertoire and put in the comments below.


  1. You could try a Mexican dish tonight to celebrate the departure of Mr Trump from the world scene.

    1. Or porridge in the hope that he ends up in jail. Is there such a dish as Mexican porridge?

  2. The meal rotation around here includes the husbands' favorite of meat loaf with chicken provencal(NYT recipe),buttermilk marinated chicken parts and salmon in many forms.

  3. Well I suppose I should say Lancashire hotpot but husbands not keen.
    My favourite is king prawns au gratin with sweet potato fries. Another is chicken and chorizo risotto. Both made within half an hour!

  4. Fish finger sandwiches.

  5. Chicken in a creamy mushroom parmesan sauce with spinach and noodles.

    Thai curry chicken with rice.

    Your wife must appreciate coming home to a nice home cooked meal.

  6. Right now it is soup: chicken noodle, beef stew, stuffed pepper, cream of potato, vegetable rice, tomato soup with grilled cheese, onion soup, turnip soup. cream of broccoli. The list goes on and on. Just about anything can be turned into a soup. Pair it up with a toasted crusty bread, supper is done.

  7. PS: Mexican porridge is called avena.

  8. One of our favourites is diced venison (only when we find it in the bargains section), slow cooked in beef stock with crumbled black pudding and butter beans, served with mashed sweet potato and broccoli.

  9. Indian pizza? Curry paste mixed with tomato puree. Our own invention. Egg, chips and beans is another favourite. It's got to be Heinz beans though.

  10. Dave has many favorites. He likes potato/leek soup in various permutations (with cream sometimes, or with cheese on top, etc) and we often eat plain old baked chicken or baked salmon or pork chops. I usually prefer plain meals to fancy ones, at least when it comes to eating at home.

    Does Ian ever urge you to adapt to a more vegan/vegetarian diet?

  11. Mr B has 2 staples and I notice they are both on your list (Bolognaise and cauliflower cheese). He will extend himself to a making roast meal (which I, the Tigger, would like to see more often) but makes a full day production out of it. F is trying to introduce him to other concoctions but still nothing quite so exotic as half your staples. I'll mark his report card ' must do better'.

  12. Two of my usual dishes would include a thick chili made with ground turkey, tomatoes, variety of peppers, onions, celery, dark red kidney beans (or black beans) and spices or a very hearty chicken and lentil soup that include diced onions, celery and carrots. Frankly, though, I am very, very tired of coming up with meals, especially after a day of virtual schooling with small GS.

  13. I love a salad at any time of year. And a pie, you can't beat a good chicken, ham and leek pie.

  14. Anonymous9:30 pm

    With minor alterations and without any stem, we would probably have most of those dishes over a fortnight. Add to that tuna mornay and another time an omelette.

  15. Wow! I am having stuffed peppers tonight. Italian style with mozzarella and parmesan with fresh basil from my indoor soil-less garden. With homemade naan bread. Your menu sounds just about right. We have trouble in this household because I love all kinds of veggies at every meal and the Bear stomach just will not allow that. I hope you have had a lovely weekend knowing that you are a grandfather for the rest of your life!

  16. On Bastille Day July 14 I shall be dining with Soup Spoon.
    Lamb chops with Cognac Dijon sauce.
    A bottle of Chateau Tramont Haute-medoc (1982).
    We shall discuss Racine's Phedre and The Temptation of Saint Anthony.
    To the music of Jean Sablon, Ces Petites Choses (These Foolish Things).
    Third party present: Ursula.
    *Ce que c'est drole !*

  17. How strange that last night I made for the first time ever, baked red peppers stuffed with onion,garlic,rice, basil and chicken, served with a green salad and boiled new season potatoes. It's midsummer,the peppers are super cheap and I had always wanted to try making these. They were delicious.
    I've been the baker and cook for this household for 40+ years and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes to try to breathe new life into the same basic ingredients, especially the vegetables. I have a large collection of mostly 2nd hand cookbooks for reference, I'm always snipping recipes from the paper or magazines and I borrow books from the library. Current library favourite is "Fresh from Poland" (new vegetarian cooking from the old country) by Michal Korkosz and I want to try making pierogi. I am interested in food culture, the way that different cultures use variations of the same staple ingredients to make their base foods and the flavours that enrich and differentiate them.
    Until the arrival of Dutch migrants in the 1950s our NZ food culture was very plain and basic, meat and three veg and everything cooked well done.
    My own cooking has always been constrained by a tight budget so it's very vegetable centred and meat is the minor player. Herbs, spices, relishes and sauces are what I rely on to jazz things up and my pantry is filled each autumn with home preserves using what we grow ourselves or can buy cheaply from an in season gluts
    When I was working there was a basic rotation of meals which could either be made in the slow cooker ready for when everyone arrived home at night or thrown together quickly like a stirfry. 1Kg of mince could be transformed into 2 or 3 evening meals - a pastie, meatballs and spaghetti or nachos.
    Now that I'm retired I still cook frugally but enjoy having the time to do more cookbook browsing and more layered cooking to produce a more exciting but still economical evening meal. I'm also doing my travel through cooking at the moment while our wings are clipped by Covid. Cooking for 4 rather than 2 also means that there are leftovers to be reheated on the cook's night off.
    If you like the Stuffed Peppers you might also enjoy Stuffed Silverbeet or Chard (a spiced mince/rice mixture wrapped in blanched leaves and cooked in a tomato sauce).
    I presume you are also cooking for the new parents to take the pressure off them while they bond with Phoebe?
    Happy cooking, Adele

  18. My favorite would be potato but since I'm not in charge of the menu I don't get potatoes as often as I would like . And then when I do get potatoes they are a way over cooked.

    1. I didnt think it possible to overcook a potato?

    2. ...and I don't really like mashed potatoes either.

  19. I try to eat vegetarian most of the time but I find it hard to figure out what to cook so there's a lot of lentil bolognaise, daal, vegetable curries and tofu stir fries.
    Sometimes we have a supermarket roasted chook or a kangaroo mince curry or a haloumi salad.
    Your meals are rather sophisticated to be on regular rotation

  20. On my menu, meat usually only features on weekends. For O.K. and myself, I like to make pizza (I was part of a Sicilian family for 10 years, after all) for Saturay nights, with a bottle of red.
    I also like to make roast vegetables in the oven, or a quiche. Salads are an almost everyday dish for me, depending on what's in the fridge and in season.
    And of course, there is Spätzle, our traditional Swabian dish. I do not need a recipe for any of it, except for the quiche pastry, as I do not make it quite that often.

  21. Roast veg...potatoes, red pepper, red onion, carrots, cauliflower drizzled with toasted sesame oil and honey with either good quality sausages or chicken breasts on top.
    Oven chips, fresh salmon and halved tomatoes all in the oven. The salmon and tomatoes are topped with hoisin sauce and Waitrose lemon and black pepper breadcrumbs.

  22. Home made cheese and onion quiche or sausage casserole. With a husband who dislikes most meats, salad, fish, vegetables, I find it's not that worthwhile experimenting and tend to make the same dishes over and over.

  23. Much the same here, but with Irish stew and dumplings in winter.


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