5 a day for 5 days -Days 3 & 4: starting to slip now

So Wednesday started off as usual, with a by now not so tasty breakfast bar. I’ve finally remembered that I don’t really like peanut butter. Oh well.

Having ruined my roasting dish with the courgette omelette thing, I was ready for a new lunch menu, so was thinking of some sort of vegetable salad ensemble. Consulted the oracle that is Google which led me to a yummy sounding Mediterranean style cous cous dish. Cous cous is like magic food. I can’t believe noone told me about it when I was a student. Faster than pasta, easier than rice, swells to over twice its package size so a bag lasts forever, and cheap as chips (which are not cheap, why do we say that?). Of course, as usual I can’t remember where I saw the recipe so cannot give credit where it’s due, and must again apologise for my poor blogging etiquette, shame on me. Anyway, my Mother Hubbard style cupboards were lacking most of the ingredients so it had to be majorly simplified. In the end it was aubergine, red and yellow peppers fried with garlic and cous cous made with vegetable stock, generously seasoned with mint, parsley and coriander. I tried to grill the vegetables, but I think my overactive oven steals its power from my grill, as after twenty minutes the only difference was that they were now slightly warm. Into the frying pan they went, and boy does aubergine drink that oil!

I tried the salad as soon as it was made, and it was ok, nothing special. By lunch time the next day though, it was blooming marvellous. The cous cous had absorbed all of the flavour from the veg and seasoning; I actually felt like I was sitting at some beachside taverna in Greece. I’ve been a bit of a parsley hater for years, but combined with the sweet mint flavour and the cool coriander (ooh alliteration) it was the perfect taste to bring summer to a grey London day. Most importantly, it fitted nicely in a plastic container and didn’t leak all over the books in my bag. I was particularly proud to have found a plastic half spoon half fork thing in my cutlery drawer (spork? foon?), the addition of which made me feel like a true urban goddess with my trendy packed lunch. I drew the line at eating it on the tube though.

Was still planning on the stuffed peppers for dinner, but having had peppers for lunch, I was about ready to move on from the Mediterranean. Besides, my summer in a box couldn’t hide the gale force winds and lashing rain beating down, so by the time I made it home I was ready for something a little more hearty.

The only meat I’d bought this week was minced beef, so I thought I’d try some meatballs with broccoli and carrots on the side. I’m normally a bit rubbish at meatballs. I have a freezer the size of a shoebox, so I tend to cook quite small quantities of food, and generally find that one egg is too much for the amount of meat I’m using. As a result, the meatballs usually come out of the oven wearing little fried egg skirts. This time, I thought I’d try without egg, and used a couple of tablespoons of milk and some grated cheese to bind it all together. I kept it simple, just meat, breadcrumbs, milk, cheese and seasoning. I never have breadcrumbs in the cupboard, so went the route of putting some toast in a sandwich bag and hitting it with a coffee jar – the neighbours probably hate me now but it worked pretty well. I like my meatballs really herby, so chucked in healthy portions of basil, tarragon, salt and pepper. I didn’t want to roll the meatballs as I was trying not to squeeze any of the milk out, so just sort of squidged them together lightly in my hands. Baked them for half an hour on about 170C and to be honest, they were great. Served them with the aforementioned broccoli and carrots, and smothered the lot in gravy. Gravy’s the best.


(There’s no ‘after’ picture as I got a bit overexcited and ate them)

Thursday was a bit of a fail day. Being pushed for time, I left for work without any pre-prepared breakfast or lunch, and treated myself to a naughty flapjack on the way. Was struck down by guilt in Sainsbury’s on my lunch break, but couldn’t bring myself to exchange the BLT I’d picked out for something more healthy, so grabbed a snack pack of grapes and a bottle of apple juice. Got home really late from work so just finished off the leek soup and had some fruit.

The thing is, despite my lack of preparation, I probably still had around four of my five a day. It got me to thinking that maybe I’m making this whole ordeal harder than it needs to be…..

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