So I’ve written about Sunday dinners (several times probably) and I’ve written about how to get some inspiration for those easy midweek meal solutions. But, and forgive me if I’m mistaken, I think I’ve yet to write about what is my favourite day of the week, cooking-wise. Yes, I’m talking Saturdays. But you’ve probably already guessed that from the title of this blog post.
I think we can all agree that frantic meal preparation after school or work isn’t exactly an enjoyable activity. You’re tired, you’re a bit stressed and you going to end up feeling guilty if all of those food groups aren’t adequately represented on your kids’ plates. I’m not saying you should feel guilty, by the way. Far from it. Check my other blog posts for clarification of this and my unwavering support of the usefulness of the fish finger in such circumstances. My point here is if you enjoy cooking under normal stress free circumstances, then midweek probably isn’t an ideal period to let loose with the kitchen appliances.
The thing I adore about Saturdays is those extra few hours I’ve got to properly prepare something a bit special. I’m not talking a fancy three course feast, just something that might require a bit longer to stew or roast or simmer. At his time of year, I really love making soups – they’re easy to prepare, they don’t use up every single pot and pan I’ve got and they make the flat smell really nice. And it gives me an excuse to buy some lovely crusty bread to dip in it. I’m considering being slightly more adventurous in the coming weeks and I might even attempt a pie. Yes, a pie! It’s been well over ten years since I made such a thing, but if you can’t cook a pie in when the weather starts to get a bit nippy, then when can you cook one?
To make an event of a meal, you don’t have to make it complicated. Even if you are pushed for time at the weekend, you could always cook an easy pasta recipe, then shove it in a baking dish, sprinkle some cheese on top, stick it under the grill then call it a pasta bake. With a bit of salad and some garlic bread on the side, you’ve made much more of a meal of it than you might do during the week.
Saturday (or an autumnal Saturday at any rate) is the day for the deep dishes and the stock pots, for slow cooking at lower temperatures and browning off large chunks of meat before you pop them in a stew. For spending far too long chopping up vegetables, but being smug in the knowledge that everyone is going to get their five-a-day in one sitting, especially once you’ve whizzed up all those veggies so they don’t recognise the ones they think they don’t like. It is a day for using up the sausages in the freezer and making a Toad in the Hole with some onion gravy, or making a proper curry. I draw the line at making proper Naan breads though. Because I can’t make proper Naan breads and I’m sure no matter how hard try, they would always be a pale imitation of the ones you get from your local Indian takeaway. So you have my permission to buy those in. Just this once mind…