February 16, 2010

hobz biz zejt

For a long time now we have been planning our meals weekly.  It minimises the amount of waste we produce to only buy exactly what we need and it makes for quicker and easier grocery shopping (which I used to enjoy more when I had the luxury of being able to meander around speciality shops and grocers rather than now reluctantly relying on the convenience of the supermarket for almost everything except meat and fish). 

Planning our meals also makes deciding what we are having for dinner much easier - after a long day it's something I don't like to ponder and our simple rule of only including what we like to eat on the menu means that most nights, the outcome is delicious.  (Of course there are nights when the list is devoid of inspiration and we succumb to the local takeaway.) 

Lately, it seems we have been cooking some great meals, some simple, some requiring a bit more effort, and some which have warranted a few photographs.  Dishes that spring to mind are Pollo alla Cacciatora (something I'd never tried before) and Rabbit Stew with Tarragon Dumplings (an old favourite from Cook with Jamie).

Something I like to prepare is chicken stock.  It's such a handy thing to have in the freezer but moreso, I feel virtuous when I make it, using up the bits of the chicken that would otherwise end up in the bin.  I try to buy whole free range, organic chickens, jointed and ask our butcher to give me the carcasses too, which I throw into a stock pot with whatever vegetables and herbs I have before simmering in plenty of water.

Our latest discovery is hobz biz zejt, a Maltese dish of dense white bread, tomato paste, white anchovies, capers, parsley and olive oil.  A delicious lunch and so easy to make.  I am particularly partial to salty, strong flavours (especially at the moment), and this really fits the bill.  Really summery, I'm looking forward to enjoying it with an icy cold glass of crisp, white wine.

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