You will always find me in the kitchen at parties on Sundays.
Batch cooking is the easiest way to stay organised and healthy throughout the week and I like to do mine on a Sunday. Choose a time that you’ve got a few hours spare in the kitchen, get the radio on (Absolute Radio 90s and BBC Six Music are personal faves) and pour yourself a glass of wine if you really want to spice things up.
This is a collection of my usual batch cooking hit list:
1. Quinoa. This one is super easy as it’s literally just rinsing and boiling. It takes about 20 mins and once that’s done it can form part of loads of meals making them quicker and easier to assemble throughout the week. Watch out for Ali’s upcoming post on quinoa recipes.
2. Hummus. This Deliciously Ella hummus recipe is so good and really easy to make. I have a Nutribullet but it will work in any blender or food processor. I like always having a jar of hummus on the go for lunches and an addition to midweek teas and it stops unhealthy snacking if there are some carrot sticks in the fridge to go with it.
3. Tomato sauce. I first made this as a soup following Deliciously Ella’s roasted tomato and red pepper soup and loved it, so decided to leave out the final step of adding water and keep it thick and saucy. Now I tend to pour the thicker mix into jars and freeze them ready to defrost to go on pizzas and with pastas, courgetti and barley risotto. Once defrosted you can even add the water in to make it back into a soup!
4. Speaking of soup… It’s one of my favourite things to cook as I love just throwing in whatever veg is left over at the end of the week but I occasionally follow a recipe. I’ve got a lot of kale left over this week so I’m going to give Jack Monroe’s kale, barley and cumin soup a go… eyes (and carrots) peeled for the results of that next week. Jack’s chocolate chilli and black bean soup is also on the hot list to try before soup season is over.
5. Pearl barley. Similar to the quinoa I like to have a bowl of pre-made barley in the fridge to make speedy risottos during the week. It takes a bit longer to cook than quinoa so it’s so handy to have some pre-made. I like to reheat and add a jar of the aforementioned tomato sauce with some rosemary, chilli flakes and goat’s cheese for a super fast midweek tea. My kinda fast food.
6. Stew/Chilli. This is a great winter batch cook that can be thrown in the slow cooker and frozen for a snowy day. This cannellini bean stew is really good and it’s a great recipe to add sausages to if you’re struggling to transition your carnivorous friends/partners to the healthy way of life or just prefer to add some meat into your diet. If I’m extra hungry I’ll have this with the quinoa or barley. Ali also makes a mean chilli from the Anna Jones cookbook in the slow cooker.
7. Curry in a hurry. This Naturally Sassy sweet potato and spinach korma is amazing and if you’ve got a takeaway craving it really hits the spot. If you want to make it meaty you can grill some chicken to add to it but the chickpeas are full of protein and it’s so tasty without you won’t even notice the difference.
8. Energy balls. I am the world’s biggest snacker and if I don’t have something sweet in the fridge or throughout the week I will cave and eat something bad! I made these Deliciously Ella raw coconut and cacao bites (I was out of cashew butter so used peanut instead) a few weeks ago and they made an amazing snack pre or post workout. My next attempt is going to be these raw cookie dough energy balls that I can’t stop fantasising about on Fashion Me Now. If you have friends round you can also put a few of these in a bowl with some vegan frozen banana ice cream for a super speedy dessert. If you’re prone to overeating keep them frozen and just take one out at a time to pop into your lunch box or for an after tea treat.
9. Banana bread. Never throw your over ripe/blackening bananas away! The riper the better for baking. This Deliciously Ella banana bread is really good and our friend Faye makes a mean BB based on this BBC Good Food recipe. This bread can be toasted for breakfast with almond butter spread, heated up for a dessert or just eaten as it is for a quick snack.
10. Bircher. I make birchers every week because I’m completely obsessed with them at the moment and they keep in the fridge for a few days if you want to plan ahead. Honestly Healthy does a really easy to follow bircher recipe, and there’s a simple one from Naturally Sassy too. Once you’re confident in making these you can add in whatever fruit and nuts you have left over and depending on the contents of my fridge I’ll either do this with natural yoghurt, almond milk or water.