menu planning

Weekend Cook Fest 4

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Roasted vegetable side dish, vegetarian pasta sauce








  • 3 lbs assorted vegetables (see below)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Balsamic vinegar for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • Marscapone or double cream (small carton)
  • Fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano or tarragon

Technique and organisation:

STEP 1 – Roasted vegetables

Prepare 3 lbs of the following vegetables, any combination: sweet potato wedges, parsnips, sliced peppers,  carrot batons, red onions cut into wedges, beetroot,  courgette slices. Pour a coating of olive oil into the bottom of a deep baking tray and scatter the vegetables on top, drizzling a bit more olive oil over them so they are well covered. Crush 2-3 cloves garlic and mix amongst the vegetables. Sprinkle some balsamic vinegar over the top. Roast in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes, covering with foil if they start to look too brown. Reserve 1/2 of the vegetables to serve with your roast dinner.

STEP 2Roasted vegetable pasta

Just before you want to eat, toss a third of the remaining vegetables into hot cooked pasta and add a few tablespoons of Marscapone or double cream to make an impromptu sauce. You can also add some fresh herbs if you have them, and some grated parmesan. Sprinkle with black pepper if you like.


Shopping list – Week 4

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2 lbs/1kg minced beef 4 gammon steaks

1lb/500g pork stir fry pieces

Beef joint

4oz/100g cooked ham

4 oz/100g cooked chicken


2 lbs/1kg new potatoes

4 baking potatoes

Fresh parsley

Fresh chives

Fresh berries (if not too expensive) or frozen


6 apples

6 bananas


4 oz/100g grapes


Romaine lettuce


8 oz/200g vine tomatoes

2lbs/1kg carrots

2 aubergines

3 courgettes

2 onions

2 red or green peppers

Fresh basil leaves

Fresh pineapple (or tinned in juice)


2 loaves sliced bread

Tomato ketchup and/or relish

Horseradish sauce and/or

 English mustard

Chocolate sauce or Mars bar (to melt for sauce)

Medium rice noodles

Tin chopped tomatoes

Tin kidney beans

3 litre cartons orange juice

3 litre cartons apple juice

Chocolate chip biscuits



Sour cream

10 fl oz/250 ml single cream

1 lb/500g vegetable spread

1 pint/ 500ml low fat natural yoghurt

2 pints/1 litre Greek yoghurt

4 oz/100g cheddar cheese

Sliced cheese for sandwiches


2 lbs/1 kg frozen peas

2 lbs/1kg frozen green beans

1 lb/500g value frozen white fish


Bin bags

Light bulbs

Image: vitasamb2001 /

Dinners for the home – Week 4

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Baked white fish with boiled potatoes, fresh parsley sauce and green beans

Fruit salad and cream


Home-made burgers with baked potatoes, sour cream and chives.

Ice cream and chocolate sauce


Gammon steaks with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Greek yoghurt with honey


Vegetable stew with hidden eggs


Microwaved chocolate cake


Pork stir fry with rice noodles

Mango fool


Chile con carne with rice

Banana split yoghurts


Roast beef with horseradish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots and peas


Image: Paul /

Healthy after school snacks

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Try these to keep the little’uns away from the biscuit tin.

Bread sticks

Yoghurts, in little pots of natural with a bit of honey. Cut comb honey always has a pleasing novelty value.

Fruit kebabs

Microwave popcorn

Cheese sticks

Toasted crumpet or muffin with olive spread

Ryvita with raisins inside

Carrot sticks or pitta bread fingers with dip made from 6 teaspoons low fat mayo and 1 teaspoon ketchup mixed together.

Image: Paul /

Dessert recipes for Week 3

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Dessert recipes for Week 3 menu plans and shopping list.

Microwaved chocolate cake (with acknowledgements to the Toshiba Book of Microwave Cooking)

  • 4 oz/125g vegetable spread
  • 3 oz/75g self-raising flour
  • 4 oz/125g caster sugar
  • 1 oz/25g cocoa
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Whisk all the ingredients together until you get a smooth mixture, and put into a microwaveable bowl or soufflé dish and cook on high in a microwave oven for 6 minutes. Good served as a sponge pudding with cream, ice cream or custard.

Poached pears and marscapone

  • 1 pear per person
  • 100g sugar
  • Glass white wine
  • Juice of half a lemon

In a heavy saucepan bring wine and sugar to boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes to burn off alcohol. Add lemon juice and pears. Cook for 10 minutes over medium to low flame. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or tablespoon of marscapone.

Boiled fruit cake

  • 12 oz (300g) value mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants and candied peel)
  • 4 oz (100g) butter or vegetable spread
  • 4 oz (100g) sugar (preferably brown)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ¼ pint (100ml) water
  • 8 oz (200g)self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice or ½ tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger

Heat the fruit, butter, sugar and water in a saucepan until the butter has melted, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. Leave to stand and cool for 20 minutes for the dried fruit to swell. Add the eggs and stir again, before adding the flour and beating thoroughly. Pour into a 2lb (1kg) loaf tin lined (silicon, non-stick, or lined with baking parchment) or 2 x 1lb (500g) loaf tins. Great for packed lunches or to give as presents, or eat it Yorkshire style with apples and cheese for the ultimate supper by the fireside. An optional dash of whiskey or brandy in the mix adds to the flavour, especially at Christmas time, and then it makes a lovely present.

Chocolate mousse

  • 12oz/320g strong dark eating chocolate
  • 1 oz/30g unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs

Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Add the butter and allow it to melt with the chocolate. Stir occasionally and take off the heat when they are done, allowing to cool for a moment. Separate eggs into yolks and whites. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks. Stir the yolks into the chocolate and butter mix. Fold in the whisked egg whites very carefully so as not to lose the air. Pour into a dish and refrigerate for a few hours until it is set.

Shopping list – Week 3

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  • 4 salmon steaks
  • 8-12 lamb chops or 4 lamb steaks
  • Ready-made lasagne or see recipe
  • Pork joint
  • 1 lb/500g cubed beef or braising steak
  • 4 oz/100g cooked ham
  • 4oz/100g cooked turkey


  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • 8 oz/200g vine tomatoes
  • 2 lbs/1kg new potatoes
  • 5lbs/2.5kg roasting potatoes
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 2 lbs/1 kg carrots
  • 6 apples
  • 4 pears
  • 6 bananas
  • 8oz/200g fresh berries (if not too expensive) or frozen
  • Kiwi fruit
  • ½ lb/250g broccoli


  • 2 bars dark chocolate
  • 2 loaves sliced bread
  • 3 litre cartons of apple juice
  • 3 litre cartons of orange juice
  • Chocolate chip biscuits
  • Honey
  • Apple sauce
  • Jam
  • 2 lbs/1 kg porridge oats
  • Small bottle white wine (picnic size)
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • Tin pineapple slices


  • Cheese slices for sandwiches
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1 pint/500ml low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 pint/500ml Greek yoghurt
  • ½ lb/500g vegetable spread
  • ½ lb/500g unsalted butter
  • Small tub marscapone
  • 12 eggs


  • 2 lbs/1kg frozen green beans
  • 2 lbs/1kg frozen peas


  • Washing powder for whites
  • Washing powder for coloureds
  • Fabric conditioner
  • Cream cleanser
  • Toilet cleaner or bleach
  • Spray polish
  • Lavender furniture polish (if you have dark wood furniture)
  • Cleaning dusters and sponges
  • Rubber gloves


Dinners for the home – Week 3

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Lasagne and green salad

Greek yoghurt and honey


Salmon steaks with boiled potatoes and carrots

Microwaved chocolate cake


Grilled lamb chops with new boiled potatoes and green beans

Poached pears with marscapone


Baked potatoes with ham and cheese

Ice cream and chocolate sauce


Beef stew and rice

Fruit salad and cream


Omelettes and salad

Home made fruit cake


Roast pork with apple sauce, roast potatoes, carrots, peas and broccoli

Chocolate mousse

Image: Catherine Hadler /