Meal Planning Monday - French week in honour of a Norwegian prime minister


Last week went quite well to plan. I changed Sunday's meal though, not only because I realised that the authentic Paella Valenciana is made with rabbit and snails and I didn't particularly fancy either, but also because a friend was coming over for dinner and I wasn't sure how she'd feel about mussels and squid which I would have put in the paella instead of rabbit and snails, so I decided to make my foolproof duck legs Provençal These little babies never let me down. I served them with my puy lentil and camargue red rice side, garlic rosemary bread, duck fat roast potatoes and green salad. Dessert was several cups of cardamom tea and my mother's special Jack Daniel's whiskey bundt cake.

Bundt cake with Jack Daniels whiskey

Money-wise I'm not sure if this meal planning thing is working that well. I didn't track my spending before, so maybe I was spending completely outrageous amounts. But last week I managed to get through £87 pounds on just the food, not including wine. I think it's quite a lot for two reasonably normal sized people. I bought a really nice emperor fish and a red grouper for #fishfriday as a friend came over for dinner and to drop her cat for a sleepover with us. The two fish came to £20 pounds, so that explains part of the cost. But still. Anyway the fish was lovely, this time I oven baked it and served with my awesome Greek rice, a Santorini salad, parmesan asparagus and roast vegetables.

Asparagus with garlic and Parmesan

Tuscan bean soup
An easy weeknight Tuscan Bean Soup
This week will be my French week. I was inspired by an old email my friend unearthed about a wine tour we did to Burgundy with a friend of hers, a Norwegian guy of a particularly unhumorous, stiff and overbearing constitution. Let's call him Canute. I could call him other names, but nothing appropriate before watershed. So the trip wasn't an all-round success. Partly because of Canute's epic lack of social skills and partly because of our immature response to it. He was completely unable to communicate with us as adults bellowing orders and refusing to listen to anything we said. The situation wasn't improved by us then behaving ever more immaturely as the result of his patronising. Vicious cycle if ever there was one!

Example: I was doing the map reading (my friend was sulking in the back seat, because Canute had already driven her crazy) and he was driving. He then complained about the way I was giving instructions. If you ask me, the problem was not my instructions, but the fact he either would not listen at them or it would take him two miles to compute an instruction which would mean that we'd miss every turning. I don't remember the exact wording of his complaint, but it can't have been good because I threw him in the head with the map.

Seriously, about 5 minutes into our road trip he told us off for eating potato crisps too loudly in the car. I can't believe I didn't punch him.

Apparently Canute was called "Prime Minister" by his friends as a kid. He told us himself. I think he thought it was meant as a compliment. It wasn't. It was meant as a "You're a giant self-righteous pain in the ass". We completely cracked up at someone being called prime minister at the age of six. Looking bemused and not seeing what was funny he corrected us "I was eight". As if that would make it ok. That cracked us up even more.

Anyway in honour of poor Canute, who I'm sure didn't enjoy being trailed by two constantly inebriated, rebellious, giggling blondes, I decided to do a French menu for the week. I have wanted to do this for some time now. The challenge is that I don't want to cause irreparable cardio-vascular damage and the meals can't take forever to cook. I do have a full time job so can't faff around in the kitchen all day every day. Also we don't eat pork or sausages (apart from the occasional sneaky chorizo) so that shrinks the choice considerably leaving out the Lyonnaise and Alsatian cuisines for instance completely, because everything including desserts has either sausages or pork or both in them like the famous Lyonnaise crème brûlée au saucissons et lardons. No, not really.

This will be the French menu for the week:

Lundi                      Bouillabaisse
Mardi                      Sunday's leftover duck and lentils
Mercredi                 Coq au vin (without the bacon)
Jeudi                       Soupe à l'oignon - French onion soupe
#poissonvendredi   Salad Niçoise with fresh tuna, fougasse with olives and herbs 
Samedi                   Eating out for step son's 18th birthday - probs not French as he's choosing
Dimanche               Ratatouille, pissaladiere

So I already made the bouillabaisse. And it was délicieuse, no bones about it, hah!

Provencal fish soup Bouillabaisse

I am sharing my plan at Mrs M's and Organising junkie. Come and check out all the plans for food inspiration!

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