Flopped down in front of the telly last night, it seemed as as if the scourge of the tv chef had invaded every last corner of my tv screen. Almost every channel I flicked to was showing a foodie program. As you know, I have a slight fondness for food, and usually I am dead keen to watch anything involving food shopping, baking, mashing, slicing, frying and the food porn camera shots that accompany these shows. BUT it's getting to be a joke, the amount of dire presenters the BBC has rustled up. Just because you have a successful food writing career and/or restaurant chain, doesn't mean you will translate well to the small screen! I'm talking about you, Nigel Slater! Dearest Nige, you've been a staple in my kitchen for years, and I so love your books, but please, please, stick with writing. TV is not your forte. Likewise, the guy from 'Virgin Cooks', sorry don't know his name, wasn't compelled at all to remember much if anything about the programme (except that the paella did look rather good). No charisma! Sorry, but I do demand a little something extra when watching, aside from the food.
However, my evening was rescued by the glorious emergence of Allegra McEvedy with 'Economy Gastronomy'. Love her! She is my new Nigel, or perhaps Valentine. She is one of the founders of the great chain of good food, fast food restaurants in London, Leon, and her no-nonsense style is just awesome. 'Economy Gastronomy' makes perfect sense at the moment, when everyone is freaking out (rightly) about not wasting food and generally being thrifty and sensible about food. The episode last night featured a single mum and her (very sensible and earnest, in an adorable way) kid being taught how to shop, plan and cook efficiently without resorting to expensive luxury goods. Next week it's a two dad plus kid family being shown how not to waste food. I like the show's message as much as I like the way it features non-traditional families. but mostly, I just like Allegra. She rocks!
So, inspired by the lovely Allegra (I should also mention that 'Economy Gastronomy' is co-hosted by Paul Merrett, but he is sadly overwhelmed by the pure presence of Allegra :) ) I did some menu planning for the next few days. Menu planning is definitely not my strong point, it's one of those things which I know I should do but....never get around to. So I end up shopping more often than I need to and not using up all those leftovers lurking at the back of the fridge (oh, the horror!). Here's what I planned, using Economy Gastronomy's notions of the bedrock (major meal) and tumbledown meals (those made with leftovers from the major meal) - such simple, sensible concepts!
Roast chicken (I'm roasting 2 to ensure sufficient leftovers) with mash and pan-fried brussels sprouts (just feel like the bitterness of these lately)
chicken, leek and mushroom filo parcels (found some filo pastry today, to my surprise - such 'exotic' ingredients are not usually found in my local area)
Paella with chicken and chorizo
Some type of risotto (made with chicken stock from the chicken bones and carcasses)
That should keep us going for a few days. We've also got a great wodge of pumpkin from Bruno's parents' garden, so there will be some pumpkin soup and pumpkin gnocchi from that. Very Autumnal!