Saturday, 2 February 2008

Shopping lists

Apparently my mum is extremely trendy - well, at least judging by at least 3 Sunday supplements and foodie mags of recent weeks. We're being exhorted to throw away less food - a hugely sensible idea but hardly earth shattering - and to plan our weekly menus to minimise wastage. So, shopping lists become necessary.

My mum always planned her weekly menu, and as I've grown older I've fallen into the same habit - most weeks it is fun to leaf through the cookery books and see if there's something new to try this week or whether it should be old favourites. Though frankly today it was less appealing as I had two screechy people vying for my attention as they worked on their "Maffs books", plus a lingering headache (thank you to coworkers who insist on working when they should be off sick).

One of my unofficial resolutions for this year was to try at least one new recipe every week - so far so good. Last week's new one was a version of the vegetarian moussaka from the Cranks Bible - very easy, very good:

(Apologies for fuzzy quantities - I am quite hit & miss except when baking)

2 aubergines
Potatoes - enough for the people you are feeding, which really depends how greedy you are. I probably used about 600g
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tin tomatoes
500 ml milk
butter - maybe 50g?
plain flour
75 g Gruyere (very authentic, I know)

Slice 2 aubergines about 1cm thick, brush with olive oil and grill until soft

Slice potatoes about 5mm thick, boil for about 5 minutes.

Chop onion and fry till soft in olive oil. Add chopped garlic, tomatoes and oregano, and simmer for 20-30 minutes to thicken. Season to taste.

Make about 500ml of white sauce - so a fair lump of butter, a couple of tablespoons of flour and about a pint of milk. I do this the lazy way, sticking it all in the pan together and stirring with a whisk it till it boils & thickens. Can't be doing with all that roux malarkey these days. Stir in a good grating of nutmeg.

Assemble it in layers: aubergines, then potatoes, then tomato sauce, then white sauce. And repeat, finishing with a thick blanket of white sauce. Scatter over about 75g chopped gruyere and bake at 180C until it browns - about 30 mins.

Scoff it. But don't burn yourself!


  1. Oh yum. Thank you for sharing that deliciousness.

    I have taken to shopping daily for the meal for that night. I still do a weekly shop for essentials but find I am wasting less by doing my shopping this way

  2. Thanks for the recipe. Nothing burns quite as much as a too hot Mousakka.

    And I'm trying trying trying to plan more, but still seem unable to avoid food shopping 3 times a week. What a waste of time when I could be knitting.

  3. I should really do this - make a new recipe regularly - it is too easy to whizz round Waitrose buying the same things every week and making the same 'stuff' *blush* x

  4. I wish I liked aubergine, it's one of the very few things that I don't. Mousakka always looks so tasty!
    I've become quite obsessed with throwing things away and am priding myself on only having one kitchen bin bag of rubbish a week now! Ok, so it is a 40-50 litre one...

  5. sounds yummy. I wanted to try the new recipe a week, but haven't quite managed it yet.
    as for the menu planning, will you plan my meals for the week too - please!!

  6. I agree with Driftwood - can you plan my week's menu too please??? I'm not that organised I'm afraid - although doing Weight Watchers again is making me plan ahead a bit more! Lucy x

  7. Delicius--thank you! We've been trying new recipes here too, it's a great adventure! Happy Day ((HUGS))

  8. Sounds delicious! I think I'll be trying that one. (And what does "Cranks" in the cook book title refer to?)

  9. That recipe sounds delicious _ i may have to try that one very soon. I've been planning menus for a while now and it does make a difference to how much I buy and waste.
    That reminds me, better go and make the dinner ......


  10. why do people insist on going to work when they are ill? Grrr! It drives me mad, so unfair on everyone else!Rant over. Thanks for the recipe-I am with you on trying to cook something new each week and have even been writing down a list of meals. We are guilty of cooking something new and fab and then forgetting about it forever more (and forgetting which book/ magazine it was from) the list is working so far!
    Hope you feel better soon
    anna x

  11. We have the same recipes for weeks on end, them everybody gets bored, and we introduce a different set !

  12. Oh yum. No one would eat this in our house except me. I should definitely make it!

  13. that sounds delicious - and I'm not a huge eggplant fan! thanks for the inspiration to try new foods; I'm better at it on the weekend when I have time

  14. That sounds delicious - my sort of recipe!

    It's so easy to make the same things week in week out that it's always lovely when you discover something new.

    Mind you I can't get away with only one shop per week anymore - if it's in the house my lot just eat it and I still run out after three days!

    Gina xx

  15. Hope you're feeling better today Val. I love veg moussaka, but it does burn!!! My mum would also plan the week's meals and I do try to but once I get into the supermarket all good intentions fly out of the window

  16. Mmmmmmmmm. Sounds good.
    Menu planning is a very good idea. Not just to avoid wasting food but to avoid the weight gain which results from eating everything that's about to go off so as not to feel guilty for throwing it away!

  17. Aubergines are my all time fav. Yummy thank you

  18. I got that book for my birthday a few years ago. Great recipes although I found some of them a bit time consuming. I should fo and flick through it again.

    BTW my sister plans her whole week's menu at the w/end and then shops for it. Me, I'm still rebelling at such organisation. Hopefully, I'll grow out of it before the children leave home.

  19. Hello Kitty - I know what you mean about the Waitrose rut. I was getting to the point of not being able to justify any more recipe books if I didn't start making stuff out of the ones I already have - and what a nightmare that would be!

    Hello Weirdbunny - Most of the time we do have the same things over and over, but I was trying to get out of that "if it's pasta, it must be Wednesday" vibe!

    Hello Heidi - Ooh, if you like eggplant you'll enjoy this one. the grilling keeps it from getting soggy - yum! I really like it on the barbecue in the summer with some mushrooms - and now I am getting hungry again.

  20. Just wanted to tell you I made the recipe over the weekend - very yummy! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Cranks Bible is my very favourite book. I have been known to take it to bed with me to read before sleeping! I know, call me wierd. I do happen to think that the author, Nadine Abensur is an absolute genious. I just couldn't live without this book! x

  22. What a fantastic recipe. I used to love the Cranks cafes that were dotted around London - what a shame they have now all been closed down - I must try to track down one of their cookery books instead!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a lovely comment. x


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