I AM somewhat laid up at the moment after a knee operation to repair a sports injury.
Having known about this for months in advance and that I need to take it easy for a while, I have been imagining a spell of lounging in the garden reading books and sunbathing.
Unsurprisingly, what I’m really doing is very different. Thanks to the weather, all of the above is out of the window and the reality is more leg up on the sofa watching daytime TV!
The really worrying thing, though, has been how we’re going to eat until I’m off the crutches.
Himself, you see, is on full kitchen duty – an area that isn’t his natural habitat. He is incredibly capable of many things but cooking isn’t one of them. Apart from knocking up delicious, creamy scrambled eggs (complete with chopped parsley) if I’m on strike on a Sunday evening, this is as far as it goes.
That said, he’s risen to this new challenge fantastically and it’s all going extremely well. I couldn’t have a more willing, kind and attentive ‘carer’.
Crutches prohibit me from doing just about anything except walking so Himself’s life is full-on to say the least, especially with me dishing out instructions from the sofa, which is doubtless really annoying.
He’s always been a very good shopper, if perhaps a little on the extravagant side – for example, if the list called for one red pepper he would get two or three ‘just in case’... That’s all very well until we get to the more expensive items on the list.
At least we’re not going to run out of anything or go hungry. I also receive about nine ‘in store’ phone calls every trip.
To date, we have been living off a large piece of ham that he cooked at the weekend (1½ hrs in a medium oven) accompanied by new potatoes and salad picked from the garden.
Sometimes baked beans make an appearance instead of salad, and other times it’s broad beans, also from the garden.
But the piece de resistance was the delicious Mediterranean fish that I was presented with the other night. It is such an easy recipe, and – I say and mean this in the kindest possible way – it requires no cooking skill or know how.
On top of that it takes no time at all to make – only a matter of minutes – and not many more to cook either.
The ingredients are pretty much all store cupboard and it’s healthy to boot. So the perfect recipe for the inexperienced cook who would like to have a go, with the added guarantee that it couldn’t be easier and that (almost!) nothing can go wrong.
Jane’s book Make it Easy is available from bookshops and from her website, www.janelovett.com
Baked Mediterranean fish
RECIPES don’t get much easier than this lovely quick, healthy supper. Simplicity itself!
55g (2oz) pitted black olives, roughly chopped (I like Crespo)
6 anchovies, chopped
1 tbsp capers
4 tbsp sun-dried tomato puree or paste
1 tbsp olive oil
4 x 140g (5oz) fillets of white fish such as haddock or cod
Fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas Mark 6.
2. Mix together all the ingredients except for the fish and basil leaves.
3. Put the fish fillets on to a baking sheet lined with greased foil or silicone paper.
Spread the sun-dried tomato mixture evenly over the top of each piece.
4. Cook for 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve immediately with a basil leaf or two on top.
Make the topping several days in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.