Sunday, October 14, 2007

Menu planning and kedgeree

We had our regular MuMS group last month after a summer break, and our topic was "The Honour of Working at Home", continuing our study of Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. We had a great evening and touched on a lot of topics, but one focus of our discussion was menu planning. Someone made the point that they found planning the family meals a really difficult task and many of us agreed wholeheartedly.

I had to come clean and confess that I am pretty obsessive about menu planning since my husband (who is a bit of a computer whiz amongst other talents) made me an excel spreadsheet for that very purpose some six years ago. It is basically a database with the ingredients for all the recipes I cook so that each week, I tick the ones I want to use and from there I can print out a list of ingredients I need to buy. It originally came into being because I used to spend ages each week copying down things out of recipe books and this speeds things up a lot. It is also useful as a way of storing all the recipes I use (now about 120 of them - I think I need help...). It keeps track of when we had each meal so that I can rotate things and not have the same dish too often.

Anyway, that is my way of doing things and it works well for me, although for those of you who are more laid back about menu planning, it may seem a bit over the top! For any fellow planning freaks I will try to persuade my husband to post the program sometime, and meantime, here's one of my family's favourite recipes, kedgeree. I got this from Annabel Karmel's book of baby and toddler recipes, although I've modified it slightly for my family's tastes.


350g of smoked haddock or cod (dyed or undyed)
142ml tub of double cream
1 onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoons mild curry paste (I use Pataks korma paste)
250g rice
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional – I use Jiff lemon)
2 eggs
Olive oil


1. Hard boil the eggs and mash with a fork (you can do this in advance).
2. Cook the rice as normal.
3. Cut fish into pieces and take off any obvious bones. Put into a microwavable bowl and pour over the cream. Cover with cling film, pierce some holes in it and cook on full power for 5 minutes.
4. Heat olive oil in a wok and gently fry the onion for 4-5 minutes until soft.
5. Stir in curry paste and cooked rice and cook for 1 minute.
6. Add cooked fish and cream mixture, lemon juice and mashed eggs.
7. Mix together, heat through and serve.


Joyce said...

For those of us in the U.S., does double cream mean heavy whipping cream? Would you describe it please?

The recipe sounds good!

Nicole said...

I'm not quite as obsessive as you with the meal planning by the sounds of it - but I'd like to be! I'd love to see that spreadsheet sometime if your husband could post it. Thanks for sharing such a great tip with us.

Catriona said...

Joyce, apparently there is no exact equivalent of double cream the US but heavy cream or even single (half and half) would probably be fine in this recipe. I needs to have a pouring consistency for going over the fish so I'm not sure if heavy whipping cream would be too thick. See here for more:

Hope this helps!

motsy said...

Please...please...please get your husband to post the program. I am a planning freak as well and would absolutely love to have a program that would do all of that.

Beth said...

Ditto on that request for the spreadsheet menu plan. I'm working toward creating something like that but if your husband has already done it, I don't need to reinvent the wheel. My most recent menu planning help has been to cook my way through a new cookbook. I'm loving the simplicity of this and enjoying really getting to know the recipes in this book, Simple Suppers. Here's a link to a recent blog post about this endeavor.
I LOVE Patak's too, but I usually use their medium curry paste. Thanks for the encouragement in this area!

Anonymous said...

yes, please to the spreadsheet ...

Catriona said...

I'm hoping James might have time to do something about posting the spreadsheet over the next couple of weeks.

By the way, I made the kedgeree this week with single cream (half and half if you're in the US) and it worked just as well as double, although a bit less rich!

ukrainiac said...

The spreadsheet sounds awesome! The idea of having my recipes with ingredients at my fingertips -- a dream come true!