December 30th, 2010 brought a new and wonderful thing into my life – a little niece. The brand new beautiful Anna Mae is the daughter of my brother Steve and his wife Aoife, and in the grand tradition of tiny babies everywhere, she is so far spending most of her time either feeding or squawking. Her frazzled but very happy parents barely have time to go to the bathroom, let alone feed themselves, so I’ve brought over a few meals for them. I remember well from when my own little girl was tiny that food is the most welcome thing you can see at that particular time.
For parents of a newborn, ease of preparation is the key thing for food – you may only have four spare minutes in which to cook, or may have to do it one-handed while rocking a pram. The other thing to consider here was that one of the new parents is a vegetarian, so the meals needed to cater for both.
I made two vegetarian dishes that reheat well and that can be served with quick easy filler like pasta, couscous or crusty bread and both of which can be easily converted into fare for meat-eaters. The first was Puy Lentil Bolognese, which is perfectly good alone, and can also be made meaty with the addition of chopped fried rashers or pancetta.
The second dish was Chickpea Stew made from a Nigel Slater recipe, and I brought a chorizo sausage along to accompany it. All the carnivore has to do is slice the chorizo and fry it for a couple of minutes to release its delicious spicy oils, and then tip the whole lot into the stew. The chorizo would also work well in the Lentil Bolognese.
So now over to you, our dear readers: do you have any recipes that will work for veggies and meat-eaters alike with a minimum of fuss?