I don't know about you, but there were some pretty big indulgences this Christmas. Not content with just roasted goose, we also roasted a ham to go on the Christmas table. Boxing Day saw not only the ritualistic bubble & squeak breakfast, fried in goose fat, but also a buffet with lasagne, cottage pie and salt beef. How was I supposed to choose between that lot? I didn't. They all got equal stature on my plate. And if that wasn't enough, we roasted a rib of beef, with some of the most perfect roast potatoes I've achieved yet. There was fish pie, laden with cream and butter. The cheeseboard was not left unhassled. I waddled back home.
That sort of thing doesn't come for free, though. Balance is key, and I had some repenting to do. I've been going in for one-bowl-wonders - what, in the US is often referred to as 'buddha bowls', though I'm not entirely sure why. I buy in a load of vegetables, and they can be marinated, roasted, steamed so that no one bowl ever needs to be the same.
- You need a carb or grain base if you're going to keep that hunger at bay. Brown rice has featured heavily, but I've also used glass noodles, quinoa, bulgur wheat, green lentils, or Israeli cous cous (the big sort). Step away from the pasta and the white rice.
- Vegetables. A combination of steamed, roasted and raw. Use a mix of vegetables in both colour and texture. If you're going to be roasting them, cut up sturdy, fibrous vegetables smaller than vegetables that hold more water so that they cook more quickly. Peppers, courgettes, mushrooms, sweetcorn on the cob, sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower and kale all benefit from being roasted. Green beans and carrots do well steamed. Cucumber, avocado and diced tomato can be left raw. Brussels sprouts can shredded raw and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil if you're not completely sick of them by now.
- A sauce - them vegetables need jazzing up, after all. Lemon juice, tahini and garlic. Peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil shaken together with enough water to loosen it. Miso, soy sauce, lemon and oil. Sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, finely diced shallot. Garlic, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and a little water to loosen. Whizzed up parsley, mint, anchovies and olive oil, with capers stirred through.
- You'll need some protein. Chickpeas, tofu, beans, houmous. Maybe some fish. Tinned fish also works. I laid off the steak and ham and pates for these bowls...
- A topping to introduce some texture or an additional flavour. Toasted sesame seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped herbs, chopped up kimchi, a squirt of chilli sauce, that sort of thing.
Enjoy. Give it a week and you can get back to the burgers.