• Jacques Brennan

Cooking for One ( No. 1 )

I am worth it! :)




I attended the Dublin VegFest in 2019, great memories. Wonderful people who care about the world, the animals and great food! I had amazing chats with people as I plied them with Bruschetta, - who can resist that bit of toast covered in garlic and tomato in a pool of extra virgin olive oil ... the true elixir.


I was there to sell my books, but also to do some food demonstrations and to promote vegan cooking. I did sell a few books, but the best parts were the conversations with people at my table. Get me talking about cooking, food, and especially vegan food and you can't shut me up.


A woman stopped in front of me and without the need of the tempting Bruschetta, reached for a book and started leafing through it. After a few minutes, she turned, looked at me and asked, " Can I use these recipes to cook for one? ". She went on, " I live alone and I find it hard to cook for myself ".


Maybe the simplicity of the recipes made her believe that this cookbook was the one to buy, not sure but I am a salesman, so I said, "of course". I then had to think quickly, " just halve the recipes and it should work". I hope she is having success with the recipes.


But what is it like to cook only for one?



Cooking for one ... don't do it, cook for 2


I say, always cook for two.


Beans and greens - a super salad, really a great meal for one... or two!



Cooking enough for only one serving, for one person can be difficult, such small quantities are not easy to manage. Perhaps this is why many people cooking for one don't even bother to start.


But, if you cook for two ...


when you cook for two, you may just be very hungry that day and want eat more than one serving. You won't don't need to go back into the kitchen later that night for a snack.


when you cook for two, you can keep the other serving in the fridge and have it the next day. This way you are only cooking one day out of two, that should make things a lot easier. And leftovers are great, not only easy, but I think so tasty, often better than when it was freshly made.


when you cook for two, you can use most recipes. The instructions normally indicate the number of servings, i.e. Serves 6 or 4 hungry souls ... so you can just half the recipe.


when you cook for two, someone might come over to visit, drop in for a quick cup of tea. But imagine that you offer them to stay for lunch. Would they not be surprised and so pleased? I love the unscheduled, informal aspect of it. To share of one's table is one of the best gift you can give someone.


... and


when you cook for two, you can always invite that someone else you wanted to invite but were a little shy to. And here's the excuse - you ring them up and say, " Hi Jane, Tarzan here, I happened to cook a big pot of chilli. It is just too much for one, how would you like to pop over and share it ... no use it going to waste!"


so why not!


Learn to love chickpeas

or What's in Your Cupboard?




Keep you cupboard full. Perhaps the most difficult thing about cooking for one or for many is to think of what to cook.


I open the fridge, and check the cupboards, I take stock and within a few minutes I know what I am cooking. One of the most useful things to have in the cupboard are tins or cans of beans - those all important legumes. They often take a long time to cook and some required soaking the night before.


With a tin of chickpeas you can have a main dish in 15 to 20 minutes - 100% guaranteed. The time it takes for the potatoes to cook or the pasta... rice is good but it takes a bit longer, at least good brown rice does.


Must have in my larder :


Tins of chickpeas

Tins of kidney Beans

Tins of lentils ( but these cook in 20 minutes, so I rarely need them )

Tins chopped or whole tomatoes

Whole wheat pasta ( I love Spelt, you will too )

A few onions, potatoes and carrots and you are set.


Did I mention garlic? Always garlic ... must have garlic. garlic makes any dish or sauce so YUM!


a true rose


Easy meal ideas for someone cooking for one

.... sorry for two



Chickpeas Curry


One onion - finely chopped

One clove of garlic or two ( why not ) - minced

One can of chickpeas 400g - drained

One tomato - finely chopped

One tbsp of hot or mild curry powder


Soften the onion and garlic in a little oil, add the curry powder and the tomato and cook a little longer until your have a paste.

Add the chickpeas and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. taste it, you may want a bit of salt.

Eaten with rice or potatoes or even a few warmed up pita bread




Soup


Soup for me is the best meal there is. It is warm and comforting. I could have soup everyday, my French upbringing. And the best part, so easy to make .


One onion - finely chopped

Two garlic cloves - minced

One big carrot - cubed

One stick of celery - finely chopped

One large potato - cubed

One bay leaf and a pinch of dry thyme

to make it a stew add:

1/2 can of white beans, cannellini type - drained


Soften the onion, garlic and celery in a little olive oil.

Add the carrot and herbs and cook together two or three minutes

Add the potato and enough water to cover everything.

Simmer until the carrot and potato is cooked.

Add the cannellini beans and simmer 5 to 10 mintues.

Taste for salt

Eat with good homemade brown soda bread



One soup you should learn to master is Green Soup - all green vegetables, with leeks as the main part. This soup is a powerhouse of vitamins, a super boost for the immune system and it taste so good. We make this every time someone is recovering and wants to eat. Find it here - Click



Tuscan Butter Beans á la Jacques


This sauce is perhaps my favourite of all. Why? in one word - GARLIC


A big handful of cherry tomatoes - one cup or two

7 to 10 large cloves of garlic - whole

1/4 cup of good olive oil

1 can of butter beans - drained

A little fresh basil if you have it


In a small pot drop in the cherry tomatoes, the garlic and the olive oil and simmer until the garlic is soften and the tomatoes have broken up.

Using a potato masher, reduce it all to a smooth sauce.

Add the butter beans and cook another 5 to 10 minutes

Taste it for salt

add a little fresh basil as you serve.


I particularly like this with Farfalle pasta, bow shaped

There are many more


Just have a browse in the book where there are plenty easy tasty recipes. The key to cooking is to start. make one dish... at the end you will be surprised how easy and how tasty it was. After a few more attempts you will be hooked!


But if you don't have the book, yes, THE BOOK - Hungry Soul, then go to the website there are plenty more recipes ... all free. And if you cannot find what you want, just send me an email and I will try and help; info@hungrusoulplantpower.com or through Instagram @hungrysoulplantpower












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