Rachel’s Favourite Food

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In this brand new series, Rachel suggests menus for the different kinds of meals that people who are interested in cooking have to prepare:  a quick but stylish midweek dinner party; Sunday brunch; favourite winter comfort foods; a children’s birthday party; a summer lunch – these are just some of the 13 different meals that make up the series.

Episode 1 – The Italian Job  – easy entertaining

You come home from work, you’re exhausted, you may have children to put to bed, and you have friends coming round to dinner.  This is a stylish dinner  with an Italian flavour that’s very easy to make, very delicious and uses readily available ingredients:

Episode 2 – Summer Lunch

This is a perfect summer lunch, making use of the best seasonal ingredients, and it’s also useful for some formal entertaining where you want something that looks impressive, but which can all be prepared in advance :

Episode 3 – Formula Fun Lunch for the boys

Lucky boys! In these enlightened times, some may baulk at the idea of cooking a special lunch for the boys as they laze in front of the telly, but is this any more out of date than a girly lunch? As someone who loves my girly lunches, I don’t think so. And besides, cooking this means not having to sit through the mind-numbing tedium of Formula One. What a relief!

Episode 4 – When the boat comes in!

Nutritionists bang on about the benefits of fish, TV chefs call it the ultimate fast food, I just think it tastes great and it’s pretty sexy, too.  What’s more sensuous – a bowl of tomato soup and a chicken wing, or a bowl of steaming mussels and some pan-fried fish?

Episode 5 – Chilli Night

Sometimes simple is best and, when made properly, few things are simpler or better than this classic from the 1970s.

Episode 6 – An indoor picnic

Food eaten outdoors tastes good, but why should really great picnic food be limited to those rare times that we can actually eat outside?  Imagine a Saturday lunch, either round the kitchen table or on the beach, with everyone digging in to a variety of great food, which is easy to assemble, looks fantastic, and tastes wonderful:

Episode 7 – Oodles of Noodles

Noodles are quick, cheap, easy and fun to use.  This programme has a taste of the Far East about it:

Episode 8 – Vegetarian food for everyone

Despite the huge increase of choice in ingredients, there are still those who think vegetarian food equals nut roasts, and restaurateurs whose vegetarian dish of the day is pasta – how unimaginative is that?  I know seasoned travellers who always request vegetarian food on long flights as it is usually much better than the dried up chicken that is invariably on the menu.  Some subterfuge is called for – don’t call it vegetarian food!  This menu is great for those that have a vegetarian in the house, but are fed up with cooking two meals at every meal.

Episode 9 – Great family meal

Sitting down for a family meal seems to be happening less and less, which is a shame.  Here’s a suggestion for a family supper that almost everyone likes – including vegetarians who’ll love the vegetable dishes – but which is virtually stress-free to make.  In fact, making this meal is very therapeutic, so comforting are the flavours and textures:

Episode 10 – Sunday brunch

Sunday lunches are great, but there are times when you get up late and don’t want to wait for, and prepare, a big Sunday lunch. 

So brunch is the perfect answer.  Dr Atkins mightn’t have approved of this indulgent mixture of protein and carbohydrates but, do you care?

Episode 11 – Comfort Food

Three wonderful dishes, and even better because they’re all made in one pot, so less washing up…

Episode 12 – Children’s birthday party

This is where you can throw fashionable food aside (what a relief) and have fun with some old-fashioned, all-time favourites:

Episode 13 –Winter Sunday lunch

A great lunch for a lazy winter afternoon