Index Meals | Index card 3
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Index card 3

Chicken and tarragon pesto pasta

I always keep a jar of ready-made pesto and some dried pasta in the cupboard for those days when my daughter brings a friend home for an impromptu playdate. But this is pesto pasta with a difference. Instead of basil, this recipe uses tarragon – the perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken breasts.

This dish tastes best if you marinade the meat for a good few hours in advance. But it’s not unusual for me to forget all about it until just before dinner. Luckily, you can’t go far wrong with a lamb chop!

The piquancy of the red onion, capers and vinaigrette in the white bean salad compliment the rich lamb perfectly.

Lamb chops with white bean salad
Chicken and mixed seafood paella

This dish may have originated as peasant food in Valencia, but in our household, it’s considered to be a bit of a treat.

There is no definitive recipe for paella, so feel free to improvise with whatever ingredients you prefer (I’ll sometimes use chorizo in place of the bacon, or add red pepper and artichokes to the mix).

My mum would call this an omelette, but ‘tortilla’ sounds so much more exotic!

There’s a sort of magic in the way you can create a substantial supper for two out of three little eggs, a couple of mushrooms and some corn on the cob.

Mushroom and herb tortilla
Perfect peppered pork belly

Pork belly is one of my favourite dishes, but it can take a long time to cook to perfection.

This recipe is a rich, salty, peppery treat. It’s one of the quicker methods for cooking pork belly, but it’ll still need an hour or more to get the rind nice and crispy and the meat tender and succulent.

The good news is that, in between turning the meat and adjusting the oven temperature, you can pretty much do your own thing. Great if, like me, you work from home and still have some tasks to complete before supper.

If you’re working through the index cards in order, you probably still have some ingredients left over from cards 1 and 2 that will come in handy this week. These are written in blue on your shopping list, so you don’t end up with a cupboard full of smoked paprika and a freezer full of peas!

Another thing you might like to consider is buying a whole chicken and jointing it yourself for the Paella and the Chicken and tarragon pesto pasta. It’s much more economical than buying ready-portioned chicken pieces. I like to use the money I save to buy an organic, free range bird.

(Look out for my video on how to joint a chicken, coming soon).

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