Meal Idea: Jerk Cod and Prawns

No photo, I’m afraid… will try better next time!

I’ve undertaken most of the cooking at home, as I’m not working it gives my partner more time to do his own thing whilst I’m cooking. I’m approaching 35 and both of us have been trying to look after ourselves much more; but exercise is obviously only part of the equation. Since we started eating more healthily, I’ve noticed a definate improvement in my health – more energy, better sleeping habits and a much better resistance to colds.

Here’s the general meal plan for the week, which on top of the exercise helps to ensure plenty of fruit and veg, protein, and it keeps our saturated fat under control.

  1. 2 x chicken meals
  2. 3 x fish meals
  3. 1 x red meat meal
  4. 1 x meat free meal

I plan our meals a month or two in advance, which helps keep the cost of shopping under control – and helps plan frozen leftovers into our diet for those days when I really can’t be bothered to cook. One of the hardest, yet most fun parts of the meal plan is finding a diverse range of meals that we like, and where we can use the main ingredients for other things. Again, helping on cost and helping to stop our main meals from getting too repetetive.

Living right next to Rusholme and Fallowfield helps – there are plenty of cheaper supermarkets to buy most of the shopping at, with a great range of herbs and spices to go with them… and a bigger supermarket for a few of the things that the smaller supermarkets in Rusholme don’t stock.

So, here’s one of the fish meals that we’re both fond of :

Jerk cod and prawns with carrots and mashed sweet potato.

  1. Take a couple of sweet potatoes, peel them and chop into about 3cm chunks – just small enough so that you don’t have to boil the sweet potatoes for too long.
  2. Start boiling the chopped sweet potatoes – they’ll take around ten minutes to soften.
  3. Chop a large carrot, place in a microwaveable tub (those tubs from chinese takeaways are ideal). Add a little water and get ready to microwave them as soon as you start frying the cod – they take 7 minutes to get soft, but not squishy.
  4. Frozen prawns – cheaper and larger prawns can me found at smaller supermarkets. These don’t need too long to defrost, just 10 – 15 minutes in in a bowl of cold water should do the trick.
  5. Cod stakes – 1 each. Tesco do some great frozen cod steaks in their Low GI range, they’re pretty cheap too. Cook them from frozen, so that by the time they’re cooked they’re flaky but don’t fall apart in the pan.
  6. Find some jerk spices – you can get these at larger supermarkets – and put approx 1 x desert spoon per cod steak in a little oil in the pan.
  7. Fry the cod on a high heat and turn regularly, using a fork to tell when the insides are unfrozen.
  8. While the cod is frying, drain the sweet potatoes and mash them with some butter or spread, adding ground pepper to taste.
  9. Take the cod steaks out and add the prawns to the pan. There should still be a little oil and some already fried jerk spices in the bottom of the pan. Don’t be afraid to add more if you need to, but the spices tend to be hot and a lot of flavour will have been picked up by the oil and the fish.
  10. Wait until the prawns are pink on one side and then turn them over. Because prawns are pretty small, once the whole surface is pink, they’re done – they don’t need very long at all, and it’s very easy to over cook them.
  11. Everything should be ready now, and because the prawns take only a minute, the cod should still be hot.
  12. Serve!

In writing this, I was concious that a lot of people know how to cook, so you’ll know a lot of the information above. When I started cooking, though, I didn’t have much of a clue and, although I’m more confident than I was, I still appreciate thinking through a simple step-by-step plan before I start. Cooking’s generally not hard, and the above idea certainly isn’t, but that extra detail might help those of you who, like me, want to try different ideas whilst building up a bit more confidence.

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