Dinner menu for meat-eaters and vegetarians

It has been quite a long week, and some very long weeks are coming up, so I was looking forward to the opportunity to lose myself in cooking. We have guests, so this is a good excuse to make copious amounts of food.

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Pear and chocolate tart


Looking at the recipes, the most important criterion is whether the combination of ingredients looks promising enough to produce a tasty dish (another criterion is whether the boyfriend will eat it, but that is a can of worms I will not open at this point).

But very often, and I think for many people, an important criterion is whether the ratio of effort and the tastiness of the resulting dish is favourable. For example, one dish with a very favourable ratio is some variant of “minestrone.” In my rendition, it consists of throwing together some vegetables and perhaps a bit of smoked bacon; add some pasta or potato, finish off with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil… For winter, I cannot think of an easier, yet more satisfying dish to make, and this is why I go back to it over and over again.

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Braised beef


I still have loads to learn about the anatomy of a cow to be able to name all the muscles and bones that are appropriate for particular dishes. In the meantime, I went to a butcher and asked for some braising beef. The piece I got was about 800 g, just enough for a weekend’s worth of food.

The recipe I used is a modification of a recipe from Giorgio Locatelli’s book “Made in Italy. Food and stories.” He used veal shanks, with the intention of making them into ravioli. I had the same ambition with my braised beef. But first things first.

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Arabic-inspired spread

This is a winner: made on a weeknight for guests, it was delicious and not terribly complicated to make. Alongside the spread, I served warm fluffy pita breads, as I prefer them over the thin flatbreads. We had some white Burgundy to drink, it fit quite nicely.