It can be tempting in January to be a little puritanical about food. It’s natural to want to change things after Christmas – most of us are likely to experience a change in appetite and taste, whether or not we stick to a strict new diet. If I don’t see a sniff of roast meat or gooey cheese for the next month or so, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
I think it’s important, however, not to take away all the joy of eating, especially not on a Friday night. Maybe you’re trying to be primarily vegetarian or vegan, maybe you’re doing Dry January – if so, go for it. Remember that Friday must still look like Friday; distinct from the rest of the week, a bit special, a start to the weekend that is going well.
I can’t stop cooking with canned tomatoes just yet. They find their way into everything from bean casseroles to winter curries and slow-braised puy lentils. I was craving cinnamon this week and that sweet flavor that you often find in slow cooks in Greece and Spain. This dish is somewhere between Spanish patatas a lo pobre and Greek fasolakia, where green beans and potatoes are braised with tomatoes, oregano and garlic. You will slowly simmer the potatoes in the tomato sauce with a whole head of garlic (to push out of its skin when tender) and a stick of cinnamon, then add lemon and cabbage ribbons at the end. .
The halloumi and parsley dusting refreshes everything a bit, as does the spoonful of yogurt, seasoned with a little paprika and cinnamon. This is excellent as is, but it will also go very well with a whole roasted fish or a few small grilled lamb chops.