MATERIAL GIRL: Jodie Bruton on hot dinners autumn/winter 2017

I COULDN’T help take the bait over my friend’s beef.

She was complaining about how her colleague always fed her family the same fish for dinner on Friday. She thought it was beyond boring and ridiculously routine.

“We have fish for dinner every Friday,” I say.

“Okay, but not the same type of fish every Friday?” she suggests.

“Who wants to eat salmon 52 Fridays a year?”

“We have flathead or hoki,” I say, “I’m more than happy to trade up to salmon but our girls are not big fans.”

I thought it best to keep under wraps our weekly commitment to Taco Tuesday and Meat-free Monday for now. (Delicious pun in previous paragraph! You’re welcome.)

Dishing up dinner seven days a week to a family with diverse tastes is tricky enough without starting from scratch on themes. Why is it that siblings have polar opposite tastes? It’s like they got together for a powwow without their elders and carved up all of the food items. You take tomatoes. I’ll have hommus. And I’ll take cheese. Actually, give me all the beige and yellow food. But we both get strawberries and apples.

MEAT-FREE MONDAY

Having cooked zucchini slice 200 times too often when our daughters were toddlers, I had to take it off the menu for the foreseeable future. Zucchinis, however, are back in the form of Canvas Eatery Zucchini Fritters. Three out of four of us eat soup, meaning a one-pot wonder will please 75 per cent of the household.

TACO TUESDAY

For years we ate spaghetti bolognese, lasagne or cannelloni on Tuesday with any leftovers on Wednesday. However, with so many side orders creeping in like “no-cheese please” or “pesto instead of bolognese, remember I’m half-vegetarian now”, we’re new Taco Tuesday converts. Help yourself people, roll your own.

WINE WEDNESDAY

While liquid lunch doesn’t work for everyone’s dinner, it’s welcome while deliberating over the menu. Invariably it’s pasta. Spaghetti with pesto and a side salad with no Parmesan on one dish will suit all of my tribe, 100 per cent of the time.

POTLUCK THURSDAY

The wordsmith in me likes Takeaway Thursday but Fish Friday (see below) has dibs on that offer every other week.

FISH FRIDAY

Homemade or Borella Road Seafood.

SLOW-AND-LOW SATURDAY

Oyster blade steak cooked in a braising liquid for half the day breaks down brilliantly for a massaman curry, all while it heats your home.

SUNNY-SIDE-UP SUNDAY 

I like my eggs hard, my husband has a soft spot for runny, our eldest daughter likes egg whites and our youngest the yolk. Seriously!

When our eldest gets a lift home from ballet twice a week around dinner time, the driver always has a crack at what’s on the menu at our place. He’s had some good guesses but he once had such a bad run, I felt compelled to text him earlier in the day: We’re having Rigatoni Bolognese. Make yourself look good! Later our daughter said: “Wow! He was spot on tonight! I think we need to mix dinner up a bit!” 

Last week we did exactly that. With leftovers from Slow-And-Low Saturday on Monday, Meat-Free Monday went to Tuesday. Taco Tuesday got pushed out to Wednesday. Low on wine, I had a beer on Wine Wednesday. With the chooks off the lay, Sunny-Side-Up Sunday was a little overcast. 

Tonight I have no idea what’s for dinner.