Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Shredded Lamb, Heritage Tomato Salad, Green Salad, Saute Potatoes - Weds 30th May 2012

Salad day today, the last piece of yesterday's Slow Roast Lamb shredded over salad. A green salad with the addition of nasturtium leaves, buckler sorrel and baby watercress, and a heritage tomato salad.  I know it is not easy to see the different tomatoes in here, but there are lovely fat red ones, yellow ones, black ones, and green ones!

(The amazing gourmet tiny greens are from the Inspired range, courtesy of Westlands Wow, as are the heritage tomatoes. All quite a revelation of the beauty and flavour of this amazing produce we domestic cooks hardly ever get to play  with. Thanks so much, and to Carol Ford of Growing Direct for arranging the tasting)

Shredded Lamb, Heritage Tomato Salad, Green Salad, Saute Potatoes

Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb, new pots & veg, Jubilee Pannacotta . - Tuesday 29th May 2012

Family to lunch today, and a roast dinner requested by the Beloved.  So a shoulder of lamb, roasted long and slow to keep the kitchen temperature down. Served with new potatoes, broccoli and peas. And very summery it looked too.

I forgot to take a picture of the plateful I got, but here was the lamb before it was cut. Easy as anything to cook. Seasoned, and into a roasting pan covered with foil. 20 mins at Mk 6 to kick it off, then 3 hours at Mk 2 with a ten minute blast at Mk 8 with the foil off to crisp the outside. I drained the juices off before the last blast to keep for gravy so that they didn't all evaporate with the higher heat. The meat shrinks from the bones, all the fat renders away, so you have deliciously soft tender meat that melt in your mouth...

Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb

The usual selection of dessert pies and tarts and fruity things. Including Elderflower Pannacotta with Strawberries and Flowers (my Jubilee Pudding... Red, White and Blue..) , Golden Syrup Treacle Tart (the Beloved, Clinton and Becky all adore this..) and an Orange Flower Water Cheesecake Tart (for me..) 

Elderflower Pannacotta with Strawberries and Flowers

I was really lucky, in the morning Westlands Wow had sent me an amazing selection of their edible flowers, microleaves and heritage tomatoes for me to play with.  This was my first foray into the Michelin Chef area of using these amazing fresh vegetables and fruits. I think this is so very pretty. 

Treacle Tart, Orange Flower Water Cheesecake, Strawberries and Icecream

This was Clinton's portion.... God Bless His Belly, as my mum used to say..

Monday, 28 May 2012

Glazed Duck Livers in Blackberry Vinegar on a warm salad, with Bacon & Pinenuts - Monday 28th May 2012

So the last post was liver and bacon for a cold day. Today, on the hottest day so far this year (the thermometer in the car showed 30C.. ) we had liver and bacon for a hot day.

A delicious warm salad, ducks livers sauted until crispy but pink inside, then a couple of tablespoons of blackberry vinegar to deglaze the pan and reduce quickly to a sticky glaze. With grilled bacon, browned pinenuts, all tipped on a green salad with shreds of raw beetroot.  And a personal bowl of buttery Jersey potatoes on the side.

So good, I could eat it all over again.

Glazed Duck Livers in Blackberry Vinegar on a warm salad, with Bacon & Pinenuts

Looking backwards to... Liver and Bacon, Saturday May 12th 2012

Almost seems too long ago on this hot steamy day,  but remember how cold and wet it was? was only a week and a bit ago.

This was a day for Liver and bacon, with some delicious Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Jerseys.  You would almost think it was Autumn.

Liver and Bacon

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Oregano & Lemon Lamb Kebabs with Courgettes and Peppers, Jersey Potatoes & salad - Sunday 27th May, 2012

Another glorious sunny day, and so another day that needs a lighter meat, one with a savourily crisp edge. With the slight bitterness of peppers, courgettes and onions to balance the creamy buttery potatoes.

The marinade for the kebabs is simplicity itself, just cube up all the vegetables and meat, pop in a glass bowl and add the juice of a couple of lemons, a good shake of dried oregano, salt and pepper, mix it all together and then add two glugs of olive oil and mix again. (You want the acid and seasoning all over the meat before you add the oil, or the oil keeps the flavours away from the meat.)  Leave for an hour or so, then layer up onto kebab skewers and grill., either over a barbecue or under a normal grill (my method).

Oregano & Lemon Lamb Kebabs with Courgettes and Peppers, Jersey Potatoes & salad

The Salad Days have arrived! Friday and Saturday 25th and 26th May, 2012

Hurray for warm days and salads! Lovely lovely fresh vegetables, cooked  and allowed to cool to room temperature make for stunningly good simple summer meals.  And if you make plenty, cooked vegetable salads usually keep well for a couple of days, so less work when the weather is sultry.

On Friday, we made a salad start with:

Prosciutto and Hard Boiled Eggs, Caponata, Orzo pasta salad, and green salad. 

And it was just as warm on Saturday,,,

More Prosciutto, Chorizo, Caponata, Orzo and some roasted Peppers and Courgettes mixed with rice

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Prawn Risotto and Smoked Haddock - Thursday 24th May, 2012

Don't worry, I will add in the missing days for reference, but I need to just start off again with the current day, or I will be forever playing catchup.

Today, I broke my tooth, on a piece of fairly soft bread. So I think it must have fractured earlier or something. Just pop! and there was the busted bit.

Can't see the dentist until the morning, so dinner was softish and easily eaten to be on the safe side. Risotto seemed a safe bet, and I had all the things I needed in the fridge and freezer.

So a simple fish risotto, pretty much like this one from A Greedy Piglet,  but with Celery and Purple Sprouting Broccoli instead of the leeks, lots of peas, and no saffron. Served alongside a simply poached fillet of smoked Haddock.

Prawn and Pea Risotto with Smoked Haddock

Two Ham Hocks....Sunday May 6th to Wednesday May 9th 2012

Two Ham hocks, picked up reduced from the cooked food counter at Sainsbury's. Two cost £3, and made me four meals. Don't forget as you read this with the sun in your eyes, that the week in question was FLIPPING cold...

Glazed Gammon and Carrots - Sunday 6th May

Lovely little ham hocks, I took the skin off one and roasted it again with a glaze of mustard and demerara sugar. Served with Jersey Potatoes and Vichy Chantenay carrots. You just cook the carrots, then glaze them in butter a little sugar and a bit of the cooking water. Sprinkle with parsley.

Gammon Red Flannel Hash with Fried egg - Monday 7th May 

The rest of that gammon hock chopped up, mixed with chopped boiled new potatoes, grated beetroot and sliced onions, all fried up until going crispy. Topped with a fried egg.  Really scrummy!

Gammon and Egg Potato topped Pie - Tuesday 8th May

Another gammon hock to use up...I thought the same sort of thing as a fish pie, but with gammon instead of the fish. So a bechamel sauce, peas, parsley, hard boiled eggs, and chopped ham. Topped with mashed potatoes, dotted with butter and cooked like a shepherds pie.  Sadly, there was something wrong with the potatoes, they were gluey. I cooked two lots, in case I'd done something wrong, but they were still gluey. 

So no more old potatoes for the time being. We will just have new potatoes which are in season, haven't been stored, and so are in better condition.  

This was tasty, but not up to my standards to be honest. Not one to make again for me. But I think children would like it. 

Ham Broth with Puy Lentils, Cannellini beans and Pasta Shells - Wednesday 9th May 

The last of the ham stripped away, I had the two bones, cooked in the pressure cooker to make a rich broth. Then cooked with carrots, celery, lentils, beans and pasta shells. Finished with lots of chopped parsley, and a slice of newly baked brown bread. 

The bread was delicious, made from a recipe I developed based round a Dan Lepard one from The Handmade Loaf. 

You can read further about it on A Greedy Piglet.  - it is the very slow one :)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Salad, Cheese, Bread and Crispbreads - Saturday May 5th 2012

A day for a change of pace, and a simple Italian style supper of various salads, cheese, bread and rye crispbreads.

Salads on offer were:

  • Cannellini beans with tomatoes, red onions, parsley and a balsamic dressing
  • Tuna (and a bit of yesterday's left over salmon) in Lemon Dressing with red onions and parsley
  • Jersey Potatoes with Roasted Red Peppers (from a jar), chorizo and flat leaf parsley, in Orange and Mace Dressing from Womersley 
  • Cheese Board -  Capricorn goats cheese, Doux de Montagne, Davidstow Cheddar and Gruyere
  • Some cold leftover Prawn Risotto
  • Mixed baby green leaves
  • Olives and gherkins
  • My favourite Peter's Yard mini crispbreads
  • French Bread with Sea Salted French Butter

With the option of Garlic or Plain Mayonnaise

A Feast!

It's catch up time...this is a warning...

I've been rather busy this last week, and although I carefully took pictures of my dinners, I didn't make the time to write them up ... naughty me.  So rather than let them slide into oblivion, I'm going to write them all up in chrononological order.

So be warned if you subscribe.. lots of posts on their way!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Prawn and Monkfish Risotto, with Pan Fried Darne of Salmon - Friday 4th May, 2012

Fabulous dinner tonight, a tail of monkfish and some jumbo prawns, in a light risotto with peas and celery, topped with a darne (slice across the fillet) of salmon, panfried on the skin side til it is nice and dark and crisp.

I do love fish and rice!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Two Days of Italian Feasting: Wednesday & Thursday May 2nd/3rd 2012

I was wandering about on the net, and found this fabulous video (don't miss the curlers...) - it's in Italian, so I'm sorry, but you will see the rather delicious looking plate of food that results:

Orecchiette alle Cime di Rapa

The sauce looked delicious, only trouble was that a) I didn't have any orecchiette and b) I didn't have any turnip tops...

But I did have some Lumache (pasta snails) and some Purple Sprouting Broccoli.  Nearly the same isn't it?

I made the sauce twice, once with red tomatoes (chopped tinned tomatoes our fresh aren't up to cooking with yet) and then on Thursday, repeated it with yellow tomatoes. The Red were much better, the yellow were too sweet, this sauce needs some robustness to match the slight bitterness in the broccoli.

The yellow sauce I served with gnocchi, the red with the lumache.  I hadn't put enough of the broccoli in with the red sauce, and cooked it as Nonna did, but that made it dissolve too much, as it is more delicate than the turnip tops she is using.  So in the yellow sauce, I used a lot more, didn't chop it, and steamed it over the sauce rather than boiling it with the pasta. Oh, and I added some toasted pine nuts to the yellow dish. The sauce was slightly too sweet, but the proportions were better and I liked the pine nuts. I'd recommend this version I think (but with red not yellow tomatoes).

I decided to serve a small portion as a primo piatto, as they would in Italy, rather than as a main course, and followed up with a platter of salami, cheese and salad.

Wednesday, the salami was accompanied by Taleggio cheese and a radish salad, with fresh sourdough baguette - on Thursday the rest of the salami, but with ricotta cheese and a tomato salad in balsamic dressing on baked garlic bruschette

Mangia! Mangia!

Lumache with Tomato and Purple sprouting broccoli, followed by salami, Taleggio cheese and salad.

Gnocchi with yellow tomato & Purple Sprouting Broccoli & pine nuts, followed by Salami, Ricotta, Tomato salad and bruschette

Two days of Pork Belly - Sunday and Monday, April 29th/30th 2012

I love to make something work for two days, it means a lot less initial preparation and less thinking.  This time, I picked up a piece of Pork belly cheaply at Sainsbury's.  Not that special, but at the price, well worth having.

I tried a quick roast (normal times for pork plus just a bit more to crisp the crackling) for Sunday, but really it wasn't tender enough, and I much prefer a long cooked version. So on Monday I wrapped the remainder tightly in foil and cooked it for a further two hours on a low heat and it was succulent and melting and delicious.

Lesson learnt I think.

Sunday's Pork with extra crispy roast potatoes, carrots, fine beans, sweetheart cabbage, and home made apple sauce. 

Mondays Pork with buttered new potatoes, sweetheart cabbage and English asparagus, with home made apple sauce