Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Orzo pasta with runner beans and peas.. Wednesday July 31st 2013

Hmmmm wrong filter on the camera, but you get the gist of it...

Orzo pasta cooked with fresh peas and English runner beans (all in the one pan, they all take about the same time, 8 minutes) , with crispy onions and chopped mint added at the end with lots of salty butter.  With the last slices of the cold pork and a green salad.  15 minutes including the chopping and podding :)


Monday, 29 July 2013

Gnocchi with peas and ham - Monday July 29th 2013

No, honestly, it was nice. Really. I know it looks a bit sludgy, but it was NICE. Honestly....

It was a day for standing in front of the fridge and pulling things out at random until an idea took root.  And then hoping for the best. And thankfully getting a tasty result.

So first out of freezer, potato gnocchi (they can be cooked straight from frozen). Then in the fridge a pot of ready made Italian cheese sauce, some cooked gammon, fresh peas just needing podding, a fresh red pointy pepper.

Chop, pod and slice as required. Blanch peas and throw into re-heated cheese sauce with gammon and red peppers pieces, cook gnocchi and then throw them into the cheese sauce too.  Serve in a bowl with slices of cooked pork loin.

Saturday and Sunday - the twins... July 27-28th 2013

Easy does it salad again on Saturday, cold roast pork, cold gammon, watercress, coleslaw and homemade brown bread. 

And OH out on Sunday, so exactly the same thing again!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

all this week....Monday-Friday July 22-26 2013

Gosh it's been a busy old week let me tell you. With LOTS of fab eating out hence very little on here for you. And it has been very very hot so all meals have been quite light.

So shall I summarise?

Monday - Peruvian Avocado Masterclass at Ceviche in Frith Street, in London's West End. We made stunning salads with quinoa and avocado, and lots of tasters of ceviche. And Pisco Sours. Oh yes, let's not forget the Pisco Sour ;) (lots more about the masterclass and about amazing Peruvian Avocados soon over on A Greedy Piglet)

Tuesday - Quiz night at the Bell. Salt and Pepper Squid. with garlic mayo. And chips.

Wednesday - I made the quinoa and avocado salad again to see if I could. Yes I can , although I only had red quinoa (Merchant Gourmet ready cooked) and no butter beans...and no physallis to make the coulis so I used a little Womersley Golden Raspberry vinegar instead for the bit of sweetness it needed.

And to follow that we had a very light salad with Polish sausage and Italian blue cheese.

Thursday - A joint of gammon in the fridge needed cooking, so I pressure cooked it and we had it cold with salads.

Friday - My wedding anniversary - 33 years - yes, it is amazing. Thank you, no I don't look old enough do I...  We went out for lunch at our favourite fine dining restaurant, L'Autre Pied , and I had delicious beetroot to start, then hake with parmesan and truffles, and a cherry and apricot dessert. With lots of wine. Oh, and I nearly forgot... a Whisky Sour to start (I see this sour cocktail lark could be a habit..)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Layer Marney Lamb and Roast Med Veggies - Sunday July 21st 2013

Gosh this is a great cut of lamb, the chump end. Cheap as chips, a bit of bone in it but that just makes for highly pleasurable gnawing, and as tender as the rest of the chump.  I marinated both the lamb and the veggies in lemon juice, olive oil and oregano, grilled the lamb and oven roasted the vegetables.

The lamb was bought at Essex Food Festival on Saturday, and came from Essex lamb farmers Layer Marney Lamb, this was oh so delicious. The Mediterranean vegetables were roasted earlier and allowed to cool, and with a crunchy salad were just right for this most Mediterranean of summers we are having.

Salad again... End of Last Week July 18/19/20 2013

It is still Scorchio as The Sun always used to put it.. hottest summer for 7 years apparently.  Takes a person's appetite away, so we are just eating salad variations.  I am sure you can put a lot of raw veg in a bowl, toss them in dressing, and add something proteinous without me telling you how to. But here are a couple for you:

Polish sausage, feta and olives

Bray's Cottage Pork Pies.. the larger is a naked one, and the small a Wiverton - a summer limited edition with lemon and garlic, yummy!!

(In the background there are the last couple of squares of The Finalist Bread from Essex Food Festival... )

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Odds and Sods Salad Wednesday July 17th 2013

Still rather on the warm side.... 30 degrees in the shade... salad again then. I had a lovely pack of mixed grains from Merchant Gourmet to test (still in test stage, so can't say what is in it, but it is VERY good. Very wholegrain and very healthy). I mixed this with some lemony vinaigrette, sumac, chopped parsley and coriander, chopped red onion and red pepper, and some chopped roasted hazelnuts. Very good and filling.

And the protein was just ... stuff. Odds and ends in the fridge that needed using up. A kofte or two, a bit of ham, some hummus, that kind of thing. Easy "I can't really face hot stove" type food.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Chargriddled Lamb Kofte, Bulgar wheat pilaf & Salad Monday July 15th 2013

The top bit of the lamb shoulder was left, the bit round the shank, not really suitable for plain grilling, so I popped it in the food processor with some onion, breadcrumbs, sumac, allspice, salt and lots of parsley. Sausage shaped, and chargrilled them.  Then rested in the oven whilst I deglazed the pan and added some fresh tomatoes to cook down into a little sauce.

Meanwhile bulgur pilaf with lamb stock, some Urban SpiceMan Yo Momma spice blend (lots of sumac in there plus other secret things..) and parsley and roasted chopped hazelnuts added at the end.

Salad. Total Greek yoghurt. Home made pita breads.Crispy fried onions over the top.

Nice, eh?

Monday, 15 July 2013

More sunshine... more griddled lamb.... more yum....Sunday July 14th 2013

Lamb. That is all there is to say. More. Lamb.

Or you can add in a yum or an mmmmm should you so choose...

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Chargrilled Lamb & salad Saturday July 13th 2013

Oof it has turned rather warm this week!! I am not likely to be playing with fancy schmancy stuff whilst this heat is about, lots of salad, and simply grilled or cold meat. That's the ticket for me.

I found a reduced price lamb shoulder again, and snapped it up. Cut flat pieces from the blade end and chargrilled them using a Le Creuset ridged pan to get the fat lovely and crispy.

In fact this was so successful, Bob has voted for this tomorrow as well :)

What you can't see (I hadn't decided to add it on when I took the picture)  is the hummus I smothered the lamb with as I ate it... oh yum.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Take Your Pick Salad... Friday 11th July 2013

You make lots of salads, stick them on the table, and nibble as you feel like it...

Just a little snack really....

Papperdelle with last of the stew Thursday 11th July 2013

I made some more stew, using the last of yesterday's on top of some wonderful feather steak and some chopped chicken livers. Simply delicious. Fresh papperdelle - the wide noodles famously served with a hare stew, so working very well here with the beef. 

From start to finish, 25 mins. And that includes the chopping up of the beef and livers. Wow.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Gnocchi with Italian Beef Stew - Wednesday July 10th 2012

I love Italian beef stew, and even though the weather was hot, this was delicious served simply in a bowl with some gnocchi tossed in browned butter, loads of grated parmesan on top and a green salad to follow.

Pressure cooker time! Pressure cooking it for half an hour means much less heat in the kitchen and deliciously tender beef.

Monday, 8 July 2013

The weekend... lamb and pork and lots of it...Saturday / Sunday July 6/7th 2013

 Let's start with Saturday. More of the same as Friday, so it doesn't justify an entry of its own, but nothing wrong with double leftovers when they are this good...

And then came Sunday.

Family over for dinner... it was The Amazing Izzy Whizzie's 3rd birthday on Saturday, so it was important to have things that she liked. Roast Potatoes. Cucumber. Icecream. Possibly in that order.

And things that we liked too of course. I decided on a slow roast shoulder of pork, cooked rather like pork belly, but meatier as it was a shoulder.  A rub of rosemary salt pepper and smoked paprika, and a dousing of lemon juice, cider vinegar and white wine.  Half an hour in a searingly hot oven, then turned right down, covered in foil (I have discovered Bacofoil nonstick foil, which really doesn't stick to crackling! Hurray! ) and a further 4 hours. Then off with the foil, drain the juices to make gravy, and UP with the heat to crackle the crackling.

Let it cool a bit, and then sorta slice, sorta pull apart because it is quite soft for cutting. 


With it, barbecue sauce:  quantities are up to you, taste as you go: sauted onion and garlic, a carton of chopped tomatoes. Mustard powder, smoked paprika, oregano. Worcester Sauce, lemon juice, maple syrup. A bit of salt. Simmered until a red glorious pulp.

Salad (and cucumber of course...). Broccoli. Roast Mediterranean veggies (cos they are so good and I am addicted..) Roast Potatoes. Home made bread to mop up the sauce and gravy.

and as it is a Special Birthday, a cake.. it is Lance's (Izzy's little brother) 1st birthday next week, so he is included on the cake :)

I make nice cakes. But this wasn't one of my best I have to say. And the icing is pants. Never mind.

I like pork better anyway :)

Friday, 5 July 2013

Roast Mediterranean vegetables, cold roast lamb, buttered Orzo - Friday July 5th 2013

Cold lamb, can you beat it? Roast Mediterranean vegetables at room temperature over a lovely crisp green salad, buttered orzo pasta with parsley. Can you beat those?

I don't think so!

Tip for the veggies.. put your courgettes, onions and red peppers in a bowl with a good slug of oil, pepper, paprika, dried oregano and thyme and some salt. Mix thoroughly. THEN add in your aubergines. They will absorb the excess oil from the other veggies without sucking it all up and leaving nothing for the others. Then roast it on a medium heat near the top of the oven until soft and starting to char at the edges.

You will enjoy this. I promise you!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Slow Roast Lamb with Harissa Greek Yoghurt Dressing... Thursday July 4th 2013

So we are still eating the shoulder of lamb.. kebabs yesterday, and today I slow roasted the rest to eat hot today and cold on Saturday.  Simply anointed with olive oil and smoked paprika and marinated overnight, then a hot blast (as hot as your oven will go) for half an hour then down to low (mk 3 Gas) for 3 hours.. til it is as tender as a baby's cheek...

With the salad and new potatoes we had a rich yoghurt dressing, just Total Greek yoghurt with a spoonful of harissa, a spoonful of capers, a little oil and vinegar and a sprinkling of sumac for a lemony hit.

I love a bit of lamb...

Lemony Greeky Lamb Kebabs with Total Tartare Sauce - Wednesday July 3rd 2013

I know - it sounds WRONG! but believe me, Tartare sauce and kebabs is excellent.
Cube boned shoulder of lamb, and marinate for an hour or so in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and oregano. Add to the bowl halved and separated red onions and fresh bay leaves. Thread onto flat skewers and grill until slightly charred and cooked to how you like lamb (I like it just a little pink).

Serve with a wholegrain pilaf (sautéed onions, whole grains (I use 5 grain from Pedon) and lamb stock, simmer for 10 mins until al dente, drain if necessary and allow to dry out slightly) and salad.

And on the side, Total Greek Yoghurt Tartare sauce:

Mix equal parts of Total Greek Yoghurt 2% with Mayonnaise, and stir in :
chopped spring onions
chopped gherkins
chopped capers
chopped parsley
and a little chopped mint if you are serving it with lamb

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Quick quick quick pasta and stir in sauce Tuesday July 2nd 2013

We have started eating out on Tuesdays when we go to the quiz, but we are having a PullTheHornsIn and SpendAsLittleAsPossible week this week. So pasta and a pack of ready-made stir in sauce, a couple of pieces of salami sliced into ribbons and a sprinkling of parmesan made a quick quick dinner.

What is it they say in Italian? Pronto presto!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dover Sole Meuniere - Old Style French! Monday July 1st 2013

Happy day when I picked up two Dover Sole for 4 quid (Half price at end of play on Sunday in Sainsbury's).

I would usually grill fish but Dovers have rather tough skin with little strong scales that defeat removal, so I always skin this fish then flour and fry in butter and oil.. (the meuniere of the name, is old French for "in the style of the miller's wife"presumably because of the flour it is dredged in . There you go, don't say I don't teach you things.)

Skinning a Dover sole is actually quite easy, the skin rips away easily from the underlying flesh, Just make a little incision above the tail on the dark side, slide the knife tip under the skin to make a little flap. Then grip the skin with one end of a teatowel in one hand, and hold the tail of the fish with the other end of the teatowel and pull the skin up to the nose. Then turn the fish over, ease the skin over the head. Hold the skin with one hand in the teatowel and hold the head under the skin this time with the other, and then rip from nose to tail on the white side to remove the skin all in one piece. Then trim the side fringes with a pair of scissors.

It's probably easier to see than to imagine, have a look at how Jamie Oliver does it:

He does each side individually, unlike me, but it doesn't matter.

Then just dredge each side of the fish in seasoned flour, and fry (not too fast) in a mixture of oil and butter until golden brown.

A true meuniere is finished with more melted butter with parsley and lemon, but we just had a bit of salad and some new potatoes, and home made tartare sauce instead. It's really good, really simple, and yes, lemon sole will work fine, although not as succulent as true dover soles.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Simple Salad Sunday - Sunday 30th June 2013

Last day of June and hot with it.. traditional Sunday Dinner today? I don't think so!!

Simple it is, hot buttered new potatoes, fresh crispy salad, hb eggs and lots of continental meat and cheese.