Sunday, 24 October 2010

succulent thighs (and some rice)

heh heh, got your attention...
These were chicken thighs from Ocado (Waitrose by any other name should taste as sweet...)
and I wanted to bake them with some rice and some veg, and I thought I'd seen a recipe, but of course I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, tho I found some nice alternatives for some other time, so I decided to be safe with the chicken (I have issues with chicken) but have a go anyway...
I fried the thighs til golden in an ovenproof casserole, and when they were decently brown and tasty looking, I took them out and added onions and stock powder to the pan. Then I added some random veg from the fridge - mushrooms, carrots, I seem to recall peeled courgettes, and then when all this was taking on the sheen, I added rice, coated it all, added water (double the volume of water to rice) and brought it to the boil. Bunged it in the oven, 25 mins was enough, and squeezed some lemon juice over. I had meant to add some brocolli at the last minute, but the rice was a bit overcooked, so I just microwaved it separately instead.

Littl'Un loved holding the bone of chicken and ripping meat off. Big'Un daintily picked her way through the meat I'd deboned for her. Amusingly, they BOTH coyly pointed out that they loved the mushrooms cooked that way! They both usually avoid and push around the mushrooms in other dishes...!
A success.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

rainy with a chance of meatballs.

What a bi-polar day! One minute squintingly sunny; the next wind and driving, persisent rain.
So lunch was a sunny sunflower bread with luxury crab pate, but dinner was a hearty, warming meatballs, spaghetti and tomato sauce with hidden courgette.
The taste the difference meatballs were big and solid and tasty, and my sauce used up some tired looking tomatoes and courgettes (I peeled the latter.)
A grate of cheese made this meal just right.
Big'un of course had another bowl, plain pasta. Where does she put it???
-- I sent this from my 3 mobile --

Monday, 18 October 2010

plans are best when they can be fluid...

So, delivery not re-deliverable after all, so mad dash out shopping. Quicker to write out my list from the email confirmation on my fone than to boot up laptop & print it. Hairy moment in supermarket when I realised I'd forgotten to bring menu plan, but a quick connection later and I could read this blog to see that I wasn't mad, I didn't need to purchase meat for this week. However the 'pay-it-forward' mind was in play and the 3 meats for a tenner offer actually had things I use, so I grabbed nice chicken breasts (a real luxury these days,) double pack of unsmoked thick cut bacon, and a pack of meatballs (raw). I'll use these latter for dinner tomorrow which would otherwise be a mad dash of Parents' Evening and Brownies.
I managed to get it all, and not too much extra whim-purchasing, and kept the bill down to well under £60, including some sandwiches for lunch that were, frankly, an indulgence.
I had book club this afternoon, so asked a GodPapa to pop some squds in the oven to bake and be ready in time for my return, leaving a moment to open a tin of Basics baked beans and zap them in the microwave. However, he had the oven too low, and the oven shelf too low, and only the tops were cooked; so those got a little zap too, tho sadly this ruins the crispy skin, and doesn't give that damp wooly inner fluff that melds together with a salty rasping of good cheese. Ah well. The kids ate, it was food. I made sweet popcorn as a consolation prize, and hid a chocolate coin each in the bowl as buried treasure. They were content.
I then stupidly spent my post-kiddy-bedtime evening watching catch-up cookery progs on the puter, while GodPapa snoozed on the sofa, & sadly now I'm starving again, but headed for bed. Perhaps the rest of my week will work out this time...

-- I sent this from my 3 mobile --

Sunday, 17 October 2010

lunch at Masala Zone


rice, daal, veg curry, potato carry, saffron chicken korma, chutneys and poppadom. Regular thali.

hmm. organised. Might have spoken too soon...

Well, lunch was wonderful, but filling! So we had a sit down cup of tea and crackers, breadsticks and biscuits with grapes to follow at tea time, and that was enough for the kids before bed, and GodPapa and I coped fine with the late supper at the Music Hall evening. Babysitting Godpapa had some leftover fish and chips (fabulous, from Friends.) So the bolognaise remained in the freezer.

Then I completely forgot the shopping being delivered, so no dinner again, no re-delivery til tomorrow. However, we stayed late discussing Important Matters after Mass, so lunch was late anyway, and then we dashed up to a 70th birfday party, and were lucky enough to enjoy goat curry, jollof rice, plantain and mashed yam so fiery none of us could eat more than a few bites!!!

Maybe we'll be back on track tomorrow.

Ah well, at least I discovered a delicious and reasonably priced crab pate in Sainsbury's which was perfect at lunch...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

menu plan for next week

I'm trying to get my self organised enough to shop online again, it definitely saves money.
I'm lucky enough to be going out to a Music Hall evening on Saturday, which includes food (Shepherd's Pie & Apple Crumble, I'm reliably informed) so I'm gonna take a bolognaise sauce outta the freezer for Big'Un's GodPapa (best babysitter ever)& the kids to have. Nice to have it there and feel so organised!
Sunday is a simple jacket potato, cheese & beans meal, but I'm gonna grate up some celeriac and remolade it... And I think I'll get some extra organic milk & chuck a rice pudn in below the squds.
Meatless Monday is a bean chilli, rice & sour cream.
Tuesday is Parents' Evening and also Brownies, so a fair bit of running about. Will give the kids some organic sausages from freezer, (I buy them in bulk when they are 'whoopsed' in store.) We've a poussin in the freezer we may have with Nigella style 'rostinis' (fried gnocchi) or we may just grab something on the run.
On Wednesday I'm gonna use up some chicken thighs I've got in the freezer, think they were on offer when I got my Ocado delivery. I'm planning on baking them in a bed of stock flavoured rice. With some veggie served up alongside.
Girlie Thursday is gonna be fun with home made pizza dough, and individual pizzas! I'm gonna prep some toppings and let them make their own, possibly on a theme of monster faces...
And finally our Friday Fish will be the humble tuna pasta. Something comforting for the last day before half term holiday, when, according to experience, people are tired and need the comfort of the familiar & soothing.
So there we have it, will let u know how it goes, and recipes where relevant.
Oh and the online shopping came to under £50 - including the delivery, and including a 5kg bag of rice on offer for a fiver. Shopping, as always, includes staples, and household stuff too... This week is cooked mainly from stashed meat from freezer, which means I can stock up on meat offers next shopping week.

fishmonger's lunch treat

by the time we pick up Littl'Un from nursery, Godpapa doesn't have very long to grab lunch before he leaves for work when he's on the late shift. This means we usually heat up some leftovers, or make toast, but if I remember I get my act together and do something nice for the 2 of us.  Yesterday he brought some lightly smoked salmon fillets and a few scallops home, as both were on offer. So with only a few minutes to spare, I laid the fillets into a microwave container and snipped a couple of spring onions over. Then I grated a little ginger root on, and sprinkled over some soy, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Zapped it for 4 minutes.

Next up I fried the scallops v simply in a dab of butter, and when they were out, I acidulated it with a twist of lemon juice and poured that over them on the serving plate.

In lieu of rice or noodles, we just had some nice buttered whole wheat bread on the side. Bit low on veg, but it was quick, tasty, cheap and interesting, which is a definite plus for lunch!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bengali Spiced Squash (with or without paneer)

So, I'm really not a fan of the various squashes. I'm very bored of roasted squash, and soups, and I'm not keen on them in risotto, and then I found this, added paneer for protein and voila, squash even Godpapa will eat with pleasure. It's adapted from an Anjum Anand recipe.


Peel and deseed your squash - I think we had 2 little Harliequin squash. Cut into chunks.

This takes longer than most of the rest of the cooking.

If using paneer, cube a pack and shllow fry in oil til mostly browned/crisp on most sides.

Add half a teaspoon fenugreek seeds, or a teaspoon Bengali "panch phoron" (5 spice, but NOT Chinese one)

Add half teaspoon turmeric powder , half a teaspoon of coriander powder and a pinch of chilli powder if liked. Add half a teaspoon of salt, or to taste. Cooking the spices will take less than a minute.

Now add your cubes of squash and 150ml hot water (hello Quick Cup!) and stir well.

Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 10-13 mins.

Uncover and add 1 tsp caster sugar and if you only used fenugreek earlier, then add a teaspoon of well pounded fennel seeds now too. Grind some black pepper on, and sprinkle on half a teaspoon of dried mango powder.

Cook a few mins more uncovered until it is dry and squash is slightly raggedy looking.

Serve with naan.