Thursday, 25 August 2011

Cave girl lamb chops

Sainsbury's had a 3 for £10 meat deal and I bought a rump steak, and big pack of beef mince and a pack of lamb chops to pay forward on a week when I wasn't actually using a lot of meat in my menu plan anyway, and had space in my freezer.
I find if I alternate like that, I spend less money, and I cook half the week from stocks in the fridge or freezer, and half the week with fresh ingredients - be they veg or fresh meat or non-veg alternatives to meat. Obviously we have staples meals too - daals, beans, pastas, rice meals, which need minimal fresh things added to pep them up.

So yesterday I decided to use the lamb chops to do something different for the girls, because the one pots and pastas and so on can get repetitive.

In the afternoon, I marinaded the chops in the juice of a lemon, a defrosted stick of minced garlic and some rosemary from the garden, plus salt and pepper.

Later I diced up 3 largeish squds and microwaved them for 5 minutes in my microwave "pressure cooker" while heating up my saute pan with some dripping. Yes dripping. Once the microwave beeped, I drained the dice and tipped them gingerly into the hot dripping, no, I didn't add ginger!
Spread them out and gave them a chance to sizzle before stirring them gently around to coat all over. I then seasoned the pan and lidded it and left it to cook on a slightly lower flame.

Now I lined my grill pan with foil and preheated it, then placed my lamb chops under the grill on a nice high flame, with the garlic and rosemary still on top.

Once the potatoes were done, about 10 mins, I could tip them into a bowl and then gently place the lamb chops onto the hot fat. This way the top and bottom of the chop get nice and crispy without the garlic burning and going bitter, or getting smeared away.

I also grabbed some tenderstem brocolli and steamed that, and these elements were a very well received supper!
The girls llike most of the meat chopped into pieces off the bone, mainly to help cool it down, but also cos Big'Un still has chewing issues. Littl'Un LOVES gnawing a bone, and this time, we managed to show Big'Un how to do this effectively and she really enjoyed herself!
Will definitely do this again, with MORE chops, as I had to stop Littl'Un from dispatching the last chop which was for Papa when he came in a few minutes later...

The sautes and tenderstem were equally well received, incidentally...

Thursday, 11 August 2011

crunchy cauliflower salad

Last week Papa and I had an appointment with the consultant, and as it's the holidays, we had to take the kids with us. They were amazingly behaved despite the nearly 2 hour wait because some consultants were on holiday, and others were on call.
So by the time my 10am appointment was over, it was time for lunch, I hadn't had a snack, and we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Harvester.
We love the salad bar there, and never bother with a starter, and the kids are being really understanding about my inability to have puddings, so we knew we wouldn't have to spend a lot of money on the meal.
One thing I love about the salad bar is that they have seasonal and interesting veg or pasta salads as well as the usual single ingredients. This time they had a rather interesting finely sliced cauliflower creamy salad with peas and soya beans. I really enjoyed this, and as I'm missing fruit a lot, and don't really love cooked veg with a passion, I thought it might be something I could recreate.
So after the kids had been out to a Godmama's for afternoon tea, I whipped up my speedy comfort keema pulao, and while it cooked, I got out my Boerner "v" slicer, and sliced up 2 mini cauliflower into paper-thin tree sillhouette shapes. I then added half a small bag of edamame from Ocado (they do 3 for 2 on these small bags, and I usually get the soya beans/edamame, baby sweet corn and the snugar shap peas) and Littl'Un helped me add and mix salt, pepper, mayo and lemon juice. I considered adding some freshly podded peas, but it seemed a bit of a sacrilege...
She loved making it, and she loved eating it, having 3 helpings after her rice!
Result! Obviously, Big'Un was the other way round. Oh and incidentally, just to ring the changes, I made the comfort pulao with sweetcorn, not peas...

beautiful stripey Abel and Cole beetroot



paneer

well, Morrison's don't sell paneer, and someone had bought up all the stock in Asda, so I got a pint of organic whole milk, and I made paneer. I was surprised to remember how easy and quick it is, but I had forgotten how little is made from a pint.
I do love the whey tho, the liquid that is strained off the solid cheese curd, and recall a sort of barley water flavour from my childhood, and so there wasn't really any wastage.
The milk is brought to the boil and as it starts bubbling, a tablespoon of yoghurt or lemon juice is stirred in and then you watch the magic as the milk separates.
I then lined a small strainer with a clean baby muslin and poured the contents of the pan gently through. I caught the whey in a bowl, and bundled up and pressed the excess muslin against the curds.
Half an hour later I had a lovely soft crumbly block of fresh paneer.
This I put into my curry at the last minute, crumbled up.
The curry was a very simple potato, onion, turmeric, sweetcorn, cumin thing; dryish and fragrant. I served the dish with bought chapattis and some pickles and poppadoms.