Saturday, 12 December 2015

Creamy Leek and Chorizo Jacket potatoes

We recently returned from holiday and had only been very briefly been shopping, which involved mostly throwing random ingredients in a tired manner into the trolley and so when faced with cooking after a long day the other evening it was a case of staring into the fridge and hoping something would stick out! By luck the shopping involved ever ready and essential chorizo and we had a lonely leek we brought back from our self-catering jaunt! 

To make this meal even easier, we had by chance eaten jacket potatoes a few nights before, and being semi domesticated I have gotten into the habit of cooking extra jacket potatoes - after all you have the oven on for a good hour or more, so why not take advantage of the oven space? They freeze brilliantly or hang around in the fridge for a good few days, providing a quick, yet nourishing and home cooked treat! Unless desperate I really do not like microwaved jacket potatoes, they don't develop that fluffy, golden inside, yet alone taste vs oven baked loveliness!

The creamy sauce only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook so its a doddle for a week night! My boyfriend loved it so much we also ate it again two nights later! Its reddish hue from the smoky and spicy paprika scented sausage adds both colour and a depth of flavour that I don't think many ingredients compare too! The creamy part of the sauce also calms a little of the heat, so me with the silly sensitive stomach can also enjoy a portion of it too!

*I am sure you know how to cook jacket potatoes but just incase you need some guidance, I always stab them with a skewer, roll lightly in oil and a pinch of salt, thread onto the skewer length-ways, place on a heavy foil lined baking tray and bake in a medium-hot oven until cooked. Depends on size really but anywhere from an hour upwards.


Serves 2
Super easy

Ingredients:

2 cooked jacket potatoes*
1 medium leek, cleaned and sliced into 1/2 cm moons
125g spicy chorizo sausage, diced
150g creme fraiche
10 pimenton stuffed olives, roughly chopped
30g grated parmesan
1 tbsp tomato puree
S&P to taste
1/2 tbsp rapeseed oil

-Separately either warm through prepared potatoes or cook from scratch - the sauce takes about 12 minutes tops.-

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan, add the chorizo and leek and fry for about 4 minutes, or until the leek is softening and the chorizo is starting to ooze its glorious oil, make a well and add the tomato puree with a splash of water, stir around until bubbling, add the olives and gently stir everything together and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir through the creme fraiche and another splash of water if needed to loosen and simmer gently for a couple of minutes to warm through the creme fraiche.

Remove from the heat and season to taste, along with 1/2 the parmesan.


Spoon the sauce over the prepared potatoes and sprinkle over any remaining parmesan


Enjoy!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Meal Planning Monday

This year has simply flown by, months have rolled over into new months and along with job changes for both of us and the usual dramas of life its been a bit of one of those years I will be quite glad to see the back of! Meal planning has gone from 6 weeks strict planning to erm nothing! Also the last two weeks we were skiving really, swanning around the Lake District, Scotland and the Yorkshire Dales eating and drinking our body weight in food in beautiful locations like the below picture:

The Lake District
Just before we went away on holiday, our freezer decided to fail with spectacular timing! I had gone to the trouble of buying some easy stuff like fish fingers for when we returned from the holiday for quick dinners and to lose it all, along with other random things like curry leaves and random bits of cheese that I had stashed away was so heartbreaking! I had food waste and having to throw the lot was gutting, it had failed a good 48 hours before we discovered it so couldn't risk it as who knows what state of decomposition it was! 


So I have roughly drawn up a plan for this week to get back on the straight and narrow. Whether I keep to it will remain to be seen! The past few months my IBS and old reflux have been driving me a bit crazy and when I go to cook the planned meal I either don't fancy it, or eating at all to the point I am now waiting to see a specialist...again....But until then I am going to try again to do a plan at least, its the thought that counts right?!

Battered fish with new potatoes and courgettes
Pork & cider sausages, with cheesy baked polenta and green beans
Quorn mince enchiladas with rice n peas
Dinner with friends...
Tuna pasta bake



I promise to also bring a recipe soon too!


Monday, 26 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Well last week's plan did not happen at all either on paper or the blog, following a loosely followed one made on the 12th October, I have been subject to an evil flare of acid reflux, which I don't talk much about on the blog (though there was a fair bit of twitter ranting) but it affects me hugely as when it visits it also likes to encourage the old IBS to be a menace too... am back on the med's awaiting a visit to a new gastro doctor...we shall see! It really drives me insane and spoiled lots of recent plans, I am back to making a simple meal plan but having to try and avoid all the things I love I.e. chorizo and anything that is rich and lovely! Am on half portions at the best of times too just to avoid over loading and I've had no wine for over two weeks. My poor liver must be in shock! Not that I drink much but I do miss a glass of red on a Friday night!

This week has started okay... so far... had an appetite so have made myself make a meal plan up! The naughty reflux only woke me at 5am, which whilst unpleasant at least wasn't 2am thanks to starting a new bedtime medicine on top of the morning one!

I had been pretty good lately running off cupboards and freezer but I went a bit mad on Saturday and have re-stocked oops! Though in my defense we were clean out of pesto stocks, which of course is an essential cupboard item!! Not that its on this plan but ya know it might be needed.... 

Am looking forward mostly to tomorrows leftover stew risotto - its a great way of bulking out leftovers and the stew I made yesterday in a rare moment of domestication will be even more lovely to eat, having settled into its flavourings! I'd added a splash of some Fig Vincotto which was a recent gift, and it seemed to work well fortunately! I even made my own soda bread, which was still edible today as well so yay!




Crispy turkey steaks, broccoli and new potatoes 
Leftover beef stew risotto 
Cheesy Bacon and Leek pasta bake 
Fish fingers, cauliflower cheese 
Tuna pizza baguettes 


Linky

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Banana Caramel Loaf Cake

A few weeks back, on holiday and staying with lovely family I'd had a rather lovely day out at River Cottage and despite being slightly tired from the driving, I spotted some ripe bananas in the fruit bowl and decided to do some experimental baking! To be honest most of my baking falls in the experimental category and with this I didn't look at any recipes, just used some loose baking knowledge and hoped for the best!! 

After a rummage through the cupboards (always a fun mystery and delight to use other people's kitchens and dishwashers!) I ended up making a rather delicious cake, which I am glad I vaguely scribbled down as the one slice that made it back to my home disappeared in about 30 seconds! Its sweet, lovely cinnamon smell whilst baking will make a tummy rumble and the cake fills that rumble very well! It was also very tasty cold sliced up!

Now I debated naming this cake recipe with the word Caramel in, because it doesn't... but I when you make up the cake batter its rather caramel like and if Dan Lepard can call his amazing muffins 'Chocolate custard muffins' without being chocolate custard then I decided I can too be loose with the terminology....!
See its caramel right?!


Makes 1 x 2lb loaf tin (I guess, its not my tin!)

Ingredients

100g salted butter
15g golden syrup
120g light soft brown sugar
1 large banana, sliced at a diagonal
2 large free range eggs
120g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp demerara sugar

Greasing spray or tin liner to prepare tin


Method:

Pre-heat oven to 160 fan/ 180 regular oven

In a saucepan, melt the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar until the sugar has melted and its slightly syrupy - about 6-7 minutes, put to one side

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder together. Beat in the eggs then fold into the caramel mixture.

Pour half the mixture into the tin, place half the banana slices into a layer, pour over the remaining cake batter, then add the remaining banana slices as a layer, sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes away clean.

Eat with lashings of custard.



Linky to Sneaky Veg

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So Monday we meet again! Why do you come around here so often I wonder?! Just about finish last weeks meal plan and boom off we go again! I actually wrote this weeks in the phone yesterday, whilst we were driving (not me I might add!) to go a randomly collect a pouffe halfway around the M25... it was after about 4 hours sleep post a night of late night playing a revolting and vile but also rather hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity and I was trying to recall what was at home to eat!

Last week we stayed fairly on plan, in fact only Friday night changed as we had a fridge full of leftovers and I refused to cook anything more! Wednesday nights Pastitsio was amazing if I do say so myself, I must remember to cook it more often! Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures last week as mystupid phone keeps trying to tell me it has run out of storage, maybe if Apple stop sending me huge updates I can perhaps photograph my dinner again! Answers on a postcard anyone?!

This week - is:

Polish Sausage Noodles
Pasta with a chorizo and leek creamy sauce
Pork and Leek sausages with new potatoes and courgettes
Tuna fish cakes and veg
Pizza baguettes

Linky


Though tonight's for me is looking questionable...as I type this I am waiting for my GP to phone and I don't dare go to cook but I am cutting it rather fine to eat before my pilates class... if all fails its a rather unhealthy bag of crisps and some cheese I think!!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Cauliflower Cheese and Gammon Soup

Now if I recall correctly, I once saw a recipe at some point for Cauliflower cheese soup and it slipped to the dark recesses of my mind as one of those hmm one day recipes... but when faced recently with the usual dilemma of er what to make for dinner but even more so as I was far away from home and in my aunties kitchen, and a fridge full of leftovers the filed away thought magically resurfaced with a ooh could I try it out? Would it work? Would it be weird.... 

On the Sunday prior I had made a fairly majestic mustard spiked cauliflower cheese but despite our best efforts, there was a tub leftover... that was until Wednesday, arriving home post a long drive and day to the lovely River Cottage clutching my lovingly hand made Apple, blackberry and Goats cheese soda bread and wondering what I could serve with it, the Cauliflower cheese soup idea came back to fruition and a star was born! I think in future I will have to make extra Cauliflower cheese purely to make soup with its leftovers! It tasted so good and was a perfect accompaniment to my bread! Oh and my home made butter!

Lovely leftovers!
Now I think it was gammon, it was either that or a bacon joint, either way it was another leftover that got added!


Making the finishing touches:


Serves 2
Easy

Ingredients:

400g leftover cauliflower cheese
1 clove minced garlic
400ml vegetable stock
1/2 tsp spicy Polish spicy mustard (if not a little more wholegrain-this is presuming your cauli cheese was already containing mustard too)
50g shredded cooked gammon or bacon
S&P
1 tsp oil
mint leaves to garnish

Heat the oil in a saucepan, saute the garlic until softened, add the cauliflower cheese and stock, cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the mustard, then blitz with a stick blender adding the gammon at the very end for a few seconds, season to taste

Serve, garnish with mint leaves if you have some or a similar herb.


As my recipe used up lots of lovely leftovers I am entering it into one of my favourite blog challenges - Fab Food 4 All's Credit Crunch Munch which was born from Fuss Free Flavours!



Monday, 5 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

The past few weeks have honestly flown by! I have been meal planning sporadically, as between both of us starting new jobs, and adopting new routines, on top of a holiday its taken a while for the dust to settle! Was no point doing things by halves was there...!! My brain is being tested to its max with learning a whole new role, so most of meals have been with little effort as I had zero energy left some nights! I also recently had the best part of a week in Devon, which was lovely as always, and coincided with a fabulous trip to the magical River Cottage too! 

There's always that slight bit of emotional deflation after looking forward to something special and then <boom> nothing! However we are planning a mega ribs night with friends this weekend - I've bought four beautiful racks of pork loin ribs, just deciding what sauce to bathe them in to do them justice! In the past I have made Jamie's Epic ribs from the America book but I don't own a food processor and I don't think my liquidiser is up to the same effort. They are amazing so I will try and see if I can scale it back a bit!

This year we didn't manage a summer holiday, with job changes happening etc and now cricket season is over, me and my boyfriend are trying to explore areas within about a two hour drive, so on Saturday we had a lovely day trip to Hastings. It involved yummy scampi n chips by the sea and a lush icecream from Dom's along the seafront- I had cherry and white chocolate ripple.


I also saw my first Imax 3D film! The price was a little eye-watering but I hate to say it was almost worth it! We watched The Walk - it was amazing but a little but terrifying on a gigantic screen! Worth a watch though!


I have decided I must make a better, more focused effort at not cupboard hoarding food. One day I hope to get a place of our own and frankly, I don't want to move with our entire larder contents! (I call it larder but its known here as Narnia!!) There is all sorts of odds and ends and I have been trying to cull some of the endless jars. Though making 5 jars of green tomato chutney was possibly a step backwards this week but it did at least use up my mum's unripe tomatoes!

This weeks plan will be using a mixture of fresh and cupboard stashes - our lunches will be mostly leftovers or some of the 4kg jar of veggie couscous I picked up in Costco! Also known as the never ending jar of couscous!!  I made a giant batch of tuna meatball risotto too last night which will do a few lunches too! 

Sweet chilli Chicken wings n noodles
Jacket potato with creamy chorizo and leeks
Pasticcio
Chickepa pancakes with vegetable curry
Pizza baguettes & chips

Linky

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Day at River Cottage

Last Wednesday I was very lucky to get the opportunity to spend a day at the iconic River Cottage in beautiful Axminster, in East Devon. After watching the original TV show originally headlined by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for many years, since the beginning really, to get the chance to spend a day there was really one of those golden ticket moments! I had it penciled in my diary for what seemed months and even more luckily managed to tie it in with a few days holiday with my auntie, so the night before unsurprisingly I didn't sleep very well, think I was a bit too excited perhaps!

The actual River Cottage itself is a 17th century traditional long house, which was somewhat derelict 9 years ago but has been lovingly restored by the team there and the certified organic smallholding farm now has around 16,000 visitors a year! Within its 90,000 acres of land there's a mixture of livestock,fruit and vegetables, plus flowers and herbs, all for use within the farm's employees and visitors. There's now a wind turbine to generate energy and they use well water only, along with some special reed system for waste disposal.. Its all about sustainability, and what they can't produce comes from local farms. There is also now under the River Cottage banner a number of 'canteen's' (I had a rhubarb fumble last year which was quite divine!)  and the on site cookery school and courses which holds a whole host of things to do from foraging to fishy feasts, oh a restaurant for special occasions and you can arrange corporate events. Something for everyone!

I am lucky enough where we are in Surrey to be a little bit rural but part of me does crave the River Cottage, sustainable farming lifestyle, though I am not sure physically my body could manage so much to have my own farm! Despite not living anywhere near Devon, it has always held a very special place in my heart, having been lucky enough to have family in Devon, I have had many a holiday there! I grew up knowing neighbouring farms and opportunities to see happy livestock and it was a joy to see the happy animals at River Cottage, and of course the rather stunning views!

Our day was a mixture of food styling - cooking - eating and a tour of the River Cottage farm. A good day in all! Crop rotation is in full force and I learned why there are flowers tucked in with the veggies -  its all part of the organic pest control, with the flowers attracting the birds n bugs they will hopefully leave the good stuff for us humans to enjoy!


The beautiful grounds and kitchen garden at River Cottage - I so want one of those gorgeous swing seats in a future garden! The gorgeous orange hue of the pumpkins also reminds my halloween is coming around fast - where has this year gone?!


Our Food styling workshop was run by the lovely Lucy from Capture by Lucy - its a new blog for me too devour her beautiful photography and I picked up a lot of tips and advice - hopefully it will improve my own photos, especially with the dreaded winter light coming! I did get a bit concerned over finding out red is hard to photo on white... I may have bought just  the night before a new set of crockery which is er, red and white! We shall see!!


Among the photos below you will spot some rather unusual coloured yellow raspberries - they are known as 'All gold' and as they look 'unripe' the birds leave them alone! They are lovely though and I was glad the birds had left us plenty as my group devoured their fair share of them!



After the tour of the farm and building up a good appetite we enjoyed a lovely, very tasty lunch of Dexter beef ravioli with an end of the summer vegetable stew - the beef was unctuous and so, so tasty! Followed by a heavenly pudding of vanilla icecream with roasted damsons, crmble and fennel infused meringues! Despite really needing a nap after all that lovely food it was time to make my very own soda bread and butter with the group head chef Gill Mellor- I added violets, rosemary and fennel seeds to the butter - it was so easy, if a little joyously messy to make, definitely something to do now I am back home! It was really good to be able to make butter from scratch and use the leftover buttermilk to make the bread! 

Though a slight interval for me ended up getting to ride in HFW's red land rover to go and move my car! I thought the ride down hill in the tractor trailer was kinda fun but the ride up in the land rover holding onto the seat for dear life beat it hands down for saying my prayers!



So after a non stop whirlwind of a day it was time to say a fond farewell - fortunately the sat nav made a smoother journey on the home run compared to the mornings 30 minute detour via Dorset! It really was a thoroughly enjoyable day and despite my shyness I did enjoy meeting and talking to lots of lovely bloggers!

Many thanks to Foodies 100 and River Cottage!

You can check out some other blogs of the day over at:


Disclaimer: I received my ticket free with no obligation to write a positive review

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

River Cottage here I come!

Sorry for a few days absence - this picture explains why I can barely turn on the pc:


Yes I am on holiday at long last! I am staying with wonderful family ahead of a super exciting trip the River Cottage in Devon tomorrow morning! I have insomnia at the best of times so tonight's sleep will be very interesting!! The sat nav after half an hour of downloading and re-downloaded is ready and raring to go, I have the thermos ready to fill at the crack of dawn and off I go!!

Whilst mostly I have been admiring the view, I have been doing some successful cooking too, following last week's digestive issues - I've made a seafood Thai curry, Seabass with tomato and fennel butter which was heavenly and last but not least a batch of Sweet Potato and Spiced rum brownies for my Aunties bake sale for Macmillan - am hoping to take part myself too when I eventually have to return back to normality!

I will report back soon with all the news from River Cottage and hopefully some lovely photos and food to share too!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

This weeks eating and making and shopping!

Sorry I went a bit absent again..my fibromyalgia flared a bit last week following a migraine, resulting in a weekend of exhaustion, along with a hideous bout of heartburn that had me having to fork out £10 for an emergency prescription of my old acid meds.. I bloomin hate taking tablets but I think its been brewing a while despite trying to be super good with my diet and even drinking less wine so maybe they are for the long haul...so as you can have guessed by now not much cooking actually happened or even eating!

Thankfully five days on, the meds have kicked in and I had a cheeky glass of red last night, that didn't seem to cause to many issues! I don't normally choose Pinot Noir but Aldi kindly sent me a bottle and for a change I really liked theirs so much I would buy it again! A convert! Am normally a Shiraz kinda gal so quite a shift for me! Its light, perfectly complemented our dinner and easy enough on its own to drink too.


Despite having a tiny, awful kitchen with 3 cupboards and an overflowing store room I still cannot resist the odd culinary purchase - and after spotting these cute red little ramekins for a mere pound how I could I not purchase them?!


Please excuse the hideous photo but I had to share with you my joy of discovering mini tortilla wraps! I always make such a mess with the regular ones and these mini ones are perfect! We had them stuffed with spicy chicken, peppers and lots of cheese! Should of had guacamole too but the naughty avocadoes which took over a week to ripen, also went black!


They make awesome mini pizzas too!


Last but not least, we had a leaving do in my new office - our lovely manager has gone on maternity leave and we all brought in our favourites - I made sausage rolls, half were lined with English mustard and the other half ploughmans chutney - they vanished in no time and I should have made more in hindsight as they were so tasty!



Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Ham Hock, Mustard & Macaroni Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Making Macaroni cheese is a regular meal in our house, its easy, delicious and is that all round comfort food I remember fondly growing up - don't tell mum but it was her best dish by far too! What's honestly better than an oozing bowl of golden flecked cheese loaded pasta?! With this particular version I kept it very simple - its cooked all in one pan - always a winner when there is less washing up - and made a few little extra additions in the form of stuffing some gorgeous giant red peppers I had picked up with it, along with adding a packet of ready to use shredded Ham Hock I bought from Aldi! Its the first time I'd picked it up and it was such a handy cheat ingredient!


You might notice the peppers in the photo above are in a loaf tin - its the best way I find of baking stuffed peppers, it keeps them upright and the filling on the inside!

Now I did make a bit of a boo-boo with my grocery shopping - after getting everything ready I went to get some greenery from the fridge and I had completely forgotten to buy any green or similar veggies! My friend C who lives next door also had nothing of use, we tend to go shopping together so had both failed by weird coincidence! After rummaging again through the fridge we quickly discounted the vac-pack beetroot as being a bit odd as a side, same with the sweet potatoes as not really going either and in the end I cooked some part-bake rolls and in fact, they were great as I ended up using them to make a stuffed sandwich with the cut open stuffed pepper. Yes its a bit carb on carb but it was oh so good too!!

This batch of mac n cheese makes quite a lot - I only had two peppers to be stuffed, the rest of the pasta got baked as normal in an oven tray - I reckon it would easily fill at least 6-7 peppers if wished!

Ingredients

1 pint milk
1 pint vegetable stock (I always use Marigold Bouillon)
260g macaroni
110g ready Ham Hock
2+ large red peppers 
1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
60g grated extra mature cheddar
35g chopped butter
35g plain flour
20g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Spray oil

Pre-heat oven to 180o (Our thermometer is long time not accurate - it should be fairly hot!)

In a large saucepan, bring the milk and vegetable stock to the boil, add the macaroni, cover and simmer for 12 minutes or until packet states.

Turn the heat up slightly, stir in the butter and flour until thickened, then stir in the mustard and ham hock, season to taste, then add 3/4 of the cheese and the parsley.

Meanwhile, carefully remove the lid off the pepper, remove the seeds, return the lid, spray with oil and place inside a loaf tin. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

When the macaroni is ready, carefully stuff the peppers and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top and put the 'lid' back on.

Return to the oven for 25 minutes or until the peppers are cooked through and softened.


Serve with er, greenery. Or go carb on carb with a bread roll!


The best way I found to attack the peppers was halving them then eating in chunks!



Disclaimer: 
Many thanks to Aldi who provided vouchers to cover the cost of my ingredients - the Ham hock is great!

Parsley is a herb I buy and sometimes struggle to finish using up but I had some spare and it seemed to work well with the cheese and ham flavours, so I have entered in this months Cooking with Herbs from Lavender and Lovage, this month its hosted by Lancashire Food:



A relatively new linky to me is also #CookBlogShare, this week held on Hijacked By Twins (such a cute blog name I think!)

If you fancy also stuffing some peppers, do check out these delicious links!

Red peppers stuffed with veggie haggis & Mushrooms from Planet Veggie

Or if you have no peppers, how about some chillies why not try these intriguing sounding Chocotos - Chocolate stuffed chillies from Tin and Thyme?

Keeping on the chilli theme you could also try these Creamy stuffed Jalepenos from The Veg Space

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Recent eating In and Out and sandwich trays!

The past few weeks I have not been very good at writing down recipes as I make them up, I am 3 weeks into my new job, which I really enjoy but as I spend most of my day on the computer now, using my own at home is not so tempting! Whilst I have however learned how to make pretty pictures in Visio, its not as so much use to my blog! Do bear with me whilst I get back in the swing of things! I do have a rather lovely stuffed pepper recipe once I find where I wrote it on...

So in turn, for this post I have rounded up what we have been eating both at home and about - me and my niece A had a fun day at the BBC Good Food show last week and when we got home we made this yummy Paella! We did add a little bit too much spice and had to improvise a little but it all got eaten and gave us a few days lunches after!


A few nights before we had a rare treat of Fish Pie - I was super pleased too that I picked up the cod and prawns reduced, and made a delicious sweet potato with white potato topping - I did do battle with a piping bag to make it pretty but it doesn't really show in the picture!


Bargain fishy!

These were a bit of a random purchase - we go up for high tea at my lovely auntie and uncles house every few months and I am insanely jealous of their sandwich trays which are probably older than me and I had been trying to find a similar set for us - in the end I found these cute safari themed ones - I adore Giraffes so that one's for me and B gets the Lion - think it was more manly! They are so handy not just for sandwiches, they fit all sorts of other treats too!



Last but not least was our trip to the BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court - what a gorgeous location! Its so close to us and yet embarrassingly we never visit! It was lovely to walk around the beautiful gardens and of course the food stalls!

Very kindly I received the tickets complimentary to get in - including getting to see the lovely Jo Wheatley on stage making some gorgeous Macaron's, compote and pannacotta - It was a good reminder to me as I have not made pannacotta in years, its such a lovely dessert too, and Jo used powdered gelatine - looked much easier than when I use the gel sheet versions and having to soak the slippery sheets!


Beautiful view of Hampton Court Palace, the lake and fountain - oh and the swans!

 


This was our lunch - I had a artisan sweet chilli sausage roll and a refreshing elderflower drink - though A chose more wisely with her Chorizo laced sausage roll, was far tastier!


Last but not least some of the stalls - we tried lots of lovely liquers but not many food samples, though I did come home with some rather lovely lemon and poppyseed galettes!



Monday, 31 August 2015

Monday Meal Plan

Last week's plan only ended up on Facebook on Mrs M's Meal Planning Page, as I ran out of time to write anything that might count as a blog post! The plan from Monday to Friday was:


Sausage, kale and pesto tagliatelleBasa in dill and chorizo sauce, with sweet potato mash and courgettes
Macaroni cheese stuffed peppers
Naan, mango and cheese toasts
Pan fried turkey steaks (lemon and parsley) with creamy spelt


Sausage & Pesto Tagliatelle
Whilst I had planned 5 nights we stuck only to the first 3! Thursday's got switched to Pizza - I recently signed up for a Costco card through work and ended up spending 3 hours and a few pennies in there! We picked up the last pepperoni pizza cooked in store and it was so good! The smell wafting up the M25 home was rather tempting I think we pounced on it when we got home! Worth the £8 as it was ginormous and fed us both days! Friday night's dinner didn't really happen, I ate way too much at work, as there was a leaving do so had proper scones with clotted cream and jam, then my leftover pizza and too many crisps n nibbles!

I've done well filling the freezer this month with a few yellow sticker bargains and taking advantage of offers, though that with our Costco trip and a few meals out celebrating my new job (which I love!) means our food bill this month was a bit eek! £128.07 on home groceries and an eye-watering £160.33 eating out! I swear this month we are going to live on rice and water! Oh and maybe some of the freezer bargains perhaps!

This week my boyfriend starts his new job too - its all go in this household!! I have made a relatively simple plan to keep us ticking over nicely without too much faff! One of the abandoned meals is rolling over to this week as well:

Tonight was my lovely neighbours home made Lumpia aka Filipino spring rolls, following a naughty late mcd's out shopping!


Chicken fajitas, spicy beans, kale chips 

Grilled Lemon sole fillets with new potatoes, broccoli 

Ham and courgette slice - from Mainly Baking 

Pan fried turkey steaks with lemon with creamy spelt 






Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Pan Fried Basa with a creamy Courgette and Chorizo Sauce

Over the years after many trials and tribulations I have become far more confident with cooking fish successfully, and this time I won the jackpot! I loved everything about this dish, it was dreamt up and fortunately it was a very good dream! The creamy sauce, with smoky chorizo and fresh chunks of sweet courgette works so well with the Basa, a relatively plain, affordable white fish that's ideal for this dish. It was a dish I would be happy to order and eat in a good restaurant!

I tried to keep the dish relatively simple, we had no cream in and as we car share during the week, and B was not home from work yet, so a little improvisation was on the cards! I wondered to myself if I could substitute with a little milk and it worked a treat! By the time it had cooked, and a little flour to thicken it was a really good consistency, smooth and cream like without being heavy or claggy (not often manage to use that word!! I used both dill and thyme in the dish in different stages, partly down to indecision! I wanted the earthy thyme with the rich chorizo but had some lovely fresh dill leftover from a fish pie I made on saturday - in the end I cooked the thmye at the start with the chorizo and then the dill went in to finish the dish. If you can't get any fresh dill I would suggest just use extra thyme leaves instead.

Another bonus is that its also cooked all in one pan so less to wash up! Alongside the fish I made sweet potato mash - always a winner!! Even more so when it involves my beloved Masha toy! If you hate mashing (or have evil elbow joints!) then its a god-send and takes no effort and is surprisingly therapeutic! I've had mine a few years now and wouldn't be without it! 

Serves 2
Easy
Under 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 Basa fillets (approx. 260g), halved across the middle
70g chorizo, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large beef tomato, chopped
1 courgette, halved and sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper
50g butter
1 heaped tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 heaped tbsp. fresh dill leaves, chopped
200ml milk

Sweet Potato Mash:
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 white potato
Salt and pepper



1) Place the flour on a shallow plate and season with salt and pepper, pat the fish dry on kitchen towel and then coat well in the flour mix (don’t discard the flour mix!)

2) Meanwhile boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes, then drain well. 

3) Heat a tsp of the butter in a large saute pan, fry the chorizo and courgettes gently for 3 minutes until starting to colour nicely, add the tomato and fry for a further 2 minutes, add the thyme leaves and stir through, remove everything using a slotted spoon and keep warm.

4) Add the butter to the pan, melt down over a moderate heat, add the fish pieces in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes, turn over and fry for a further 2 minutes until crispening, spooning over the buttery juices, push to one side of the pan and add the prepared chorizo veggie mix, pour in the milk and simmer for a minute, make a well and sparingly scatter 1 tbsp of the flour mix and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the sauce constantly until thickened. Add the dill and stir through.

5) Drain the potatoes, and mash, season to taste.

6) Serve up the mash on one side of your plate, with the veggie bits on the other side and gently place the fish on top. Scatter over a little sprinkle of dill leaves to garnish.




My dish was quite frugal and so I am sending my dish into this months Credit Crunch Munch - my Basa was bought half price reduced and my thyme leaves can from my 13p reduced plant! The tomatoes and dill were also bought over by dad so were free to me! This month it was run by Food Glorious Food. It was set up by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours to promote frugal recipes and cooking.



Also I snuck in a lonely, slightly soft tomato and cooked the courgettes all together in the sauce to boost veggie content with minimal washing up! I have entered it in Jen's Food Extra Veg Challenge, created by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy Food for Families:


Last but not least my first entry to Cook Blog Share! This week its held by Sneaky Veg ( I love the name!)



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