Back at the hob

It’s been incredibly windy here this morning as the UK is being hit by storm Doris, really who comes up wth these names? I love being able to hear the roar of the sea as I lie in bed and when I went downstairs to make breakfast I found that the cool box we’re currently using as our temporary fridge had been blown up the drive at the side of the house.  Luckily the meat, cheese, salad and goose fat leftover from Christmas were all still safely intact inside.

After cooking all day Tuesday I managed to actually do some knitting yesterday but alas we’ve run out of batch cooked meals so I’ll be back at the hob later today. I managed to cook my way through a whole cauliflower which became a pretty bland, pale coloured slop which did surprise me as I used this James Martin soup recipe . (More likely to be my fault than his to be honest). Luckily Sam stepped in and pimped it up with some red lentils, curry powder and his favourite ingredient celery. Although it’s not the most appealing colour it’s now delicious – how annoying – and I’ll be having the last of it for lunch today.

The pork loin and king prawns became a divine tasting Thai herby salad with the meat and fish flavoured with a Korean marinade. If you’re thinking that the portions look a little on the large size you’re right. They were HUGE! We did try inviting a couple of friends round  to share the load but none could make it (well no meat eating friends anyway) so we were forced to indulge.

fullsizeoutput_3f3

On a lighter, less gut busting note the butternut squash and feta became a rather lovely quiche which we had for lunch yesterday and actually was much less pasty looking than it looks below.

fullsizeoutput_3f5

 

And finally last night we had nachos using up the beef chilli I made. Yummy and rich I can’t imagine how I ever made good chilli  in my student days without a good whack of cumin and a few squares of dark chocolate.

img_0434

Well I’m pleased to say there’s no more meat left in the freezer (my gut is screaming and I’m beginning to feel bloated) …oh hold on… I’ve just remembered there’s a small M&S beef roasting joint to deal with. That’s what happens when your shopping impulses are based on the lure of a yellow reduced price sticker. Thankfully  though there’s also a pack of Quorn mince too so it looks like veggie bolognese tonight and fish pie tomorrow before we’re back on the meat wagon again.

Can’t wait for my new kitchen

J x

NOT a Valentines Day Post….

(…or why I love leftovers)

img_0060

Like a lot of people I don’t do Valentines Day, after all I love very openly everyday of the year so why should February 14th be any different? Don’t get me wrong I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to spend a horrendous amount of money on a bunch of flowers or sit in an overpriced bistro trying desperately to look besotted with their dinner guest. So why the gratuitous shot of the heart shaped pie I hear you ask? Well I cooked a rather fantastic beef stew a couple of weeks ago and rather than hog the whole lot down my neck I decided to  pop the leftovers into a bowl for  when I fancied a night without having to cook. The dish- well it happened to be heart shaped, the homemade pastry –  buttery and crumbly and the pie – with it’s double egg glaze – tasted sublime.

That’s why I love leftovers. Happy Valentines Day

J x

 

 

Celeriac, sweet potato & parsnip dauphinoise

31 Day Challenge catch up post

IMG_3267.JPG

In yesterday’s Skinny parsnips post I promised that if it wasn’t a complete disaster and tasted ok that I’d give you the dauphinoise recipe from our Sunday dinner. Well thankfully it tasted pretty good with enough leftover to serve another meal so for those of you who’d like to try it here’s what I did;

350g celeriac

350g parsnip

150g sweet potato

160ml full fat creme fraiche

260m semi skimmed milk

2 – 3 cloves of garlic depending on how strong you like it

fresh or dried thyme

50g Parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper (optional)

First of all peel and thinly slice the vegetables (around 3mm if poss). Now I mentioned trying to do this with a mandolin to start with but if, like me, you value your fingertips take your time and use a knife. It may seem brutal but this is my weapon of choice in the kitchen.

fullsizeoutput_360.jpeg

Crush the garlic, grate the cheese and set to one side. Put the milk and creme fraiche into pan large enough to add all the veg (if not you’ll have to do it in two batches). Gently bring the liquid up to the boil – now at this point I have to admit that I had a bit of a wobble as mine started to curdle. Given that I didn’t have enough to start over I decided to strain it over a bowl thinking that I’d use the liquid and throw away the solids but as it then seemed to come back together and more importantly didn’t taste like it was going to kill anyone I thought ‘sod it’, put it back in the saucepan and carried on. Add the garlic and the veg and simmer for about 5 mins. Taste the liquid (which is creamy and garlicky by now) then season with salt to taste and black pepper if you like. Next layer the veg in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the thyme in between. Lastly pour over the leftover liquid and sprinkle with the cheese, and if you like a crusty top just add more!

Bake in the over for around 1 – 1 and a half hours but just check after the first hour that the top doesn’t burn or that it doesn’t dry out.

Enjoy, but don’t blame me for the calories!

J x

 

Skinny parsnips, a dangerous mandolin and other foodie tales

31 Day Challenge Day 27 & 28

I’m back after a couple of days of, well slack posting to be honest and I can only apologise for that. The week has gone so fast and suddenly it’s the weekend, well actually as I’m writing it’s Sunday afternoon. If you’re familiar with me and my  home here on the blog you’ll know that I like to eat and really enjoy cooking so at the weekends my mind turns to little else but food.

Today the weather is is grim and grey so I’ve decided to hunker down in my jammies (pyjamas) and cook something wholesome for dinner and for me that means a roast. Having mixed together garlic, tarragon, butter, salt and pepper I pushed it underneath the skin of the bird, sat it on a bed of vegetables in a roasting pan then added a stock cube and some liquid and threw it in the oven. Today the liquid is actually some flat cava that’s been lying around since last weekend, I’ve not tried it before but let’s keep our fingers crossed that it tastes ok.

For a change,  I thought I’d make a dauphinoise dish instead of making traditional roast potatoes hence the title of this post. Now I may be romanticising a little but I’m sure when I was a child that parsnips were fat, white, hefty looking root vegetables. But it seems that nowadays all the supermarkets can offer us are pathetic looking, skinny efforts that aren’t even worth lifting the speed peeler for. I think one of the keys to a good dauphinoise is to cut the vegetables into lovely, thin slices and having remembered where it was I went into the utility room and rescued the mandolin from the dark corner it’s occupied since we move into this house 5 months ago. Once I’d unpacked it and inserted the 3mm blade I remembered what it is I hate about using it. The blade. It’s sharp. And I mean REALLY sharp. Yes there is a guard on it but having once removed it because it was ‘hampering my progress’ I then sliced off the tip of my finger while making coleslaw. Lesson learned I boxed up the offending gadget and now hardly ever use it because it gives me the heebeegeebies.

I kind of winged it with the recipe and if it works out ok I’ll do another post later with the recipe for you to try for yourselves. IN the mean time here’s how the whole meal turned out, and yes it was delicious.

fullsizeoutput_35d

 

As for other foodie tales Sam and I were lucky to have had two great dining out experiences last week. Having missed the delights of haggis, neeps and tatties last Wednesday we ate out at The Gingerman on Thursday evening for a friends’ birthday meal. We don’t do a lot of ‘fine dining’ because apart from it being expensive we eat very well at home. But as this was a treat for Ben we decided to treat ourselves too and it was more than worth it. The ambience was refined but without making you feel uncomfortable and the food was truly exceptional, skilfully cooked and beautifully presented. There are a number of restaurants and pubs in the Ginger group and we’d previously only eaten at the Ginger Dog in Kemp Town. If you get the chance, book a table and try one – you won’t regret it.

Our other eating out experience couldn’t really have been more different, still brilliant but more ‘everyday’ in terms of price. We managed to grab a table at VIP (Very Italian Pizza) on Friday night and as we’d heard they do the best pizzas in Brighton we kept our fingers crossed because there seems to be a lot of mediocre pizza around. But thankfully from the seafood starter to the crispy sourdough based quattro formaggio pizza I couldn’t stop my mouth from watering. It was easily the best pizza I’ve had since leaving Edinburgh. VIP have a couple of venues in East Sussex and the Brighton one has a lovely deli feel to it with pasta, grissini breadsticks and other provisions lining the walls. I genuinely can’t wait to eat my way through the rest of the menu and although I couldn’t finish Friday’s pizza I took the leftovers home in a doggy bag and had it for breakfast yesterday morning. Class!

Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday too

J x