Monday, March 5, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Mar-18: Our meal was Nigel Slater's Carrot and Cardamom Soup with Herb Ricotta Dumplings (web). The soup was tasty but disappointing as a whole. I made a half recipe, which turned out to be skimpy for two, and the liquid wasn't deep enough to cook the dumplings properly. We each had a hard-boiled egg to supplement the meal.

Tuesday/6-Mar-18: Dinner was Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce (web), an instant hit. This was exceedingly yummy. Ed thought it was a trifle salty; I didn't especially, but will be careful salting the chicken next time. Served with orzo, dressed up with lemon juice and parsley, and steamed asparagus. (Lately asparagus has been appearing in 400g packets rather than 500g. With 500g, you can get a side for two dinner; with 400g you either have one meal with abundance or two skimpy ones.)

Wednesday/7-Mar-18: Shopping today.

Dinner was chili from the freezer, filled out with hominy also from the freezer, and some guacamole, accompanied by Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). We were stuffed.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/8-Mar-18: Off to Audilab today and finally got my hearing aids straightened out. Then a quick trip to Leclerc to pick up frozen spinach which I seemed to be out of unexpectedly.

Our meal was a half recipe of Gratin de Pomme de Terre, Saumon et Épinards à l'Aneth (VPG; web). This was quite good, and easy, but takes some wall clock time. Cut my potatoes on the mandoline to get them really thin; another 5 minutes cooking might be nice to be sure they're done. Served with a salad, then some store-bought rum-raisin riz au laits.

Friday/9-Mar-18: Roasted a chunk of potimarron (a winter squash, we'll pretend it's pumpkin) for tomorrow's meal.

Leftover pizza for our meal.

Meanwhile, I made Yogurt Cake with Ouzo-Lemon Syrup (O&C, p520).

Saturday/10-Mar-18: Pasta today, yay! I made a half recipe of Creamy Pumpkin Sage Fettuccine (web). This was pretty good. For the pasta, you essentially replace one of the eggs with 2tbl of pumpkin purée and a pinch of turmeric. Pretty color; easy to handle. The sauce is pumpkin and cream, stirred into sautéed minced sage leaves. Simple and good. Then a salad.

Sunday/11-Mar-18: It was supposed to be a quickish meal today, but I failed in that. We had Chicken Neo-Avgolemono (O&C, p409; cookbooker). This was edible but disappointing.

Served with a pilaf, Baklar Enginar—Artichoke Hearts with Broad Beans (Meze, p77), and Jazar Atariyah—Spiced Carrots (Meze, p76). The artichoke/fêve dish was disappointing. The carrots were good. Both of the meze dishes were supposed to serve 6; I made a third of each recipe. A single serving of the artichoke dish was once bottom and a dab of favas. A single serving of the carrot dish was two carrots.

Made up some Pickled Red Onions (O&C, p79) for tomorrow.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: O&C
This month: #4 PASTA: yes; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no

Monday, February 26, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/26-Feb-18: Our meal, rather later than intended, was Calamari Soup (SlowItal, p42; cookbooker). I used up some quite old squid from the freezer, but it was delicious. Not sure why a crockpot is necessary though. And some rice pudding for dessert, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/27-Feb-18: Shopping today because tomorrow is cooking day.

Oops, there was no salmon that I needed to make one last meal from SlowItal. I hadn't come prepared with a backup meal, so I jiggled the meal plan on the run and we'll skip a fish dinner this week.

Our dinner was Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce (web). We thought this was quite good for canned tuna. Mine was water-packed rather than oil-packed, since I generally don't like the oil kind. I didn't add extra salt at any point. Then a salad. Then more rice pudding, with a slog of crème de cacao this time.

Wednesday/28-Feb-18: Ha, my sore side turns out to be two cracked ribs rather than a pulled muscle.

Leftover Calamari Soup for dinner. Still good it was.

Cookbook: I'd meant to do tajine meals for next month's cookbook, but tomorrow we're participating in a Greek-themed meal, so I think it will be O&C instead. This was on my short list, so here go.

Thursday/1-Mar-18: A Greek-themed meal at Cath's this evening. I brought meze-like things. The easiest was a can of dolmades. Eggplant Salad Country-Style (O&C, p33; cookbooker) was yummy and embarrassingly easy to make.  I chose Radish Salad with Pickled Onions and Feta Cheese (O&C, p201; cookbooker) because it seemed such an odd combination. The Pickled Red Onions (O&C, p75; cookbooker) were surprisingly yummy with the radishes and feta.  I need to compare this recipe with the one I've extracted from another recipe and made a few times. Cath's delicious main was Stuffed Chicken with Spinach (web). Rosemary brought two desserts, a delicious fruit salad and yogurt with honey, walnuts, and cinnamon. Sorry I forgot to take a camera.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/2-Mar-18: Our meal was Broccoli Cornmeal Cakes (BH&G; web). (The web version shows honey, which isn't in the magazine clipping and wasn't at all necessary.) I used pyramid cheese for the goat cheese. One recipe made 18 pancakes; we'll have 2 meals of pancakes. Good stuff. Used most of 500g of broccoli. Save some florets for the pizza to come.

Saturday/3-Mar-18: Our meal was a half dose of Tagliatelles au Bleu et aux Noix (VPG, web). This was pretty good. I used fettuccine since the tagliatelle I expected to find in the freezer weren't there. We thought there were slightly too many walnuts, but can't complain too much about that. Then a salad using up the radishes from Thursday. Then a bit of reblochon.

Sunday/4-Mar-18: Pizza for dinner, using up odd bits from the fridge. On the bottom there was leftover pyramid cheese mixed with a bit of sambal. Then some pizza sauce from the freezer. Then grilled zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower. Sprinkled with black olives, sliced red onions, and capers. Topped with grated mozzarella grated grano padano, and slices of St Maure goat cheese. Yummy it was.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 5; #3 COOKBOOK: yes for February, yes for March
Cookbooks of the month: SlowItal for February, O&C for March
This month: #4 PASTA: yes for February, no for March; #5 BREAD: no for February, no for March; #6 GUESTS: yes for February, no for March

Monday, February 19, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/19-Feb-18: Leftover meatloaf (yummy) for our meal, with boiled buttered potatoes and steamed broccoli. An old-fashioned and satisfying meal.

Tuesday/20-Feb-18: Our meal was Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Peas for Two (web). Easy and very good.

Wednesday/21-Feb-18: Shopping today. We had Gruyère Cracker-Crusted Haddock (Ainsley2, p47), a halfish recipe with haddock/eglefin. We both took a bite and said, Hmm, this could do with a bit of lemon. And, yes, a good squeeze of lemon, brought this from ho-hum to quite tasty. Served with Sweet Potato and Coriander Mash (Ainsley2, p116), which was pretty good. Chopped coriander is tossed in with the sweet potatoes at the last minute, just before draining them; then all is mashed with crème fraîche. Then a salad. Then some store-bought desserts, vanille semoule au lait. We ate well.

Thursday/22-Feb-18: Defrosted the meatballs from Asian Spaghetti and Chicken Meatballs (web) and remade the rest of the recipe. These meatballs are delicious and need to be made in bulk. For dessert, part of a prune tart that I bought on sale yesterday.

Friday/23-Feb-18: Fresh pasta today, served with Cauliflower with Prosciutto and Olives (SlowItal, p182; cookbooker). (Fresh home-made pasta is awfully good. Fresh from the grocery is not nearly as good.) A little odd to me to cook cauliflower like this in the crockpot, but it worked quite well. Then a big salad. We were full.

Saturday/24-Feb-18: Went to make a lamb dish for our meal, but found the lamb hadn't defrosted yet. Instead we had the meal for tomorrow's plan, Bahama Mama Shrimp Flambe (EAT-L, unable to find on the web). Served over long-grained brown rice, with some broiled zucchini chunks that had been tossed with a Trinidadian spice mix from the cupboard and a dab of olive oil. Some ice cream bars for dessert.

Sunday/25-Feb-18: Made some Rice Pudding (MC) to help use up our excess of milk.

Our meal was Greek-Style Lamb Parcels en Papillote (Ainsley2, p93; cookbooker). This was yummy; it's a shame that the meat was overcooked. As suggested, served with Mama's Greek Butter-Bean Salad (Ainsley2, p112). Butter beans are apparently lima beans. Yuck. I used muguets from a jar. (Haven't discovered an English name for these; they look like cannellini on steroids.) Anyhow, that was a super salad; it would be good as a main-dish salad, or to take to an event. (I've enjoyed this Ainsley Harriott book so much I've ordered the first one.)

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 2 #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: SlowItal
This month: #4 PASTA: yes; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: yes

Monday, February 12, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/12-Feb-18: Suppose we're both feeling a bit better, but still low on energy and coughing a bit. Sigh.

Our meal was Spicy Roasted Broccoli Pasta (web). Having a bit of cauliflower to use up, I used half cauli and half broccoli. This was yummy, a nice small change for my usual sort of broccoli pasta. Then we finished all the torte that Cath left for us, so we are quite stuffed.

Tuesday/13-Feb-18: I had to be at BookChatters at 10am this morning, earlier than I've been up in the last few weeks.

Our main course was Easy Shredded Harrisa [sic] Chicken (web). This seemed like a good idea, but didn't work as well as expected. First, I thought I'd try the pressure cooker version, to save time. That didn't work at all. There's was one cup of harissa, but that apparently doesn't count as liquid, so the pot started burning. Luckily I opened it before things got too bad, and I finished the chicken by simmering it slowly. And the store-bought harissa I got was horribly salty. Yuck. Served with brown rice and Tzatziki (loosely based on web). And some zucchini. I cut up two zukes and tossed them with olive oil and a Moroccan spice mix. Spread them on tin foil on the broiler pan, and broiled for just over ten minutes. Quite nice they were. And a mini Häagen-Dazs for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/14-Feb-18: Valentine's lunch out today. Nothing happened in the kitchen. Shopped afterwards at Intermarché rather than Leclerc. They had nothing of the stuff on sale that I wanted, but I did find the "deseeded" tomatoes that Ed seems to be ok with. Bought six of them. And when Ed went to get eggs, he found 8-packs of large eggs. Usually we get 6 or 10 or sometimes 12; first time we've seen 8.

Thursday/15-Feb-18: We discovered this morning that of the last batch of yogurt I made, only three of the seven pots set up properly; the others are quite liquid. Not sure what happened. Testing the yogurt maker now, to see if the temperature is the same for all of the pots. If so, what else could be wrong?

Our meal was Bangladeshi Fish Curry (MJ@Home, p58), which was so-so. Served with Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148), an old favorite now, and Bangladeshi Red Lentils (MJ@Home, p195). This was good, but something a bit sweet wasn't appealing—maybe the onions cooked long and slow. Not my most successful meal.

Put the stew for tomorrow in the crockpot.

Friday/16-Feb-18: Our meal was a half dose of Peppery Beef Stew (SlowItal, p143), cooked overnight. As suggested, served with Tuscan-Style Beans (SlowItal, p193). Since I have only one crockpot, I cooked these on the stove. Both were good.

Guests this month? Does Cath still count as a guest? Or should it be someone new?

Yogurt on overnight. Don't understand what the problem was with the last batch. It almost seems as if it turned off while it was brewing, but it doesn't seem like there was an electric break since Mini, stove, and phones were all happy. We shall see.

Saturday/17-Feb-18: The overnight yogurt is fine. Still a puzzle what happened to the last batch.

Dinner was Curried Red Lentil Zucchini Soup (web). Yummy stuff. It was supposed to serve four, but the two of us ate it all.

Made up a half dose of Tomato and Red Wine Sauce (SlowItal, p52), doing it all on the stovetop.

Sunday/18-Feb-18: Why is meatloaf from the crockpot better than meatloaf from the oven? Tonight we had a halfish recipe of "Big Meatball" Meatloaf (SlowItal, p154). I used gruyère rather than romano because I had some to use up. The meatloaf was still good. Served with spaetzle and peas-and-carrots. All good.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: SlowItal
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: yes

Monday, February 5, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Feb-18: Using up the second half of a butternut squash, our meal was Butternut Squash Soup (SlowItal, p19). Since I've got an old crockpot with lower temperatures and I'm sure this book is meant for the newer, hotter cooking ones, I cooked the soup about 4 hours on High (rather than Low). Then zapped with my immersion blender and served with croutons from the freezer. Pretty good stuff.

Served with a salad made from two of the mini-romaines I bought last week, topped with the remaining Cauli Thai Salad from last week. That worked really well, we thought, a nice spicy salad.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/6-Feb-18: Leftover broccoli gratin for dinner. Made some Easy Berry Cobbler (HandyBook) with frozen blueberries for dessert. Topped with crème anglaise I bought for something last week and then didn't use.

Wednesday/7-Feb-18: We dragged ourselves off shopping today. Leclerc had half cabbages for sale today. I bought one to give them some encouragement.

For our meal, we had Baked Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon (web), which was easy and yummy. Served with basmati rice and Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage (web). Mini ice cream bars for dessert. We ate well.

Thursday/8-Feb-18: We had our meal late today. It was a half recipe of Garlicky Shrimp Pasta (web). Good stuff it was—lots of garlic to help fend off whatever bug has us both down. Then a bit salad. Then the rest of the Blueberry Cobbler with crème anglaise.

Yogurt on overnight, with a new starter since the last batches have had an odd cottage cheese-y-ness on the top.

Friday/9-Feb-18: Today we had Smoky Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Sweet Potatoes (web). The meat was yummy (the two of us ate what was supposed to serve four), but the sauce for the sweet potatoes was too sweet even though I reduced the sugar substantially. Served with Roasted Zucchini (web), which was good, but the Italian spice didn't really go with the pork. Of course the spices can be changed. I'll try to keep this in mind when a zucchini side dish is needed. For dessert we had 2-1/2 chocolate truffles each.

Saturday/10-Feb-18: Our meal was Rice with Black Pepper Sauce (Savory, p253), very tasty, easy, and fast. Served with a salad. Then used some of the smashed bananas from the freezer to make Best Banana Bread (HandyBook).

Sunday/11-Feb-18: Cath came for a meal today. I'd already planned the meal, so she just joined in, bringing a yummy dessert.

We started with Roasted Eggplant with Peppers and Cucumber (ClassicItal, p55), a tried-and-true salad. For our main, there was Spiced Beef Stew (SlowItal, p146) served over polenta. This was good, not spicy-hot, but spicy with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It's really the kind of thing you'd do with venison, but it's good with beef also. And cheaper. Forgot to take a picture.

Cath's dessert was Italian Sultana and Ricotta Torte (web)

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 5; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: SlowItal
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: yes

Monday, January 29, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/29-Jan-18: Our meal was leftover cheese enchilada stack and Spanish rice, with a new dose of guacamole.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/30-Jan-18: Both of us feeling pretty bad with cold, or flu perhaps?

Our meal was a half recipe of Roasted Butternut Squash Curry with Garlic and Tomatoes (MadeIndia, p61) with Golden Garlic Raita (MadeIndia, p178) served over brown rice. The curry was yummy. Used canned tomatoes, that supposedly had been deseeded, but seeds were visible when I opened the can; we'll see how that goes. The raita was a nice sauce that isn't necessarily Indian.

Cookbook: Having dashed through HomTravels, I'm not sure I want to use that for February. Didn't find it as interesting as some of his other books. Also he wants a lot of lemongrass and I'm almost out, and not likely to be near a store that sells it in the next bit of time. Considering another book to grab here.

Wednesday/31-Jan-18: Shopping today, hard work since neither of us a feeling tip-top.

Dinner was Thai Green Fish Curry (30MinCook, p117). Ed like this more than I did. The recipe calls for a block of creamed coconut, which I've never seen or even heard of. Instead I used 200ml of coconut cream and 200ml of coconut milk, which was too much liquid. I thought it was okay, but nothing special. As a side, there was a halfish recipe of Cauli Thai Salad (web), to use up some of the cauliflower hanging around. This was pretty good, although it was quite hot since I used a whole red chile rather than a half of one.

I bought a mango intending to make a little mango tart with a bit of pie crust still in the fridge. It didn't look very appetizing when I got it out, so it got recycled. I chopped up the mango, added some coconut, macadamia nuts (that had been in the freezer for ages), lime juice, and a dab of honey; then served this over the last of the ice cream I made last week. Pretty good stuff.

Cookbook: Think I've settled on SlowItal for next month's book. Decided on a recipe of Sunday's meal, and found similar recipe in PCGourmet and SlowItal, but decided that the slow cooker one would be more interesting to try out.

Thursday/1-Feb-18: Both of us still feeling sicky.

Our meal was Kaye's Veg and Feta Gratin (MC). I almost always use broccoli for this. Is there a better vegetable? And then a big salad.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/2-Feb-18: Still sicky.

Our meal was Chicken Thighs Marsala for Two (web). I didn't put it in the oven, but cooked it covered on the stovetop. Served with pasta and carrots/peas/corn. Good stuff.

Saturday/3-Feb-18: We're both still coughy. Yesterday Ed asked for soup. Today we had soup: chicken stock with broccoli and some cooked chicken bits. Pretty good, especially with a squirt of chipotle tabasco. Some butter cookies for dessert.

Sunday/4-Feb-18: My original plan for the day was to start a crockpot when Ed got up to leave for choir practice, leaving me time to work on a project; when he got back, dinner would be ready so we could eat and go to a movie. Forgot to replan when Ed decided not to go to practice. And neither of us felt like coughing through a movie.

Dinner was Sweet Potato Macaroni & Cheese (EW/jan-feb14; web). I didn't use the bread crumbs. This was so-so. The peas were a nice touch. A slog of cayenne, or maybe chipotle powder, would have helped. Then a salad, a bit bare with only walnuts. Then a dessert loosely based on a half recipe of Coffee Ricotta Mousse (MW@Home, p307). Using a 250g carton of ricotta that didn't get used for whatever it was intended, I stirred in 1/4cup powdered sugar, 1/2tsp vanilla extract, and 1tbl Kahlua. Needed to whiz it with the staff mixer, but that was in the dishwasher and I was too lazy to correct that.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 5; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbook of the month: MadeIndia
This month: #4 PASTA: yes for January, no for February; #5 BREAD: no for January and February; #6 GUESTS: yes for January, no for February

Monday, January 22, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/22-Jan-18: Our meal was Tikka-Tomato-Veggie-Lentil Soup from the freezer, a container that was lost, but recently re-found. Not very soup-like. Served over brown rice, with the Lime Pickle that I made a while ago and the Mango Chutney that I made a week ago. This wasn't bad.

Tuesday/23-Jan-18: Used up some a mix of apples to make some Apple Butter. Haven't done that in a while.

Our meal was Cheese Enchilada Stack, a recipe I got from EAT-L. It's very much like Mama's cheese enchiladas, but stacked in a casserole rather than rolled. This is actually easier to assemble and serve and eat; we both thought this is a better way to make this dish. And Mama's Spanish rice, with lots of veggies, onion, carrot, bell pepper, peas, corn. And guacamole.

Froze up the vanilla ice cream and we ate some of that for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/24-Jan-18: Our meal was Escalopes de Veau aux Coulis et Éclats de Chorizo (VPG); unfortunately VPG doesn't post their recipes online. This was easy and tasty, made in an unusual (to me) way. You brown a bunch of slices of chorizo, then purée most of them with some crème fraîche to make the sauce. Brown the veal scallops, then serve with the sauce over tagliatelle topped with the bits of chorizo that didn't get puréed. I made a bit of grated carrot salad from a veg. Should serve this as an entrée, but we always serve pasta as the first and salad or whatever as the second.

I also made a Tarte au Mascarpone (web), using up mascarpone, a some of my surplus of powdered almond, and a home-made pastry from the freezer. We were full, though, so will wait till tomorrow to try this. One of the eggs I broke for this was double-yolked.

Cookbook: Still have several more recipes to do from MadeIndia; this will slide into February too. For February, I think we'll go a bit Oriental with HomTravels and maybe other Hom books if that works. That gives me time to get a bit organized for a month of tajine recipes from whatever books I can find recipes in.

Thursday/25-Jan-18: Shopping today.

In the afternoon we had small pieces of the mascarpone tarte with our afternoon tea&coffee. Pretty good it was. Slight taste of lemon; it might be nice with vanilla or almond extract.

Our meal was Asian Salmon Laksa (Ainsley2, p28; cookbooker), a nicely spicy soup over rice noodles. It was easy and very yummy. Afterwards we thought this one recipe was worth more than the €1 we paid for the book.

Friday/26-Jan-18: Still no news from the washing machine people. Or the vet. Ed went to the laundromat while I started our meal. There was:
  • Roasted Tamarind Chicken with Honey and Red Chili (MadeIndia, p94). There were three chicken thighs for two, weighing slightly somewhat more than the recipe asks for two. I didn't add all the honey, and would cut it back slightly more, to two tablespoons perhaps. Otherwise this is extremely easy and very tasty. The sugar-coated skin was very crispy. 
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin, Turmeric and Lemon (MadeIndia, p191). This was pretty tasty. The lemon juice should be tossed with the roasted cauliflower, rather than just sprinkled on.
  • Mint and Yogurt Chutney (MadeIndia, p219; cookbooker). This could definitely be improved upon.
  • Rice with Peas—Tahiri (MJ1, p149). An old favorite. The rice didn't get soaked this time, but what the heck, its still good.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/27-Jan-18: Added some skinless, boneless chicken thighs to the leftover juice from the Chicken Marbella and served that over brown rice. Not bad for a quick meal.

Sunday/28-Jan-18: Lovely lunch at Cath's today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbook of the month: MadeIndia
This month: #4 PASTA: yes; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: yes