Monday, 10 August 2015

Rick (or Jack) Stein's ragout of sauteed lemon sole with ham, summer vegetables and pea shoots

Obviously ragout of sauteed lemon sole is how we roll these days - who doesn't on a Monday night? It's the natural first port of call after your first post-holiday day back at work - a fasting day no less - spent answering a bazillion emails, fending off phone calls and staring longingly at the Italian biscuits bought in by a similarly grumpy & jet-lagged colleague. Experimental fish as well, fuckadoodle.

The reason for all this hair shirt-wearing flagellation is not so much down to the post holiday blues but the holiday booze. Despite going for 2 runs since our return, plus a trip to the pool with Milo, this morning not only could I only just do up my trousers, I also had to loosen my belt loop a notch. Curse you Norwegians with your tasty sausages in wraps, salty liquorice sweets and delicious delicious Fatøl.

So first stop on the road to fattybombatty redemption is this tiny, fishy in a large dishy:

I don't think I pan-fried it quite enough, or at least it didn't brown enough but regardless of that buffooning error, it's a really light, zesty and easy meal, and the summer veg and bouillon are surprisingly both quick to make and tasty. Definite recommendation for the future.

However, even thought it's only an alleged  202 kcals, I'll still be packing in a run in the morning. After all, I've still got a packet of salty sweets to open at work...


Rick (or Jack) Stein's ragout of sauteed lemon sole with ham, summer vegetables and pea shoots - c/o Delicious August 2015, p42. Taken from The Seafood Restaurant: Celebrating 40 Years

Monday, 27 July 2015

Chargrilled tuna with oregano oil, peas and broad beans

Stage two of "Empty Freezer by Gourmandising" gets off to a grand start this morning as I remembered to take the tuna out of the freezer before I went to work.

It then got slightly buggered up by dint of fact the tuna had completely defrosted in the fridge, which meant I got distracted by re-ordering Milo's Lego men (again) waiting for it.

Disaster was only averted because time spent obsessively lining small figures up by theme is also team well-spent letting a dressing stew in it's own juices, and the dressing is the star here.

Whilst tuna is undeniable lovely and meaty, and beans (the frozen soya sort) and peas are sweet and fresh, you wouldn't say any of these ingredients is amazingly flavoursome. However the dressing, a combination of oregano, oil, salt and lemon juice is just fab: a lip-smacking, zingy poke in the eye that perfectly zhushes up everything else.

Ten minutes later, the best way to end a fasting day ever:


chargrilled tuna with oregano oil, peas and broad beans - Jamie Oliver, Cook with Jamie, p214

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Osso bucco alla Milanese with risotto allo zafferano

Under normal circumstances being left home alone means one of four things:
  • a week of wild culinary experimentation 
  • a week of eating all those meals I love but Ana hates
  • a week of going out and eating toast
  • a combination of all three, but tending to point three with a lot of leftover ingredients from point one cluttering up the fridge
This week frugality is the name of the game as we're off to Norge on Friday so all money must be carefully husbanded into Krone rather than a crate of Corona and a variety of odd spices.

However I know for a fact there is a lonely osso bucco in the freezer, along with a cheeky tuna steak. The trick is working out which to eat when.

On the basis it takes over two hours to cook Jamie's osso bucco wins the Sunday night dinner race - although having spent almost three hours building Lego on my own, it very nearly turns out to be early Monday morning breakfast.

This is one of those recipes we tried during the blog hiatus, so not strictly experimental, but it also wasn't amazingly successful, lacking a wee bit of punch to the sauce and the meat not quite being as tender as I'd hoped.

This time I get it bang on, and not just because I was absolutely famished by the time it was ready:

I think the trick was to double up the amount of nutmeg and rosemary, I used a better tomato paste and a bit more stock. Worst case scenario the stew is too runny and you've got to boil it off, best case - it's unctuous and bursting with flavour. It was the latter in this case.


osso bucco alla Milanese with risotto allo zafferano - Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Comfort Food, p244

Monday, 20 July 2015

Wild rice salad with peas, pea shoots and green harissa

I've come to the conclusion the trick to doing the whole fasting thing is not to eat at all during the day, limit yourself to a couple of cups of tea and a coffee, then eat your entire quota in one hit (including small square of post-dinner dark chocolate). Boomtown, day nailed, six pack in the bag.

I find the challenge usually surfaces between 3 and 4pm when my gut realises it's not getting any food, so it puts in a final burst of grumbling, growling and light-headedness. Get past that and you're sweet. Unless you've met your wife in town so she can swap her Bulgarian cleaner's sandals and the extra cup of coffee tips you over the edge of dizziness.

Anyhoo, tonight we've got a new fasting favourite courtesy of this month's Delicious feature on Mildreds vegetarian restaurant: Wild rice salad. Even better, this week I've gone completely Hoxton-mad and made it with Carmargue red rice:

I don't wish to brag too much, but IT'S FUCKING EXCELLENT. Massively filling even with small quantities, and absolutely rammed with zingy flavours from the green harissa (I used Belazu's green verbena), herbs, green chilli and lemon juice. Go and make it now!*

*You will have to buy Delicious or eat in Soho.


Wild rice salad with peas, pea shoots and green harissa - Mildreds, Delicious July 2015, p71

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Steamed Thai-style sea bass and rice

I don't know why we haven't had this for a good couple of years. It's super-easy, quick and the rice is absolutely crammed with flavour - and since we last had it sea bass seems to have hit a price low. Two fillets for a fiver? You can't go wrong, and whilst three fillets doesn't quite stack up it's still pretty good value.

Obviously I didn't optioned four fillets for a tenner on the basis nobody wants random single fillets of fish cluttering up the freezer, along with my single osso bucco lurking in there. And the one fillet of salmon that's got 'fish pie' stamped all over it come the autumn.

Suffice to say, I needn't have bothered. Well, actually that's not true. Ana's v pleased it's returned but the view from under eight end of the table was that the bass "didn't have enough flavour". Sorry Fauntleroy.


steamed Thai-style sea bass and rice - Jamie Oliver, Cook with Jamie, p229

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Edamame and chorizo salad with fried egg

This one is going to come back and bite Mrs Barnes in the ass.

Not only did she pre-prepare this for me as she's going out tonight, and in doing so cook the smallest amount of beans possible and carbonise the chorizo, but she failed to take note of the fasting nature of this super-quick salad.

All 299 kcals of deliciousness (offset by a spare fried egg sandwich for me) out the window on a non-fasting day, and as I'm out for the next two nights, her 'fasting' meals are limited to a massively rice heavy Mildred's salad, a mackerel dish we've only got 1/3 of the ingredients for or the Bear Fruit cereal Milo has turned his nose up at.

On the upside, this is very delicious with the bonus of leaving space for the aforementioned fried egg banjo. Oh the Anas...

Brenda you may be intrigued to note like last night we swapped in frozen Soya Beans rather than Edamame, not for pfaff reasons but because the latter are cocking expensive as the basis of a meal.


Edamame and chorizo salad with fried egg - Lottie Covell, Delicious July 2015, p82

Monday, 13 July 2015

Chargrilled tuna with oregano oil, peas and broad beans

The key to a successful fasting meal is speed of prep, maximum flavour and the ability to fill you up as much as possible.

This Jamie dish firmly ticks all boxes, and even better because we've replaced pfaffy broad beans that need podding (sad face by Ana) with frozen soya beans which don't. Bish bash bosh - jazzy meal in 10 minutes:

Whilst we're here, I'd best 'fess up we're calling this a fasting meal on the basis it's just legumes and tuna, rather than any in-depth caloric information - but it can't be more than 300 calories can it? On the basis my stomach is still gurgling, it must be super-skinny...


chargrilled tuna with oregano oil, peas and broad beans - Jamie Oliver, Cook with Jamie, p214