Tuesday, 30 June 2009

geekytom's leaving

Finally, having promised to leave six months before we all got made redundant GeekyTom finally leaves C4 towers. A full seven months after we've all gone. What on earth is Dom going to do now we're gone?

Whilst I'm out, the anas and milos have one of last night's lasagnes, with a fifty percent success rate. The anas love it, the milos don't. Bugger - there's loads in the freezer!

Luckily for me this means when I get back from Page's career wake there's enough for me to stuff down my throat. Which is just what's needed...

Monday, 29 June 2009

toasted pine nut and sweet potato salad

Another beautiful day in London Town, and our week of al fresco dining continues with another salad to balance the weekend excess.

Tonight it's classic Donna Hay, partly because whilst the potatoes are roasting I can try and knock together a couple of dishes for the milo - a sweet leek and ricotta lasagne, and a tomato sauce for the fish meatballs, which can also double up for pizza sauce. Both are courtesy of Mr J Oliver from my archive pillaging of Delicious.

toasted pine nut and sweet potato saladSomewhat unfortunately the lasagne take for-fucking-ever, seemingly finally ending at midnight with one lasagne in the fridge, and three in the freezer. He better like it, particularly as i ended up using all the tomato-veg sauce to make it.

toasted pine nut and sweet potato salad - Donna Hay, The Instant Cook, p49
sweet leek, tomato and ricotta lasagne - Delicious, September 2005, p31
tomato sauce - Delicious, September 2005, p32

Sunday, 28 June 2009

hangovers & thai beef salad

Oh dear, last night's festivities have hit the Barnes household hard, particularly in the key 'mummy' demographic. This could prove problematic because we're off to a birthday party in Wimbledon this afternoon...

Whilst the anas malinger in bed moaning, we go for a walk to the pond again armed with babycinos and sunglasses to admire the carpses before the party.

Slightly full of cake, blueberries and raspberries, we have a healthy yet beefy salad in jardiniere to balance the sugar rush, and some more vino to combat the hangover.

thai beef saladFood of the Milos
weetabix for breakfast, babycinos and raisins as a snack, bear crisps and cake at the party, and then a pizza for tea. I made two pizzas just in case we needed to test one.

thai-style beef salad - Delicious, July 2007, p130

Saturday, 27 June 2009

fragrant chicken & spinach curry and turmeric potatoes

The usual Saturday routine is slightly disturbed by a weekend driving lesson. But after a couple of hours scoping for chicks and doing three-point turns in Esher, I'm back in time to take the monkey to the Farmer's Market and duck pond, where we got over-excited about some massive carpses lolling about in the summer heat.

Fully vegged up, we head back so Ana can ruin Lions Club by getting her hair cut for 400 HOURS. At least I didn't see it, I suspect it would've been worse in the pub. I don't really, it would've been better, much, much better in the pub.

Anyway, with Matt & Virginie coming for tea we opt for the crowd-pleasing Bill Granger fragrant chicken, mainly because you can just let it simmer away whilst you drink. That last point might come back to haunt us later btw.

Though I say so myself, the turmeric potatoes were possibly the best I've done yet but hands up who was more interested in booze than pictures? Sorry. We finished up with Jamie's Eton Mess, chilli chocolate, and some brilliant guest-supplied cheese. An excellent night.

Food of the Milos
Crumpets and porridge for breakfast, 'ambled' eggs, blueberries and raspberries for lunch, and he had last night's paella for dinner. Okay, we took the chicken and chorizo out, mashed the peas and broad beans a bit, and called it 'risotto', but he still ate it.

fragrant chicken & spinach curry - Bill Granger, Every Day, p141
turmeric potatoes - Bill Granger, Holiday, p191

Friday, 26 June 2009

paella valenciana de la huerta

It's friday night and I've planned to do a curry with some chicken thighs and legs from the freezer. However I've got a bundle/bag/pod/whatever a collection of broad beans is called from the market left over, and Matt & Virginie are coming for dinner tomorrow night. I've already cooked them paella, which was my original plan, so we decide to swap over - paella for us tonight, and curry tomorrow.

paella valenciana

It counts as 'experimental' because i've never tried this particularly recipe, but paella tastes like paella whatever the variation on the ingredients. Sometimes despite the ingredient differential.

Food of the Milos
Tonight was going to be brilliant; he was going to wolf down the fish meatballs like no tomorrow and I will have returned from work to see him triumphantly defrosting some more! The anas are quite rightly sceptical. On the upside, at least I was able to have a pre-meal amuse bouche of fish meatballs before the paella...

paella valencia de la huerta - Delicious, September 2005, p58

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

pad thai

Another anas favourite tonight only slightly marred by the fact I used the bad noodles in an attempt to use stuff up in the cupboard. Honestly they're terrible, you spend ages soaking them in boiling water, and then you have to pick half of them out because they've stuck together in a crunchy, chewy mass. How can anything be crunchy and chewy at the same time? Avoid them like the plague.

pad thaiFood of the Milos
Further bad culinary news is delivered on my arrival home to discover the floor under the garden table strewn with bits of fish meatball. They didn't go down well and the milos are having an evening meal of peanut butter on toast, blueberries and cheese. Hmmm, I hope it is only because his teeth are still hurting because he's got six more portions in the freezer.

pad thai - Donna Hay, Modern Classics Book One, p133

pasta with asparagus, pesto and poached egg & fish meatballs

To repay her for the previous two nights of fish, the anas get her current favourite pasta dish topped with a poached egg. She's feeling much better, so we eat it in the garden with a glass of vino, admiring the lawn.

pasta with asparagus, pesto and poached eggIt's so quick it gives me time to go for the hattrick of fish dishes in as many days, albeit fish meatballs for the milos. It's a Jamie Oliver recipe for kids I spotted in the 'archive' pile of Delicious' by my bed, and given I'm searching for new recipes for him they seem ideal. I make about a thousand, leave some out for him tomorrow and freeze the rest - apart from a couple of tasters for the chef. They are surprisingly meaty, and if he doesn't eat them I will...

fish meatballs
Food of the Milos
Another bad day food, teeth and mood-wise, although he did have dippy egg to cheer him up at lunchtime, and pasta with cheese, blueberries and a yoghurt for dinner.

pasta with asparagus, pesto and poached egg - Delicious, May 2005, p110
fish meatballs - Jamie Oliver, Delicous, September 2005, p 32

pasta with crab salad

After last night's amazing experimental fish dish, the anas are stunned to discover she's got another evening of experimental fish ahead of her (it's the crab see?) and immediately fakes a 'poorly stomach'.

Still, she's eaten it before (admittedly in NZ), so she's got to put up with it. If I can quote, she didn't like it but she had to go along with it.

Despite her carping, and the discovery of two very small crab bones, again it's actually quite good although it'll probably be another five years before we have it again.

pasta with crab saladFood of the Milos
Teething and dribbling continue apace so it's back to simple things in the hope he'll eat anything. Crumpets for breakfast before a long day of grizzling and getting angry topped off with a small amount of left-over bolognese. Most of which ends up on the floor. Hmmmm

pasta with crab salad - Black Book, although I suspect it's a Bill Granger recipe I copied out from the Australian Delicious.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

steamed thai-style sea bass and rice & crisp zucchini flowers

My new shopping tactic is to make a sort of list for shopping, but leave a few blanks and see what's going on at the farmer's market. We usually get our fruit and veg from Perry Court Farm on the basis the ladies like the milo's sassitude and always have some chopped pears and apples for him, and then we tend to either go to the duck pond or the park on the way home.

This week controversy looms and I return home with a whole sea bass, a tub of crab, a punnet of gooseberries and a bag of courgette flowers. It takes a day for the anas to get used to the idea of a whole fish in the fridge and an experimental father's day dawns. Doubly so as *somebody* has to put some sort of lawn onto the muddy field i've excavated...

Having been to Homebase to collect the turf, and before our neighbour Des comes back to help us in the garden I rustle up a 'hearty' lunch of crisp courgette flowers. Rather than deep-frying, this recipe calls for a much more handy shallow-fry and they turn out much better than I expected, even if they don't alleviate the memory of discovering my calculations are two turfs short.

crisp zucchini flowersOne hearty day laying lawns later we're faced with the experimental fish dinner and a possible sad ending to my special day - but DOUBLE-WHAMMY, it's bloody marvellous! The only down point is I don't think my filleting technique really took advantage of one of the most expensive of fish - Davisss, you're going to have to show me in a couple of weeks. Still, we're hearting the thai bass!

steamed thai-style sea bass and riceAnd just for Sarah, here's a picture of the anas in the almost-complete jardin:

the anas sur le jardin
Food of the Milos
He's definitely teething as there has been a lot of drooling, and he's started waking up at stupid o'clock, consequently his appetite has dropped off; he ate most of the left-over risotto for lunch, but having spent the afternoon in the paddling pool in the park with Layla, eating snacks, his Ella's tomato pasta ends up mainly in my stomach.

crisp zucchini flowers - Bill Granger, Holiday, p29
steamed thai-style bass & rice - Jamie Oliver, Cook With Jamie, p229

roast chicken and three rice salad, & chorizo and tomato salad

It's a beautiful saturday and we've got a highly social day planned; kiki, brian and feeinnnn are coming over for lunch, and then me, brian and will from next door are off to the pub to watch the Lions abject display in the first test. Who was that terrible english prop, and that bloke who kept knocking it on over the line? I bet he plays for england - bring on the poodles and shaner I say! But I digress...

roast chicken and three rice salad, & chorizo and tomato saladFor lunch we have ana's favourite salads with some cheese, bread and beer which the boys bolt pre-match, and the ladies enjoy in a more sedate manner. Brilliantly enough we have enough left-over for dinner later, which is handy because foolishly fueled by beer and anger (against rubbash Kiwi referees), I take the fatal step of digging up the garden. Oh dear.

Food of the Milos
For some reason this morning saw him having breakfast dead early (by his standards). Naturally it was egg-based, along with some crumpets. He picked at a bit of everything at lunchtime; breadsticks, rice & chicken, bread & cheese, crisps and 'howmouse', then for tea ana cooked him a risotto whilst we splashed around in the paddling pool in the garden.

chorizo & tomato salad - Delicious, July 2006, p59
roast chicken & three-rice salad (although I use one rice) - Delicious, July 2008, p64
no-stir tomato risotto - Bill Granger, Simply Bill, p92

Monday, 22 June 2009

left over bolognese

I'm out with the ladies from work tonight at the local gastropub. Obviously we only eat somebody's leaving present chocolate and bread and olive oil, so I've got plenty of space for last night's left-over bolognese. In a sandwich, it's the best way.

rich beef ragu

The milos have two nights of single parenting to look forward to tonight and tomorrow (Friday) as ana is down the pub with the local mum's club, and then I'm out with the ladies from work tomorrow. With this in mind it seems obvious to cook a monster ragu - enough for me tonight, ana and the milos tomorrow, plus some in the freezer for him. Although this time I remember not to use any wine, after the last disaster. The upshot is still good but it does lack some depth.
rich beef ragu
The genius thing about it is I can just leave it to bubble away whilst I watch The Mentalist and Psychoville, and the anas booze it up down the road. I'm totally like Russella Express.

Food of the Milos
Despite my confidence yesterday, m magic esq cocks a definite snook at the salmon risoni and spits most of it out across the garden. The bugger.

rich beef ragu - Delicious, March 2007, p51

Friday, 19 June 2009

jacket spuds and nasty rose

It's been quite hot and sunny this week, so naturally it clouds over and rains this afternoon - just in time for the work barbie. In the carpark behind the building - class. After chicken burger and a few beers, I leave the ladies huddled around the turning circle and a couple of bottles of nasty rose, in the drizzle, before it all goes very wrong. Looking at Jessica the next day I know I made the right call, especially as ana had done her jacket spud salad special at home. Drunk *and* dinner in the oven, excellent.

jacket potato

Thursday, 18 June 2009

poached salmon & risoni salad

When I get back from work tonight claire and isla are around; the kids are playing, and the older kids are drinking wine in the garden sun. It's a nice evening, perfect for a fish salad, to which news the anas pull the most amazingly sour face.

However I've learned from last time, and put a bit more seasoning in it, as well as a handful more dill. It's freakin marvellous even though I say so myself - plus there's some for monkey's tea tomorrow (as he loved it last time), and for my lunch as well. Hurrah!

poached salmon & risoni saladsource
poached salmon & risoni salad (although I use orzo) - Bill Granger, Holiday, p14

fruit & nut chicken stir-fry

Given last night's extended drinking in the garden, this week's shopping order can't be done until this evening, which means tonight's meal is a bit of lottery based on what's in the fridge: chicken breasts, and a left-over green pepper from two weeks ago. A courgette from two weeks ago in the veg bowl, and some onions.

Somewhat surprisingly there's a recipe in the Black NZ Book which uses all of these plus dried apricots and a selection of Asian sauces - sweet chilli, oyster, fish and soy - all of which are lurking in cupboard - genius!
fruit & nut chicken stir-fryI did have to swap the Chinese five spice for Thai seven spice (what's two extra spices really?), we didn't have cabbage and peanuts stood in for cashews but brilliantly it tasted really nice. Amazing!

roast chicken, feta and green beans

Slightly frazzled after a long, loooong journey back on the train with the monkey, I really can't be bothered cooking much tonight. Luckily the ana's have picked up the ingredients for the fomerly-kendara-kats-now-jamie-oliver's chicken and feta bake. Maximum flavour, minimum effort.

roast chicken, feta and green beansIt's particularly nice as we eat alan fresco in the garden, drink two bottles of wine and end up in bed alarmingly late for a school night...

chez babs

It's Mick Jones' wedding this weekend *and* the newly-pregnant/engaged Hannae is over from Oslo so we opt to split; the anas lord it up in London Town and I take the monkey on the train to sunny Folkestone.

As I can't really remember what we ate, I'll just give you the milos weekend eating plan:

weekend of the milos
Saturday morning he had a hearty breakfast of porridge and banana before we got the train to waterloo. Like a good commuter he had a babycino on arrival at waterloo which went some way in making up for his complete disregard of all commuting mores by talking, singing, waving and pointing at people.

On the journey down to Folkestone, in between looking at the cows/sheep/horses (although despite his convictions *not* goats or llamas) he ate a packed lunch of marmite sandwiches and raisins. On arrival at my mums he had scrambled egg and a pear. Dinner was one of my mum's cottage pies with swede and carrot mashed into the potato and I detected a hint of maggi sauce. He wolfed it down and then had stewed apricots for pudding.

Sunday breakfast was more porridge and stewed apricots, then we had a long journey back during which time he should've slept but didn't, instead eating herb puffs on the train and left-over cottage pie for dinner. He loves the cottage pie.

No wonder my arm goes dead when I'm carrying him around now. Luckily Claire lent us her rucksack, which was a lifesaver.

salmon bakes

Another experimental night with the added complication of it being a fishy experiment, so the anas promptly do one, again. This time she's out with Hannae Signy Natvik and Ellie in Chiswick. Luckily myself and kayosaurus do have wine tonight, which is just as well.

So we had this dish because for some reason Ocado decided to send an extra tub of ricotta in the order, and bizarrely I'd flicked through May's Delicious and this was on the first page that opened. Weird or what? Anyway, I have no truck with ready-made potato rosti so I found a recipe in Donna Hay's Modern Classics Book 1 and made those instead.

salmon bakeAfter eating it a few things occur to me:
1. Just because you've got a free 350g tub of ricotta, you don't have to use it all if the recipe only asks for 200g;
2. Don't ignore the timings on the rosti *just because* you don't think they look done. They actually are;
3. If you're going to have a slightly claggy - albeit lovely and lemony - salmon bake with a bit burnt rosti, you probably need some sort of veg.

Despite these drawbacks, the net effect is encouraging and I'll certainly make it again, if only to drive ana out of the house.

salmon bake - Delicious, May 2009, p56
potato rosi - Donna Hay, Modern Classics Book One, p70

Thursday, 11 June 2009

minty yoghurt lamb with nutty cous cous

With experimental lamb on the menu, the anas do one tonight and go out to The Treehouse with Jude, leaving me and Kayosaurus to bravely soldier on. With no wine I might add...

minty yoghurt lamb with nutty cous cousActually it's pretty good, although predictably half the lamb came out of the griddle just right and the rest was still bleating. Also, I'd be tempted next time to cook the lamb whilst the cous cous was steeping rather than afterwards as the recipe suggests, so that everything is a lot warmer.

Food of the Milos
Another Julia day so it's another day of acting like a foie gras goose in East Sheen; apricot weetabix, banana, more apricots and toast and phili for breakfast, rice with meat sauce, cheese and a homemade chocolate museli bar for lunch, and then three spicy meatballs for dinner. All he needs now is an evening glass of port and he'll be sorted.

minty yoghurt lamb with nutty cous cous - Delicious July 2009, p21

spincach & parmesan meatballs

Given monkey has lived on a diet of defrosted food this week and Kayosaurus is up for a couple of days, I crank out the spicy meatballs safe in the knowledge it'll feed the three of us, and him tomorrow, and he can have a couple more in the freezer. Everybody wins, particularly the Lions who thrash the Sharks on the radio whilst the tomato sauce simmers - bliss!

spinach & parmesan meatballsFood of the Milos
It's a Julia day today so he gets a right stuffing metaphorically speaking: cheerios, apricots, raisins, toast and phili for breakfast, chicken and pasta for lunch and then dinner at home.

Now I may have made a mistake yesterday about what he had (obviously I'm not here when he's eating, I'm working at t'mill), but essentially *at some point* this week he had pizza, pasta and tomato sauce, and probably ratatouille. Does it matter in what order?

spicy parmesan meatballs - Delicious, December 2007, p47

lime chicken curry

Yesterday I had a great day at work, today I hit the wall, sat in a coma with all the symptoms of a hangover but having not drunk anything at all to explain it. By the time I get home and help bath monkey I've definitely got swine flu, so I go to bed and only get up for some combination therapy of lime chicken curry and CSI.

It does the trick and I go back to bed much happier - she's lucky she married me.

Food of the Milos
We've given up with quarantine now, but there's nobody about to play with so the end result is the same; park, egg for lunch and some defrosted ratatouille for dinner. I think ana is going a bit stir-crazy, lucky she's got work tomorrow.

stir-fried chicken with lime and coconut - Delia Smith, How to Cook Book Two, p107

roast chicken, feta and green beans

Who dares guess the provenance of this dish - it's definitely a Kendra Kats dish and we think she got it from a Jamie Oliver book, but that's as far as the trail goes. It doesn't matter really, what does matter is it's dead easy - bang it all in the oven for 45 minutes, then brown the chicken for ten, and robert is your father's brother.

Just what you need on a Monday night when you really don't want to be doing much, especially after the highly successful yet simultaneously lazy day I had at work; all jobs completed by lunchtime in blaze of productivity, then a screening of The Hangover at Warners, followed by a frappucappucino with BAD Lucy afterwards. Clearly I'm king of media, other than missing that really important conference call with the US. Ooops.

roast chicken, feta and green beansFood of the Milos
Ana and the milos are still in quarantine although the few spots he had are now gone, after another day looking at the geese and ducks, and for some reason the imaginary goat, he has some defrosted tomato pasta sauce and a summer pudding for dinner.

roast chicken, feta and green beans - Kendra Kats, From her mind.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

pasta with asparagus, pesto & poached egg

Another early day but monkey seems much chipper and what spots he had are fading, which is just as well because we've got a full day of shopping in Richmond planned.

Having pillaged the Early Learning Centre closing down sale, and looked at the geese and heron in the rain on the riverside we repair to The Duke for a late-ish lunch. Naturally as soon as we step out of the rain, the sun comes out but monkey was on good form so we're not too bothered.

I had tuna nicoise, instantly doubling my anchovy intake for the year in two meals, and the anas had chicken breast on a chorizo rosti. Both of which were lovely; it does pretty good food really, and the staff are very cheeky baby friendly, which is always useful.

For tea we have another vegetarian (because I forgot the pancetta) pasta dish which neatly balances anas likes - poached egg - and dislikes - pesto. It's pretty successful though.

pasta with asparagus, pesto & poached eggFood of the Milos
His pox seems to be waning so his appetite has returned; porridge with apricots and maple syrup for breakfast, sausage and mash in the pub, and last night's pasta for dinner, plus his now daily intake of babycino's and fruit.

Despite being a bit grizzly this weekend, we did finally luck out on the weather with our afternoon walk to the pond, which cheered him up no end.

at the duck pondIncidentally I realise the photos over the past week are a bit blurry, further investigation has revealed very small, yoghurty fingerprints on the lens so I'll clean that and hopefully we'll be back to normal.

pasta with asparagus, pesto and poached egg - Delicious, May 2005, p110

this week's recipe(s)
As I'm catching up, I'm going to do two recipes first up:

pasta with asparagus, pesto and poached egg
For the Good Lucys, seeing as she asked so nicely last time...

Serves 2, takes about 15 minutes

250g pasta
2 eggs
packet of pancetta
250g asparagus spears
tablespoon pesto
grated parmesan
black pepper

1. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the instructions. Add the asparagus spears to the pan for the last four minutes of cooking time.

2. Meanwhile grill the pancetta for about 1-2 minutes so it's crispy and put to one side.

3. Poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes. As they're poaching drain the pasta and asparagus, and mix in the pesto. Grind in some salt and pepper and plate it up.

4. Crumble over the pancetta, sprinkle over the parmesan and top with the egg.

I tend to use fresh pasta so it's a matter of doing it all in four minutes really: Boil up two pans of water, put the asparagus in first, then the pasta and set the timer for 4 minutes. As soon as you've done that put the eggs in. When the timer goes drain the pasta/asparagus, mix in the pesto, plate it and hoik out the eggs onto some kitchen roll. Crumble the pancetta over the top, add the parmesan and then add the eggs. Sorted, although I broke my yolk tonight...

recipe 2: chicken with tomatoes, peppers and cous cous
Mrs white - pour vous rx

Serves 4, takes about 25 minutes

4 chicken breasts cut into chunks
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 hot red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
olive oil
cous cous
500g cherry tomatoes - 250g yellow and 250g red
280g jar of roasted peppers in oil
basil leaves

1. Put the chicken into a bowl and add the lemon zest, the juice, chilli, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of the pepper oil. Mix well and set aside to marinade. I leave it in the fridge all day.

2. Place cous cous in bowl and add boiling water, cover with tea towel and leave to fluff up.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan or wok until hot, add the chicken and it's marinade, and fry till golden brown all over and cooked through. Add the peppers, tomatoes and basil and cook until the tomatoes have softened.

4. fluff up the cous cous - you could add pine nuts, I do occasionally, and top with the chicken and marinade.



orecchiette with broccoli

What to do with week old broccoli that has spawned a brother, courtesy of Mrs Taylor's sojourn here? Luckily I was tempted by a recipe I saw when I was flicking through a few old copies of Delicious. It seemed the obvious thing to cook although with the usual caveats of the challenging nature of anchovies, and as Milo Magic was going to get the leftovers (like he's some sort of dog), I couldn't cook it with chilli.

It goes okay until the anchovy dissolving part, which actually *does* 95% work, but I use too much of the pasta water in the sauce so it's runny rather than thick. And the bloody pasta is slightly over-cooked. It's okay though, even Ana concedes it's 'alright'.

orecchiette with broccoli
She has of course changed her mind by Sunday, which is a shame as we've got a shoal of anchovies and half a kilo of orecchiette in the cupboard.

Food of the Milos
His pseudo-chicken pox have knocked his sleeping and eating out so he's up at stupid o'clock for milk, goes back for an hour or so before we're all up for a hideously early breakfast, which he doesn't really eat.

After a trip to the Farmer's Market and to see the ducks in the rain, he has a cheese on toast for lunch, something he's normally ignored but eats most of this time, and then pizza for dinner. Again he eats most of it, but he must be ill because it's usually one of his favorites. Luckily his mother and I heroically help him out.

orecchiette with broccoli - Delicious, May 2008, p62
pizza - Top 100 Finger Foods, Annabel Karmel


Friday blows an ill-wind; it's suddenly cold, ana has to keep the magics quarantined from his little chums and so is going out of her mind by the time I get home, and we decide we've got into a bad habit of getting a take away every week.

She's right in a way, if you have it every week not only is it expensive and bad for the waistline but you also lose the joy and enjoyment of the food. We decide not to have another until July, *after* one last one. To underline our commitment we both choose completely different dishes from the norm: I have chicken balti, and the anas have tandoori king prawn. They are both bloody excellent.

Of course we still have a tarka dhal.

Mrs White, I feel I've spurned you for far too long for which I apologise.

As you well know, keeping these bad boys up-to-date is at best a right pain in the posterior, but getting a curry reminded me of your comment recently about not having a decent one near you. In one way it underlines my theory on a checklist for a civilised country (ha!), but it did take me back to our trip away and weirdly how NZ and SA both had quite good curry places, but Aus didn't. Which is odd when you think about how many good Thai places there are/were in Balmain... I distinctly remember working our way up the street each night with a different person in tow, particularly Kitty Smither who introduced us to the marvel that are curry puffs.

On reflection I think you're also pining for what, in the cold light of day, were probably quite ropey dishes we invariably had after 400 pints down the rugby club and an hour in Putney. The India Cottage and Putney Tandoori anybody?

Hope you're all well, rx

roasted veg lasagne & chicken pox (again. possibly)

An interesting day begins with a text informing us Annabelle - our day care's daughter - has been struck down by chicken pox. Now this isn't necessarily a terrible thing as the monkey has already had a mild bout, but he still manages to come up with some spots when the ana's pick him up after work. He's a little cranky, but he still eats last night's (dry-ish) lasagne. I had it for lunch, and then for tea when I eventually made it back from drinkies with other former-C4 types.

roasted veg lasagneFood of the Milos
Lasagne - I just said that, duh!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

prawn pad thai & roast vegetable lasagne

As I'm out tomorrow night and once again ITV have spurned my desire for Midsomer Murders, I do a double cook-off whilst listening to the Lions take The Golden Lions apart on the radio.

First up is a variation on Donna Hay's pad thai, this time with some king prawns so we can vaguely count it as our weekly fish dish. the ana's aren't quite convinced, but I think it's pretty good.

prawn pad thaiWhilst we're eating I roast up sweet potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms for a hearty vegetarian lasagne for my lunch and ana and milo's dinner tomorrow. Strangely I only did half amounts of veg but the full amount of tomatoes, but it's still a bit too dry I think.

Food of the Milo
It's a Julia day today so he has his usual breakfast of bread and philadelphia, beans for lunch and ratatouille for dinner.

pad thai - Donna Hay, Modern Classics Book 1, p 133
roasted vegetarian lasagne - Donna Hay, Modern Classics Book 1, p 75


The veg cravings continue. With nothing in left in the freezer for monkey it seems obvious to cook up a big batch of st hugh' ratatouile for dinner, lunch and to restock. It's also mentally simple enough for me to cope with after a sluggish return to work.

ratatouileAs you can see, ana's had a brainwave and we had it with pasta whilst slobbing out to CSI.

Food of the Milos
Following a light breakfast of boiled eggs, the milos, anas, claire and isla spend the day at farm, running around like lunatics and eating a picnic of sandwiches, crisps and 'howmus'. Their idyllic sunny day ends with ana locking herself out and having to take refuge at claire's flat, luckily she also feeds the monkey a beef and rice dish - recipe please claire!

ratatouille - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Cookbook, p 106

jacket potato & salad

After a three day diet of stella and meat my body craves veg, or at least not booze. Me and Daviss get back late afternoon, just in time to go for a walk around the pond in the sun with magic before returning home for dinner.

We bung a couple of jacket potatoes into the oven and whilst they're baking we re-introduce the milos to broccoli. He didn't really like it last time, although he likes broccoli & stilton soup, so the obvious thing to do is cover it in cheese and pray. Luckily for my incipient hangover, he likes it, so it's into bath and bed for the monkey.

Just in time for the spuds to be ready, and with a hearty ana louise-style salad we eat in the garden. The bad ana's open a bottle of wine and my liver collapses.

cheese sauce - Annabel Karmel, New Complete Baby Toddler Meal

barnes - dieppe part trois

Somewhat improbably, after another 'quiet' night and hearty croissant-based breakfast, we win the tournament. This is bad news for the liver, although we do give it some help by finding a surprisingly nice French Indian restaurant to soak up most of the victory booze. It still doesn't like it though.

Back in Blighty it's a day of left-overs for both mummy and the magics who, have the rest of last night's pasta for dinner.

barnes - dieppe pt 2

The France-England split continues. After a relaxing breakfast of croissants, baguettes and coffee, manly men play a whole day of rugby whilst slowly roasting in the sun and consuming re-hydrating stubbies. With the pool games out of the way we repair to a harbour side restaurant for a completely-not-gay meal of oysters and steak frites (Davisss) and a super-kilo of moules marinere (the russells). Fully zinc-ed up to the max, we have a couple of quiet drinks on the town. Until 04.30.

Meanwhile the girls completely lez it up with a candlelight meal in the garden. Honestly, you can't take them *anywhere*!

baked pastaFood of the Milos
Continuing the Italian theme of the evening, although I suppose they really begin it, benjy and the magics chow down on a hearty Annabel Karmel pizza.

baked tomato & mozzarella pasta - Every Day, p127, Bill Granger
pizza - Top 100 Finger Foods, Annabel Karmel

barnes - dieppe

So here's the dealio; me and Davisss are avec Dieppe on tour whilst the ladies and mini-gentlemen remain in London Town giving it the big one. Probably.

In her usual way the anas spite me by getting a take away from the mighty t-box and drink wine. It is Friday night I *suppose*. Meanwhile an hour ahead, in the heart of cusine-tastic Normandy, we have a fine meal of dog-cock, frites and 40 mini-pints of stella and pastis. A perfect loosener for the tournament the next day.

Food of the Milos
Whilst the girls eat gourmet curry, monkey has left-over risotto which goes the way of all risotto, in his fat tummy.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

oven-cooked beetroot risotto

It's the last night before disembarkation on Tewkesbury Vets weekend tour to Dieppe so it seems right I leave ana something to remember me by; a combination of experimental cookery *and* beetroot, which she hates. It looks absolutely bonkers doesn't it?

oven-cooked beetroot risotto
As it turns out it's pretty bloody lovely to the extent even the anas like it. I promise it didn't look so 'livery' - it was a delightful creamy purple colour. Further 'mmmmmms' were provided by Jamie's classic Eton Mess.

eton mess
Food of the Milos
It's half-term so mynci isn't at Julia's today, instead he gets his usual fill of avocado, cheese, bananas, eggs and some defrosted ratatouille.

oven-cooked beetroot risotto - Delicious, June 2009, p85
eton mess - Cook with Jamie, p392