Wednesday, 30 September 2009

veggie rabbits & lime chicken curry

Last night's accidental squiffyness thankfully doesn't result in any payback this morning, which is just as well as it's the first Saturday of the rugby season *AND* my first driving lesson since Toscano starts bright and sunny.

The driving lesson passes remarkably well, and when I get back I'm immediately ready to take the beastie off for the rest of the morning. We do the usual chasing squirrels and birds in the park thing, and get back for a smackerel of lunch - some of the mutant veggie rabbits! I think you'll agree Sarah, they're almost as good as the sandwich art...

the mighty veggie bites rabbit
veggie bites and scrambled eggs
After lunch he goes to bed, and I go to rugby. I'm a bit apprehensive after Ronald's little tweak, but it goes okay despite having to lurk on the blindside. First game back, we stuff London Welsh, one try in the bag and I hereby dedicate it to S R White Esq - it was a cracker as well!

The anas and milo meet me at the club for a quick drink, then we have to dash back for Ocado. Whilst we're waiting we have a couple of brewskis out the front with Steve from upstairs. Monkey in bed, we have classic Delia curry for dinner.

lime chicken curry
Food of the Milos
Toast for breakfast, a smorgasbord of the mighty veggie rabbits and scrambled egg for lunch, and Swedish meatballs, avocado, and tomatoes from the garden for dinner. He also had a large orange juice with ice, sat at the bar, in the rugby club. His mother has gin.

veggie rabbits - Annabel Karmel, Top 100 Finger Foods, p24
lime chicken curry - Delia Smith, How to Cook Book Two, p107

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

Yay - it's pay day! However, Ocado can't deliver till tomorrow - boo! With the shopping booked before work we're set for classic spaghetti and tomato sauce tonight, using cherry tomatoes from our plants outside. Yes, milo has actually left some on the vine *mainly* because he's too short to reach.

As it turns out it's just as well it's a dish I can cook in my sleep as I'm ever-so slightly wonky when I get home having gone a bit mad at Friday afternoon drinks. I'm also distracted by watching the mighty Osprey's beat Glasgow on t'internet. The combination of free drink and a heady victory lead to two things:
1. I forget to take a picture. Sorry;
2. I fall for Gus' silver-tongued patter and promise to turn out for the Vets against London Welsh tomorrow. Sorry honey.

Food of the Milos
As the anas are supervising posh children on a trip to some country house in Sussex, it's another day at Julia's for the monkey. Classic cheerios, apricots and toast & phili for breakker. Ham & Cheese pie with beans, and strawberries for lunch, and a massive bowl of left-over pie for dinner. Oh, and more jelly.

pasta with cherry tomato sauce - Donna Hay, The Instant Cook, p58

hearty vegetable pie

One night to go until pay day so it's another night of dinner from the freezer, although let's not be too depressed as freezer food is still pretty darn good. Tonight's batch comes from the Sunday when Claire and Rob came for dinner. There's a slight twist tonight as the mash is made up of potato and sweet potato.

Okay, it's not *much* of a twist.

Food of the Milos
He's back at Julia's today. Apricots, Cheerios and toast & Phili for breakfast, snacks of rice cakes. Spinach & ricotta tortellini and fresh mango for lunch, and then some fish meatballs and pasta for dinner. Again, as long as you call them 'spicy meatballs' he'll stuff them down.

hearty vegetable cottage pie - Delicious, January 2007, p28

Monday, 28 September 2009

thai meatball salad

After a month break, the mighty Midsomer is back so all thoughts of cooking have to be crammed into the half hour between putting milky joe to bed and the first murder of the evening at eight. Much to the ana's displeasure ("so you mean I have to miss location, location, location for this?"), I've planned ahead and defrosted the last of the thai meatball curry. There is ice cream for pudding.

You've seen it before, so instead here's some more Posh Nosh:

Food of the Milos
Normally the milos would go to Julia's on a wednesday, but not today. Ana is on a school trip on Friday, so everything is shifted around. Instead they go to Zoe and Zacs for the day. We chance our arm on last night's left-over pumpkin for dinner, which miraculously works - green beans included! The key appears to be calling it 'curry' rather than 'stew'. Of course, why didn't I think of that earlier?

thai meatball coconut curry - Delicious - August 2009, p55

pumpkin and lentil stew

Autumn is ideal for all forms of cheap cookery without suffering any lack of flavour or heartiness (or indeed portion size); curries, stews, soups etc are all perfect and fairly cheap to produce.

With this in mind I've planned another one tonight, an experimental one from NZ-era Black Book (possibly a Billy G number?) but the weather isn't playing ball, being fairly mild rather than hearty-casserole-cold.

pumpkin and lentil stewAs it turns out it tastes more like a vegetable curry than a rich stew, so it doesn't battle the elements too much, and in fact makes a decent accompaniment to a return to form of Jamie's American Road Trip, and Ben Miller's saving of Food Fight.

Food of the Milos
Mummy and baby day today as nobody else was around to entertain the blond bomber; the usual fruit-based snacks make their way down his ravening maw, and for tea he had some left-over ragu. He's also got into jellies, although we're trying to curtail the amount his gourmandising. Particularly before bed.

pumpkin and lentil stew - The Black Book

rich beef ragu

More credit crunch cooking tonight with a hearty spag bol using some mince from the freezer to both combat the weather, and use up the assortment of random vegetables lurking in the fridge and veg bowl. It's one of the better 'bol' recipes I've come across, and the chilli flakes and dried porcini mushrooms give it a real depth of flavour. Having said that I didn't have either the mushrooms or the wine this time, but it was still pretty good.

rich beef raguFood of the Milos
A busy day for the beastie; first he had to resist swimming on his back in the morning, and therefore fail his next level of being a little swimming star, before going to Melissa's for the rest of the day. There he has pasta and sauce for lunch, fish fingers and beans for dinner, and some of Lizzie's birthday cake for pudding. He looks knackered by the time I get home...

rich beef ragu - Delicious, March 2007, p51

Friday, 25 September 2009

puy lentils with roasted vegetables

Another lovely day dawns but the anas are laid low by black lung. Or the quinsy or palsy, or something that involves her not getting up but malingering in bed sniffing at a bottle of Amarula, and dabbing her nose occasionally with a silken 'kerchief. [She actually was ill but she's not writing this]

So me and the milos go to the park for two hours chasing squirrels, hiding in the 'jungle' and followed by a hearty walk back along the tow path from The Ship to Ye White Hart. We see ducks, spiders, squirrels, a dead flounder/plaice, a heron and we eat biscotti. It's like the Famous Five, except a really posh version where the scrambled eggs are made from Golden Eagle eggs. We return and the blond bomber has a 'hearty' lunch of last nights misshapen veggie 'rabbits', and me and lovely anas eat baguette and cheese for lunch.

When the Kraken awakes we go to Richmond Park for a walk. We play hide and seek in the nearest hollow tree:

peepoAnd we see loads of deer, one of which attempts to eat an annoying Italian child:

bongiornoOkay, back to the *point* of the blog - the food. With a lock-down on spending, and knowing we've got loads of lentils in the cupboard I opt for an experimental dish from the October issue of Delicious. It looks a bit mad but it's pretty tasty. Ana makes an excellent point during Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour, the halloumi needs to be grilled so it goes crispy on the outside and runny inside, rather than griddled. She's right.

Food of the Milos
Toast and lime marmalade for breakfast with grapes. The mutant veggie rabbits for lunch with tomberries and cheese for lunch, and some defrosted spicy meatballs for dinner. He eats the meatballs, spaghetti and all, under his own steam for the first time (with only minor help).

puy lentils with roasted vegetables and griddled haloumi - Delicious Magazine, October 2009, p22

Thursday, 24 September 2009

baked pumpkin & feta risotto

With a week to go until payday and a holiday and a wedding under our belts this month, we enter dark days of credit crunch shopping to get through till Friday. It's like being a student again - we load up the change collection, break into the pound jar and head to Sainsbury's change counter thingy. Surely as responsible parents we should be beyond this sort of thing now?

Anyway, before we go I took a picture of the milos at his morning porridge feast, drinking tea from his mug (an espresso one I borrowed from Italy), so you can see his new hair:
milo and teaShopped out, he goes to bed well early which is brilliant because we can tidy the house and have a nice lunch together in the garden before he's even awake! In the interests of health/using up stuff in the fridge and having enough for his dinner tonight, we have an experimental risotto courtesy of Miss D Hay.

baked pumpkin & feta risottoBrilliantly there's so much he has some for his dinner, and there's enough for me to have as well whilst ana visits kendra kats and fieeeeeeen in the new flat. This is handy because I decide to spend the evening trying to create some Annabel Karmel veggie bites for the monkey.

They take forever but I do have a top tip - farm animal cookie cutters make really bad veggie bite shapes. They're too complicated, just stick with the stars and circles so you don't end up with 20 malformed veggie bunnies cluttering up the freezer.

Food of the Milos
Banana porridge for breakfast (and his tea, natch), plus some toast and marmelade. Numerous snacks around the supermarket including a brilliant find, Tomberries. Laughing Cow squares, more tomberries and satsumas for lunch, and loads of risotto for dinner.

baked pumpkin & feta risotto - Donna Hay, The Instant Cook p 66
veggie bites - Annabel Karmel, Top 100 Finger Foods, p24

Saturday, 19 September 2009

tomato curry

No dinner last night because I was at the pub for Sash's belated 30th birthday, but tonight we have curry. It's friday after all, but how do you square 'curry' with 'healthy goodness'? By having a brilliant Simon Hopkinson tomato special of course!

tomato curryIt's the perfect accompaniment to the new series of Peep Show and secretly, it's one of my favourite curries. I'd forgotten how good this issue of Delicious is/was and I'm deeply tempted by spicy lamb, olive and caramelised onion pie, little mash pies, baked lamb and apricot cous cous, pan-roasted venisonwith creamy baked potato and celeriac, pea and ham soup and kale and chickpea soup. I could go on, so it's just as well it's getting colder...

tomato curry - Simon Hopkinson, Delicious, November 2007 p86

crunchy stuffed chicken with green beans

Another night, another experimental dinner and this time it's FARQING AMAZING! No, seriously it's brilliant. I've cooked stuffed chicken before and keeping the stuffing in the breast is always the trick. This version using mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes is complicated by having a parmesan crust. the anas throw a further spanner into the works by using all the eggs so I've got nothing to bind the flour to the chicken with but - BUT! - with only a minimum of frying before going into the oven, everything holds together and it's bloody amazing!

crunchy stuffed chicken with green beansFood of the Milos
So I know where the eggs went, into somebody's big fat tummy! I'm intrigued to see what his two year check-up reveals because he's already 3ft 2 and he's not even two yet. It's a Julia day today so he has a fairly big day of grub: Toast and Phili, apricots and raisins for breakfast, and chicken paella and cherry tomatoes for lunch.

crunchy stuffed chicken with green beans - Delicious, October p25

jamie's southern sausage stew

It's absolutely bogging it down tonight. Seriously, it's Biblical and having cycled home in a monsoon I make an executive decision and decide on something hearty and spicy for dinner. It's an experimental sausage dish chosen by the anas from this month's Delicious - Jamie's Southern Sausage Stew taken from his new book. We then watch the show whilst eating the meal, which is a bit odd.

jamie's southern sausage stewI have to say it's pretty bloody good, particularly as I was freezing when I got home and even better, the heat was provided by another of our home-grown chillis. My one recommendation would be to skin the sausages before you cook them...

Food of the Milos
Defrosted hearty meatballs for dinner tonight, but he's been a bit grouchy today so he doesn't exactly scoff it down.

jamie's southern sausage stew - Jamie Oliver, Delicious, October p41

lamb tagliata

After yesterday's wonderful excess Monday dawns miraculously well for the Barnes household. Admittedly there is a distinct fromagey aroma on the rowing machine at lunchtime, but that could just as easily be one of the techies as me.

Anyway, we're trying to continue some sort of diet, so we have one of the anas favourite salads - Jill Dupleix's lamb tagliata with roasted tomatoes. However, the goodness is somewhat offset by the illegal bottles of wine which mysteriously appeared in the fridge this evening. Sadly this ultimately means I forget to take a picture of dinner. Sorry Lucyfer/Brenda/Sarah/Helen/Jon/Tom/Mum/Kayosaurus etc Do you really need one? I mean we've had it loads and it pretty much looks the same each time. See?

Every cloud has a silver lining and this shocking lapse of memory does mean you get another chance to see another installment of my favourite cookery show, Posh Nosh. This time, Paella, starring a before-he-was-famous David Tennant. Voila!

lamb tagliata - Jill Dupleix, Delicious, October 2007, p138

hearty vegetable pie

After yesterday's unseasonable warmth, Sunday dawns cold and blustery which is handy because it finalises today's "thank you for driving us to France and back" meal for Rob and Claire. Being vegetarians (urgh!), roast is out but hearty vegetable pie is 'in', with the extra benefit of being able to cook triple the required amount to stock the freezer and the milos.

As the anas tidy the flat, me and the newly shorn blond bombshell go to Mortlake playground for the morning, before heading to Waitrose in Sheen to stock up on our guests preferred drink of choice, Jenning's Ale.

With glowing cheeks hiding his morning intake of babyccino, the monkey has a surprisingly successful experimental lunch from Annabel Karmel - Tuna Muffin Melts - before going for his afternoon snoopy snooze.

tuna meltSo with him asleep we go into power-clean-cook mode ahead of Claire and Rob's arrival. The full menu is: caramelised pear and rocket salad, hearty vegetable pie and cabbage, followed by most of the cheese we bought in France on our way back from Matt & Virginie's marvellous wedding.

caramelised pear and rocket saladhearty veg piedinnerGood job we managed to get the beers in because Claire bravely battled through a hangover to squeeze in a couple of drinks, and Rob squeezed into his official Jenning's T-Shirt:

ana, claire, robAs tradition dictates, the blond bomber wakes up just before pudding and joins the table in his sleeping bag for some cheese. A pleasant and restrained sunday lunch then goes out of the window during a postprandial walk to the pond which actually ends up as two hours in The Sun. Monday hangovers beckon...

Food of the Milos
Cheerios and toast for breakfast, and apricot snacks in the park followed by a babyccino. The tuna melts are surprisingly successful, he doesn't really bother with lunch (unless he's at Julia's) so it's good to discover a handy snack for him. Vegetable pie and cabbage for dinner, which he loves. Bish, bash and indeed bosh.

tuna muffin melts - Annabel Karmel, Top 100 Finger Foods, p122
caramelised pear and rocket salad - Donna Hay, The Instant Cook, p44
hearty vegetable cottage pie - Delicious, January 2007, p28
cheese - france
ale - Jenning's Ale

moroccan chicken stew

God, what is happening to my mind? I'm only a week behind on the blog front (mainly because the ana's took four nights to upload some holiday photos to facebook), but I simply CANNOT remember for the life of me what I did a mere seven days ago. Jeez louise...

Anyway, using the magic of the camera I'm going to piece this week together like a flashback in Marple. So Saturday, we *did* decide to give the monkey a run around at Eddie Catz in Putney in the morning. Interestingly he's less keen on the jungle gym than I thought, but loved the Noddy car thingy, and the under-threes spongy toys.

Car cleaned and shopping done, we get home for lunch and an afternoon kip. Can't for the life of me remember what we did in the afternoon but I know we did have classic moroccan chicken stew, using up some olives from the other day and with an extra hit of cold-busting chilli and ginger. Mmmmmmm (although I realise the olives do look a bit like rabbit poo).
moroccan chicken stewsources
moroccan chicken stew - Delicious, February 2008, p28

Saturday, 12 September 2009

take away

A combination of the shopping booked for 20.30 military hours and the fact we're all suffering from first-week-back-at-work-after-seven-weeks-off, and early-to-work-for-no-actual-launch-itis, I can't be bothered to cook, so we get a take away from tiffin box and watch Vicky Christina Barcelona on DVD.

If we hadn't had old fashioned chicken curry, lamb achari and tarka the otter, I would've cooked this:

Food of the Milos
Another goodish day on the gut front for the monkeys. Waffles and tea for breakfast, avocado, cheese and tomatoes for lunch and pasta and Jamie's tomato sauce for dinner. He also had a lollypop and some gummi bears for being such a good boy whilst getting his haircut. I'm a bit sad he's lost his curls, but he's still super-cute, so ultimately it doesn't really matter. I've also taught him to say 'clunge' - brenda beware!

halloumi with saffron tomato salad

After a couple of days non-cooking, we're back on it tonight with some vegetarian experimental salad type stuff, from Simon Rimmer in September's Delicious. Now I blow hot and cold with la Rimmer - he's cocking annoying on Something on the Weekend (but then Tim Lovejoy is cocking annoying times 20), and some of his recipes are disastrous. But some are really nice, like the spiced mushroom burgers we had on Monday.

This looks like it could be nice, but with an ana controversy level of three-ish due to the presence of bulgur wheat and capers, it could just as easily be terrible. The lack of saffron in the house due to the Ocado error could be a problem, but they look pretty good on the grill:

grillingIt looks pretty good on the plate, but perhaps saffron is required to cut the astringency of the caper and sherry vinegar. The bulgar wheat is a bit watery as well, but I'll give it another go.

haloumi with saffron tomato saladNot an amazing success then, but the evening ends on a culinary high when I *finally* find a decent soup recipe to use up the kilo of carrots you have to buy just to get the one you need. Amazingly it comes from Bill Granger's Feed Me Now, a book I consistenly spurn and pooh-pooh whilst trying to hide it so it doesn't offend mine sight. Carrot and lime soup is a winner though!

spiced carrot soupFood of the Milos
Another day at Julias, another large amount of food in the gullet: raisins, cheerios and toast and phili for breakfast, and sausages, rice and veg for lunch although he didn't eat the peas and rice. For dinner he gets Jamie's tomato sauce and pasta, which also goes down a treat.

haloumi with saffron tomato salad - Simon Rimmer, Delicious, September 2009, p93
spiced carrot soup with lime - Bill Granger, Feed Me Now!, p144

toasted pine nut & sweet potato salad

So the TV and Movie launches definitely don't happen today, but I'm so knackered I barely notice; another 7.45 start for nought. Sadly this sleepiness (in no way aided by 4am wake up calls for cuddles and milk), means I forget to take a picture of tonights feast - toasted pine nut & sweet potato salad - until I'm halfway through it.

So by way of an apology I offer you a small snippet of two of my favourite chefs in action - the Hon Simon & Minty Marchmont from the Quill & Tassel:

I know I'll be embarrassing my veg from now on, it's the only way.

Food of the Milos
Julia's today, so Cheerios, apricots and rice cakes for breakfast, pasta, peas & sweetcorn and a yoghurt for lunch and lasagne. The lasagne isn't a winner, although he likes shouting the word.

toasted pine nut and sweet potato salad - Donnah Hay, The Instant Cook, p49

Thursday, 10 September 2009

sweet leek, tomato & ricotta lasagne

The plan today was for me to go to work, prep a new film and tv site, stay in late filling it with content and fixing minor bugs, and come back the next day ready for champagne and hearty backslapping. Instead what happens is everything is cocked, the launch is canceled, I spend the day in meetings, miss lunch and come back and defrost the last lasagne in the freezer.

sweet leek, tomato & ricotta lasagneIt looks a bit like battered fish, doesn't it? However silver linings are provided by the hysterical Jamie's American Road Trip, and St Hugh's new TV offering: Food Fight, with Sue Perkins. Although I've just remembered James Martin's awful perving over Ching-He Huang made me bilious. Bleugh!

Food of the Milos
More food on the floor today, but again dinner is the saving grace: ratatouille. What would we do without it? Chips and crips I suppose.

sweet leek, tomato and ricotta lasagne - Jamie Oliver, Delicious, September 2005, p31
tomato sauce - Jamie Oliver, Delicious, September 2005, p32

balsamic and thyme steak with stuffed peppers

A very sleepy Monday ends with another hearty-meal/healthy salad hybrid. Can steak and cheesey rice-stuffed peppers be healthy? I suppose sort of, although definitely no pork pie garnish this time.

balsamic and thyme steak with stuffed peppersI've seem to have finally got the hang of cooking the steak to a nicely medium rare state (hurrah!), although the balsamic vinegar plays merry hell with my frying pan. The peppers are a much better side in summer/autumn than cabbage and potato, though looking at the weather, the cabbage is coming.

Food of the Milos
The grumpy pants are firmly on the little blond boy's bottom today, nothing is right and he's now getting picky over which dummy or comfort bib he has. We're going to have burn those bad boys soon. He also *definitely* needs a haircut. Anyway, eating is cheating today, although he does make room for fish fingers and beans for dinner. Of course he does...

stuffed peppers - Delicious, April 2009, p31
balsamic and thyme steak - Delicious One Month Healthy Eating Plan, February 2007, p19

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

spiced mushroom burgers

Sunday dawns terribly early and lasts for almost 21 hours, and no amount of fruit juice, tea and crumpets lessens the pain.

Before everybody goes home we head to The Red Lion for Sunday lunch. I think it says something about where we are in our lives that not only are we the first to the pub, we're queuing outside at 11.45. Is that good organisation or just desperation?

Anyway, me and Davis share a very good roast chicken, brenda has some pretty good sausages and mash, and ana has 'disappointing' halloumi salad. Clearly she wasn't hungover enough. She does have a glass of wine though.

For evening dinner it's the start of the diet (again) so we try some experimental mushroom burgers, which are surprisingly really nice.

I would say next time I'd make sure all the mushrooms have the curvy-lip on the bottom, so it's easier to pile the topping into them. And I'd use a bigger bag of spinach. Still, definitely one for another time...

Food of the Milos
Junk for breakfast, a bit of everbody's lunch for lunch although mainly chips, and pizzas for dinner. He was very under the weather after his snoopy-snooze but perked around pizza time.

spiced mushroom burgers - Simon Rimmer, Delicious, September 2009, p92

old fashioned chicken curry

Davis, Brenda and B-Jamin arrive after lunch, and despite having two grumpy under-twos sleeping in a small, two-bedroom flat we manage to make a good stab at recapturing the glory days of Tewkesbury weekends.

The boys manage a mini-game of golf, and then the girls go for a bottle of wine by the river. Whilst they're out, Davis and I create Atul Kochhar's Old Style Chicken Curry and drink beer. The girls come back, we eat curry, drink wine and beer and some people (with boobs) eat two packets of chilli chocolate.

old fashioned chicken curryNo babies wake up. Until 4am, when they both decide they're getting up.

Food of the Milos
Some crumpets for breakfast (whilst I'm having a tactical rest), scrambled egg for breakfast and then meatballs for dinner. He also had two mini-cinnamon men in Waitrose, a big pot of raisins going to the park and just a "tiny bit" of chilli chocolate. Weirdly he's not really eating many snacks these days, and lunch and breakfast are becoming more of a battle. It might be time to cut back on the morning/afternoon milk...

old-fashioned chicken curry - Atul Kochhar, Observer Food Monthly, February 2009, p24

spinach and parmesan meatballs

Finally we get some shopping, which is just as well as Davis, Brenda and B-Jamin are coming up for the weekend. Gallingly because we've been away we end up spending loads, and when it arrives I realise I've forgotten a stack of things and have to make an 'additional' list for Saturday. Further salt is rubbed into the wounds when I eventually discover the saffron hadn't arrived, shortly after the 24 hour refund-window. Gah!

Anyway, Friday is now the start of binge-drinking weekends as we're not (supposed) to be drinking through the week, so I crack open a bottle of vin rouge de table from Carrefour and settle to making enough meatballs for us this evening and to put in the freezer for the little boy.

spinach and parmesan meatballsThe shambles continues in the kitchen. For some reason it takes *forever* to make, only partially because somebody was later to bed than usual. The only silver lining is the fact the anas don't really notice because she's half-cut on rose and she's on a transatlantic call from Mrs Hayley Fisher-Harlock. Consequently I'm left alone to drink and regularly 'test' the meatballs in peace, meaning dinner is triumphantly served at 2200 military hours.

spinach and parmesan meatballs - Delicious, December 2007, p46

Sunday, 6 September 2009

thai meatball curry

Hmm, winter definitely drawing in and the combination of this and the post-holiday lack of any shopping means further raiding of the freezer - this time a cheeky thai curry I made the last time the anas and milos were on the Diamond Isle. At least the box looks in better nick than last night's Shepherd's Pie.

thai meatball curryIt looks much better on the plate too, although interestingly even though the container is full of sauce, once it's defrosted it's not as much as I thought. Okay, so not 'interestingly' but still...

thai meatball curryFood of the Milos
Second day back at Julia's so he has a bigger breakfast than usual because she's much more successful than us at shoveling Philadelphia, toast, porridge and apricots down his maw. Oddly, he didn't eat much left-over shepherd's pie when he got home though. That is genuinely 'odd' btw.

thai meatball coconut curry - Delicious - August 2009, p55

Yeah, I know what you mean. He's 'almost' a little boy, and his speech is so advanced and he's so big we tend to forget he's only a small person. How are you guys? Is is spring over there now? How are the family?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

shepherd's pie

So no autumn then, just direct to winter and skip the nice harvest weather? With the flood lapping at the door and the anas wrapped up in fifteen red blankets we put the diet on hold and break out some hearty fayre from the freezer.

shepherd's pie*Slightly Mangled* doesn't cover the half-of it. I'd forgotten I was slightly wobbly when I made this, and it's not clear where the shepherd begins and the pie ends. On the positive side, it hasn't affected the flavour and having hoiked some out for the milos tea tomorrow, there's only two smallish portions for us so it is kinda diet friendly.

Food of the Milos
After last night's pasta nightmare we give him spaghetti bolognaise, which goes down much better. He's also back at Julia's as the anas have returned to work, so he's pretty much spent the day eating.

shepherd's pie - Saint Hugh of Whittingstall, River Cottage Meat Book, p504

roast chicken & salad

First day of the diet and jaded from being back at work we decided to have the only comforting salad in existence - roast chicken. However there's something subtly different with this one, can you tell what it is?

roast chicken & salad
No? Well it was lovingly hand-washed, patted down with the finest kitchen roll, buttered, stuffed with a blend of lemons, garlic and thyme, seasoned and roasted by ana louise 'my demon is a shiny red setter' mccarthy-barnes! Hella yeah, it was excellent too, even if I did have to listen to the squeals of disgust the washing bit caused, oh and the three trips to the herb basket to find thyme. Excellent work honey louise, you can cross it off your resolutions list.

Food of the Milos
He's the only one *not* on a diet in this house, so he naturally stuffs himself stupid with the usual array of raisins, fruit, cheese and avocado. He does baulk at kayosauruses baked peppers and pasta though, the fool, it's aces. He then spazzes out for the rest of the evening and we have to do some (un)controlled crying till he gets knackered.

roast chicken - Simon Hopkinson, Roast Chicken & Other Stories, p36

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

holiday round-up

No updates for the past fortnight because we've been away, lording it up in Italy for a week and then enjoying the social event of the year in Florent-en-Argonne for Matt & Virginie's wedding.

une bon mariageI could list out everything we ate and did, but that would take *forever* and it's supposed to be a holiday so I'll highlight a few things instead.

1. Italy was mainly Parmesan and beer/wine-based. I cooked twice - classic St Hugh ratatouille for our Tuscan Ashes Party. Yes Ronald, our ASHES PARTY. I also sprayed a bottle of beer into the pool.

ratatouilleEarlier in the week I also 'knocked together' a meal for eight, as you do. It was the usual chorizo & tomato salad, parma ham, mozzarella and peach salad and a chicken, spinach and pasta dish one of spana's friends cooked for us on the Isle of Wight years ago. I'd forgotten about it, but desperately searching for a recipe based on what we had in the fridge which would feed large quantities of people inspiration struck and I cobbled it more-or-less together. The kitchen was very small though.

cooking for eight2. We had a lady come to the villa and cook for us twice. She was amazing! I'm going to attempt her risotto at some point, once I've decided what went into it. Veg mainly, and definitely celery and celery salt. I'll have to experiment...

3. Eating out in both Italy and France is the best thing ever. We swanked it up in Italy, and other than the wedding, we ate in a local brasserie in France and EVERYTHING was brilliant. We didn't eat the local French delicacy of Pieds de Cochon however, although we did have Pike as part of the wedding feast. It was curiously very nice, who knew?

5. Florent-en-Argonne is the home of Dom Perignon. Ana didn't get too over-excited because she's a lady.

champagne6. The milos will eat *anything*. On our last night in Italy we went to a beautiful Osteria where he pretty much had everything I had: spiced chickpea soup, fresh spaghetti with duck and truffle, roast duck and salad, plus my fruity pudding. Oh, and Italians heart blonde babies who have been trained to say 'Bongiorno'.

spaghetti7. The diet starts now!