Sunday, 31 January 2010

keralan fish curry

A busy day in Barnes Towers. Despite last night's broken sleep, partly because of his full day yesterday with Nanny, Danny and Dylan, we decide to take ACTION today and go to Kew Gardens.

Naturally by the time we get out it's late morning so we skip a sleep again in favour of looking at the giant fish in the Princess Diana Greenhouse thingy, looking at wild animals through "noculars", and having a babycino. When we get back we make some gingerbread animals - what farmyard beasts can you spot?

gingerbread animals
With monkey in bed early, we have an unusually early-ish dinner - a warming, gingery curry after a day in the frosty cold in Kew. Though I say it myself, it's one of my better ones...

keralan fish curry

Food of the Milos
A better day of food: Scrambled eggs and soldiers for breakfast, a variety of snacks during the day, some roasted squash and peppers with pasta for dinner, and a gingerbread rabbit as a lovely snack.

keralan fish curry - Nigella Lawson, Delicious, February 2009, p83
gingerbread men - Donna Hay, Modern Classics Book 2, p77

Saturday, 30 January 2010

giovanni's sausages

An exciting, bright saturday dawns and the monkey is excited because Nanny, Danny and Dylan are coming up for the day. However we have to temper the high spirits with a trip to pond and Cafe Nero as my brother overslept...

Still, it's really nice to see them when they do eventually arrive *even if* I have to almost immediately leave to play rugby. Everybody trails along for the second half to see us thump Belsize Park 3s, and I come up with a 5 yard Barnes (me) classic at the end in front of the milos. He's more concerned about my muddy hands though, and gives me a baby wipe before I can cuddle him. I wonder where he gets his OCD/hospital corners tendencies from? I'm saying it's from the anas.

Once we pack everybody off home, and monkey into bed, we settle in with lovely, lovely giovanni's sausages. Extra spicy/garlicky sausages maketh the dish.

geovanni's sausages

Food of the Milos
A mixed bag today. Scrambled egg for breakfast, which is good, but this is followed by an iced bun in Barnes and a croissant. He then eats some burgers at the rugby club along with mini cheddars and an orange juice, and then he shares Dylan's chips for dinner. Hmmm

giovanni's sausages - Bill Granger, Every Day, p77

Thursday, 28 January 2010

winter veg tagine

winter veg tagineIt's very yellow, and the honey probably makes it a little too sweet. I'll hold back slightly on both next time...

winter veg tagine - Jill Dupleix, Delicious

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

jamie's southern sausage stew

By crikey it's freezing today. When I turned onto Mortlake High Street this morning I was momentarily blinded by the tears starting in my eyes, I swear they froze to my cheeks.

By the time I got home it hadn't got any warmer, and after another broken night of certain piccalilly's waking up with 40C temperatures, I'm knackered and freezing. What better reason to fire up an extra spicy stew?

jamie's sausage stew
Sadly somebody appears to be on the road to recovery and has LOADS of energy, and incredibly gets up after we've put him to bed. The recovery isn't the sad bit, the sad bit is we have to lie about the sausages because the milos heart them to the max. We lie and we bribe him with chocolate, we're bad parents.

Food of the Milos
Porridge and banana for breakfast, crumpets for lunch and lentil stew for dinner. Obvs this includes the usual snacks - Humzingers, rice cakes, smoothies etc

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

Monday, 25 January 2010

tomato curry

God Monday's are terrible. It's cold, and we're both tired after having to attempt a midnight dash to A&E because the little boy woke up at 0100 with a temperature of 40 degrees. Obviously by the time we got there, and he spent an hour playing with all the toys, it had come down to a normal level. Ana's also had to deal with Lloyd's fraud team having had her card cloned, so we needed something to perk us up. Stage one: CURRY!

tomato curry


Food of the Milos
Porridge for breakfast/lunch as he eventually got up (11.30!), bizarrely a Calypso lollypop and then some ratatouille and a jacket spud for dinner

tomato curry - Simon Hopkinson, Delicious, November 2007, p86

Sunday, 24 January 2010

mushroom, garlic & spinach pasta

After last night's late bedtime, (and highly exciting midnight drive through the badlands of Tulse Hill), today is a busy day. We get up, we play Playdough, and we go to Kendra's en route to the Pirate Ship in the Princess of Hearts (TM) playground in Hyde Park. Today's celebrity entertaining their kids on the becalmed ship is Dominic West.

Breakfast is a mixed bag of porridge, toast and marmalade, toast and marmite, cornflakes, crumpets and marmalade, coffee, water, boiled egg and soldiers, tea, and/waffles depending on whether your me, ana, milo, kayosaurus or mikeplodocus. And we don't really have much until a very late, post-park and mini-snoopy-snooze in the car, teeny bread and cheese-based snack.

By the time Kay and Mike head back to the Island, and the little boy is in bed, I can't face Curry for a third night, so I use up the spinach and mushrooms in the fridge for a kind of experimental combination of Nigel Slater's mushroom & garlic pappardelle from Kitchen Diaries, and Billy G's spinach & garlic confection from Every Day. Even if I say so myself, it was a minor triumph *and* it meant I didn't have to waste a packet of spinach.

mushroom, garlic & spinach pasta
No Wallander tonight, sigh.

Food of the Milos
A waffle and some crumpet for a mini-breakfast, followed by boiled egg and soldiers for second breakfast. Whilst we're at Kiki's/The Park, he snacks on apples, bits of pain au raisin, and rice cakes, before having some of Kay's tomato pasta she made last night whilst we were lording it up at Rosie & Alessio's.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

curry at rosie & alessio's

A dull Saturday enlivened by a couple of groovy events, obviously the first being the fact we've got the Grandparents in the house. This means we get an amazing double-whammy lie-in; not only does the monkey sleep in till 9, he immediately wants to see Granddad, so we get left alone.

Anyway, leaving the Pickle with the Kayosaurus & Mikeplodocus for the day we first go to Sloane Square to spend our Christmas vouchers (thanks mum!), and then we go to the badlands of Tulse Hill for dinner at Rosie & Alessio's. I drive.

Oh yes, I drive - first I drive to Gloucester Road to pick up Kendra, then I drive to Dulwich for a curry. Italians and Kiwis made it.

It was spicy, loads of cinnamon and chilli and a great gravy, with some brilliant side dishes of dhal and sag paneer. I wish I was drinking.

I drive home.

Anyway, I've finally taken a picture of all my kitchen-themed Christmas presents: Spices, Mrs Beeton and wine glasses from my mum, port from ana louise, a mug and wine thermometer from the in-laws, and a silicon fish slice from the milos:

Christmas presents

Friday, 22 January 2010


It's cold, it's wet and the lovely McCarthy's are in residence, so as I can't be bothered to cook and by way of a celebration, we get a take away from our maison Inde du jour, Tiffin Box.

Sadly no pictures, but it pretty much looks the same as usual. Kayosaurus has an extra mild chicken korma, Mikelodocus has a chicken madras and Team Barnes have old fashioned chicken curries in an array of heats.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

spiced mushroom burgers

I didn't learn from last time, and managed to choose only two mushrooms with adequate lips to stop the spinach & feta mix from spilling onto the griddle. Still, they are bloody nice.

spiced mushroom burgers

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

Monday, 18 January 2010

crumbed fish with thyme potatoes & tomato relish

A new fish classic from the new Delicious, and an excellent way to use up Garlic Farm relish. Like we need an excuse...

crumbed fish with thyme potatoes & tomato relish

crumbed fish with thyme potatoes - Delicious, February 2010, p25

Sunday, 17 January 2010

more visiting

Why just visit on Saturday, when you also visit on Sunday? After a morning shopping, we get the beastie's hair cut ready for Joe's 1st Birthday party that afternoon.

As a little warm up we have breakfast together (porridge and crumpets), and a smackerel of boiled eggs and soldiers for lunch, before heading to Zoe's for a massive party blowout.

Zoe does not let us down. After bowls of crisps, cheese sticks, mini-sandwiches, jelly frogs, and milky way stars I've saved just enough room for a massive plate of cottage pie with cheesy mash. It's bliss, one of the best I've ever had. So good in fact we take a freezer box home for dinner tonight. God honestly, it was a-may-zing! Mary Berry apparently - never heard of her but I'm stealing this recipe...

mary berry

Food of the Milos
see above - crisps mainly, and jelly frogs, some boiled egg and loads of cottage pie.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

roast chicken & other stories

Despite the minky drizzle, Saturday is officially a visiting day.

We drive up to Greggy & Amanda's for the day, and basically sit in their lounge, watching Cars and hoovering up some excellent chicken casserole courtesy of Chef Greggy.

Back home we get the monkey into bed in time for Claire to come over and babysit, whilst we head out to Kendra & Brian's for dinner; beautiful smoked salmon on rye bread (damn you rye!), roast chicken and the probably the best roast potatoes I've had since my mum's Christmas day goose specials, with choccy pudding afterwards.

Mmmmm - hurrah for friends cooking!

Friday, 15 January 2010

rye pizzas with courgettes and tomatoes

I might as well have called them 24 hour pizzas, the took soooooooooooooooo long. In fact despite starting just after putting to monkey to bed, we weren't eating til about 23.30.

rye pizzas with courgettes and tomatoes

So like a take away after you've been to the pub for a fun evening then, apart from the fact we weren't drinking, and the pizza bases were a disaster. Kiki pointed out you need a pizza stone for *really* crispy pizza bases, but I identified some more fundamental problems.

1. I couldn't find any rye flour, so I made pizza dough from Billy G's recipe in Feed Me Now. However, I should've paid attention to HIS timekeeping, rather than switching back to the Delicious recipe - which took 20 minutes longer. This resulted in extra hard crusts.

2. With swirling sleet and snow, the kitchen isn't warm enough for dough to rise.

3. We won't be trying the courgette variety again.

Food of the Milos
Porridge for breakfast, eggy bread after rhyme time for lunch and minestrone soup for dinner.

rye pizzas with courgettes & tomatoes - Delicious, February 2010, p110

Thursday, 14 January 2010

spaghetti with garlic & spinach and minestrone soup

With the available ingredients we have a choice of three things tonight: Tomato puff and spinach salad, pasta with cherry tomato sauce or this. Given the cold the tomato puff and salad is binned, and we had cherry tomato pasta last week so this old Bill Granger recipe gets the nod.

Given my chilli plant is feeling the strain of being the sole provider of heat, it gets laced with some of the bastard-hot dried chillis Kayosaurus brought me last year. Not too many mind, but just enough to sear the tongue.

spaghetti with garlic and spinach
The other bonus about this dish is it's really quick, which gives me time to make a massive batch of minestrone soup for lunch for us all tomorrow. I haven't made it for ages, not since Putney I should think, and I'm afraid to say Brenda, it's a Black Book Special. I think from WFI? It also manages to use up two almost empty bags of random pasta, which I'm happier about than Mrs H Corners.

minestrone soup

Food of the Milos
Cheerios, apricots and phili for breakker, tomato pasta and tuna for lunch (he didn't eat the tuna, again), and ratatouille for dinner - which he loves - followed by some mango.

spaghetti with garlic and spinach - Bill Granger, Every Day, p98
la minestra di Orazio - Black Book, I think it's from WFI

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Of course *now* it snows, but clearly not enough to either close school or stop work...

By the time I get home, having had a mildly successful day at work interspersed with a team snowball fight on Brook Green (I think I won), I'm ready to cook up a storm and in doing so, empty the fridge of the mountain of veg currently hiding in there. Saint Hugh's Ratatouille it is!

Strangely I do manage to balls it up slightly, I chopped the onion far too thickly to the extent ana's post-meal plate just had a pile of onions in the middle. It looked a bit like fish scales. Despite that slightly oversight, the evening ends very pleasantly as we retire to bed to watch the whole of Nurse Jackie on iPlayer. It was a bit like going on a date, only snug in bed with a cup of tea.

Food of the Milos
Having made several snowmen on the way to Julia's he's starving. Toast and Phili, and rice cakes for breakfast, plus another rice cake on the school run. A delicious mid-morning helping of snow, steak, mash and corn on the cob for lunch, followed by two yoghurts! Incredibly he still has room for fish fingers, mash, cherry tomatoes and pomegranate when he gets home.

ratatouille - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Cookbook, p105

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

broccoli & mixed mushrooms in black bean sauce

This is what we planned to have last night; 8 minutes in a hot wok - bish bash bosh and everyone's a winner. Although we didn't plan on the extra sous chef in the kitchen:

new sous chef
I cheated slightly by using a ready-made garlic black bean sauce (who has access to fermented black beans?), and rather than small broccoli florets I chopped up a head of broccoli, neither of which were totally successful. I also only had shiitake mushrooms, but I imagine the inclusion of the oyster mushrooms - or even chestnut - would've given it a bit more variety for the broccoli-phobic A-Bar. All in all, it's probably a 2.5 out of 5 for Ching-He Huang.

broccoli & mixed mushrooms in black bean sauce

Food of the Milos
God, he loved the cep & potato stew. I'll have to do double quantities next time. Breakfast was a bit of porridge, some shreddies and a bite of toast and marmelade, and a sausage roll and half an iced bun from the bakery for lunch. Oh and a gazillion snacks including an apple, some pomegranate, animal biscuits and some tea.

broccoli & mixed mushrooms in black bean sauce - Ching-He Huang, Delicious Magazine, February 2010, p57

Monday, 11 January 2010

cep & potato stew

The original plan was to cook something entirely different, after all who wants stew two days running? But like an arse I left this month's copy of Delicious in the office, so we had to go for the cep & potato stew as a back-up - well, it is on the list for this week.

cep & potato stew
Now this proves controversial for two different-but-linked reasons based on the last time we ate it. *Last time* the anas categorically said it was lovely and she'd definitely eat it again, except when she's given it again of course. The related story is that steamed cabbage doesn't work as well as the cauliflower cheese. Also, I used Red King Edward 'heritage potatoes' this time round, which were marvellous!

Food of the Milos
Another hearty day at the trencher for the magics: Fruit bread toast for breakfast, dippy egg for lunch, and last night's veg pie for dinner. Oh and a kiwi fruit for pudding which he said he didn't like even though he ate it all quite quickly.

cep & potato stew - Delicious, November 2009, p81

Sunday, 10 January 2010

hearty vegetable pie

Nobody has a hangover today, (although the milos manage to squeeze in a massive spazz-out over playing with Brooksie the leopard in the afternoon), so we do the usual mooching around weekend things: Read in bed, watch Gigglebiz on Cbeebies, go shopping, play playdough and tidy up. It's slightly enlivened by discovering The Gruffalo is inexplicably still on the iPlayer, so we watch that about 500 times.

Tonight we have the vegetable cottage/shepherd's pie, and I make enough of the lentil filling to bung a load in the freezer.

hearty vegetable pie

Cabbage looks a bit washed out.

I forgot to say the other day, on Friday I spent most of the day whinging about The F Word, only for the comments to be about the soundtrack. Gahhh, what a waste!

Food of the Milos
Half a crumpet and half of my Shreddies for breakfast, the magics then graze on our shopping around Sainsburys - a smoothie, half an apple, a rice cake - before a mini lunch of fruit bread. As I cooked the pie over his snoopy-snooze, he has that for dinner with some pomegranate for dessert.

hearty vegetable cottage pie - Delicious, January 2007, p28

Saturday, 9 January 2010

lime chicken curry

It would appear the ana's didn't stick to the no-drink-January pact. To be honest I gathered that when she came home last night and described her dinner as 'three bottles of wine'. Naturally it came back to bite her today, and the first three-quarters were spent with the Best Local Wife pining away in bed, possibly with consumption.

This had two outcomes, I was pretty much left to myself during the daytime nap, so I made Pumpkin Soup. Here are some step-by-step photos to inspire the Bad Lucy.

Basically St Hugh's recipe calls for you to quarter and de-seed the pumpkin, and lob in a couple of cloves of garlic still in their skins (I used some more of the smoked stuff which should've been part of my mum's Christmas present, apart from I forgot it). Drizzle over some olive oil and grind some salt over it, before roasting for 35-45 minutes at 200C:

Once they've cooled slightly, scrape the pumpkin out of it's skin into a saucepan, slip the garlic out of the skin and add 500ml veg or chicken stock. Blitz it and then bring to the boil. Voila!

pumpkin soup
How smug am I? Sorry Lucyfer...

The second consequence of drunken ana was her curry craving. Seeing as this is one of her staple dishes, I marinated the chicken and she cooked it. She must have been still suffering though, because she accidentally poured in about 3/4 of a bottle of fish sauce into it, and her eyes can't have been working too well by the look of her blurry fioto:

lime chicken curry
Weirdly despite all the fish sauce, you still needed to add more salt to it. That's strange, no?

Food of the Milos
Waffles and crumpets for breakfast, a babyccino and half a lemon muffin in Nero, and surprisingly no lunch before bed. He didn't really have anything after he woke up either, which is unusual, but managed to eat some rice cakes when we went for a walk. He did however, have a large portion of last night's pasta, an apple and a fruit puree pot.

pumpkin soup - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Year, p 199
lime chicken curry - Delia, How to Cook Book Two, p107

Friday, 8 January 2010

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

The ana's are out tonight to the Thomas Cubitt with Kiki and Rosie (bet she's not sticking to the teetotal January rule), I'm home alone tonight. Normally this would mean some wild and exciting experimental dish but I'm scuppered because the milo managed to sleep in till nine this morning. Which means his whole day is thrown out, so I don't manage to get him into bed until eight and I can't be cracked to fanny about in the kitchen.

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

There is one element of 'experimental' cookery - I used IOW smoked garlic in it tonight, which makes it interestingly more 'meaty'. It's a pretty good twist.

Camera's still playing up by the way. Tonight's worked at the hundredth time but the rest all come up blank. I give up.

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

Thursday, 7 January 2010

tomato curry

Tonight is the first night of my search for the best local wife. Holly Willoughby made all the early running, giving me the glad eye at the Farmer's Market last year, but tonight the anas made it through to the next round with her new signature dish, Tomato Curry.

Actually, one of her resolutions was to learn to cook new dishes (anas I mean, not Holly's) and she gets off to a triumphant start. It is honestly one of the best ones we've ever made, the extra squidge of lime and black pepper make all the difference.

For some reason the camera is playing up tonight (wtf?) so you'll just have to believe me...

Food of the Milos
Hmmm, somebody is in a grump this morning. He still has room for a large amount of food though - chocolate crispies and apricots for breakfast, rice cakes on the way to school, dippy egg for lunch and some of last night's stew for dinner. Oh and a waffle!

tomato curry - Simon Hopkinson, Delicious, November 2007, p86

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

sweet potato & halloumi stew

Where's the snow? Where's our snow day? Booo...

Having battled back on the metal beast along icy roads, I want something hot and hearty for dinner tonight. Because of the time it takes to read stories to the monkey and put him to bed, I rule out vegetable cottage pie and tomorrow the ana's are learning how to make tomato curry so that leaves an old classic from the Black Book - Sweet Potato & Halloumi stew.

I think it's from Sainsbury's magazine circa pre-NZ. Seeing as the blonde bombshell is having it tomorrow I leave out the chilli. It's still nice though, better than Lucy's pumpkin soup anyway - ha ha ha ha ha!

sweet potato & halloumi stew

Food of the Milos
It's his first day back with Julia so he gets his usual porridge and apricots for breakfast, tuna and tomato pasta for lunch and last night's gnocchi for dinner. He has a lovely fat, warm tummy for me to raspberry when I get home.

sweet potato & halloumi stew - The Black Book

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

oven-roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi & apple and walnut salad

No hangover today, although the ana's struggled a bit this morning. In fact I'm up bright and early enough to make a nice salad for lunch, which is handy seeing how the lady who doesn't like leek & potato soup commandeers the rest for HER and Kendra's lunch today. She's not to be trusted, but I do get to experiment - apple and walnut salad! Wooo...

apple and walnut salad

It's cold tonight, so I'm tempted to cook a big old pie but somebody is still awake, so we have to go for classic hot pasta 'cos it's quicker. It's still nice though.

oven-roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi

Where's the bloody snow?

Food of the Milos
Hmmm, somebody might be going through a growth spurt: Porridge and apricots for breakfast, followed by snacks of humzingers and spicy stars (I'm seeing a pattern here). He also inhaled a big pot of raisins, a boiled egg with toasted soldiers and a kiwi fruit for lunch. And still has room for baked potato and cheese, avocado, tomatoes and tomatoes for dinner. Christ!

oven-roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi - Delicious One Month Healthy Eating Plan, February 2007

Monday, 4 January 2010

stuffed peppers & salad

Back to work - booo! Whilst the anas and milos are whooping it up in the frozen sun, I'm stuck in front of a screen and a billion emails, and my own version of a cold turkey headache.

At least there was some lovely soup at lunchtime. Lovely soup incidentally, which the anas had for lunch *despite* the fact she apparently doesn't like that particular variety. Hmmmmm

Despite getting brain freeze cycling home, we have salad for dinner - albeit with stuffed peppers. It's easy-peasy lemon squeezy, pretty tasty AND I got a chance to use my Christmas silicon fish slice.

stuffed peppers & salad

Food of the Milos

The greedy guts had 10 - TEN - things to eat today: porridge for breakfast, humzingers, soup for lunch, cheese, a smoothie, some of last night's turkey bolognese, grapes, spicy stars, a slice of malt loaf, kiwi fruit and five lots of milky. No wonder he's got a fat tummy!

I've also started back-filling December fyi...

stuffed peppers - Delicious, April 2009, p 31

Sunday, 3 January 2010

chicken bolognese & leek and potato soup

Day two in the Big Diet house, and it hasn't started well. One member of team Barnes Cubed woke up at 03.30 requesting milky, and ana louise struggled to get up suffering the early stages of cold turkey from the demon booze. Lucky I had a couple of wee nips of sloe gin before leaving Davis, Brenda and Benjy's eh?

It's a cold day in hell, but we still go to the pond to look at the ducks sat on the ice, drink frothy-coffees and run around in the sun, before a cheese on toast based lunch.

Dinner is an old classic we first discovered in Nyu Zulund: Billy G's chicken bolognese. Although I could only get turkey mince in Waitrose. Still, two smallish portions for us, and three in the bank for the milos. Just in time for Wallander.

chicken bolognese

As it's back to work tomorrow, I also prepare some lunch for part of the week and as it's cold I fancy some soup. Leek and potato it is, although having made it I remembered I'd left my thermos at work before Christmas...

Food of the Milos
Back to reality for blond bombshells, but it's still all day playing for him, and other than having his old friends back (Big Bear, Jessie, Snakey, Dragon, etc etc), I doubt he noticed. In between trips to the pond, babyccinos, finger painting, lego and playdough, he eats: half a crumpet, porridge with dried apricots and cranberries, cheese on toast, loads of water, an apple, a tiny piece of chocolate and a portion of last night's pumpkin laksa. He didn't want to eat it, but we told him Julia made it for him, so he ate it. The bugger.

chicken bolognese - Bill Granger, Every Day, p87
potato, leek and stilton soup - Delicious, January 2007, p104

Saturday, 2 January 2010

pumpkin and tomato laksa

Holiday over, we're back and we're on a health kick: No booze, and only healthy dinners for a whole month. Hopefully mostly vegetarian - let's DETOX (and lose weight and be healthy, and hopefully save some money) - Wooo!

2010 dawned in a torrent of cow, potatoes and a chocolate gateau seemingly impregnated with a whole bottle of brandy, chez Davis & Brenda. Plus a fine selection of ale/champagne/sloe gin/fizzy lager and wine. Having driven home we're both starving, tired, cold and not in the mood for 'health' and 'goodness'. Seeing as there's only an acorn squash left at home, we've got little choice but to get on the health horse, and with Nigel Slater as our champion jockey we kick off with a pretty spiky laksa.

pumpkin and tomato laska

Roll on health, wealth and some sort of wisdom...

Food of the Milos
Having pillaged Davis & Lucy's house of all their smoothies, Milo's first dinner at home is some defrosted spag bol, cos we're great parents like that.

pumpkin & tomato laksa - Nigel Slater, The Kitchen Diaries, p336