Monday, 31 May 2010

chorizo & tomato salad

After this weekend's entertaining, I'm not in the mood for cooking anything particularly complex, particularly after a day of Milo-hurding around South West London.

Instead, inspired by Jamie's recent update to one of our favourite salads, we slouch in the lounge and watch telly whilst drinking rose. If only there was costume drama on the box, it would've been the perfect Sunday night, but Glee is just as good as P&P.

chorizo and cherry tomato salad
chorizo & tomato salad - Delicious, July 2006, p59

Sunday, 30 May 2010

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart & plum salad with cranberry jelly

It being the weekend, we're entertaining tonight - woo! Actually it's a good "woo", because I haven't seen Jenni for ages and Kate and Rob(in) are always good company.

As it's almost summer, hearty stews are ruled out which is a bugger as they're usually excellent for feeding more than one guest, but but but - and a recent experimental tomato, red onion and crem fraiche tart might just do the job. Especially if I throw in a dessert and don't cock about with baking beads and shrinking pastry.

Luckily practice makes perfect, and this time it's aces - behold its baked, thyme-y genius!

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart
For dessert (because it's fruit-based - thanks la Mitfords!), we have experimental Jilly Dupliex plum salad with homemade cranberry jelly, sprinkled with blueberries.

plum salad
It's okay-ish. The plums, care of my mother, are brilliant but the jelly is only 99% set and three bottles of wine in, it's a little on the delicate side. People seemed to like it though, even if Kate looks like she's passing out:

Food of the Milos
The usual panoply of snacks, cheese, avocado, babyccinos and cake aside, today's highlight is dinner - an experimental polenta-based pineapple and salami pizza. He eats most of his portion, but to be honest daddy eats the majority ably assisted by the anas.

polenta pizza
As it handily used-up the packet of polenta in the cupboard, I don't think we'll be having it again. Until I get a pizza stone that is, because that will guarantee it crisping.

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart - Delicious, 2005 or 2006
plum salad with cranberry jelly - Jill Dupliex, Delicious, October 2007, p138
polenta pizza, I think I looked it up on the Delicious website?

Saturday, 29 May 2010

vegetable curries & Miss Lucyfer Guson

Tonight I'm supposed to be home alone as Ana Louise is out boozing it up with Kiki and her sister Lara, so I get social and invite Lucyfer over for a post-wedding-of-the-year gossip debrief.

It's also a good excuse to road test the recent slew of vegetarian curries I've made recently. However, I fail to take into account the essential disorganisation of my charming life partner, who has her dates wrong. Her face also suggests she's not that keen on cauliflower curry, or the projected aubergine curry...

The full menu was:

Lucy and Ana 1
As it turns out, it's all fine. Lucy's skin has resumed its usual deathly indie-pallor after last week's lobstering in the Cornish sun, and even Ana has to admit she quite liked the aubergine curry. Of course she caveats it by pointing out that she'll never eat again, but a moral victory of sorts I think.

Lucy and Ana 2
On a multi-dish cooking level, I was quite pleased I managed to turn out three dishes for three people at pretty much the same time. I put it up there with cooking for eight in Italy, and my last multi-curry extravaganza when Hannah Signy, Robert and Kornelius came to play.

indian-spiced aubergine - Delicious, March 2010, p83
spiced cauliflower curry with red pepper and peas - Delicious, June 2010, p153
tomato curry - Simon Hopkinson, Delicious, November 2007, p86

Thursday, 27 May 2010

pumpkin and tomato laksa

After last night's hard peach debacle, I attempt to clear out some stray ingredients filling the cupboard and veg bowl to create Nigel's pumpkin and tomato laksa.

It's not entirely successful...

pumpkin and tomato laksa
As you can see, the coriander was probably beyond it's last legs but as that's only a garnish I wasn't too disappointed. However, the noodles - gahhh!

Usually I favour straight to wok style noodles, but tonight I used up some dried, handily ignoring the fact ana hates the dried ones. Top tip - don't cook them in the pan because they suck up all the juice, and make the whole thing go slightly gloopy, and cause the tomatoes burn to the bottom. Arses - why can't I get noodles right?

Food of the Milos
It's the final battle to Julia's today, so he has a minimal breakfast. He didn't really eat his lunchtime pizza, or the off menu choice of spaghetti hoops. He did have some banana bread there, before guzzling half a kilo of chopped carrots and houmous for dinner.

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

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad

It being the end of the month, and June being quite expensive, we're forced into trying to make ends meet for the last few days before payday. Taking a trip to the Waitrose underneath John Lewis I hit the motherload - two packets of cured meat for almost thruppence, peaches on offer and a giant bag spinach reduced to 50p!

Chuck in a cheap mozzarella and we've got an old favourite from a couple of years ago, with enough for mine and ana's lunch tomorrow, and all for under a fiver, bargain.

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad
However, there's many a slip betwixt Waitrose and Mortlake. I don't mind composting some of the spinach, it was out of date after all, but using under ripe peaches - offer or no offer - is just a waste of time, and can't made up for with extra basil...

Food of the Milos
It appears to be International Day of Pasta for the blonde bomber today, and also he stuns us all by demanding breakfast at Julia's. What is going on? For lunch he celebrates the day by polishing off a large bowl of capelletti pasta, before heading home for a second pasta course, last night's cherry tomato spaghetti. What with the histrionics and demanding fashion sense, he's virtually Italian.

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad - Delicious, August 2005

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

For some unfathomable reason we're swimming in cherry tomatoes at the moment. Not, I hasten to add, because of any amazing green-fingery action on our (ana's) behalf, more because for some reason we both feel compelled to buy the monkeys when we're shopping. Milk? Check. Bread? Check. 1Kg of cherry tomatoes to go next to the other 12 punnets in the fridge? Oh load me up!

There's only one thing for it, blitzing as many as possible in the Ana Barnes & Louise Pepper-approved, D Hay classic pasta with cherry tomato sauce. The perfect accompaniment to CSI:

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

Monday, 24 May 2010

mediterranean halloumi salad

The post-wedding comedown continues. What's the point of continuing if there are no slinky dresses and strappy sandals to slip into I say, but I'm over-ruled. Consequently the portion control police are still out in full force.

So Bikini Blast continues tonight, and given we both want to watch Glee rather than fannying about in the kitchen, the tried and trusted halloumi salad gets yet another airing.

mediterranean salad

This time I don't use quite so many roasted peppers as they are slick with sunflower oil, but double up on tomatoes and spinach, cos they are good for you. Cunningly enough it also means I have enough left over for lunch in the square tomorrow. We're also out of olives, which is a bit of a bugger as I love them. Dinner is served with our new beverage du nuit, gins and tins.

Food of the Milos
I haven't done this for a while, apologias, mainly because I'm so far behind I can't remember what he's eaten. However I *do* know what he had tonight, mini burgers from last night's mince I stuck in the fridge. Ana cooks him the burgers sans buns, with avocado, tomatoes, cheese and grapes, like a mini-GBK. Oh how I crave a kiwi burger

mediterranean halloumi salad - Delicious, June 2010, p24

Sunday, 23 May 2010

ultimate burgers

The problem with scaling the peaks of enjoyment, of dancing like idiots, waving sparklers, drinking too much and generally behaving like teenagers is falling off the mountain the next day. Luckily that doesn't affect me, but my life partner is most sorely afflicted this morning.

Not even another hearty dose of Jody, Euan, Amy and Lucy's full English manages to pull her out of the slough of despair she's fallen into, and the prospect of a five hour drive doesn't seem to help either.

However, the traffic is super-light, it's a beautiful day and the box of gingerbread biscuits triumphantly proclaiming the benefits of cheesewring, perk her up no end.

It only takes four hours to get home and once we return we meet an over-excited baby, his cousin Amelia and a thoroughly knackered Kayosaurus and Mikeplodocus.

The least I can do is cook for them, and as Ana has a craving for burgers after Friday's meal out I take a quick trip to Sainsbury's and get the necessaries. If you count not having any buns and having to make do with pitta bread as necessaries:

the ultimate burgers
They are great burgers, with chopped gherkins, worcestershire sauce, onion, parsley and egg, and are becoming a bit of a standard. I think next time I might pop some cheese in the middle as that seemed to work with another recipe I've tried. But still, a total winner.

Actually, Ronald I bet you've got some good burger recipes? And Kinger, I know you have - do pass on!

Recipe Sources
Ultimate Beef Burger - Delicious, June 2009, p46

Saturday, 22 May 2010

anti-pasti, hawaiian pizzas & ice cream

And so the big day dawns, and it dawns beautifully! It's clearly baking hot with what can only be described - much to Page's amusement - as a fatal wind. Reader, the feckless youth mocked my description, but I was proved correct as Lucyfer's skin later attested. At least I don't think she was that shade of lobster before. Anyhoo, cracking on as I know this is over a week late now...

As predicted, last night's Cranium backfired, but only Tom who's clearly suffering. This turns out to be an opportunity for myself and Lucyfer who help ourselves to his sausages from the marvellous breakfast cooked by Jody, Amy and Euan.

Breakfast over, there's only a few short hours to nibble the complimentary clotted cream and strawberries in the sun before we have to get changed for Jandy's connubial nuptials.

Here we are relaxing post ceremony on the Ha-Ha outside Scorrier House:

relaxing on the lawnFrom left to right: Mr Robin Brown ESQ, Mr G Tom ESQ, Mrs Anouska Louise Barnes, Miss Rachel Ferguson, Emma ?, Miss Sasha Breslau, Mrs Amy Steele Smith, Mr Matt & Mr Joe Smith. Being the senior married couple, we occupied the Mr & Mrs Elton role.

And here is the crack former-Channel 4 Entertainment team:

ents team
Jon, being from Ashby via Hawaii, and Mandy being from Cornwall via Planet Hello Kitty, meant the meal was a brilliant mix of party food which tipped its cap to both; anti-pasti to start, a selection of pastas and pizza for main, and Mandy's family recipe ice cream for dessert.

Throw in a keg of beer, party poppers, fake moustaches, leis, silly balloons and somewhat inexplicably, a Native American headdress, and the whole thing turned into the perfect kids party. Which suited mine and mccarthy's silly dancing down to the ground.

Naturally Ana being the next David Irving, I'm not allowed to show silly dancing pictures because IT NEVER HAPPENED! Much like her shouting at the DJ when he played Bat Out of Hell, the post-dancing cornish pasties, and Rachel wrestling Sasha off my hip so she could be spun and dipped on the dancefloor also didn't happen. Instead here's a picture of us being sensible:

M congrats Jandy, btw. We loved it!

Friday, 21 May 2010

fish & chips and burgers

Strictly speaking this post should be called "cheese sandwiches, jelly dinosaurs, a large latte, fish & chips and burgers", as that's the sum of our journey of food from Loundoun Town to St Agnes, Cornwall, for the much-heralded wedding.

It's a beautiful day, and it's funny going away without monkey in the back demanding The Wiggles, or Peter Rabbit, or some snacks. Instead Kayosaurus makes us a picnic of sarnies and fruit, and we get some coffee and sweets on the way down.

We get down to Trenerry Farm in the amusingly-named hamlet of "Mingoose", just in time to disappear to the local for dinner.

"Local" is of course relative. Despite the fact everybody had already been there *and* a shortcut given to us by our slightly bonkers landlady, it still takes us about 4000 hours of wandering through coastal moors and tin mines until we get to the Driftwood Spars. Here we are en route:

walking to St Agnes

The pub is great, the bits we were in were olde worlde open beams with a modern slightly souless restaurant bolted onto the side. Me and the Page drank locally-brewed ales, everybody else drank cider. Given we have to be fresh-faced in the morning, this is possibly a bad idea, and one made worse by the two-hour Cranium session when we got back. Surely this won't backfire on us?

fish and chips & Sauvignon Blanc - the anas
burger and chips, Doom Bar & Bluehills Bitter - the russells

Thursday, 20 May 2010

jamie's southern sausage stew

As we're off to Cornwall for the wedding of the year tomorrow, we get the babysitters up a day early to give us maximum time to pack three days worth of pants whilst they distract the blonde bomber.

It also gives them plenty of opportunity to iron any shirts they find laying around, and several loads of washing, as well as deliver one flat screen TV (screen slightly Kay-soiled by over-exuberant cleaning). All we've go to do is feed them.

Ana made the executive decision on Jamie's Southern Sausage Stew at the beginning of the week. However I forgot Mikeplodocus is on a diet, and Kay doesn't really eat much.

jamie's southern sausage stew

Consequently I end up with five sausages on my plate (I cycle 22K a day), as Kayosaurus only has two, and H Louise and Mike have three each. The rest ends up being frozen, sans another sausage rescued by the chef.

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

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

chilli bean burritos

Today is a bumper day of recipe suggestions from former co-colleagues.

First awful Lucyfer notices we've got a surfeit of gruyere and comes up with this humdinger from Ready, Steady, Cook's Tony Tobin, gruyere dauphinoise. Compatible with Bikini Blitz? Definitely not, but it looks divine!

Then Dan "Sticky B" Brown supplies the perfect inspirational website which takes the hardwork out of deciding what to cook - What the Fuck Should I Make for Dinner?

What indeed. Luckily the weekly list has thrown up chilli bean burritos. Double gahs though because I don't do enough for lunch tomorrow.

chilli bean burritos

chilli bean burritos - Bill Granger, Every Day, p56

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

mediterranean halloumi salad

Oh look, halloumi salad again. The joy.

I'd like to make it clear I'm not the one obsessed with this dish, but I am becoming a convert. Cutting the halloumi thinner made it less squeaky and more creamy, plus I doubled up on sliced tomatoes which is always a good thing. Oh and we had basil this time, which really lifts the whole meal.

However, the secret ingredient are the grilled peppers which I buy from my bosses favourite secret London Deli, Lina. It is - and they are - amazing. Despite knowing what I wanted, they still insisted I try the varieties of peppers, artichokes, olives and sun dried tomatoes for sale. AND they gave me bonus bag of olives. I love Lina, but don't go there or you'll ruin it.

mediterranean halloumi salad

It's lucky we have double salad because tonight's dinner is interrupted by a small friend who suddenly appears in the doorway and announces "Here I am!"

We let him exhibit all his tricks for 40 minutes, whilst he begs food off our plates. I think it's a sign of how much he knows he's on borrowed time when he eats olives, which under normal circumstances get as far as his mouth before he remembers he doesn't like them...

mediterranean halloumi salad - Delicious, June 2010, p24

Monday, 17 May 2010

prawn, lime & mango salad

I wish the weather would sort itself out, we're back to the sun and warmth which is possibly disastrous for tonight's Bikini Blitz. Still with less than week to go to get into wedding dresses (or back into my wedding suit), the diet goes up a gear. Again.

To ring the changes we revisit an old recipe from the Dyers Lane Black Book days - Prawn, lime & mango salad.

prawn, lime & mango salad
It's another good recipe for post-running-around-Richmond-park as it's quick and the prawns are fairly filling. However, despite having the mango for the past fortnight it's nowhere near ripe enough. In fact we're lucky to get enough from it for tea and if anything it's edging towards going off. Weird or what?

prawn, lime & mango salad - The Black Book. Given it's in the black book, I suspect it's probably from the Sainsbury's magazine, or maybe Zest. Who knows?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

lamb tagliata

After yesterday's relaxathon, we've got a busy Sunday lined up. My dad pitches up for a cup of coffee on his way back to Portsmouth, so consequently the morning is spent tidying and mooching around the flat. It's raining anyway, so nobody really feels like going out.

After dad goes, Peter Magnus Leary turns up for the afternoon. For the sake of anything else we head over to The Treehouse for the rest of the day, drinking foaming brewskis and playing tag-team conversation whilst the milo bombs around the garden in the pouring rain.

Because of all the visitors and excitement there's no midday snoopy snooze today, and because he's been running around like a loon we manage to get him into bed fairly quickly and enjoy a really long evening to ourselves for once. To be fair he's out on his feet by the time we get home, so the key seems to be letting him run around all afternoon, and then take him splashing through puddles to finish him off.

Seeing as we've shared his lunchtime chips (chips, again?) as an amuse bouche, neither of us feel like eating too big meal so we opt for lovely Jilly D's lamb tagliata.

lamb tagliata

I think the key to this one is using loads and loads of rosemary for the lamb salt, and choosing the right cut - you need fairly thick steaks. Leg steaks with the bone still in are pretty good, but the thicker the better to be honest.

Food of the Milos
Toast and marmite in bed whilst watching Charlie and Lola for breakfast today, followed by more boiled eggs and soldiers for lunch, much to my dad's amusement. Like the awful parents we are, he has more chips for dinner today although we assuage our middle-class guilt by telling him the pub had run out of sausages, so he had to have fish cake. He's not arsed either way, and most of it ends up in his stomach in-between hiding in the 'jungle', doing fireman's slides down the roof supports and jumping in puddles on the patio. He's on excellent form this weekend.

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

Saturday, 15 May 2010

ratatouille and chorizo & tomato salad

Early starts on a weekend are awfully vexing but this morning's driving lesson is enlivened by two things: It's a beautiful sunny day and even better, Mo (my instructor) gives me carte blanche to run over some Chelsea fans who are decorating a street behind the Kings Road ahead of the FA Cup Final. His reasoning? They are vile, and he's quite right.

When I get back ana disappear into the back garden to plant our remaining flowers, and me and the monkeys take a bus to the far side of Barnes and scoot back. Once again we go via Barnes Bookshop, this time for Wolf Hall (our next Book Club title), and controversially Sir Laughalot, and the usual fun and games by the pond.

A quick stop at the Corner Cafe for sausage and chips, and it's snoopy snooze time for a third of our crack team and Saint Hugh's ratatouille for other two thirds:

We don't do an awful lot in the afternoon - Waitrose and a trip to the tip - but it's quite relaxing because of it. Once monkey is bed, ana insists on the Fino chorizo and tomato salad for dinner and actually, now I've wrestled it out of the clutches of being teamed with the chicken and rice salad, I love this meal.

chorizo & tomato salad
It's so simple with bags of flavour, and the goats cheese and crusty bread are the perfect accompaniments. I forgot the parma ham though...

Food of the Milos
Boiled eggs for breakfast and some rasins, sausage and chips at the cafe (obviously), and then ratatouille for dinner (obviously again).

ratatouille - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Cookbook, p105
chorizo & tomato salad - Delicious, July 2006, p59

Friday, 14 May 2010

book club & beans on toast

To reward your loyalty, today you're getting a BOGOF post - two days for the price of one.

This is mainly because we went out on Thursday and Friday, well Friday just did not happen for anybody.

So, Thursday night was book club at Kendras. On the menu tonight; roast chicken, salad, an amazing selection of anti-pasti (marinated artichoke, pulses - I can't remember K Kats, was it giant bulgar wheat salad or something?), and uber-chic mini-macaroons. Oh and a side-dish of paedophilia. I think it was best the book club we've had so far, mainly because we've all read the book. Apart from Beth of course.

Friday, well let's just say I can't be cracked tonight. For some reason we couldn't wrestle somebody into bed until 9, by which time The Mentalist interfered with my meal schedule. Ana doesn't wait and gets herself some beans on toast, and I don't even bother.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

jill dupleix's white bean polpettine

After last week's experimental triumph, I've high hopes for tonight's encore.

It's super-quick - you only have to mash up the beans with salami, cheese, parsley and some breadcrumbs, make the patties and fry them for a couple of minutes each side. Perfect for those nights when there's something amazing on telly.

white bean polpettine
However, the anticipation is better than the tasting. Whilst teaming them with rocket (rather than small amounts of wilted spinach), is a definite improvement, making the polpettine double-size definitely doesn't work. They should be crispy and warm, but increasing the size burns the outside whilst the inside remains uncooked and a bit doughy. I've logged that for next time...

white bean polpettine - Jill Dupleix, Delicious,

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

stuffed peppers & salad

Ooooh, somebody isn't happy about blasting her bikini and can barely walk today. If this is the result, she'll look like Frankenstein lurching around in a two-piece. Lucky we're not going anywhere, yet.

Anyway, as I pointed out last week, the only problem with discovering different versions of dishes is you end up cluttering the fridge with odd ingredients from the original format.

So given Sainsbury's seem to have created a never-ending block of gruyere, we're back on the usual stuffed peppers trip:

stuffed peppers & salad
However, despite going overboard on the cheesy topping, we've still got a huge chunk left. Oh well, more for next time.

Food of the Milos
Post the usual Emperor-style breakfast, monkey and mummy go a-visiting and end up at Claire and Isla's for lunch - vegetable pie and broccoli. Back at home we're going through a regular freezer clear-out, so tonight he gets some frozen sausage, pea and potato casserole from a batch I made up last week.

stuffed peppers - Delicious, April 2009, p31

Monday, 10 May 2010

pasta with asparagus and poached egg

Back to work and with the wedding of the year looming we move into diet/cash-saving overdrive.

Ana disappears off to Bikini-Blast run by Lara, Kendra's sister, at Richmond Park, and I use up a random bunch of asparagus and half a packet of prosciutto for dinner for a 'classic' pasta/egg dinner:

pasta with asparagus and poached egg

There's a third reason for cooking this particular dish - speed. Ana gets back at about nine so we need something quick and easy, and given I cook the asparagus and pasta in the same saucepan, everything comes together in less than 15 minutes. Bish, bash and indeed Boches.

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

From out of the blue, we have another recipe request - from the fragrant Miss Angela Hazel White of Kangaroo/SeeSaw fame - for the mediterranean halloumi salad. Voila!

Mediterranean Halloumi Salad
Delicious, June 2010, p24

Serves 2
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
6-8 medium vine tomatoes, sliced
100g roasted red and yellow peppers
15-20 caperberries (I've only got capers)
handful of black olives (I only had green in the cupboard)
Olive oil
Halloumi thickly sliced
handful of basil leaves

1. Place the onion in a small bowl and pour over enough freshly boiled water to cover. Leave for a minute, then drain and rinse in cold water. Lay the sliced tomatoes on a platter and scatter over the blanched onion, roasted peppers, caperberries and olives. Drizzle with olive oil and season well.
2. Thickly slice the halloumi. Heat a frying pan over a high heat, and cook the cheese in batches for a minute on each side until golden. Add to the platter, drizzle over the rest of the olive oil and scatter with basil.

Ana reckons it could be worth combining this recipe with Nigella's halloumi bites. She might be right.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

mediterranean halloumi salad & delia's bangers braised in cider

The thought of Delia's bangers leaves me in a cold sweat - bleurgh! It's a few hours away though, so rest easy.

It being a Sunday we do the usual things: *More* gardening, a haircut for small people, a trip to Barnes Bookshop for three more Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler books (Tiddler, Charlie Cook's Favourite Book and The Smartest Giant in Town), mooching around the pond and painting. Monkey manages almost the whole day without a snoopy-snooze before collapsing on ana whilst watching Peter Rabbit at about 1700 - an hour before bed. Curses!

This presents a dilemma. Stick him in bed and risk him waking up at 3am, hungry. Or wake him up and battle through the tears to get back on schedule. Which is where Delia's bangers come in: We wake him up with the lure of sausages!

delia's bangers braised in cider
The recipe is one of her new Waitrose cards, (taken from her 1973 Frugal Food book it says on the back), and it's pretty darn tasty. I swap the cider for apple juice for the monkey but it's still dreamy. However, I think it's more an autumn/winter warmer than a spring/summer meal...

With magic replete with sausage, bathed, read to and in bed, we have another leaf-based meal - mediterranean halloumi salad.

mediterranean halloumi salad
We definitely like different things about this dish. I find the halloumi too salty, but I adore the ripe tomatoes and olives. I think ana takes the opposite view.

Delia's bangers braised in cider - Waitrose Recipe Collection #3 from Delia's Frugal Food
mediterranean halloumi salad - Delicious, June 2010, p24

Saturday, 8 May 2010

spiced cauliflower curry

Spiced cauliflower curry I admit sounds weird but necessity is the mother of invention when all you've got in the fridge is some cauliflower ana was supposed to cook for milo this week, and some peppers left over from Wednesday's rainbow tortilla.

"But the anas would never eat experimental cauliflower curry. And definitely not on a Saturday night!" I hear you muse. You're right, she wouldn't but she's managed to wangle herself a dinner invite at Kendra and Brian's, and left me with the funky floret option:

spiced cauliflower curry
Sucks to her though, because I'm the winner. Whilst she enjoys Election Night Special Part Two, I get to watch Midsomer Murders and eat a pretty darn good curry. I shall file it alongside the indian-spiced aubergine as brilliant side dishes to try again.

Incidentally I make this the fifth recipe from the June edition of Delicious - could that be a record?

spiced cauliflower curry with red pepper and peas - Delicious, June 2010, p153

Friday, 7 May 2010

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

Friday isn't Friday without kicking back with a few brewskis and a cheeky curry to see off the week.

Or, as all we've got in the fridge are cherry tomatoes and Ana as refusing to try an experimental cauliflower curry, 'classic' pasta with cherry tomato sauce. At least it gives the tag cloud a break from trying to go up another font size for 'Delicious'...

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

Actually, it's so long since we've had this, it tastes really nice. Absence makes the stomach grow fonder I suppose. Even nicer is the fact we eat it at the kitchen table together rather than gawping in front of the TV. More kitchen table, less rubbish lifestyle shows on Channel 4 I say!

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

Thursday, 6 May 2010

kebab bi karaz

As I've pointed out before, one of the side effects of clipping out old recipes - other than creating more space for plastic dinosaurs, Gruffalo DVDs and snakes - is the rediscovery of dishes I'd forgotten about. Or in this case, one I wanted to cook ages ago but haven't got around to, until now.

This one is from a copy of Australian Delicious I had kicking around, and I'm quite excited. Apparently the chef is fairly big news in the land of the Violent Bogan (Tom Kime, Sarah?), and I even have to go to the effort of tracking down Pomegranate Molasses. Brilliantly I find an amazing Lebanese deli around the corner from work called Le Comptoir, and we're go, go, GO!

kebab bi karaz
Sadly, that's as good as it gets as he finished dish is a bit, well boring. Admittedly I didn't make *quite* enough sauce, so the cous cous is pretty much plain, but I was expecting so much more.

Given the molasses cost six quid, we'll be seeing this again but with some slight tweaks: More super sour cherry sauce, leaner lamb mince and I'll double the spices. Oh, and we'll have it with pitta bread and some houmous as well.

kebab bi karaz - Tom Kime, Australian Delicious

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

rainbow tortilla

Tonight we're on a mission. I need to get back home, we need to get the monkey out of his bath and into bed, and then I need to cook a healthy, hearty dinner for two and all before the first murder takes place in Badger's Drift, which usually takes less than two minutes in Midsomer. It's a mission no man can refuse!

Once again the latest issue of D comes to the rescue, with a really quick, really filling, really healthy tortilla. It is slightly burned, only because I had watch the opening segment to make sure who killed whom, but only slightly.

rainbow tortilla
Another keeper, it's got peppers and peas, and we have it with a crispy salad and a soupcon of MURDER!

rainbow tortilla - Delicious, June 2010, p148

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

roasted peppers with herb cous cous

We've got a stock stuffed peppers recipe, which is good if you like gruyere and haven't frozen the rocket to the back of the fridge. However the latest Delicious has an interesting twist, and in a fit of enthusiasm we decide to embrace the unknown. Gosh, aren't we crazy?

Our usual recipe is stuffed with rice, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket (fridge permitting) and gruyere, but this version is stuffed with veg and goats cheese, with mint and parsley cous cous.

roasted peppers with herb cous cous

Given we've still got half a block of gruyere in the fridge from last time, I'm not sure it's going to displace our usual dish but it's good alternative, and it's a good way of getting more veg into us. I think we'll have to have a ratatouille to use up the rest of the courgettes...

roasted peppers with herb cous cous - Delicious, June 2010, p145

Monday, 3 May 2010

yoghurt and harissa chicken & rice salad

The new edition of Delicious strikes again, and this time we've learned from last week's frozen salad debacle by getting rid of the chicken thighs to make room for everything else.

yoghurt and harissa chicken salad
On the face of it, it's a weird combination but it does work. A bit like Duck Face's bridal floral tiara.

The harissa chicken is nice, although I don't think my twin-skinned baking tray allowed the thighs to properly crisp up, and the rice salad is also nice. Although (again), you definitely want to use basmati rather than the Uncle Ben's long grain we had in the cupboard.

Despite these caveats, I think we'll have it again although maybe with two chicken breasts rather than six thighs between the two of us. We are on a diet after all.

yoghurt and harissa chicken salad - Delicious June 2010, p24

Sunday, 2 May 2010

mediterranean halloumi salad

Kay's birthday (and summer) dawns grey and grim. Just think, this time last year it was baking and we had the barbie out, and even April was better than this.

Still we had five excellent reasons to ignore the perma-mist today:
1. Milo went directly from his room to the front room to 'entertain' grandma and grandad;
2. June's Delicious is stuffed with inspirational recipes, so we have a whole week of experimental, 'healthy' dinners to look forward to;
3. Ana exclusively reveals she's lost 4Lbs this week (as opposed to the £80 I lost at Ocado ho ho!);
4. We've got a table booked at the Brown Dog for Kay's birthday lunch later, and finally
5. Ocado have delivered a fridge full of cheese:

There's six (count them), six different cheeses in there - Leerdamer, Emmental, Cheddar, goat's cheese, cottage cheese and some Port Salut. Bring it on!

Before we can get stuck into the fromage, we have a birthday lunch to deal with, and very good it is too. Ana has courgette risotto, Mike and Kay have roast lamb with yorkshire puddings, I have Dorset Crab and milo splits his time between playing with a beagle puppy called 'Mirabelle' behind us, and fish and chips. It's all very well done, but massively over-priced. Lucky the diets preclude pudding...

Dinner is an infinitely low-key affair with the first of this week's experimental dishes, but it ticks a lot of boxes in anaworld: Halloumi and salad.

mediterranean halloumi salad

It definitely needs crusty bread, or pitta bread as ana thinks, but the combination of basil, olives, capers and roasted peppers scream summer, and it's surprisingly hearty. Deffo a keeper.

Food of the Milos
Not an awful lot for breakfast - toast, grapes and cheese - but for lunch he eats all of his fish (non-battered), and chips at the pub, with gallons of water and juice. More sausages for dinner, this time with broccoli and a left-over white bean polpettine to at least give the illusion of a healthy, balanced diet.

mediterranean halloumi salad - Delicious, June 2010, p24

Saturday, 1 May 2010

white bean polpettine & hot cinnamon doughnuts

As it's the weekend AND it's Kay's birthday, we have an exciting brunchy breakfast care-of last week's Waitrose Weekend Paper, hot cinnamon doughnuts with blueberry sauce.

hot cinnamon doughnuts
They're not actually doughnuts, but cinnamon bagels cut in half and soaked in beaten egg - a bit like french toast really. The blueberry sauce is pretty good, and so successful is it (unless you're milo, in which case you just eat cheese and boiled egg) that maybe I'll buy the missing Cinnamon Sugar for next time. Although ana tells me for dietary reasons, there won't be a next time...

Luckily for Mikelodocus after last night's midnight-feasting, and the waistlines of the Barnes-McCarthy households, dinner isn't nearly so late. And only half as big. In fact, after it I'm starving.

white bean polpettine
Again, it's another amazing find in the pile of recipes malingering in the bedroom and classic Jill Dupliex - really really easy, and really tasty. Definitely having it again, deffo.

Food of the Milos
Okay, so NO to cinnamon doughnuts but he has a pretty good day of food otherwise. Boiled egg and soldiers instead of the doughnuts, a picnic at the playground consisting of Humzingers, Marmite Rice Cakes and apples, followed by a biscuit and a babyccino at Cafe Nero before going for his lunchtime snoopy snooze whilst mummy and grandma were at Homebase. As he's been such a good (ish) boy today, he gets sausage and homemade chips for dinner.

hot cinnamon doughnuts - Waitrose Weekend Magazine, 24th April 2010
white bean polpettine - Jill Dupleix, Delicious, p35, 2005 (or 2006)