Wednesday, 30 June 2010

lime chicken curry

Short post today, mainly because I didn't cook. The lure of Midsomer (sadly a repeat but Liza Goddard does turn up as one of Barnaby's old flames), meant all I did was chop and marinade the chicken, the ana's did the rest:

lime chicken curry
It's one of the better ones of recent memory, I think because a) I didn't cook it, and b) because she uses a good strong chilli, which you need to stand up to the creamy coconut milk. She's the best!

The plan almost works, only I don't take into account the arrival or rather non-sleeping of a key member of our family. Luckily I've seen Picture of Innocence about 10 hundred times.

Food of the Milos
It's a Julia day today despite his desire to stay and play with Tilly before she goes home, so things look bleak when we leave. In fact I'm fully expecting tears all the way but lawks and crivins, he's on top form all the way! He has toast with pate and Philadelphia for breakfast, rice and bolognese with a yoghurt for lunch, and then ana gives him a mini scoff chilli for dinner. I wish that was my daily food intake.

lime chicken curry - Delia, How to Cook Book Two, p107

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart

It's the final day of Operation Dr Manwaring (until we steal him back from the cultural vacuum that is Adelaide). In a vague attempt to knacker out the children, ana enlists the shock troops from the IoW, and the six of them meet Kiki and Finn at the Science Museum for the day.

I'm back from work in time to cook a farewell meal for our former-friend - it's the red onion tart, again:

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart
We have a delightful evening plotting a return to Albion's shores, accompanied by loads of booze, and Mani provides the pudding care of Victoria's finest chocolatiers - Haigh's Chocolates. We hope to see him again soon...

Food of the Milos
There's toast for breakfast, Jelly Tots on the bus to the museum, and then a super-picnic at the museum: Ham sandwiches, and apple, jelly and the usual array of snacks. For dinner, Herr Doktor constructs a mushroom and tomato pasta sauce. He's zonked by the time I get home.

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart - Delicious, 2005 or 2006

Monday, 28 June 2010

sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery

Operation Manwaring Day Two swings into action, early doors today because whilst I'm out, the children - and I include Rob and Ana in that - are playing. Today they're mainly playing at the aquarium.

Rob's out tonight with State Registered Dramatherapist Rammers, who is lurking on the sofa when I get back. I haven't seen her for ages, and she's on good form, however she's not here to entertain me, so whilst her and Dr RP Manwaring practice lighting paper lanterns on her allotment, we have double portions of sesame chicken.

sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery
The great thing about it is even if you've only got a smallish amount of chicken, you can compensate with more carrot and cucumbers. It's also a useful way of using up the stray toasted sesame seeds left-over from Ana's Munchy Seeds tub.

Food of the Milos
It's a picnic day for the blond(e) twins. Whilst Tillburger feasts on Weetabix, Milo vaguely chews on some toast. Things pick up on the trip where he makes a start on ana's crayfish and rocket sandwich, tilly's chocolate and marshmallow ice cream, and then jacket potato, cheese and beans for dinner. Hurrah!

sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery - Jill Dupleix c/o The Mighty Owl book. Maybe I'll take a picture next time?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Dr Robert Peter Manwaring

So the big day finally arrives, and with my final visits to Waitrose out of the way, the house is ship-shape and ready to receive Bognor's foremost Political Doctor and Tillburger.

Even the weather puts on a bit of show, hitting 30C. Which is more than can be said for England's Brave and Loyal John Terry, who is culpable for at least 15 of Germany's 4 goals. But I digress...

First through the door are the McPartlins, followed by the Manwarings, and then a heavily-pregnant Heat-er. Being heavily pregnant quickly becomes a theme of the day.

A quick cup of tea and gossip later and we head out to Vine Road playground. We are joined by Kiki, Bernie and a pregnant Rosie and their daughter Iris, and Orbster and a heavily-pregnant Jane for an afternoon splashing in the paddling pool, and listening to England be humbled by a rampant Germany. At least we won the cricket, eh Ron?

Thoroughly burnt, wet and knackered we all head back to the Mortlake Mansions for take-away pizzas. Inexplicably Kendra ends up with a chicken pizza rather than chicken salad, and even more inexplicably there's loads left, despite me and Greggy spending a long time near it. She did well to avoid to be honest.

Once everybody has gone, and we've tidied up and got Milo and Tilly in bed, we're too tired and full to cook, so we spend the evening in the garden drinking and gossiping.

In total, this is what we had today:
  • cereal & boiled eggs for breakfast;
  • Ham and mustard sandwiches ala Ana for lunch, and a large bag of Bhuja mix - this year's snack du jour;
  • A picnic consisting of Pork Pies, crisps, Stella, fizzy wine, Baby Bel, carrots, houmous and marmite rice cakes care of Greggy, Heat-er and Ana;
  • Mini Milks for Milo, Tilly, Cerys and Harry;
  • 2 x 14" Pepperoni Pizza, 1 x 12" Fungi, 1 x 12" American Arrabiata, 1 x 12" Chicken, 1 x 12" Margherita. I can't remember what Rob, Jane and Spandy had, but it basically all added up to £75 well spent.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

persian-style lamb and rhubarb stew

Finally, a weekend when it's scorchio! Driving lesson out of the window, today is all about preparing the ground for the imminent arrival of Dr Robert Peter Manwaring Esq and his sidekick, Tilly Tickle.

In practice what this means is a day spent sorting the garden out and going to the tip, but in between we do some fun stuff. We plant some salad leaves, although milo doesn't quite get the timescales involved and is very disappointed to discover they hadn't grown by the time he had his lunch. What else? We watched The Hole in the Wall Game, read lots of stories, researched buying ladybirds to tackle our aphid infestation, and then monkey spent the afternoon sat in a bucket eating bombay mix in the sun. Marvellous.

Many glasses of wine later, we start dinner whilst he has his bath, safe in the knowledge there's an amazing, amazing stew only 2.5 hours away. This time I do it with extra gravy, which the cous cous soaks up, and there's even a little bit left over for monkey's tea.

persian-style lamb and rhubarb stew
Honestly, to pick up one of your questions Brenda, this is rapidly turning into one of my favourite saturday summery stews to cook. It's everything I love about cooking - it's a casserole, it has a long cooking time and is super tasty. I'm salivating just thinking about it now...

Food of the Milos
As we're all around he has a fairly full day of food and snacking. Whilst I'm driving, ana gets him a boiled egg on top of the daily Caligulan intake of breakfast picnic snacks. We all have toasted cheese and ham sandwiches for lunch, and then for tea we make him fish fingers and homemade chips. I wasn't expecting much given he'd eaten so much bombay mix that afternoon, but you know, he ate it all with only the modicum of force feeding. Now if only he could do it on his own...

I've lost it again, sorry. I *will* find it, I promise!

Friday, 25 June 2010

sorta insalata

Fickleness, thy name is ANA! After yesterday's disastrous non-replenishment of ingredients, ana's crimes get even blacker as not only does she not replace the halloumi, when she's not waiting in for her new iPhone to be delivered, she buggers off to the paddling pool for the day.

All this means after eight hours spent at the editorial grindstone, carving words from the living internet itself, I have to make the first of this weekend's four (4) trips to Waitrose. It's not entirely successful as they still don't have any halloumi, so instead we have a combination of Mediterranean salad and insalata tricolore.

sorta insalata

It's not too bad - you can't go wrong really with two fairly excellent dishes as a base can you? However some of us - let's call this demographic "the ones who eat all the halloumi but rather than replace it go to the paddling pool and hang about the house waiting for their new iPhones" - decide the combination of mozzarella, peppers, avocado, tomatoes and basil is texturally too similar and it really needs halloumi. Gah!

Food of the Milos
Okay, the blond one's day is pretty mapped out, but how did he fuel this iPhone-paddling pool-packed day? How indeed... The full Caligula for breakfast (apple, cheerios, baby bel, apricots), followed by fish fingers, beans for lunch and then we finally managed to get hold of some MiniScoff meals! Brenda and Daviss have them, and they've been total winners but it's taken us ages to track them down. Tonight he has Ali Baba's Shepherd's pie, and it all goes. Blimey.

No sources today as I made the salad up but there has been a request - oh yes! This time Miss Angela "A-Dog" Hazel White from work wanted the recipe for the gazpacho.

Well, it's by the Fino boys, from their book Modern Spanish Cooking:

serves 4

1 kg ripe tomatoes, quartered
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic gloves
1/2 cucumber
75ml olive oil
15ml sherry vinegar

1. Put the tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and cucumber in a blender and puree. Pass it through a fine sieve 2-3 times to remove the seeds.
2. Return to the blender and with it running slowly, add the olive oil. Add the sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Now, I made this first thing in the morning so I didn't bother sieving it, and as it went straight into my thermos I didn't make the garnish, but there are some if you're interested:

For the garnish:
2 spring onions trimmed
1/2 red pepper halved and deseeded
1/2 green pepper, halved and deseeded
1/4 cucumber
1 hard-boiled egg
1-2 slices of bread, crusts removed

1. Dice all the veg and the egg, and chill until needed
2. Make croutons from the bread by cutting into 1cm cubes, and frying in a thin film of olive oil until golden over a medium heat. Drain on kitchen paper.
3. Serve on the side OR lob them all in the thermos, cycle to work and cross your fingers.


Thursday, 24 June 2010

chorizo & tomato salad

Ohhh, it's a scorcher today! Ana's still slightly under the weather so I have to leave her diminishing in bed this morning, with only two points to note ringing in her ears:
  1. If you want the halloumi salad, don't eat the halloumi;
  2. If you want the chorizo and tomato salad, get some bread.
In the event she opts for a youthful mash up of both diktats. She eats the halloumi and fails to buy any bread, brilliantly scuppering both dinners and meaning I have to go back out for bread as Sainsbury's don't stock halloumi.

To add insult to injury I end up having a romantic candelit (and solar-powered lantern-lit) dinner on my own in the garden, as Big Brother called.

I suppose she has been in the reading gulag this week, so I can't complain too much. Particularly as she managed to leave her sickbed to tidy the house.

Another update for you - entertaining Kate, Rob(in) and Jenni with a highly successful tart, and a less successful plum salad.

Food of the Milos
The usual bobbins is enlivened today by the arrival of Claire, Isla and Phoebe with a picnic tea. Him and Isla had a little table in the garden and semi-ate cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, picnic eggs (yes!), spicy stars, houmous & carrot sticks followed by grapes, strawberries and mini milks. Yowsa! Point to note, milo has now taken to referring to any girls he's friends with as "my little girlfriend". He had Poppy last week, and now he's moved back to Isla - which is perfect as she's got a riverside apartment he'd naturally get as part of any dowry.

chorizo & tomato salad - Delicious, July 2006, p59

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

keralan fish curry

It may be the heat, but the ana's are slightly-to-very under the weather today.

Normally her illness would trigger some sort of comforting dish to snuggle her back to health, but tonight she's scuppered by the fact I'd defrosted the other half of the fish shoal Ocado delivered last week.

I need not have been worried, I'd forgotten all of Nigella's dishes have ludicrous anthropomorphism attached to them, in this case "templefood". It's all a bit Posh Nosh, she really needs a slap, hopefully from Don Fabio.

keralan fish curry
More updates today as I slowly rescue images from corrupt-camera-doom:
How exciting!

Food of the Milos
Off to Julia's fuelled only by a bottle of milk and a Humzinger, the milos spurn breakfast before turning up the degustation heat with a lunch of erm, nibbles: Bacon, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, cheese and strawberries. This al fresco style day time eating is supplemented by cheesey spaghetti for tea.

keralan fish curry - Nigella Lawson, Delicious, February 2009, p83

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

thai-style beef and spinach & gazpacho

It's book club tonight, so after testing the water with Kendra on Saturday with STEAK, we opt for more meat to satisfy the masses. Well, the ridiculously dieted masses anyway. However before the beef, there's an elaborate Fino-style gazpacho to offend the office with.

Naturally the first thing you want to do when you get up (after you've warmed milk and definitely post shower) is to think about lunch. So whilst I'm munching cheerios and cinnamon and raisin bagels, I knock up a litre of gazpacho. I don't have time to sieve it, but it's still pretty good if a little garlicky. Okay, very very garlicky. Alright, it's so garlicky four hours after I've eaten it ana complains when I get home that I stink of garlic. Still, it is divine!


Several minty chews down we prepare to discuss Wolf Hall over a protein-and-salad-diet-friendly Thai-style beef and spinach salad, courtesy of the D Mag circa July 2007.

thai style beef

Sat in the garden once everybody has gone, drinking one more glass of wine and smelling the jasmine, it does feel alarmingly like a Saturday night. *Sigh*

Food of the Milos
Not being a school day, ana is presented with the usual entertainment dilemma. Merciful planning ahead means she spends the day in Surbiton at Melissa's, so Milo can run amok on her daughter's massive climbing frame and playroom. The usual breakfast is semi-consumed (cheerios, apple, apricots), before a hearty lunch of sausage, tomatoes, jacket potato, cheese and cucumber (which he didn't eat), followed by a 99 with a flake. With his main meal under his belt, he only fancies houmous, carrot sticks, cheese, avocado and raisins for dinner. Ana does manage to wangle a fruit salad down him of raspberries, blueberries and a peach on the basis The Wiggles eat fruit salad.

gazpacho - Fino
thai-style beef and spinach - Delicious, July 2007, p130

Monday, 21 June 2010

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad

At the third time of trying this year we manage to find some peaches which are actually ripe. Hardly earth-shattering but with two large bags of basil cluttering the fridge, and a tray of Parma ham thanks to Unearthed's 2-for-1 meat offer, it means we can finally sit down to one of our favourite salads - mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham.

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad
Given the mere seconds it takes to knock together, it means I have plenty of time to hear about ana's new Bikini Blitz partner, who's a BEEFCAKE. So whilst I'm washing up, and cooking mozzarella till my fingers blister, she's high-fiving and chest bumping her new beefcakey friend. I blame Kendra, she's like her high class madam.

I realise now, I'm so far behind with this you've probably missed out on the saga of the unripe peaches, I shall remedy tout suite but in the interim I've managed to get some more back-dating done. I've also managed to suffer a catastrophic memory card failure, and despite using every recovery programme available, I've not saved much. Still here are the updates:
Slowly I'm getting there!

Food of the Milos
He's a hungry hippo today. A hale and hearty breakfast of half a marmite rice cake, dried apricots, cheerios and a baby bel, followed by a picnic of a ham sandwich, cheese, avocado, blueberries and the inevitable ice cream for lunch. For dinner he had last night's classic pasta and cherry tomato sauce for dinner, bish, bash and indeed bosh.

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

Sunday, 20 June 2010

pasta with cherry tomato sauce

What's the point of a wife if not to pick holes in carefully crafted text? My editor has pointed out Midsummer is tomorrow rather than next week, and "I should've looked at the calendar". Hmmm, it's still freezing today so maybe my point is doubly right?

It's a funny old day today, but for all the right reasons. After a morning's loafing we head over to South Ealing for a barbie thrown by one of ana's friends from school. Again it's cold, and when we arrive Milo's burgeoning dog-phobia kicks in when Sophie and Ian's ace lab Fella wants to say 'hello', or bonjour if he takes after Sophie.

However, the arrival of a glorious afternoon of sun, excellent company, food and a new girlfriend for milo to play with means the whole afternoon goes off tremendously. So much so we get him into bed by about half seven, and he's asleep two minutes later.

Stuffed with kebabs, burgers and crunchy eggs we only need a light meal. Naturally it's D Hay's by-now-classic pasta with cherry tomato sauce sat in the garden, smelling jasmine which I bought in Tewkesbury Sommerfield three years ago and has only now decided to flower.

pasta with cherry tomato sauce
Conversazione is limited as Ana power reads Wolf Hall for Tuesday's book club showdown. You'll be saddened to know she's gone passed the back passage entrance Davis...

Food of the Milos
Again he's on top form today, although he takes a bit of time to get used to Fella. Foodwise it's another day dominated by crisps and sausages, although he does have some cereal for breakfast, accompanied by about four Baby Bels. Sausage and crisps, it's hardly an amazingly balanced diet is it?

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

Saturday, 19 June 2010

steak with white beans and watercress

Saturday, saturday, saturday, saturday day's alright for driving lessons followed by extensive playing and entertaining, as Elton no doubt would concur.

Who'd have thought midsummer (rather than Midsomer) is only a week away? Driving first thing it's really hot, but by the time I head out on the magic brompton at lunchtime, to pick up vital supplies for Kiki's visit this evening, it's turned brassic. Bloody weather.

Further cursing is evident in the evening as Kendra is unavoidably detained by her cocking neighbours having a barbie, which makes her later (than usual) due to essential baby-calming duties. Bloody people who live in Gloucester road.

Still, she made it and is on top form:

Her delay does have it's benefits as it meant I managed to watch most of the Scotland vs Argentina match, which reminds me. As most of you know, my phone is at best ballast for my bag but I finally decided to turn it on and clear out the messages only to hear some random Australian fellow going on about the Wallaby England game and what a great result it was! Fair play to Super Ron, I never thought I'd hear him giving me a ring to big up the mighty England victory this weekend. I knew he was a royalist at heart, and a lover of a scrum that stays up for more than three and a half minutes...

Anyway, back to the point of this blog. Due to Kendra's strict no food diet, it takes some time to come up with something to feed her. In the end ana strikes it lucky with an experimental steak dish from June's Delicious:

We've had similar dishes before, but I have to say this salad - a combination of cannelini beans, butter beans, wholegrain mustard, tomatoes, white wine vinegar, crushed garlic, seasoning and watercress - really nails it. Deffo having it again.

Food of the Milos
For somebody who spent the majority of the day inside, milo has been on top form today. He spent the morning painting on about 4ft of paper, before having an early bath to remove it all from his body, followed by some stories and a lunchtime nap. Pre-snoopy snooze he had his usual food-adverse morning, ignoring his cheerios and apricots, and only really eating a boiled egg and three litres of milk. Post lunch it's a different matter, after a quick scoot around the block he creates his own Total Wipeout course in the lounge and fuelled by carrot sticks and houmous, several bowls of crisps spends an hour jumping over our legs doing somersaults. The highpoint is yet to come, a sausage hedgehog surrounded by a moat of peas as I had some issues getting them out of the packet:

sausage hedgehog

He ate about 90%, so it's probably just as well he didn't have any breakfast.

steak with white beans and watercress - Delicious, June 2010, p23

Friday, 18 June 2010

moroccan chicken stew

It's clearly not coming home then? On the upside, I experienced a huge amount of schadenfreude watching vastly over-paid people who really only kick a ball around - and not that well on tonight's evidence - have their self-important world collapse around their pompous ears. I bet it won't be their fault though...

At ana's request we finish the week with a zesty, gingery moroccan stew, cooked with a large handful of mint and parsley, grown in our very own herb basket.

moroccan chicken stew
Actually, the herbs are brilliant. After last year's bumper crop they've suddenly sprung into life again and the whole thing has gone mad and needed urgent trimming. I suspect we'll be having a range of parsley/mint based dinners sooner rather than later. If only I could think of anything to use the curry plant for. Anyone?

Food of the Milos
More pretend breakfast today (cheerios, cheese, berries), before going into overdrive. Pre-paddling pool day out with Kiki and Finn, he gets through a boiled egg and soldier followed by a babyccino and a biscuit, and then a hearty bowl of spag bol for dinner. Plus the usual assortment of snacks.

moroccan chicken stew - Delicious, February 2008, p28

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

stuffed courgettes

Due to the imminent TX of a World Cup-busting Midsomer Murder (a repeat sadly, but on the upside it did feature not just Llamas but also Cully - yay!) tonight we need something super-quick.

On the way home I toyed with the idea of knocking up Mediterranean Halloumi Salad, but given my new regime is to use the freshest stuff first, it's double portions of an experimental stuffed courgette starter thing. In Italy we call it zucchine ripiene.

It's a good excuse to use up the courgettes we didn't use for last week's Peter Gordon salad, and as it happens, I've cooked it a couple of times in the dim and distant past. Certainly since moving here, but definitely pre-blog.

stuffed courgettes

It's okay, we like it rather than love it, but what else are you going to do with a salad crisper full of unhappy courgettes?

Food of the Milos
He's at the renegade childcare today, so it's the usual cornucopia of bread & pate, dippy egg, toast, cheese and bacon before coming home and a portion of defrosted, pre-Cornwall Jamie's Southern Sausage Stew. Oh, and litres of milk.

stuffed courgettes - Anna del Conte, Delicious, May 2008, p70.

Incidentally Les Bren, I've realised the May 2008 edition of the d-mag is still the current recipe record holder with eight dishes...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

minced turkey with thai basil

Busy busy tonight. We're off to the Taylors country estate in Worcestershire for the weekend, which means tonight's culinary feast will have to be swifter than hell so we can pack and make a swift exit in the morning.

However things are even harder than predicted, mainly because I manage to lock Magda out, so there's no cleaning done this week - much to ana's chagrin - and I've got a small spot of bike maintenance to complete so Daviss can have his iron horse back in one piece.

Luckily we've got a super-quick thai minced turkey and lettuce leaf 'bowls'. Tonight they are presented ala buttercup:

minced turkey with thai basil

Small eh? Sadly we've suffered a fatal-ish corruption of the memory card and no matter what recovery software I've used, it's still a bit wonky. Sorry

Takes about 10 minutes to make, which gives me plenty of time to finally make the custard for the rhubarb fool. It could've done with being a bit thicker, but for a first time (if you discount the time I tried making it with custard powder when I was about nine) it's ver-ry tasty. It's debatable whether ana will let me make a pudding consisting of double cream and full fat milk any time soon though...

rhubarb fool

Food of the Milos
Despite my original plan for ana to make a mini-portion of giovanni's sausages for tea, she decides to go off menu and he has sausage meatballs and pasta sauce. Given the B Granger takes 40 minutes, it's probably a good call.

minced turkey with thai basil - Delicious, October 2009, p126

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

chicken breast with sage and thyme & rhubarb fool part one

Although midsummer is still a week away, (sadly not Midsomer), tonight feels like the longest night. This is partly due to the 4am arrival this morning of ana's son demanding milk and cuddles, plus a "little play with his guitar" We get him back into bed but the die is cast.

This evening he heartily refuses to go to sleep, claiming he's got a present for mummy, there's a tortoise in his bed and, incredibly, requiring more milk. By the time we get him settled and the washing up done it's gone half eight. The minx!

We also have fridge dilemmas. I'd failed to take into account the fact we're off for the weekend and have over-ordered. Normally this would be fine because I can chuck whatever into the freezer, but it being summer it's nearly all salad and salad don't freeze.

Tonight we're *definitely* having a zesty chicken dish I'd cooked years ago and have since forgotten. It only turned up in the Great Delicious Cull, and I reckon it's from a May Italian edition, coming as it does from Gennaro Contaldo.

It's a bit fiddly, but the results are clearly well worth it given the fact ana steals a chunk of my chicken because it's better for her than potatoes. However I noticed she didn't take any extra french beans...

chicken breast with sage and thyme

Remembering the slightly harsh, over lemony sauce from last time, and the fact I almost burned the onions and sage, this time I temper the juice down with some water, which has the added bonus of keeping it all fairly moist. Mmmmm, moist.

To follow I planned to make dessert using the left-over rhubarb. A cheeky fool care of La Ramsay. Again, it's slightly fiddly but the combination of orange juice, sugar and vanilla really complement the 'barb. However the lack of milk as I was about to make the custard puts the whole thing back a day. At least the rhubarb gets to chill adequately in the fridge.

Food of the Milos
It's a Julia day today so despite claiming he was hungry on the way, he doesn't have any breakfast apart from some toast and philli. Maybe I shouldn't have bribed him out of the house with raisins and a humzinger? For lunch he struggled through a cottage pie, had some grapes as a snack but refused the Feta. When he got home ana knocked together a sausage pasta dish, but he only ate the sausages before being force-fed the pasta. As ever carrot sticks and houmous come to the rescue, followed by some strawberries.

chicken breast with sage and thyme - Gennaro Contaldo, Delicious, May 2006 (or 2005)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

roast cod on spiced puy lentils

After yesterday's light-yet-filling crunchy salad, tonight we have something more filling to drive out the wet. It's not cold by any stretch of the imagination, if anything it's really humid, but the torrential rain makes it seem colder.

Although I fail to make the skin as crispy as I'd like the fish is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G tonight, and the lentils seem extra warming even though I used green chillies rather than the required reds. In fact it's probably too spicy for the left-overs to be saved for the milos tomorrow.

roast cod on lentils

There's a further twist to this fishy tale: Ocado have started running their own wet fish counter, so this week rather than buying pre-pack I get twice the fish for half the price. However I didn't realise how much extra we were getting so I end up having to jam a shoal of codses into the freezer. Fish next week anyone?

Food of the Milos
Can you guess what he had for breakfast? Hmmmm, skipping over that, there was a mid-morning snack of wafer thin ham, grapes, apple and a baby bel, followed by a fish cake, oven chips and sweetcorn and peas at Claire and Isla's. If that wasn't enough he also stuffed two Innocent smoothie tubes, a Milka ice lolly and then some carrot sticks and houmous. Where does he put it?

roast cod on spiced puy lentils - Delicious, Eat your way to Better Health supplement.

Monday, 7 June 2010

sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery

Another Monday another Bikini Blitz, therefore another quick-ish dinner is required post-sweating and pre-Glee. Like Goody the Good, I'm happy to help!

Now this has been kicking around for ages, in fact it's part of the 2005/2006 Delicious cull which has made it into the Chicken scrapbook (which is pink and has Owls on it!)

This is a lovely Jilly D number and I distinctly remember making it when we were living in Lacy Road and talking to Clokey on the phone whilst I was chopping cucumber. Ahhh, happy heady pre-milosaurus days!

sesame chicken salad
It's not strictly experimental as I've definitely cooked it since, but it's a first for the blog and the chopping is kinda new as the carrots and cucumber get the benefit of my knife skills course to miraculously transform into matchsticks.

Throw in the sesame-satay sauce and it's the perfect crunchy salad which is surprisingly filling - yay for me! We miss Glee btw, in favour of talking over dinner almost as if we like each other still. It's a nice thought.

Food of the Milos
Nanny and Dylan come to visit today, which is handy because the anas need to finish their reports. Breakfast is the by-now classic cheerios and apricots, followed by a boiled egg. On his day out with Nanny he has chips by the pond plus the usual array of snacks, and then a Bill Granger pasta, peas and parmesan for dinner. Carb-tastic! He's sparko within five minutes of his head hitting the pillow.

sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery - Jill Dupleix, Delicious-although-now-the-owl-book. Incidentally, it's got owls on cos their birds, like chickens and ducks, see?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

persian-style lamb and rhubarb stew

There's a long and convoluted story behind this recipe.

A month or so ago Mr Paul Murphy esq (formerly of Flextech, Channel 4 and Kangaroo, and kind enough to drag me around behind him) gave me a big bunch of rhubarb - steady matron! However, I couldn't think of anything to do with it so I gave it to a mutual friend in the office. Predictably enough I immediately found this recipe in the pile of pages culled from 2005 & 2006's Delicious when I got home.

Fast-forward two weeks and this time the rhubarb comes from the same source, but via two other hands in the office to me, but can I find the recipe? Can I buggery. I do find it on their website though, so we're good to go!

Naturally it being the weekend there's an even longer tale preceding dinner, this week involving ana not doing her homework (hmmm, shades of Prifysgol Abertawe and the Institute of Education), meaning the men of the house spend the day at the Natural History Museum seeing the dinosaurs and the Butterfly Explorers tent, which was well aces. Here is the new David Attenborough developing compound insect eyes:

milo butterfly

And here's a butterfly view of him:

butterfly view of milo

Anyway, back to the lamb. It took two hours to cook so it literally fell apart on the spoon, the gravy was super-flavoured and the rhubarb was the perfect accompaniment, it's tartness cutting through the richness of the lamb. We eat it in the garden.

persian-style lamb and rhubarb stew
Deffo deffo deffo having it again if only because we've half a bag of rhubarb left.

Food of the Milos
As we're going out, it's mainly a picnic day for the boy. Mummy makes him an almost-perfect boiled egg for breakfast, before we head out with a bag full of dried fruit-based snacks. On the way home we manage to squeeze in a babyccino and a biscuit in Barnes, before a hearty dinner of left-over squash risotto from yesterday, supplemented by the latest fad, carrot sticks and houmous.

UPDATES BTW, I'm still catching up from the wedding so there are random episodes from our lives appearing below. Monday 24th pour example, or the following Tuesday. Fill your boots!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

pumpkin and feta risotto & virginie's birthday

Our usual Saturday routine is enlivened by an afternoon's trip to Kingston for Virginie's birthday BBQ. We couldn't go last year because Milo was suffering from a pseudo-dose of the pox, and ridiculously Matt has never had it. What an arse!

This year we're fully up for it, if only because the Kings do amazing food. Beforehand though we have lunch whilst Milo is power-napping, a cheeky risotto to use up the squash in the veg bowl and give us the necessary energy to run around a garden all afternoon:

It's pretty good even if I forgot the feta.

As predicted I was right on both counts RE the BBQ. Matt King does an amazing array of dead animal whilst Virginie creates lashings of amazing French salads - including a curious cucumber and cream number which I'm not sure about, but Ana loves. Obviously Milo eats none of it *apart* from handfuls of crisps, houmous and small Apericubes. He attempts a little burger but he's more interested in running full-pelt into a large beanbag in the lounge.

After a virtually vegetarian couple of weeks my arteries almost go into meltdown with the amount of delicious meat they have to process. The combination of meat and bean bags ensure we all sleep like dogs tonight.

pumpkin & feta risotto - Donna Hay, Instant Cook, p66

Friday, 4 June 2010

lamb tagliata

Once *again* a simple plan goes absolutely-fucking-tits-up, thanks to our ability to freeze salad to the back of the fridge. After a quick trip to the shops to get a bag of rocket the green mush in malingering in the bag, we're on.

It's a good one - again the use of lamb steaks makes all the difference - as does beefing up the rosemary salt with my mum's dried version. Perfect

lamb tagliata

Can I say beefing when talking about lamb? I'm not sure. Anyway, continuing the random theme of what I have for lunch, today it's the left over salad from last night sans the hard peaches of course:

mozzarella, peach, ham salad

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

Thursday, 3 June 2010

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad

Despite HardPeachGate last time, once again I'm inspired by the continuing offer of two lots of cured meat for £3 at the supermarket, combined with a sudden burst of clement weather, to give the mozzarella salad another spin.

However, once bitten and I opt for perfectly ripe nectarines as the peaches seemed a bit cannonbally. Oh, and for parma ham read prosciutto crudo, cos it's cheaper...

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad
Honestly, it tastes better than it looks. There is definitely some nectarine and mozzarella somewhere under the spinach. However once again the Peach family Gods aim a firm kick towards mine (and ana's metaphorical) cobblers, as the nectarines are on the wrong side of firm.

I remember having this on the lawn at Hampton Court after a boat trip from Richmond on our anniversary the year we got married. Ahh, happy days!

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

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

poached salmon and risoni salad

After last night's deluge today is an absolute scorcher, and perfect for picnics in the park (or Golden Square if you're working), and light salmon salads and fizzy wine in the garden this evening.

Milo is off to Julia's this morning as Ana has reports to do, so after dropping him off I make my lunch for today, and I'm so impressed by its Donna Hay-style presentation I had to take a photo:


They're only cheese and tomato, with the thinnest of hints of chilli english mustard (care of Newport Farmer's Market), but I don't know - the kitchen roll makes them look a cut above. Certainly a cut above all the fools eating over-priced Eat sarnies at lunchtime.

Anyway, with the sun still blazing, monkey in bed and the garden in fine fettle we finally have our first evening meal sat outside. Throw in some fizzy wine supplied by Claire and *everybody* is happy!

poached salmon and risoni salad

Food of the Milos
Half a day at Julia's means it's pasta of some sort for lunch, and snacks when Claire, Isla and Phoebe come for a visit. As ever no breakfast, but he's still got enough energy to do some crazy dancing to The Wiggles.

poached salmon & risoni salad - Bill Granger, Holiday, p14

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

chorizo and butter bean casserole

The keen-eyed amongst you *may* have spotted a theme to the last few night's dinners, mainly in the tomato/cured meat department.

This week I went a bit mental and bought 1.5Kg of cherry tomatoes (1.5kg) and and three chorizo(s), all of which were on offer. After a weekend of tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart, and chorizo and tomato salad, tonight Ana uses up the last lot of the bulk ingredients to make her patented chorizo and butter bean casserole:

chorizo and butter bean casseroleAs ever it's brilliant, and I think using the orange zest makes all the difference, giving a tanginess to the richness of the sauce.

However, I'm not sure I'll be bulk buying again in a hurry. Not so much because it didn't really make our shopping any cheaper, although the prosecco and the extras for dinner on Sunday might have possibly offset any saving, but more because I don't think I want to eat essentially the same two ingredients three nights running.

chorizo and butter bean casserole - The Black Book, although I suspect it's originally from Zest magazine