Monday, 31 January 2011

jill dupleix's lamb tagliata

This weekend we learned a valuable lesson: It's all very well planning the weekly shop and booking a delivery slot for the cheapest possible time, *but* you also have to factor in the inescapable point if the shopping isn't coming until at least 2200, you won't be eating until midnight.

This dawns on us this morning, over our remaining slice of bread, and leads to a day of texting to decide what to have for tea tonight. In the end the decision is made for us by Kensington Waitrose's lack of anything to cook with, apart from reduced vine tomatoes, a very small bag of rocket, and a small packet of lamb steaks - Jilly D's lamb tagliata it is then.

In other culinary news today, I was amazed to discover Pret a Manger's new season soup is Shepherd's pie. I love shepherd's pie, and it seemed to be the perfect accompaniment to sitting in a sunny-but-freezing Cavendish Square, with the God-awful Sons and Lovers. However, it was a massive disappointment, quite watery and oily, and the veg was barely cooked, but I reckon the idea is genius. I may have to get experimental with some left overs next time. If there are any left overs next time.

Food of the Milos
Somebody is chipper this morning! That'll change when he has to go to work, mu-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Breakfast: boiled egg;
Lunch: Some of the Dalston Sweet Potato curry, which he was as unimpressed as we were, and the final jelly;
Dinner (at Claire's): Sausages, carrot and potato mash, broccoli, sweetcorn and a frozen yoghurt.

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

Sunday, 30 January 2011

heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti

Today wasn't the most exciting Sunday on record, but it was relaxing and quite-to-very-fun. There was more Scooby Doo, lots of board games and jigsaws, I had a bath and a shower with him, we all spent a couple of hours in the winter sun on the Barnes and playground circuit, and we even made a Dinosaur park for Ana to visit once she was allowed out of the shower.

Even better, we had Heston Blumenthal's pea and pancetta pasta to look forward to for dinner, which more than made up for last night's disappointing experimental curry.

Food of the Milos
After the last couple of day's pigging-out, today he's less bothered with food generally. Although this doesn't include crisps of course, for which he has a prodigious appetite.
Breakfast: toast, cheese, apple, satsuma, all of which he picks at rather than eats;
Lunch: karma soupra and dinosaur-shaped cheese on toast, again, it wasn't exactly wolfed down. This was followed by a largish pack of crisps and some wafer biscuits at the playground.
Dinner: Boiled egg and soldiers.

heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti - Waitrose Weekend, 16th September, p10

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Leon's dalston sweet potato curry

Somewhat incredibly this is the second week in a row I've managed to play rugby (and score, I know you'll be delighted to know, this time playing lock fact fans!). Also for the second week in a row I've come back to discover Ana and Milo have been baking *and* making jelly, this week Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's chocolate chip cookies!

A cheeky run around a field, a couple of pints and some warm biscuits when you get home cooked by the best wife and son, can life get any better? A couple of hours later the answer is a resounding "No, that's the peak of the day!"

It's not that Leon's sweet potato curry is awful, it's just quite bland and disappointing, all mouth and no trousers, a bit like London's trendy East End in fact. I bet an East Sheen Sweet Potato Curry would've tasted marvellous...

Even worse than the curry debacle, for some reason ITV3 have failed to schedule any Midsomer Murders tonight, making the whole day a complete write-off.

Food of the Milos
For some reason we're full of the joys of spring this morning, meaning we're up and watching Scooby Doo DVDs from about 7am. Hurrah for parenting!
Breakfast: pancakes, followed by the weekly sweet shopping - this week fruit pastilles, which he shared quite amicably;
There wasn't any lunch per se, more an aggregation of browsing: marmite sandwich, apple, cheese, satsumas, and a fair few biscuits;
Dinner: Fish cake and beans, followed by jelly.

dalston sweet potato curry - Leon Naturally Fast Food, Book 2, p99
chocolate chip cookies - HFW & Fizz Carr, The River Cottage Family Cookbook, p400

Friday, 28 January 2011

smoked mackerel and coconut fishcakes

After last night's book club at Beth's, tonight we're at the thin end of the month. It's not pay day until Monday, but we've got three dishes planned, it's just a question which order we eat them in. Curry feels more like a Saturday night thing, and we're planning to eat en famile on Sunday, which leaves fish cakes tonight.

Unfortunately I forgot that although Anna Hansen's recipe is remarkably easy (and tasty), you do have to let the mashed potato mixture cool down before you add the fish. All of which means we don't eat until quite late.

Luckily the cakes are quite 'dense', so our hunger pangs are quite easily satisfied. I even got the eggs right this time *despite* forgetting The Hairy Biker's top poached egg tip:

To be honest, I'm not being entirely honest when I say "we" were starving by the time we ate this evening, because I wasn't. This was almost-completely because I went for lunch with co-colleague Tom Morgan at the Indian YMCA. £8 for fish curry (he had chicken), rice, poppadoms, chapati, dhal, and chana masala? No wonder he looks so happy!

Food of the Milos
Sausages big and little are out on the razz today at nursery, before heading over to Melissa's in Surbiton in the afternoon. The traveling clearly affects his diet because today he gourmandises for Blighty.
Breakfast: honey on toast. He has rice cakes, apple and a satsuma on the way back from Nursery;
Lunch (at Melissa's): Pasta with cream cheese and ham, yoghurt, rice krispies and marshmallow squares. Melissa also provided him with a picnic to eat on the way back in the car, consisting of a ham sandwich, mini jaffa cakes and some dried mango;
Dinner: Sausages, spaghetti and yoghurt.

tea-smoked salmon and coconut fishcakes - Anna Hansen, Delicious, August 2010, p62

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

allegra mcevedy's karma soupra and spinach, tomato & chick pea curry

These late nights really must stop. We are no longer young, if anything we're now technically middle aged, so staying up all night raving has begun to have consequences and take a heavy toll. Even if staying up all night raving is only "watching Miss Marple with a cup of decaf Earl Grey tea, builders for Ana, and some minty chocolate".

Tonight Ana is off to a parents evening at Nursery, which gives me some scope to do some double cooking. First up is lunch tomorrow and more importantly, tomorrow night's Book Club payment. Angela Hazel, from the Nation's Favourite Video on Demand Service, has kindly offered to babysit for the usual sitting terms - dinner.

I've had this Allegra Mcevedy recipe for over five years, desperate to try it but somehow never feeling inspired enough to try it. Until tonight. It's pretty easy to make, and is essentially a gently curried lentil, squash and rice soup, with a chilli and garlic dressing. I'll get some nice bread tomorrow, I hope she likes it.

Soup done, we end up having an entirely unplanned-for spinach, tomato and chick pea curry on the basis Ana doesn't fancy coconut fish cakes tonight, and I forgot to buy any cauliflower for the experimental Leon sweet potato curry we had planned for. With far too much spinach malingering in the fridge, it's the obvious choice for a cold night, and I even manage to avoid making the spinach too slimy this time.

Actually, it's one of my better efforts at it recently; rich, slightly sweet and tangy, with a nice late hit of ginger. Hopefully the spinach will sort out my blood iron issues.

Just in case you felt I'd let you down yesterday, tonight I've done a bumper* batch of things on the site:
  • I've removed a large batch of appallingly badly spelled things from the site, including "chili" and "tumeric". Not exciting I know, but it needed to be done;
  • I've separated out a couple of recipes from individual blog posts, particularly Fast Asian Fish, as requested by Mrs S White (does hands), and Donna Hay's Pad Thai, as requested by Lucy Taylor;
  • There's another exciting installment of Saturday night watching Midsomer Murders chez Barnes, only this time we don't eat polpettine;
  • Milo and I fly down to Folkestone for the day, to play with nanny and rescue our Christmas presents.
See, "bumper"!

Food of the Milos
Another early-ish morning spent watching TV is rudely interrupted by a mad dash to Julias for nursery. We make it record time, but only because I have to run all the way whilst he looks out for owls with his binoculars.
Breakfast: Cheerios and apricots;
Lunch: Boiled egg, toast, cheese, pepperami and a lollipop treat;
Dinner: Fish cakes with Cinderella spaghetti shapes, because he's the gayest little boy ever, and some of Julia's birthday cake.

karma soupra - Allegra McEvedy, Delicious circa 2005, now the Parsley Book
spinach, tomato & chick pea curry - Waitrose recipe cards

*Note: Quantity of 'bumper' may go up as well as down, and can refer to a figure upwards and including one

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

leon's broccoli with garlic, cashew nuts and chilli & salmon

I'm afraid once again football has stopped blogging today (hurrah for the mighty Arsenal!), which means I've failed to do any backdating tonight. Soz. However, it's a happier football watching house this week, thanks to the glories of live-streaming on the iPlayer, which means Ana can watch Silent Witness in the front room and I can watch the footie in the kitchen on the laptop.

As it turns out this is just as well because after last week's less-than-stomach-filling portions, we've decided to beef it up with the addition of Bill Granger's baked new potatoes on a bed of salt. Unfortunately for some reason this takes about half an hour longer than advertised. Still, they are the perfect accompaniment to the salty, tangy greens and baked fish.

The broccoli also reminds me of something weird which happened when I went to give blood today.vThey had to do the blood test twice because my iron levels were low, which I was surprised at given I had two pints of Guinness at rugby on Saturday, and we've also eaten spinach, broccoli and almost a whole bush of cavalo nero in the last three or four days. Apparently kidney beans are the key if you're being vegetarian, although I'm opting for a hearty beef injection fnar fnar!

Food of the Milos
God he was up early today, and in accordance with our new resolution to play with him more in the morning, I get up to read, watch Octonauts and generally oaf about. To be honest, whatever time he gets up, it's too early...
Breakfast: nibbles (mango, banana, apple), toast with honey;
Lunch: egg sandwich;
Dinner: sausage, mini corn, carrots and green beans, mango with ice cream, banana.

Banana, custard and honey appear to be his new addictions.

leon's broccoli with garlic, cashew nuts & chilli - Leon: Naturally Fast Food, p60
baked new potatoes on a bed of salt - Bill Granger, Holiday, p158

Monday, 24 January 2011

bill granger's crispy chicken and cavalo nero

As it's a Monday, do not expect an awful lot of excitement. By the time I get back from work Milo is already zonked out from a heady Monday spent at Nursery and cycling around the park with Isla, so all we've got left to do is watch the new series of Glee, and choose whether we're going to eat fish, or chicken... Oh the giddy heights of urban living!

Actually I *am* mildly excited because I want to road test my new Le Crueset deep frying pan, so Billy G's crispy chicken it is!

Needless to say the pan is a triumph, I love this pan more than life itself! Not only did it crisp the chicken perfectly, it also wilted the cavalo nero, (which I managed to inexplicably buy for 27p from Sonny's, Barnes' most expensive deli, and which was stripped using Dave Taylor's patented method), in a trice.

For your delectation and delight, I've also managed to squeeze two more updates to the recent past:
Food of the Milos
Breakfast: Humzinger, porridge and a smoothie;
Lunch: Humzinger (again) and rice cakes on the way back from nursery, houmous, carrot sticks, a cheese sandwich and an apple;
Dinner: Vegetable bolognese, which he's now decided he doesn't like. This strangely reminds me of somebody else... Mango and custard for dessert.

crispy chicken and cavalo nero - Bill Granger, Simply Bill, p38

Sunday, 23 January 2011

sausage and lentil hotpot

Oh I ache today - curse you rugby!

Today was supposed to be action-packed, a whirlwind of doing stuff and getting things sorted, but it ends up a slightly drizzly damp squib in terms of boxes ticked. On the upside we have a lot of fun, even if mine and Ana's fun consists of buying a new frying pan and a tea caddy with the vouchers my mum gave us for Christmas.

Luckily for both our sanity, Kay and Mike decide to come up for a day Milo-wrangling around Kew Gardens, whilst we battle the Kings Road sales crowd alone. With ferry timetables pressing, and it being a bit grey outside, we have an old favourite stew, sausage and lentil hotpot from the black book. Mike only has lentils and sausages, but everybody else has broccoli.

Sadly I forgot to take a picture, but it looked vaguely like this, only without the arrow. It was very nice though.

Food of the Milos
Brunch: breakfast nibbles, toast, porridge;
Lunch: Egg sandwiches and cake;
Dinner: Sausage & lentil hotpot, broccoli, custard

sausage and lentil hotpot - Le Libre Noir!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

jill dupleix's white bean polpettine with turmeric potatoes

It's a Saturday night, and what better way to spend it than sat in the warm, with a glass of vino tinto, a plate of polpettine and turmeric potatoes, and a brilliant Midsomer Murder on the TV... Hang on, haven't we been here before?

Okay, so this is the third Saturday night running we've done and eaten exactly the same thing, but technically we *are* middle-aged now, and there's something very comforting and satisfying about a demi-healthy meal, replete with what are effectively curry chips, and a good murder on the TV.

Actually we do have some variety today. Although we don't deviate from the now-established weekend breakfast of pancakes (note to self: must buy more maple syrup), Kendra and Finn come over for a morning romp to take their minds off their post-NZ jet lag. Later whilst Milo gets his haircut, I get some man-romping action in with a rampaging (my description) performance at Number 8 in the Vets pack. I even scored our last try from approximately minus one metre when our fly-half made the mistake of passing when all he needed to do was fall over to score. Sadly, despite having to jump at four in the line-out, nobody will lift me as I'm deemed too athletic - the shame! After all that, who wouldn't want to eat curry chips?

Food of the Milos
Brunch: toast-banana cakes-apple nibbles, more toast, three pancakes;
Dinner: Defrosted vegetable pasta bolognese, yoghurt, hole in the wall game, total wipeout

white bean polpettine - Jilly D, the Parsley Book
turmeric-spiced potatoes - Bill Granger, Holiday, p191

Friday, 21 January 2011

bill granger's chilli bean burritos

Because we've tried not to drink during the week since the New Year, the past couple of Friday night's have been fairly silly, as we watch stupid telly and get drunk on cornershop wine. However tonight it's all change: We had wine last night, Ana's out tonight and I'm home alone

Since seeing Dan Brown (not that one) eating a burrito at work today, I've had a hankering for Billy G's version, with a little bit more chilli in than is strictly necessary, and a side order of tangy radish sprouts. Do you like the arrangement? I made a little station to construction them on the work surface, rather than doing it all on a plate:

Today's retro update: Last Wednesday's chick pea and spinach curry.

Food of the Milos
We'll have to wait for Ana to get back from the boozer to discover what Milo had today. I'm guessing boiled egg by the egg cups in the washing up rack, and he had half my porridge for breakfast, but that's all I know.

chilli bean burritos with sweetcorn salsa - Bill Granger, Every Day, p56

Thursday, 20 January 2011

simon hopkinson's tomato curry

Somehow, and I'm not sure how, we seem to have a plethora of options tonight - burritos, curry, two sorts of soup; take your pick. Faced by the choices, Ana makes an executive decision based on the fact she's out tomorrow night and doesn't fancy burritos.

Tomato curry it is then, and one which has to be bulked up by baby plum tomatoes because I used too many big ones in Monday night's roasted tomato soup. It was still nice though, and giving it more time to simmer away really makes the sauce extra creamy.

As an extra bonus for you, not only have I managed to deal with last Monday's keralan fish curry (although one week on, and Ana still hasn't started eating cream horns in her bra at midnight, ala Nigella), but I've also done Tuesday's dinner. An experimental Leon dish which possibly constitutes our smallest meal ever.

Food of the Milos
We're all up slightly late today, so we don't have time to try and cram any breakfast into him before he goes. But as Ana realises, Julia gives him stuff when we drop him off, so he probably doesn't need any(more).
Breakfast: Weetos, toast & Philadelphia;
Lunch: Boiled egg, tomato soup and yoghurt;
Dinner: Left-over gnocchi, which we discover he does not like. He makes up for it by guzzling pineapple though.

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

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

bill granger's miso fish with spring onions & sesame seeds

Sorry sorry, I'm a bit late tonight as I was watching the mighty Gunners put Nasty Leeds to the sword, much to Ana's disgust.

In fact, whilst I was busy missing the first quarter because I was emptying the dishwasher, putting the food bin out and cooking dinner, she was on Facebook claiming I wasn't the perfect husband. I may be having words, particularly as I later had to massage her poor aching muscles from Monday's Bobblehat Blitz. This will be logged for the next Vets match.

Anyway, dinner. This is one of Ana's picks under our new rules of weekly meals (we both choose half each, although you can overrule), and it's one I've been avoiding for a couple of reasons, neither of which are fish-based:
1. Of all Bill Granger's recipe books, Feed Me Now is my least favourite. Having said that we've had a sudden run of decent recipes from it this year - salmon and orzo, and a mushroom risotto - so I'm willing to give it a go;
2. I'm not a massive fan of miso soup. Unfortunately the only miso paste I could find was a miso soup paste mix.

However, I/we are pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Ana hits the nail on the head, describing it as "worthy" and it is pretty much a plate of virtuousness: grilled fish, steamed pak choi, plain boiled rice. Not only was it very easy and quick to make, the flavour wasn't nearly as powerful as I was expecting, being quite subtle and delicate.

Incidentally Les Bren, totally coincidentally I noticed on the packet Ocado's haddock is line-caught, so extra virtue points all round! I wonder if I can ask them if they were also hand dived..?

Food of the Milos
Even though it's a Julia/Nursery day, we're trying get Milo to eat some breakfast before he goes, which so far has proved a bit difficult. However today we have a minor success, possibly because he's a bit under the weather and sleepy, and he actually eats some of my porridge before we head out into the icy world of SW14.
Breakfast: porridge (here), Weetos, toast and Philadelphia (there);
Lunch: tomato soup, cheese on toast, a pepperami and custard, hopefully not together;
Dinner: pasta and cheese (also at Julia's)

miso fish with spring onions & sesame seeds - Bill Granger, Feed Me Now, p78

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

oven-roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi

As promised, first up here's a picture of Ana and Milo's butterfly cakes. I had another one and half tonight when I got home - mmmmm!

Honestly, they can cook every day if there's a lovely platter of cakes on the table when I get home. Buoyed by cake, I take a quick trip down the road to buy some Feta whilst roasting a pot of peppers, garlic and tomatoes in the oven. I have to run mind, because you only let them tick away for 20 minutes before you cook the gnocchi. It's an oldie, but a sturdy favourite for a chilly night.

I have managed to keep yesterday's promise, so if you're interested we had Heston's pea and pancetta spaghetti on Sunday.

Food of the Milos
Breakfast: toast and nibbles, followed by some snacks of humzingers and Marmite rice cakes;
Lunch: leek and potato soup, toast, clementines and inevitably, butterfly cakes at Claire and Isla's;
Dinner: Pasta with cream cheese and peas, followed by fruit salad.

oven-roasted pepper and garlic gnocchi - Delicious, One Month Healthy Eating booklet, February 2007, p16

Monday, 17 January 2011

bill granger's poached salmon and orzo salad & roasted tomato soup

The New Year is only two weeks-ish old and already I'm fatally behind updating, and Ana's new Bobblehat Blast has only exacerbated the issue. Monday night's used to be my night's to do mass catch ups with the blog whilst she ran around Chiswick, but now she's shifted to the mornings we've hit a laptop stand-off in the evenings.

Given I am so far behind, and it was one of my resolutions to stay-up-to-date with the blog - although you wouldn't know this as I haven't actually written that post yet - tonight I'm going to take a different tack. I'm going to update the newest post first, and then at least one old one until I've caught up with myself without (fingers-crossed) getting any further behind. Well, it might work...

Tonight we're cracking on with the one resolution you do know about, more fish, with a classic Bill Granger salmon and pasta salad. As it's been tipping down today I don't completely refresh the pasta and peas in icy water, and the salmon retains some heat as well, so whilst not warming per se, it's at least nourishing and the heat does impart a modicum of wilting to the spinach:

I think the trick with this dish is to really rack in the black pepper and lemon juice into the dressing, it's a bit bland otherwise.

Whilst the fish is poaching, I also attempt an experimental roasted tomato soup from Delicious. It goes swimmingly, right up until the point I realise I've left the blender in the dishwasher, and I have to wait for an hour to blend it. Pictures tomorrow of that one.

Food of the Milos
After yesterday's Quality Street and Pom Bear-fest on our day trip to see my mum, it's back to reality with a bump for the M Magic although Ana has a surprise up her sleeve for him this afternoon - they make Fairy Cakes!
Breakfast: The usual nibbles, toast and marmelade
Lunch: Giant fish-finger (ask Ana) with alphabetti spaghetti, and two yoghurts
Dinner: Vegetable bolognese with spaghetti

The afternoon was punctured by odd handfuls of apricots, plus strawberries from the fairy cakes and indeed, a couple of fairy cakes. Ana will set up a photoshoot tomorrow so you can see what they made, but essentially they were amazing and a brilliant surprise when I got back home tonight.

poached salmon and orzo salad - Bill Granger, Holiday, p14
roasted tomato soup - Delicious circa 2005/6, now the Parsley Book

Sunday, 16 January 2011

sheperd's pie at my mums

No pictures today, but that's more because Milo and I spent a brilliant day at my mum's. And I forgot the camera.

With a whole day of Ana trying to research the Ancient Greeks for school looming (which is odd as we actually met in an Ancient Greek lecture at University...), and after the by-now-traditional pancake breakfast, we head down to the Folkestone for a day's Nannying.

Mum's on top form and Milo has a great time. We spend an hour up the rugby club eating crisps and running around the balcony, have cheese sandwiches for lunch whilst playing with the huge collection of Playmen (a collection consisting of mine and my brother's toys, and Dylan's recent additions) in the attic, before watching Ice Age on TV and eating a Babs Cabs shepherd's pie special.

Even better, I also managed to rescue the presents we managed to leave behind at Christmas, which means I can finally reveal this year's Culinary Christmas Crackers:

A gravy separating jug from my mum, River Cottage Family Cookbook, an apron, a variety of garlic relishes from the Garlic Farm, IoW Tomato Ketchup (which is divine btw) and an amazing garlic chopper (the green thing) from Kay and Mike, as well as a selection of silicon implements from Ana. An excellent haul!

The only downer on the day was by the time we get home, Ana's starving and has to make do with some toast as we'd already eaten at my mums...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

atul kochhar's old-fashioned chicken curry

Now I know we're supposed to be trying to vegetarian this month, but we're really forced into breaking the pact to stop the chicken going off.

We'd originally bought it under the illusion one or the other of us was going to make Milo some breaded chicken goujons, but now all it's good for is making one of Atul Kochhar's spectacular curries. Milo's loss is our gain...

I think on this is probably my favourite Atul curry that I've tried so far, and also having potatoes and rice makes it feel a bit lighter than perhaps a big plate of rice would. There's probably the same amount of carbs though.

old-fashioned chicken curry - Atul Kochhar, Observer Food Monthly, February 2009, p24
turmeric-spiced potatoes - Bill Granger, Holiday, p191 

Friday, 14 January 2011

bill granger's porcini and pancetta risotto

It's strange how previously scorned recipe books suddenly start churning out new dishes where before there were none. I've previously scorned Bill Granger's Feed Me Now as it's only been good for carrot soup, but we're suddenly warming to it. We've got our eyes on a miso fish recipe, ginger and soy fish parcels, melts and this earthy risotto:

It's incredibly dense, rich and smokey, and you do not need very much at all to fill you up...

Oh I forgot another recipe from this book - baked salmon, minted peas and sweet potato cakes - which was particularly ace!

porcini and pancetta risotto - Bill Granger, Feed Me Now, p76

Thursday, 13 January 2011

cep and potato stew

Can you believe we're only 13 days into the New Year and already Ana has booked a night out? Tonight it's her other book club, which means I can eat one of my favourite stews without having to worry about whether Ana is going to like it this time, or not.

Given I'm only eating for one, I don't bother with a side (I think cauliflower cheese is the best option), and have double portions instead. Well, it is the middle of January after all...

Food of the Milos
Breakfast: Weetos, toast and philadelphia;
Lunch: Boiled egg, tomato soup and yoghurt;
Dinner: Spinach, tomato and chick pea curry. Sadly tonight's curry did not prove a success - he liked the chick peas and tomatoes, but wasn't convinced by the spinach, which was a bit slimy two days in. Oh well.

cep & potato stew - Delicious, November 2009, p81

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

spinach, tomato and chick pea curry

Needs must tonight as I'm in a hurry to catch the new Midsomer Murders, so we need something quick and, after last night's maximum-diet-minimum-eating effort, something filling. I know it's the second curry of the week, but forward planning for polpettine at the weekend (again) means I've got a monster bag of spinach in the fridge. And anyway, aren't legumes the current food du jour?

Isn't strange how even though some Midsomer's are corny beyond belief, like tonight's for instance, but the very presence of twinkly-eyed John Nettles somehow lifts them to Christie-esque proportions. I wonder what they'll be like when he leaves?

Food of the Milos
He's at Julia's all day today, even for dinner as Ana has a staff meeting.
Breakfast: Cheerios, toast and butter
Lunch: Capelletti pasta, peas and sweetcorn, and custard.
Dinner: Sausages, smiley face potatoes, peas, carrots, beans and a yoghurt.

spinach, tomato and chick pea curry - Waitrose Recipe Cards, Early September 2010

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

leon's broccoli with garlic, cashew nuts & chilli

Yesterday's hint towards expanding our Nigella repertoire of recipes was strangely apposite because today we've got an experimental dish culled from the other book we spotted at Lucy's: Leon: Naturally Fast Food. This time though we bought a copy, and in it we found this:

If you ignore the salmon - which was a suggested side - that was it. Diet-tastic! Actually it was delish, the salty soy sauce perking up the steamed broccoli and cashews, making it all really flavoursome if teeny-tiny. Next time I'm getting more broccoli, and possibly some bigger (hand dived) salmon fillets.

I love Leon. Their first restaurant is quite close to the office, a little anti-Pret/M&S oasis on Carnaby Street, which isn't exactly short of great places to eat like Mrs Marengos, Thanks for Franks, and Cha Cha Moon. I've been hording some Allegra Mcevedy recipes for ages, and I remember spending the summer of our wedding eating a lot of her power breakfast smoothies, but this is the first Leon recipe to make it to the blog. Looking at the book, it won't be the last.

leon's broccoli with garlic, cashew nuts & chilli - Leon: Naturally Fast Food, p60

Monday, 10 January 2011

nigella's keralan fish curry

To be honest despite being quite clearly fish, this is a bit of a cop out as we have it all the time, but on a wet Monday with various resolutions hanging over our heads it's an easy win. Particularly as it'll be a cast iron win with Mr Magic tomorrow.

For some reason it's a bit browner than usual, not sure why though:

Thankfully for the Nigella tag, (currently standing at a mighty ONE dish), Ana's got her eye on a couple of recipes we saw in Lucy's copy of Kitchen over New Year. As luck would have it, Delicious kindly reprinted them in Feb's issue meaning we can try them out without having to buy the whole thing. Fingers-crossed Ana also takes up eating cream horns in her bra, at midnight...

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

Sunday, 9 January 2011

heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti

After yesterday's lolling around (and I do not mean laugh out loud-ing), today we're super-busy as we're off to London's trendy Clapham to search for a new bed for Milo. Not only that, Matt and Virginie are coming over to install our new art in the afternoon - ooooh!

Art installed to Ana's utter delight and satisfaction, and a couple of largish glasses of wine down, we settle for a dinner of Heston's brilliant pea and pancetta spaghetti en familie.

Food of the Milos
Breakfast: fruit and toast nibbles, followed by porridge
Lunch: scrambled eggs
Dinner: pea & pancetta spaghetti

heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti - Waitrose Weekend, 16th September, p10

Saturday, 8 January 2011

jill dupleix's white bean polpettine with turmeric potatoes

After a Christmas spent filling up on crisps and sweets, this year we've decided to try and limit Milo's sweet intake to just Saturdays. And/or Sundays depending how we're feeling, oh and crisps on Tuesday's when Ana's got him on her own.

Today is the first day of this regime and it passes off demi successfully. First we all manage to sleep in till 1100, before we knock up a batch of pancakes for brunch, followed by a slow walk into Barnes for a coffee and a play by the pond, via the sweetshop where he buys a packet of Randoms which, incredibly, we're allowed to share.

Even more incredibly the combination of they cycling to the pond, and the good hour of running up and down the wheelchair slope by OSO means he's pretty much zonked by the time we get home. I've only just about got time to blitz all the slightly wilting veg in the fridge into a batch of vegetable bolognese before he sparks out.

This means we've got a long saturday night to enjoy, and what better way than with Jill Dupliex's polpettine - which are essentially mini-bean burgers - and Bill Granger's turmeric potatoes, and our weekend allowance of booze? So burger and chips then...

Even better, ITV3 are showing a season of old Midsomer Murders - hurrah!

Food of the Milos
Because of our late morning, today's routine is all to cock and we miss out lunch entirely, but he fills up on pancakes and pasta instead. It's like he's training for the Tour De France or something.
Brunch: maple syrup pancakes and banana
Dinner: vegetable bolognese and spaghetti, yoghurt

vegetable bolognese - Delicious circa 2005/6, now the Parsley Book
white bean polpettine - Jilly D, the Parsley Book
turmeric-spiced potatoes - Bill Granger, Holiday, p191

Thursday, 6 January 2011

mediterranean halloumi salad & arancini balls

Another day of Nursery/School for Milo and Ana means I've got another day relatively unscathed in my sickbed. Today's highlights include tottering off to the chemist for more drugs, going back to my youth and reading Mr Midshipman Hornblower, and finally pasting the pile of outstanding recipe clippings into various notebooks.

For lunch I decide to use up Milo's leftover risotto and attempt to make arancini, or fried risotto balls if you're not Italian. I found a recipe in Donna Hay ages ago but lacking both mozzarella and a deep-fat fryer, I convert the essence of her recipe into small, red, slightly gooey balls of rice. They were okay to be honest, and beat having soup for three days running.

For dinner Ana welcomes back an old favourite which whilst hardly in keeping with the inclement weather, was at least easy for me to make. You'll not be surprised to note we ate this quite a lot in 2010, 8 times in fact. Note to self, I really must stop or complete 2010's round-up.

Slightly more interestingly I also managed to finally get both plates out at the same time by the simple expedient of using the grill rather than our small pan. I don't know why I didn't think of it before as usually one of has to eat on their own whilst the other is frying cheese.

The tomatoes were too hard though, you really need ripe, vine tomatoes. Nothing else really cuts it.

Food of the Milos
More custard today, at least it wasn't custard. The fish pie wasn't as much as a success as I'd hoped, but he at least ate it with some cajoling from Ana. He's a bit pickly at the moment because although we know he can feed himself, we're going through a phase of having to spoon feed him, which is very vexing.

Breakfast: cheerios, apricots, toast, philadelphia
Lunch: rice with bolognese sauce, veg and custard
Dinner: creamy fish pie and peas

mediterranean halloumi salad - Delicious, June 2010, p24

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

hugh fearnley-whittingstall's creamy fish pie

After yesterday's less-than-relaxing day, today both Ana and Milo are out - Ana's back at work, and Milo's at nursery - which means I actually get some sleep. Hopped up to the gills with Benylin, I spend the afternoon watching the final episodes of Any Human Heart on the Nation's favourite independent video on demand service, and blubbing like a baby. It was the cold, I swear...

Our shopping has also finally arrived which means tonight we can begin on our culinary resolutions for 2011 in earnest. Tonight it's the weekly fish dish - an experimental pie recipe from one of my Christmas presents, The River Cottage Family Cookbook.

Now we've had a pretty bloody good Fish Pie c/o Gordon Ramsay before, but we've always been put off repeating it because of the sheer amount of cream in it, and because of the cost of all the different sorts of fish required. This is a completely different kettle of erm, fish.

Despite being called 'creamy', Hugh's version neither uses cream or expensive fish. Granted it's a bit fiddly and time-consuming, but the result is completely amazing. Definitely better than Gordon's version, and at a fraction of the price. Perfect for catching up with the Christmas Marples on the strangely-quite-good ITV Player.

There's even plenty left for Milo's dinner tomorrow. Saint Hugh, we love you!

Food of the Milos
Having spent the last three weeks eating mainly chocolate and crisps, getting up when he wants and watching telly, the return to nursery proves somewhat of a shock. However once in the buggy he soon perks up, and he even returns with an exciting new food like - custard.
Breakfast: fruit salad
Lunch: baked potato with cheese and beans, marmite on toast and chocolate custard
Dinner: Bill's no-stir tomato risotto

creamy fish pie - Saint Hugh and Fizz Carr, The River Cottage Family Cookbook, p248

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

chick pea and tomato soup with chorizo

Life isn't sweet today despite spending nearly all of it in bed. Man flu is a terrible affliction. Luckily Ana takes Milo off this morning and lets me sleep, but a hyperactive three year-old who wants to bounce on the bed whilst watching Scooby-Doo all afternoon is no panacea to my ills.

Having eaten yesterdays experimental minestrone for lunch, all I can face for dinner is more soup. Given we're still waiting for the nice Ocado man to turn up, we're again thrown onto the mercy of the cupboards, but mercifully we're never short of tinned tomatoes. Or chorizo, weirdly...

Brenda you are totally right re this dish, we've had it loads since Ana discovered it. I've still got some back-filling to do on the blog, but one of the things I've done is worked out the amount of times we've eaten all the recipes over 2010. We ate this three times last year, and we only found it in November! Fascinating I know, I'm available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals...

chick pea and tomato soup with chorizo and green chilli - Bill Granger, Delicious, February 2008 p68

Monday, 3 January 2011

roasted stuffed butternut squash & minestone-ish soup

Back from the fun of New Year at the Taylors, the last day of the holiday is spent sorting stuff out. Partly this is because we're both knackered, partly because the house is full of crap, partly because the weather isn't that great and partly because I'm coming down with the lurgy.

We've also got little or nothing in the cupboards, the shops are shut and Ocado aren't doing any deliveries until Wednesday, so tea tonight is a matter of making do with what we got. We've got just about enough for the roasted stuffed butternut squash, if you ignore the goat's cheese and swap the parmesan for cheddar:

However, the thinness of cheesy toppings is more than made up for by the surfeit of veg. In fact there's so much left over I decide to make it into a sort of minestrone soup for lunch tomorrow. With the addition of some baby pasta stars from the back of the cupboard and some dried rosemary, we have a roasted vegetable soup!

roasted stuffed butternut squash - She Magazine, December 2010