Thursday, 26 May 2011

peter gordon's fried halloumi topped with chilli, spinach, water chestnut, hazelnut, orange and sun-blushed tomato salad

Ooooohhhh - only one sleep to go! With most of the packing at least in piles from last night, the plan tonight is to finish everything off so we can make a swift exit to the Hammer tomorrow, and that means something that either takes two minutes to make, or something that can marinade for a while or, both.

Step forward Peter Gordon's halloumi salad. Compared to our first go (which was nice), tonight's is much better mainly due to the extra time I gave the chestnuts to infuse in the lemon water, and it also gets jazzed up with the addition of some cherry tomatoes lurking in the fridge.

Naturally despite the swiftness of construction, and the fact we only need to stuff things into suitcases, we still don't get to bed until midnight.

fried halloumi topped with chilli, spinach, water chestnut, hazelnut, orange and sun-blushed tomato salad - Peter Gordon, Salads: The New Main Course, p65

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

pancetta-wrapped salmon with griddled asparagus and lime creme fraiche

I have to say, we're being remarkably un-Barnes-like at the moment. Last night we got the suitcases out, hunted down the passports, printed out our reservation, and went washing mad. Tonight we've actually got piles of clothes ready to either be packed, or for Magda to iron, and even our washing stuff is demi-ready. Could this be the new face of us?

This success is partially fuelled by having a dinner which literally takes half an hour to cook:

I still think we need something else to have with it, although given I'm aiming to eat my body weight in maple syrup the day after tomorrow, maybe this is a good thing.

pancetta-wrapped salmon with griddled asparagus and lime creme fraiche - Delicious, June 2010, p23

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

jill dupleix's lamb tagliata

With only three sleeps to go until Operation Seeing Hayley, John, Kieran, Sophie & William in the Hammer, there's not time for flim-flammery in the kitchen. Particularly if I want to finish Anna Karenina before we go...

So, with time being of the essence we fall back on an old classic - Jilly D's lamb tagliata. Interestingly now I've used up the phial of dried rosemary my mum gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago, I've suddenly realised how rosemary-intensive this dish is. It needs loads, but it is ruddy marvellous!

Incidentally, does anybody fancy making a Scotch Egg out of this beauty we spotted in East Sheen Waitrose:

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

Monday, 23 May 2011

ottolenghi's roast chicken and three-rice salad

You know the only reason we have roast chicken these days, is so we can have ottolenghi's chicken and rice salad the next day? Tonight team work makes the dream work (© B White), though as whilst I'm reading stories and snuggling up with Milo, Ana's cooking the rice.

However, her input means she's more-then-usually keen-eyed and spots the slightly gelatinous cold chicken gravy in the salad, which causes some concern. Usually it melts into lovely juice as the rice warms up, but due to snuggling/story duties, it's a bit too cold to do it's usual work. Still, it's bladdy delish, and Gelatinous Chicken Juice Gate means I've got loads for lunch tomorrow.

Incidentally, inspired by Brenda's impassioned defence of his new book, I've reappraised the recipes in Delicious, and I'm definitely going to give the cucumber and poppy seed salad a go, and possibly the chargrilled asparagus, courgettes and manouri (whatever that is).

Ash cloud permitting - 4 sleeps and counting until TimBit Mountain

yotam ottolenghi's roast chicken and three-rice salad - Delicious, July 2008, p64

chicken, artichoke and crushed potato salad - recipe

Brenda, as promised here's that chicken and artichoke salad recipe I was talking about over Easter. I think it's from the Sainsbury's Magazine, and I used to make it in Dyer's Lane, but as Ana is anti-artichoke and olive, it's kind of fallen by the wayside. It's great for picnics, and as such I might resurrect it this year...

Chicken, Artichoke and Crushed Potato Salad
Serves 2 as a meal (or one big picnic portion)

2 chicken breasts
280g jar of artichokes in oil
900g small new potatoes, scrubbed
Juice of one lemon
20g chopped parsley
110g jar of cracked green olives in oil
salt & pepper

1. Steam the new potatoes until tender. It should take about 15 minutes;
2. Put the breasts in a pan and cover with 275ml of water, the olive oil from the artichokes, the lemon juice, parsley and seasoning. Slowly bring to the boil, and then simmer for 2 minutes once it's boiling;
3. After two minutes, turn off the heat and leave to poach for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and cut into chunks. Reduce the rest of the liquid by half. They added a chicken OXO cube to the original water, but I'm not sure it needs it, to be honest;
4. Lightly crush the potatoes with the back of a fork, arrange the artichoke, chicken and olives on top, and pour over the reduced juice. Or crush the potatoes and lob it all into a picnic tub, as you feel.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

roast chicken and salad

Ooooh, I'm definitely suffering with a massive case of man flu, which as we know is the worst sort of flu there is. I'm all bunged up, and my head hurts, all of which gives Ana yet another reason not to hold my hand in public just in case she gets it, and our whole holiday is ruined.

Still, it's a fairly nice, if blustery day of activity. We do a massive round trip of tip-Kew Retail Centre-Waitrose, and get back in time for some minor tidying, and getting the chicken in the oven before today's guest, Mr Peter M Leary, puts in an appearance.

 Not only that, we manage to sit outside in the garden for dinner, with only minor trips inside to watch The Gruffalo, change the DVD, put the Cbeebies Panto on etc. Minor carping aside, he's been brilliant this weekend, the best boy ever.

Food of the Milos (and Ana and Russell)
Breakfast: Nibbles, followed by his new post-nibbles-pre-breakfast snack, an ice lolly. We then all have some very unsuccessful poached eggs. They were new eggs from the shop, so I can only either assume a) they were old there, or b) my pan was too big;
Late Lunch/Dinner: Roast chicken, with salad and our new crack, potato and rosemary sourdough bread from Gail's Bakery. This was supplemented by two bags of Tyrells and plenty of wine.

Am now officially excited about Canada. I don't know what to have first, TimBits or Wings? Or both? 5 sleeps to go and then we'll find out...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

peter gordon's puy lentil, avocado, green bean and baby gem salad & bill granger's chick pea and tomato soup with chorizo

Sometimes I don't know how Ana copes with looking after Milo all day, it's knackering. Not that he wasn't an amazingly good boy today, really funny and good, but jeez louise I did not stop from the time he got up until he finally collapsed.

Whilst Ana had a tactical hair appointment, taking up most of the day, we cycled to the post office to pick up some parcels. As we were there it seemed rude not to play in Mortlake playground for an hour or so, before cycling back and then going to Brentford Fountains for an hours swimming, diving off the side, and playing total wipeout on the big floats. Only managing to lure him out with the promise of an ice cream, we eventually got home for a late, late lunch - Peter Gordon's puy lentil, avocado, green bean and baby gem salad:

There was a lot riding on this, given our current fixation with the Salad book, doubly so as this was the recipe which finally convinced us to give it the book a chance, but sadly it didn't quite deliver. Fair enough I forgot the sage, and the lentils were still a little warm because we were starving, but it just didn't have as much oompf as the other recipes we've tried. It's particularly odd as it's got pomegranate molasses in, which are really umami. I'll see what two days in the fridge does for the flavours at work on Monday.

Still, it gave us the energy to get an ice cream on the walk to The Treehouse, have a pint (or two) in the baking sun, and eventually get Milo's dinner. With him asleep, we get to have some warming soup whilst watching Wallander on BBC4...

It's perfect - hearty, spicy and filling - which is just as well as I'm clearly not used to daddy care and am suffering...

Food of the Milos (and Ana and Russell)
Breakfast: Porridge all round, with some toast;
Lunch: We had the lentil salad, he was fuelled by post-swimming snacks and crisps, and a plate of spaghetti with veggie sauce;
Dinner: Sausages, chips and broccoli at the pub for him, soup for ice. Incidentally, has anybody tried Lindt's chocolate with sea salt? It's totally dreamy...

puy lentil, avocado, green bean and baby gem salad - Peter Gordon, Salads: The New Main Course, p48
chick pea and tomato soup with chorizo and green chilli - Bill Granger, Delicious, February 2008 p68 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti

Ana's out tonight, whooping it up with the Hurlingham girls at Kate's. This leaves me home alone, with only a bottle of my dad's apricot brandy and my new comedy fixation, Bleak Expectations, for comfort. Harrumble indeed!

However, spoof Dickensian comedy and high proof home brew only feel the soul, the stomach requires something more substantial. However, can anybody tell me what's missing from this by-now-classic Heston dish?

Pancetta is the obvious answer, but I presume you all noticed the lack of egg yolks? I only had one which whilst hardly disastrous, certainly made it less unctuous.

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

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

cheesy gnocchi with parma ham

Does anybody else have blind spots for things in magazines? My particular one in Delicious is the Assembly Chef section. I don't count A Webb's history of whatever, because I actively avoid those, but Assembly Chef is just meh, and therefore below my contempt/interest.

But, if ever I need to justify this ennui to it I can now simply come back to this dish - an experimental cheesy gnocchi, with parma ham and antipasti:

It was okay *at best* but could've been so much better. However what with the antipasti and it's oil, and lightly oiling the casserole, and melting mozzarella over the top, it just became a greasy, clagfest, and gnocchi doesn't need any extra clag. One to avoid.

cheesy gnocchi with parma ham - Delicious, June 2011, p29

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

peter gordon's warm salad of chorizo, olive, potato, peas and green beans, with rocket

Glory be! Could it be another experimental salad from the Peter Gordon book? Lucy you are never getting it back...

Again, it initially looked v complicated, but was actually just a number of smallish prep steps, inevitably involving blanching stuff, and then piling it all on the plate. Another winner - marvellous!

Food of the Milos
Another busy day gymnastic-ing, play-dating-ing, and hiding from Mummy in bushes in the park. I wish I was 3 1/2 again...
Breakfast: Nibbles - the usual;
Lunch: Lunch at James and Ben - macaroni cheese and a rocket ice lolly;
Dinner: Spaghetti and pasta sauce;
Incidentally, Ana has decreed she's fed up of remembering what he had for dinner, particularly as it's broadly the same stuff, so unless something different happens - playdate, eating out, starts chowing down on Kudu, etc - she wants to kill this bit of the blog.

warm salad of chorizo, olive, potato, peas and green beans, with rocket - Peter Gordon, Salads: The New Main Course, p115

Monday, 16 May 2011

peter gordon's fried halloumi topped with chilli, spinach, water chestnut, hazelnut, orange and sun-blushed tomato salad

How about THAT for a snappy title? Having ignored the book Brenda so kindly gave us, for all of a year, we seem to have suddenly gone Peter Gordon salad crazy.

I have to say he looks a complete knob on the flyleaf, and one of the reasons I've steered clear of trying any of his recipes is whilst looking amazing, they all come with a list of ingredients as long as your arm, and multiple, seemingly finicky, stages. However *however* I realise now this is a cunning ploy, because if you ignore the faffy bits (we did not soak our halloumi for 24 hours beforehand), these are some of the easiest salads I've ever made, all of them have looked incredible, they've all been really tasty, and are surprisingly filling:

If the idea of blanching veg isn't scary, and you don't mind doing several different, smallish tasks to construct dinner, these should be a doddle! Oh also, interestingly enough eagle-eyed Ana pointed out whilst the recipe called for hazelnuts, the photo in the book clearly uses pecans - take that celebrity chefs!

Canada Excitement News: After Bikini Blitz, Ana spent several hours choosing some actual swimwear to take to Wolf Creek (or whatever it's called), and I found $19.89CAN in the cupboard. It includes one Looney. 10 days to go...

Food of the Milos

fried halloumi topped with chilli, spinach, water chestnut, hazelnut, orange and sun-blushed tomato salad - Peter Gordon, Salads: The New Main Course, p65

Sunday, 15 May 2011

jill dupleix's sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery

It's an odd sort of day today. We do a lot of little things, but the weather doesn't really play ball until late afternoon, which makes it seem longer than necessary. It doesn't really matter in the morning because we're visiting the Natural History Museum with Kendra, Brian and Finn, so the weather can do what it wants.

It's fairly blowy during our picnic outside the wildlife garden, but starts raining on the way home. And then stops, so I start doing some gardening, and then it starts again - FFS! However, by the end of the day it's lovely, I've hacked out the dead ivy from the back wall which encouraged our resident robins to spend a good 20 minutes hovering about a foot from me, swooping up insects, and Ana has already begun sorting our her holiday wardrobe.

With monkey in bed we have one of our favourite salads, with an exciting bottle of cider we saw in Waitrose yesterday, and justified buying because we didn't buy any muesli. Hmmm, muesli or cider - should we really have bought the booze?

Food of the Milos
Suddenly his gargantuan appetite has withered slightly, which can only be a good thing as we've mainly got salad on the menu.
Breakfast: Nibbles - ham, cheese, apple, and more ham;
Lunch: A roll from the museum and crisps. Luckily for us (although not our waistlines) he wasn't keen on the blueberry muffin;
Dinner: Veggie pasta sauce made with our remaining passata, courgettes, mini broccoli, onions, tomatoes, garlic and spinach all blitzed together and simmered.

sesame chicken salad with cucumber and celery - Jill Dupleix, the Owl Book

Saturday, 14 May 2011

fino's chorizo and tomato salad, with bread and goat's cheese

For some reason I've really struggled with what we did today, and it's only just happened.

I know we all had scrambled egg together for breakfast, we pottered around the garden a little bit before going shopping, I burnt Milo's pizzas but I can't remember whether they were for lunch or dinner, and we had Fino's tomato and chorizo salad, with cheese, rosemary sour dough and chilled chilled rose whilst watching Eurovision:

The afternoon though is a complete blank, until I'm putting some of Milo's clothes into the washing and from the ice cream dribbles, my missing hours return. We went to Richmond May Fair! He went on the bouncy castle, the big slide, and a couple of rides, we queued behind Sally Phillips, Milo bumped into one of my least favourite rugby players (it's just jealousy), and we had some more ice creams from Gelateria Danieli. I knew I'd remember...

chorizo & tomato salad - Fino, in Delicious, July 2006, p59

Friday, 13 May 2011

fresh borlotti bean soup alla maruzzara

Friday the 13th - what could possibly go wrong? Nothing, *of course*! If anything it's a demi-great day: It's beautiful, I beat my PB running the 8 miles into the office, I get some amazing eggs from our Head of Marketing's East End chickens, and did I mention it was beautiful? It was beautiful. It's also the beginning of our Canada-countdown. Two weeks to go Harlocks - yay!

We've got more experimental stuff on the agenda tonight; a curious soup from Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio's new book, Two Greedy Italians. I'm all for soups generally, and I've been gasping to try something with borlotti beans as they are nothing short of the most beautiful pulses ever, but I was not prepared for the result:

Whilst it *was* tasty, very tasty in fact - like a more delicate version of minestrone, which makes it fairly good for the summer (sorry Sarah) - I was ever-so-slightly disappointed with the colour as the cooking process completely removes the purple whorls and swirls. I might just as well have used tinned cannellini beans...

Food of the Milos
More playdates today, this time with Finn and Kiki in Richmond Park, Nursery of course, and Pheeeeeeebs 1st birthday picnic!

Breakfast: toast and porridge before nursery
Lunch: Party food! Ham sandwiches, crisps, ice lollies and swanky cup cakes from Selfridges. I notice there's not party food for daddies when I get home from work;
Dinner: He had sausages, spaghetti and cherry tomatoes, whilst Finn had the same only with fish fingers rather than sausages.

fresh borlotti bean soup alla maruzzara - Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio, Two Greedy Italians, from Delicious, June 2011, p38

Thursday, 12 May 2011

donna hay's pasta with cherry tomato sauce

Even colder cold, smokey and oily gravlaks and pasta salad does not a divine lunch make. Double urghs all round! Still, it is another lovely day, and I'm demi-inspired by our burgeoning tomato plants to fire up Donna Hay's classic pasta with cherry tomato sauce. There's not enough for Milo's dinner tomorrow though. Oh dear, how sad.

With dinner rather swiftly out of the way - ahh the delights of eating at the table, the conversazione! The rose! - I spend the rest of the evening soaking borlotti beans. Jazzy!

Food of the Milos
More witchery today AND Little Kickers, but still curiously little appetite. The usual snacks apply.
Breakfast: Porridge and honey, toast;
Lunch: Pasta with veg and tomato sauce, banana and chocolate mousse;
Dinner: Sausages, spaghetti in tomato sauce.

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

bill granger's poached salmon and orzo salad

What to do with the remaining whale-like portion of home-made gravlaks Hannae brought over? There's only so much salmon and rye bread snacks and scrambled egg and salmon-based breakfasts one can have over a couple of weeks, so we go for broke and try and use the entirety up in Billy G's poached salmon and orzo salad:

I fear it was only mildly successful. You can only slice the salmon so thinly, and even then it's too smokey and oily for the rest of the salad.

Food of the Milos
A hearty day of being witches and watching Calamity Jane strangely did not begat a raging hunger:
Breakfast: Porridge, honey and toast;
Lunch: Chicken and veg, custard;

poached salmon and orzo salad - Bill Granger, Holiday, p14

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

peter gordon's yellow courgette, chickpea, red onion, chilli, watercress and feta salad

How pretty is this?

The recipe calls for yellow courgettes, which I've planted and have finally sprouted, but I couldn't wait another month or so until they'd grown, flowered and produced fruit, so we had it with normal green ones instead.

Like the pea, broad bean, fennel and roasted sweet potato salad last week, this was totally not what I expected - but in a completely good way.

First up, it was really easy to make. Seriously, dead quick - I had it all done within about 20 minutes. The courgette, onion, chilli and feta mixture has a moreish curry quality which is quite earthy, and very filling. The courgettes were most surprising thing, particularly as I don't like courgettes. Well I don't hate them, they're just a bit boring, but thinly sliced and blanched in salted water for 30 seconds tops, they become sort of courgette tagliatelle, and are quite delicate. All in all, double yum!

Food of the Milos
Gymnastics, walks in Richmond Park and a visit from Kiki and Finn - it's a busy old day for Ana and Milo today. He also drunk about 10 litres of elderflower and apple juice.
Breakfast: An apple, cheese and toast (which he decided he didn't like as it had "nuts" in, so Ana had to eat it. However he ate the same bread in sandwiches later - ha!), and a boiled egg before gymnastics;
Lunch: A Gingerbread teddy bear post-gymnastics, ham sandwiches and a fruit ice lolly. Snacks and an orange Calipo in Richmond Park;
Dinner: Sausages, broccoli, mini-sweetcorn, and cherry tomatoes for dinner with Finn, who had fish fingers.

yellow courgette, chickpea, red onion, chilli, watercress and feta salad - Peter Gordon, Salads: The New Main Course, p56

Monday, 9 May 2011

pancetta-wrapped salmon with griddled asparagus and lime creme fraiche

Discovering I had a puncture as I was going out the door this morning means tonight's plans have to be put on fast-forward if I've got any chance of a) getting home early to have the promised pre-bed bath with Milo, b) fix the puncture and c) get some blogging done, and all before d) the Glee Gaga special starts at nine.

As it is, I only get b) and c) completed but I've promised to get home early tomorrow for the bath, I can watch Glee tomorrow at work, and the pressures of time mean we get to eat this super fresh and healthy salmon dish Ana cooked back in February, with a glass of rose together. You can just feel the pounds dropping off!

Actually Lucyfer cooked this recently so it was already in the back of mind when Brenda turned up with half-a-hundredweight of asparagus over Easter. Sadly our crops were from the IoW Brenda, although I did use your patented snapping technique on them...

Food of the Milos
He's got nursery *and* a playdate today, so his powernap on the way back from Greg and Amanda's yesterday might just come in handy.
Breakfast: Chocolate porridge;
Lunch: Dried mango and apple on the way back from nursery, then he once again proved his gannet credentials when Sam came over with her two - sausages, broccoli, sweetcorn and Thomas pasta shapes, a fruit juice ice lolly, then pillaging smoked salmon from his mother's plate. Then another lolly, this time a Mini-Milk;
Dinner: Homemade Hawaiian pizza, a yoghurt tube, and more nibbles - dried mango, pineapple, salami and ham.

pancetta-wrapped salmon with griddled asparagus and lime creme fraiche - Delicious, June 2010, p23

Sunday, 8 May 2011

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad

After last night's late night drinking Amaretto, eating fine foods and playing Shithead at Amanda and Greg's, we're surprisingly chipper this morning. Well I am. Ana, the treacherous dog, does about 20 minutes* child crowd control before disappearing off to Harry's room to sleep on the inflatable bed, leaving me and hop-along Greg in charge of children and sofa bed.

Due to the arrival of the Ocado man at some un-Godly hour today, we have to make a sadly swiftish exit from St Albans, but the upside means we manage to get into Richmond for some vital pre-holiday shopping, and an amazing ice cream on the Green from Gelateria Danieli. However, despite her extra lay-in, and the Milo-controlled injection of pretzel M&Ms, Ana has a slight dip.

The only way to jolt her out of cat nap is to lure her into the kitchen with one of her favourite salads, and a large glass of chilled rose...

Food of the Milos
Breakfast in St Albans, Lunch in Barnes, Dinner in the Garden - his life is like a really rubbish British Airways advert.
Breakfast: Mini choc-chip weetabix, followed by Marmite on toast;
Lunch: Ham, salami, a smoothie and a rice cake, followed by a mango sorbet from Danieli. And most of my strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and a significant amount of Ana's lemon sorbet.
Dinner: Leon chicken nuggets and home-made chips.

mozzarella, peach, basil and parma ham salad - Delicious, 2005 now the Parsley Book
*I am, of course joking. She did loads whilst I snored away happily next to her.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

chez mcpartlin

Having been an awful wife last year and forgetting to celebrate Greg's 40th birthday, this weekend we're heading to Stalbans for a belated-big-four-oh-on-time-forty-first birthday party.

With the shindig in mind, myself and Milo head out early doors to get Greggy a present and Ana goes to Zumba to get into shape before the influx of McPartlin-supplied carbohydrates.

The kids have a fantastic time running around the garden, however the birthday boy isn't in such good form suffering, as he is, from an attack of his rare broccoli-induced gout. It doesn't stop him hobbling around the kitchen cooking a fantastic meal though, which is just as well as Ana and Amanda weren't helping, they were in the lounge drinking fizzy wine and reading Hello!/OK!

For dinner we had really nice tomato, anchovy and celery salad with crusty bread, followed by saffron-poached fish, with parmesan and tomato baked aubergine, and then a really dense almond tart. And loads of Amaretto, small cups of coffee and more wine.

It was a most felicitous evening although if I could change one thing, it would be we never play shithead again, if only so I never have to see smugness like this again:

Food of the Milos
Brunch: The usual Saturday morning nibbles, followed by scrambled eggs with some of Hannae's dad's Gravadlax, on toast. Swingeing cuts, what swingeing cuts?
Dinner: Amanda and Hop-Along Greg cooked up a fine feast of sausages, mash and beans, which was accompanied by much small boy foolishness.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

feta and mint tabbouleh with crispy chorizo

Despite the jolly blue spoon-wooden spoon-green bowl vibe in the image, I've got a right cob-on by the time I get home today. There are a number of possible reasons (Milo waking up in the night, having a pint with the boss at lunchtime, annoying people on the roads) but none I can categorically pin the blame on.

By the time I get home, Ana's halfway out of the door on her way to Nursery Book Club and I'm less-than-inspired to cook anything. Or indeed watch anything, listen to anything or read anything. All I'm good for is knocking up enough salad for two plates tonight (for me) and lunch for all tomorrow:

(Not really) Interesting aside: This time I made it, at Ana's insistence, with cous cous. Not that she ate it, when she returned, drunk, at midnight, which wasn't bad given she hadn't actually finished the book, and didn't want to go.

Food of the Milos
Breakfast: We're up late today, so he only had milk before nursery, and then really eat anything at Julia's - some porridge and a cracker with some pate;
Lunch: Fish Pie (although he didn't eat the peas), followed by custard;
Dinner: Tonight Ana gets creative and the two of them make Leon's chicken nuggets, mini broccoli and sweetcorn. It's a massive success!

feta and mint tabbouleh with crispy chorizo - Delicious, May 2011, p23
chicken nuggets - Leon: Naturally Fast Food, p168

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

peter gordon's warm pea, broad bean, fennel and herb roasted sweet potato salad

Experimentation ahoy! Months and months ago Brenda gave us a Peter Gordon recipe book called Salads: The New Main Course, which looks quite dry and therefore has never been used. Until this week that is, as we're scrabbling around for new salad dishes to augment the usual Mediterranean/Mozzarella, Peach and Ham/Rice and Chicken and Sesame Chicken salad axis.

However whilst relatively simple to make, this dish is a little bit pfaffy, all of which equates to demi-high levels of stress in the kitchen.

Despite my unjustified high horsing it turns out pretty well, and completely not what I'd expected. I thought the fennel and lemon juice would totally overwhelm the peas and broad beans, but in fact the combination of herby roast sweet potato goes really well with the parmesan and beans, and the fennel and lemon only come through later.

It's a keeper I think, and I think it'll be better next time as we're coming into the season and we can have fresh, podded beans rather than the canned variety I got this time. It's probably worth getting some frozen as well, so we can have it any time.

Food of the Milos
Breakfast: Choc Krispies, toast and butter;
Lunch: Chicken and veg, cake and two yoghurts. Why won't he eat yoghurts at home, but eats loads at Julia's?
Dinner: Veg bolognese

warm pea, broad bean, fennel and herb roasted sweet potato salad with parmesan dressing - Peter Gordon, Salads: The New Main Course, p45

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart with salad

For some reason today is a complete blank. I blame the bank holiday (and Pippa's dress), but what I do know is whilst having the full complement of ingredients for the tart, we've only got leaves for the salad, which leaves (ho ho!) me slightly non-plussed how to create a tasty salad.

As it turns out, the chance discovery of walnuts in the cupboard, and some walnut oil, inspires the creation of a sort of waldorf salad.

tomato, red onion and creme fraiche tart - Delicious, 2005 or 2006, now the Parsley Book

Monday, 2 May 2011

mediterranean halloumi salad

With Ana out blitzing her bikini tonight and nowt on TV until Glee, I've got a spare hour to potter about watering the garden, sorting out my bag for work tomorrow and unpacking the rest of the weekend's detritus.

The genius of dinner is it only takes as long as it takes to grill some halloumi, open a bottle of chilled rose and slice some extra ripe tomatoes, which have spent the day warming on the sunny kitchen windowsill. Is there any left-over for lunch tomorrow? Is there bobbins...

mediterranean halloumi salad - Delicious, June 2010, p24

Sunday, 1 May 2011

the royal wedding weekend

It's a beautiful sunny weekend and everybody is piling into London for the Royal Wedding, so naturally we're leaving town for the South Coast, and a weekend of hot, nanny action.

On Friday, whilst the ladies are oohing and ahhing over Kate's dress, the gentlemen are assembled in Jonny Osborne's garden putting up a shed, drinking, staring out over the channel and oohing and ahhing over Pippa. A bit later my brother - a trained chef no less - fires up the barbie and spends the rest of the afternoon flipping burgers and turning sausages. This tastiness is later supplemented by John Ashton who seemingly keeps pulling braces of poussin out of his pocket. I still need a couple bowls of my mum's chilli when we get home, mind...

The following day is another scorcher, so we head out in the sun for a trip to Howletts with my mum, Danny, Dylan and Michaela. I'd like to say Milo was well into the tigers and snow leopard, but in fact he was only interested in the elephants and the gorillas. With our monkey in bed, full of ice creams, picnics and macaroni cheese, we swing over to Clokey & Liz's for curry. And loads of silly booze, *obvs*.

Sunday is infinitely more relaxed: Mum takes Milo to mini rugby, Ana packs and I fix dad's laptop, before heading to Sandgate for fish and chips on the beach. Brilliantly not only does Dad almost manage to fall into the mighty rolling ocean, he manages to split his trousers trying to escape a soaking.

Knackered, slightly sun-burned and with an emergency Nanny-rinsing stop-off at Baby Gap, we head home, laden down with left-over chilli for tea. Hurrah for Nanny!