Monday, 19 December 2011

hugh's vedgeree

Somewhat incredibly I'm super-efficient tonight. Within 10 minutes of walking through the door I've got the oven pre-heating, the rubbish out and the washing on, five minutes later and I've got the aubergine, onion and courgette for Hugh's experimental vedgeree roasting away.

It's just as well I'm on top of things seeing how it's 21:45 by the time I walk in! Sweet Jesus it's busy today, as my esteemed co-colleagues have pointed out. Even worse than being completely shagged, is the devastating news Hugh's vedgeree isn't quite as great as I'd planned. Okay, it looks pretty good, but it was lacking some serious oompf:

Seeing as it's so easy to cook, I'm simply going to try it again (mainly because got another aubergine and courgette in the fridge) but this time with a jazzier curry sauce. And maybe some coriander.

vedgeree - hugh fearnley-whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Everyday!, p276

Thursday, 15 December 2011

donna hay's garlic chickpeas and chorizo

A super-quick post tonight I'm afraid. In fact I was close to not bothering at all, but because I want to  gloat about eating out tomorrow night, I'm merely going to go through the motions tonight. It's not quite "we had this, here's a picture of something I've crafted, and finish with a sign-off that pokes fun at somebody, usually by favourite wife", but it's going to be close.

As we discovered last week, this is one of the little lady's dishes, but despite her expertise I'm somehow in trouble for not noticing from the presence of lemon zest or basil from the 320x240 pixel image on a blog. Wimmin eh? It must be her special time.

Here it is, look at it, marvel at it, and come back tomorrow and let's talk steak. Actually, best make that Monday as I suspect it's going to get messy...

Incidentally, two days in the fridge makes the egg curry even better - FACT!

garlic chickpeas and chorizo - Donna Hay, Fast, Fresh, Simple - p14

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

tagliatelle with peas and lemon

Late again. I'm bored with being too-tired and uninspired to cook when I eventually get home, particularly when there's nothing in the fridge apart from cheese. Mmmm cheese.

Anyhoo, having misplaced the toasted sandwich maker we're down to trying to make something out of pasta, peas, creme fraiche and half a lemon in the fridge. I thought we might be able to make Heston's pea & pancetta spaghetti, but there was no pancetta in the fridge and I figured Ana would draw the line substituting mini pepperami instead. I was probably right.

It was okay.

tagliatelle with peas and lemon - Bill Granger, Holiday, p46

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

tom norrington-davies' anglo-indian egg curry

The Christmas rush is seriously impinging on getting home early, but the up-side is I manage to waft this previously, systematically pooh-poohed curry under Ana's nose whilst she's distracted by tiredness/buying Christmas presents online / sending Christmas cards. And do you know what? SHE BLOODY LOVED IT! I knew I was right...

It's a great autumnal/winter dish with some really earthy flavours, complemented by the creaminess of the creme fraiche and egg. However because it's mainly potato I reckon you could do without the rice as it is quite filling. More for me for lunch then, hurrah.

a very anglo-indian egg curry - Tom Norrington-Davies, Delicious circa 2005, The Parsley Book

Monday, 12 December 2011

moroccan-spiced chickpea cakes

It's the beginning of the week, we're all knackered, I've run home in a howling gale, and Milo's had to have a tooth pulled, so what else would you do but attempt to make an experimental, salad-y meal? Particularly one seemingly designed to almost definitely not be Mikelodocus-friendly, and be at least two chickpea cakes too small for a fully satisfying meal?

The are very much like Jill Dupleix's Polpettine, although obviously slightly spicier and a little bit easier to craft. Definitely having again, and definitely doubling the quantities. Incidentally, I think if you made the cakes walnut-sized, they'd be perfect for Festive amuse bouches. I'm here to help.... sort of.

moroccan-spiced chickpea cakes - Waitrose Kitchen, November 2011, p103

Friday, 9 December 2011

delia smith's lime chicken curry

Hurrah, it's Ana Louise's birthday! She's off to the country for a weekend of what I can only presume is two days of stitching samplers, reading the good book and singing psalms of salvation with her fellow sisters of the not-at-all fallen virtue - Lucy, Spandy and Kendra.

However, before her weekend of purity she first has to get through a single night of devilment featuring Mrs Sam Carter, Mr Davisss Taylor, Mr Benjamin Jack Taylor, a whole host of booze and Mrs Delia Smith's patented Lime Chicken Curry:

Did she manage it? What do you think...

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

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

hugh's stuffed peppers with new potatoes, feta and pesto

Another day, another stuffed pepper recipe - and another one from St Hugh no less!

To be honest, once Ana has crowbarred me out of Milo's bed at half eight, I'm not really in the mood to cook anything. Particularly as this recipe's cooking time clocks in at about an hour and a half - yet is still the quickest thing we've got on the menu this week, and I'm even less enthused with the discovery we've got no pesto. Something I think you'll agree, which is pretty key to this dish.

However you should never underestimate the inspirational effect of knocking together some homemade pesto. Basil and garlic bashed, I'm ready to slather the potatoes and feta in green gloop and bake the peppers, and you know what? It's pretty bloody good!

It's a pretty good variation on the usual cheese and carb stuffing, hearty enough to take the edge of today's frost, and I'm secretly a little bit pleased with the pesto.

stuffed peppers with new potatoes, feta and pesto - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Everyday!, p256

Monday, 5 December 2011

hugh's cannellini bean and leek soup

By cock it's freezing today, with an extra knuckle of lung burn on my run back. Bring on the snow I say!

Anyway, by the time I get back and we've erected the Christmas tree, put the rubbish out, tidied up and Ana's cracked on with her planning for the week, I'm not really in the mood to make moroccan chickpea thingies, or stuffed peppers, or anything on our weekly menu which is likely to take longer than 10 minutes and requires any brain power. Soup it is then.

Actually, this being an experimental Hugh dish we were supposed to have last week but didn't, it does require some forethought, but the trade off means I can luxuriate in the shower whilst it ticks away.

Gallingly, it's a bit of a fail from the Hugh. I suppose he had to at some point. I mean it's okay, but it's hardly packed with flavour; it's wishy-washy and just a bit meh and I suspect the chilli oil is just a ruse to cover up it's lack of va-va-voom. I'd rather have a heartier minestrone, or leek and potato next time...

cannellini bean and leek soup - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Everyday!, HFW, p165

Sunday, 4 December 2011

hugh's mushroom ragout with soft polenta

Winter is definitely creeping in. It's cold and wet, and we're all under the weather for one reason or another: Milo is struggling with a cold, and me and Mrs Barnes are hungover from last night's slap-up dinner with The Kings of Kingston.

Nobody wants to get up, so we're obviously delighted to be forced into action early doors. Ana has to go to school to continue preparing for this week's Ofsted inspection, we've got no food and this afternoon it's the nursery Christmas Fair. Woo-hoo!

By crikey we need a couple of cheeky end-of-day drinks whilst getting the kids ready for bed at Sam and Alistair's, and we're more-than ready for something hearty and beefy to take the edge off it all. With the obvious caveats of it being healthy, and vegetarian. Step forward HFW with this brilliant combination of all our current favourite things - juicy mushrooms, red wine and polenta. Mmmmmm:

Even more brilliantly, Ana hates it. So it's lucky I only cooked the polenta in milk which had infused with bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic for an hour, and I only got three different sorts of mushrooms for the recipe. How vexing? She's completely unreasonable, it must be the change.

mushroom ragout with soft polenta - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Veg Everyday!, HFW, p57