Happy St. David’s Day people of Wales!
Each year, this day brings back abundant memories of being at primary school in a tiny Welsh village …in particular, being issued with a choice of leek or daffodil to wear for the day. The older kids always went with a leek, preferably one so large it had to be worn cross-wise on the chest, with a phalanx of pins required to keep it there. This would then be nibbled and gnawed throughout the day, much to the chagrin of the head teacher, who felt it to be utterly disrespectful to the patron saint. End of day prayers and gratitudes would be chanted by around 20 children sporting leek roots on their now out of shape jumpers.
Back to modern times, no raw leeks were consumed this week. The following dishes were though:
Pork shoulder with a honey, rosemary and garlic glaze, braised red cabbage with apple and cranberries, roast potatoes, steamed carrots, Petit Man’s awesome cauliflower cheese with leeks, and gravy that was perked up with a splash of red wine. Right up there in the yumminess charts.
Tuesday: The previous night we’d taken some pulled brisket from the freezer with no plan as to what to do with it. When dinner time came all of us were tired and can’t-be-botheredish, so once again we trod the path of least resistance and went for wraps made thusly:
Fry up onion, garlic and strips of green peppers; add shredded beef and heat thoroughly. Generously spread a tortilla wrap (in this case herb and garlic ones) with chilli ketchup and top with grated cheese (we used a mix of Monterey Jack, mozzarella and extra mature farmhouse cheddar – but that’s just because it was what we had in the fridge!). Grill until cheese has melted. Watch the tortilla edges very carefully – they wait ’til they think you’re not looking then hurriedly burn themselves. Remove from grill, add beef and veg, top with soured cream and fire-roasted chillies, roll, cut and eat. Simples.Wednesday: Using my unholy influence* upon Barn, I created in him a desire for fish ‘n’ chips that was so strong he was unable to resist stopping off on the way back from the gym to pick some up. Mwahahaha!
The batter on the fish was superb – crispy, fresh and not harbouring oil wells. The chips were top notch and the mushy peas finished it off nicely. Eaten straight from the paper watching trash TV this was a truly satisfying meal.
* Until now you’ve probably been blissfully unaware that I am, apparently, the anti-Christ. I have been publicly denounced as such by a someone ‘in the know’. I’ll tell you the story if you ask me to ;-).
Thursday: Came home from work absolutely exhausted, proving this by promptly crashing out on the sofa. Barn tiptoed around me until around 9pm, at which point he woke me with freshly baked cinnamon whirls and a mug of frothy hot chocolate. Not especially nutritious but very nurturing, and a rather lovely quick supper to have before trudging up the wooden hill to bed.
Now, we are singularly appalling at labelling our freezer food. Nothing stays there long enough to be a bacterial issue and but it does result in quite frequent games of Mystery Meal. On this occasion one pot was handily labelled ‘spicy meatballs & sauce’ but the other three bore no markings and were selected based primarily on their colour and apparent texture similarities. Turns out that what I’d got out was a single portion each of veggie chilli, tomato and herb sauce, and an nduja based sauce.
All was tossed into a pot with a shrug, some sautéed onions, a heap of crushed garlic and a splash of red wine. When thoroughly heated it was served with rice and finished with the toppings of the consumer’s choice. Mine is the heavy on the cheese number. It might look like puddles of slop but it tasted amazing. True story bro’. 😉
Saturday: Well, the day started off brilliantly when Barn presented me with brunch, on a tray, in bed; eggs Benedict – eggs poached to perfection, barely wilted spinach, sauce on the side the way I like it – and a glass of apple juice. This from the guy who claims he can’t cook!
After spending the next 5+ hours doing paperwork, my partially destroyed soul required something extra luscious for dinner, by way of reparation. I fed it fish au gratin made with hot smoked salmon and prawns, topped with a herby, cheesy crust, served with artichoke salad and baked cherry tomatoes on the vine.
That was followed by lemon cheesecake, fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce. By this stage my soul was mollified and the horridness of the paperwork was a receding memory. The large glass of chilled Pinot Grigio probably assisted the process.
Sunday Brunch: Kiwifruit, strawberries and raspberries topped with deliciously creamy organic strawberry yoghurt; buttery, flaky apple and raspberry pastries; orange juice. Perfect pre-nap fodder 😉
Sunday Dinner: Once again eschewing the traditional Sunday roast, we decided to turn the beef joint into a Malaysian style curry – a damned good plan, even if I do say so myself.
Beef, herbs, spices and creamy coconut milk, gently simmered for a couple of hours until beautiful red oils came to the surface, the beef was tender, the flavours blended and the sauce thick . The curry was served on sticky, fragrant jasmine rice. Hotter chillies would have been better, but hey, you go with what you’ve got. As it was, this was gorgeously aromatic with a gentle heat – good stuff for a cold and rainy Sunday night.