The food week that was – 23/03/15

This was yet another shitty week in the day job so it’s a really good thing I’d made myself food accountable in last week’s meals post, otherwise we’d have almost definitely bowed to laziness and another week of dire dinners.

As it was we managed a passable imitation of being responsible adults, putting together mostly decent meals, at approximately expected/accepted meal times.
Spud and beansMonday: Having declared that this week would be full of culinary thrills, we started the week with a really basic meal of baked spuds, cheese and beans.   A sprinkling of chives gave a gentle oniony flavour lift, a touch of colour, and a nod towards actually making an effort.

Camembert, leeks and bacon Tuesday: I was half way through making a leek, bacon and Stilton quiche when I found a mini Camembert lolling at the side of the cheese box.  A quick consult with Barn to check he was open to some food experimentation, and the leek and bacon Camembert melt was born.

Cut CamembertMini Camembert cheese, studded with garlic, surrounded by sautéed leeks and bacon, and baked on a shortcrust pastry base.  Served with roasted carrots and parsnips, and wilted spinach.

There’s a lot I would change about this – use puff pastry instead of shortcrust, use less bacon, make them individual – but as an off the cuff experiment it worked out ok.  Loved the way the melted cheese spilled out, creating a sauce for the veggies.

Malaysian beef curryWednesday: Making mid-week better with a hot and spicy Malaysian beef curry on jasmine rice.

Butternut squash risottoThursday: Creamy risotto with roast butternut squash and black olives, finished with a drizzle of lemon infused olive oil and a generous sprinkling of chopped, fresh basil.  On the side, watercress, tomato and cucumber salad, topped with toasted sunflower seeds and dressed with balsamic vinegar.

Burger with bacon and stilton

Friday Lunch: Went out locally for lunch with Mum and Big Sis, snatching the opportunity to sit out in an unexpected burst of sunshine.  Behold my choice of handmade burger topped with Stilton and crispy bacon.

Behold also one of my pet restaurant peeves – frozen chips.  Maybe I’ve watched too much Gordon Ramsay, but seriously…you’re charging me £10 for a burger…the least you can do is peel and fry a few bloody spuds to make some decent chips to go with it!  If I want frozen fries I can go to any burger chain for them, and pay a lot less for the privilege.  Bring back real, hand cut chips!!

Lemon tart and berriesFriday Dinner: Eight of us got together at Mum’s house where I cooked chicken cannelloni, served with a simple salad of tomatoes, watercress and rocket.  Unfortunately, caught up in the chatter and excitement to eat, I completely forgot to take any pictures.  You’ll just have to take it on trust that it was delicious.

For dessert we had lemon tart and berries – see evidence above 😉

Nduja Saturday: Nduja.  Nduja.  Just saying it gets me salivating.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a Calabrian pork paste, flavoured with quite spectacular quantities of the sweet and hot peppers that grow only in the area (check out the gorgeous oils on the wrapping there).  It’s made into chunky sausage shapes, smoked and left to season for a few months.

Nduja with TortiglioniMake a quick and delicious pasta sauce that delivers an umami tsunami:

Sauté soffritto until veg begins to soften, add 2 cloves crushed garlic and cook for a further minute or so.  Add two tins chopped tomatoes and about 100g of nduja.  Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the nduja has melted into the sauce.  Combine with drained, cooked pasta (short tubes work best), serve, eat.  Pat stomach, lick lips, wish you’d made more.

BBQ Beer Chicken - raw Sunday: No, this isn’t some kind of kinky game for chickens, it’s oven roast beer BBQ chicken.

Take one chicken, lightly cover with olive oil then rub with a mix of ground coriander seeds, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, red chilli flakes, dried chipotle chilli, salt and pepper.

Place upright on a can 1/3 full of beer and roast at gas mark 6/200°C/400°F until your chicken is cooked and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that the chicken is actually sitting on a Cherry Coke can – that’s because I only had bottled beer, so I decanted some into an empty coke can.

BBQ Beer ChickenBrush cooked chicken with a couple of tablespoons of BBQ sauce and return to the oven for another 10 minutes
BBQ Beer Chicken - plated
Carve – serve with a warm potato salad with lemon thyme vinaigrette, and an undressed sweetcorn and tomato salad.

I’m glad we regained our food enthusiasm and we’re back to looking forward to what’s next on the menu – so much easier to motivate oneself to cook when one wants to eat the end product!

Have a lovely week everyone 🙂

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