27 August 2010

Failure on the compatibility front

Lancaster & Spitfire at Bournemouth's Air Festival 2010
I know the aircraft don't have anything to do with food, but I liked the photograph so much, and it's representative of what was going on over the week!

This blog post first appeared in the Bournemouth Echo's online pages, here.

Well, I can safely say that I had a collection of really nice dinners this week – well, all excepting the Sicilian Style Fish Stew, but more of that later. However, I’m not really sure that the remainder of my family enjoyed them so much.

Son's bowl of chowder, complete with bite missing from bread.
(Photograph taken by son)
We kicked off the week with a Smoked Haddock Chowder, which always goes down well with everyone. This was no exception and made a great start to the week.

Next came what was billed on the Menu as “Tuna & Sweetcorn Salad” and was one of Hubby’s cooking nights. However, it transmogrified into a Tuna Salad Nicoise (albeit made with tinned tuna) and was really gorgeous. I loved the lemon vinaigrette dressing on the salad leaves and with some crusty bread, it made a handsome meal. Unfortunately, our son has decided that he doesn’t like tuna any more. This is peculiar as tinned tuna was, along with fish fingers, the denomination of fish we used to get him started with eating it. He will now eat most types, other than smoked mackerel – and tuna, now it seems. Darn! Foiled again.

We soldiered on and menu item no.3 appeared, which was Meatballs & Pasta. Now we’ve both made meatballs in various incarnations and with varying levels of success, to the point where now we can’t really face the lengthy process of mixing and rolling the little devils, nor the difficulty of finding room in the fridge for them to chill. I seriously think that other people must have two fridges, or alternatively nothing in their fridge to begin with. However, Hubby had come up with a blinder of an idea, which was to use some “extra special” sundried tomato & herb beef burgers which he broke into meatball sized pieces, rolled into a ball and hey presto – meatballs. What a triumph! I can recommend this procedure to all those Mums & Dads out there who are also suffering from meatball making fatigue. Perfect.

You’re probably all thinking “well, that all sounds successful, what’s she on about?”. You see, it all began to go downhill from hereon in.

 Next up on the menu list was the “Sicilian-style fish stew” for which I’d bought some fresh cod fillets and frozen them in advance. Never again. We have now decided that recipes including fresh fish shall only ever feature on a Tuesday or a Friday (both of which are shopping days, and don’t require the fish to be frozen).

Looks innocent enough, doesn't it?
The dish looks a picture, and indeed I really enjoyed the broth, but the fish tasted muddy and not right and the red kidney beans were like bullets, so much so that Hubby and I both got worn out trying to chomp our way through them. Hubby declared his portion inedible and son managed to do his best with it, but more went into the bin than ever got eaten. Still, one bright note was that the brown crusty rolls we had with it, were yummy!

Saturday’s dinner was Braised Chicken & beans, served with a carrot/swede mash. I chose this one, because we were keen to try a few dishes that used white wine, and this one did. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our usual standard of chicken breast and had to settle for the supermarket’s own brand, which was salty, watery and rubbery. Not a good start. Hubby declared the carrot/swede mash inedible, although neither son nor I could detect any problem with it. Son found himself somewhat challenged by the white wine in the sauce, but I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner – problems with the chicken excepted.

Owing to the failure of the last few dinners and the dismal day, I’d decided to make the most of our crop of rhubarb in the garden and made a Rhubarb Cobbler. It isn’t the standard type of cobbler, with “cobbles” placed upon the rhubarb and baked, it is a type where you mix together a batter (made with – American cup sizes – half a cup of sugar, half a cup of plain flour, half a cup of milk, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt) and pour it over the rhubarb. I cooked the rhubarb for 3-4 minutes in the microwave, with a couple of tablespoons of sugar added, then poured the batter mix on top and baked at 180deg (fan) for 35-40 mins. The result is almost like a sponge, but with a gorgeously chewy texture. Add that to our beautiful rhubarb, and everyone had forgotten their dissatisfaction with their first course.

I can only hope that if the Sausage & Lentil Casserole I have planned for tomorrow goes wrong, the family is as easily cheered up by the Pineapple I’ve got for dessert!


  1. oh man...you make me so hungry Jenny...and I just now finished my breakfast!!
    I think I shall actually try to cook some of these...Thanks for sharing!!
    Hugs ~ Maria
    (from Rhode Island, USA)

  2. Tinned Tuna.....Yuk!
    Be' Ciao, Buon Giorno....Sicilian Food.....
    Sicilian Food...Thrown in the Bin.....!
    Horses Head comes to mind....!
    Hang on, l'll just fetch another tissue....!
    I have just this minute come off the phone, and spoken to my cousin Salvatore, in Sicily. He is a Chef and owns a very large hotel in Taormina
    Though retired now.
    La Ricetta,(Recipe).For Sicilian Fish Stew, is fine. But, he would also add Tuna, Mussels and Prawns. And the best white fish to use would be Pollack.
    I must confess, l also use burgers for meat balls. I remember, it was the first thing my Mum taught me to make as a child, that and making Pasta...God bless her...x
    I must say Jenny, you certainly have a feel for food and the way you write it....Well done.....
    Although l live alone l still eat well, and enjoy a nice bottle of red.....mmmmM! Salute!
    Willie's trilogy to life.....
    Love Food.....Love Cats.....Love Pink.....! :)

  3. Hiya Maria! I know, it's one of the drawbacks of writing about food, it does have a tendency to make you a) hanker after ingredients you just can't afford, and b) hungry! LOL If you need any detailed recipes, then just let me know and I'll send them to you. :)

    Hiya Willie! I reckon I might well have been left a horse's head in my bed, following on from the failure that was the fish stew. LOL You can tell Salvatore, that if he would like to pay for us to have Tuna, Mussels and Prawns to add to our next go at the Sicilian Fish Stew, then by all means be my guest! LOL I'd love to be able to afford all those lovely ingredients, but unfortunately, it's beyond my reach just now. :( Good for your Mum, teaching you the essentials of life in that way! I remember the first time my son cooked his cousin some scrambled eggs for breakfast (they're both 11yrs, by the way), I thought "well, at least he won't starve". *grin* Thank you for your kind words regarding my writing - I do try to make it interesting to read, even if you're not a cook!
    Salute! :D


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