26 April 2011

What was on the menu list last week!

I'm really not quite sure what happened to last week, in terms of being able to blog about what was on the menu list, anyway.  I seemed to perpetually be one or two days behind what was happening - but then, this is what happens when real life takes up time you could have spent writing about that real life.

Last week's menu was an odd collection - and this week's is turning out that way, too.  However before we turn our attention to what's going to happen, perhaps we could have a little look at what has happened!

I began last week with the lovely, lovely Smoked Haddock Chowder, with crusty bread.  Well, ordinarily it's lovely lovely.  This one wasn't bad - but it wasn't unctuous and glorious like it should have been.  I have found that, amazingly, if the cook isn't feeling 100% then - very often - the food won't turn out to be 100%.  No matter how hard you try.  Still, everyone ate it all up and maybe it wasn't as bad as I imagined.  Maybe!

A slightly less rich colouring - but very moreish nonetheless
Wednesday was the inaugural trot-out of a Lamb Pilaff originally blogged by Twitter pal @thegrubworm.  I was instantly intrigued by his recipe, as it included just about everything I like to eat - and in a seemingly authentic style.

As is always my way, I made a few changes to his recipe as - and most crucially - I discovered I didn't have any saffron at the last minute.  However, it was too late to change horses mid-course, so I just did my best with it.  I'd also added a leek to the meat mixture to increase the veggie quota and instead of using cubed lamb shoulder, I'd opted for the cheaper lamb mince.

Well, I can only imagine how the embellished saffron-infused version must taste, as the non-saffron version tasted jolly flipping good!  I won't blog the recipe, as you can go to his blog and pick it up from there, simply by clicking on this

Thursday had to be an easy dinner, as I'd been back to work after a few days holiday and anticipated that I wouldn't really be feeling like cooking.  Amazingly, we'd again run out of an integral ingredient for Devilled Sausages, sweet potato wedges and baked beans.  This one was down to bad luck, however, as we'd managed to pick up a jar of peanut butter which some disgusting oik had poked a finger into, then re-sealed.  Yuck.  Devilled sausages just aren't right without peanut butter included in the devilling (I'll blog the recipe the next time we have them and you'll see I'm right).

So, I freestyled a dish of oriental glazed sausages (soy sauce, oyster sauce, marmalade and chilli) together with sesame & orange sweet potato wedges - all with the poor old baked beans.  However, I have to report that orange zest goes oddly well with baked beans.  Who knew?

Good Friday brought about a return to a more structured approach to a meal, in the shape of Spirali al Forno, which utilised four cheeses.  Goodness, but this one was good - so much so, it warrants a blog post all of its own - so look out for it!

Easter was upon us by now - and Saturday involved lots of cleaning, organising and preparation for my parents' visit for lunch on Easter Sunday.  I took the easy way out - and we had pizza.  You can't knock it, when you're busy doing other things!

Easter Sunday, as I told you in the quick post to let you know I hadn't run away, was a lovely day with a lovely meal.  The Ottolenghi Fennel & Cherry Tomato Gratin I have blogged already, but I shall definitely blog the recipe for the Boulangere Potatoes, as it was one of the better ones I've tried.

I've also written a blog post for the Bournemouth Echo which deals with the day in detail, so I won't duplicate too much here.  Once the post is up on the Echo pages, I'll post it here so that we can all catch up.

One thing I didn't blog is our dessert on the day.  Hubby had requested we have some kind of creme brulee.  During discussions, he suggested that it would be possible, to save time and effort, to use pre-prepared custard and simply brulee the top.  Bearing in mind that Ruby, our rhubarb, had been growing fit to bust ever since it had stopped snowing - the concept of Rhubarb & Custard Brulee was born.

The execution of said concept didn't quite come off - although the desserts were very nice and the tops did brulee in the centre.  The custard proved too heavy for the rhubarb layer in the base of the ramekin and forced the rhubarb juice up between the side of the ramekin and the custard.  Consequently, when I sprinkled the sugar on and blowtorched it, a percentage of the sugar melted instantly and disappeared without trace.  However, the crunchy brulee top was achieved and everyone appeared to approve.  Next time, I'll definitely make a lighter weight custard and allow it to set with a skin on top.  That'll definitely help the blowtorching!

I think we should skip lightly over discussing Monday's dinner.  You see, I'd taken the chicken out of the freezer the night before and left it in the fridge.  I came to it on Monday evening to make the Sultana Chicken that I'd listed - and the chicken was still frozen solid.  So, we went to Macdonalds.  *blush*  Needs must, and all that.

Now, before I wrap this post up, I have something very important to report.  I recently bought my very first jelly mould.  So, I give you - a jelly!  Complete with wobble.

So proud - now all I want is one shaped like a rabbit.



  1. Jelly seems to be very much back. I've read about it on a few blogs. As always I put my jelly moulds in a charity bag a few months ago :( when will I learn!

  2. LOL Isn't it always the way? Did that charity bag include a rabbit-shaped mould, by any chance? If so, which charity shop did it go to? LOL

  3. Thank you for the help that you have been, I need to say, you are really awesome, keep updating us here
    takeaway menu

  4. Well thank you Danial. I can see it's early days with "Takeaway Menu", but if it takes off - it'll be great!


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