8 July 2011

It all started so well, with Cornish Pasties, of all things ...

As I recall (and a lot has happened since then, so I could be wrong), the last thing I spoke to you all about, was the Chicken Caesar Salad.  Seems like a lifetime ago!

First of all, I have to publicly thank Dominic for the box of Picota Cherries that reached us safely on Saturday morning.  Such a cute box!  I set out with great intentions of making a cherry clafouti, or individual cherry tartlets - but fate just has a hand in these things sometimes and unfortunately, I didn't get around to making anything other than the odd lovely bowl of "fresh from the fridge" cherries with greek yoghurt on top.  I am ashamed to say that I didn't even (goodness knows how) manage to get a photograph of them.  I hang my head in penitence.

What Pad Thai SHOULD look like!
On the Sunday, we were due to have the Pasticcio - but due to unforeseen circumstances, I lost all will to cook the darned thing at around 3pm that afternoon.  So, we opted out and had a Chinese Takeaway instead.  From No.1 Wok, it was predictably yummy - all except the Pad Thai, which was so over cooked, it had degenerated into a sloppy, slimy mess.  The Nasi Goreng was lacking in chilli and had obviously been seriously westernised, but the King Prawn curry, Honey Chilli Chicken, King Prawn sweet & sour plus all the rices were delicious.

Monday saw hubby doing battle with the smoke alarm, as he cooked his way through grilled sausage, grilled bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, baked beans, tinned tomatoes and a fried slice of his own home-made bread, for everyone.  It's just as well we've got a kitchen door which shuts effectively, or I'd have been camped out under the smoke alarm with a fan!

As ever, Tuesday is shopping day.  We go directly after dropping Son & heir at school, which gets us to the supermarket at around 8.30am.  This ensures that a) there will be a disabled buggy available and b) that it will be charged up and ready to go.  It also has the added bonus of there not being too many people around, at that time in the morning.  In fact, by the time we leave, the car park will have just about filled up.

Needless to say, we haven't had breakfast by then and so we tend to pick up something to have with a cup of coffee when we get home.  On this occasion, it was a pack of two innocent-looking Belgian Buns from the Bakery.  Which were very nice - a naughty treat - right up until I began to feel a bit peculiar later in the evening.  In fact, it was just as I was about to serve up our home-made Cornish Pasties (of which, a blog will appear later)!  This "feeling peculiar" continued across the next two days, hubby joined in around 2-3 hours after I began to go down with it and we both were completely out of action (barring taking Son & heir to school and collecting him again, then making him something to eat) for the next two days.

Just as well I don't have claws, really!
We were both fighting nausea, had debilitating stomach pains and I broke out in an alarming-looking itchy rash.  It occurred on my arms on Tuesday evening, but progressed to my back by Wednesday evening - but the odd thing was that it went away during the day.  It was very like the rash I get when I've had too much garlic, so I take it to be my body's way of dealing with something it really doesn't like.  Poor old Son & heir was quite concerned about the pair of us, although he did get the added bonus of a particularly nice pizza which we'd bought for him on Wednesday evening, as a defence against having to cook.

So there we are.  The sorry and somewhat un-nerving tale of our lost two to three days.  I think I'm just about over it now, and hubby is following along - although he's had a rather harder time of it, as he was required to pitch in and do a whole heap of housework on the Wednesday, before the Occupational Therapist arrived to check out our new patio.  Poor soul, he did a brilliant job that obviously didn't do him any good at all, health-wise.

Of course, all this has thrown my meal plan into disarray.  Although, I am ultimately happy to report that we've been able to keep to the plan for every day other than Wednesday, when we opted for the ready-made dinners in Sainsbury's chiller cabinet, rather than cook.  What did I have?  Well you won't be surprised to hear that I chose a Shepherd's Pie.  What else would do the trick?  Hubby chose sausages, but ultimately had one of the leftover Cornish Pasties from the day before and Son & heir chose what looked to be a completely gorgeous pizza with a stuffed crust.  It was only the circumstances that prevented me from mugging him for a taste.

That's an 8-inch plate it's sitting on!
So!  These Cornish Pasties - completed against the odds (and I have sampled one since) are truly the best Cornish Pasties I've managed to produce, to date.  I kept the recipe simple - just potato, swede and onion, plus the best steak mince I could find - and a whole heap of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.  I also used the mandolin to cut the vegetables, as I figured they would benefit from all being a similar thickness.  Seemed to do the trick!.

They baked up to be the most enormous pasties I've ever seen - one each was more than enough for a dinner, with the addition of a few baked beans to help them go down.  As said before, hubby managed one before being struck down by the lurgy and Son & heir happily waded his way through his, with a big smile on his face.

I've dealt with Wednesday above, but Thursday should have been Calzones & salad.  Hubby was in no fit state to be making bread dough, so the Spicy Lamb Mince & Ottolenghi's Green Couscous that we should have had on Wednesday, filled the gap.

It's the first time I've cooked this Spicy Lamb Mince and I have to say that I'll very definitely be doing it again, as it was really delicious.  Together with the Green Couscous - which came up trumps and was as gorgeous as the first time I made it - they went really well and made a healthy plus flavoursome meal for jaded tastebuds.

I won't deny that both hubby and myself had a bit of a tummy-twinge thereafter, but it was worth it to get some "proper food" down your gullet!

Well, that brings us to tonight and the rest of the week, which is shaping up as follows :

Friday : Mozzarella Bolognese Bake
Saturday : Ras-al-hanout Chicken with salad
Sunday : Chicken & Fennel Ragu with Jacket potatoes & peas
Monday : Sausage meatballs in gravy, with mash & vegetables.

I don't think anything there jumps out at you as being particularly special or even challenging - which is just the way I like it, at the moment!
The Mozzarella Bolognese Bake is based (lightly) on the Pasticcio idea, but with a view to using up the two Mozzarella balls that are left over from the Calzones that didn't happen.  I make a Mozzarella & Sausage Pasta Bake which is a family favourite, so it's going down those sorts of lines.

Saturday's Ras-al-Hanout chicken is an incredibly simple dish of chicken rubbed and marinated in Ras-al-Hanout, then grilled and paired up with a salad of chargrilled peppers, olives, cherry tomatoes and lettuce with some buttered new potatoes.  Nothing to frighten the horses involved with this, but hopefully will prove to be very nice, all the same.

Now the Chicken & Fennel Ragu on Sunday is something I'm looking forward to cooking.  I picked it up from the internet somewhere - but for the life of me I can't remember where and I forgot to note down on the page where I got it from.  Hence, if it's your recipe - do let me know and I'll credit you with it!  I've managed to get some of the lovely Marabel baking potatoes again, which were so nice the last time we had them.  I can't see it requiring much more than a few peas to bring colour to the table, so again, another simple but (hopefully) lovely meal.

Hubby's in charge on Monday again, and he's further exploring his sausage meatball line.  This time, it's going to be sausage meatballs in gravy (I'm hoping for onion gravy), with mashed potatoes and vegetables - probably involving carrots and broccoli.  Well, if that doesn't get us back on our feet, nothing will!


  1. And, the loveliest thing on this post Jenny.....
    Is the Putty-Tat....More please....! :).
    Oh! l have a smoke alarm, in the hall, really great, when it goes off....Dinners ready....!
    Sorry l'm a bit fluffy to-day, off to the Pavilion, B'mth to-night, won tickets to a Soul show.....! Whey Hey...! :0).

    The spicy lamb and green couscous looks good, l have seen green couscous, but, never bought or tried it....mmmmmmM!
    And, chicken and fennel, lovely, love fennel, like to see people use it more....!
    One downside, just me really, don't mind pasties, BUT....They always look so lifeless, and boring on a plate, to me.....Poor little so-and-so's. Sad!
    Still....Love the pussy-Cat.....!

  2. LOL When I was looking for a picture that illustrated "itchy", I found a couple of dog pictures but thought "no, Willie likes cats, so maybe I can find a cat that will demonstrate it better". *chuckle* So there you are - a tabby just for you.

    A show at the Pavilion, eh? How lovely! Oh, I bet you'll enjoy that - especially as it's Soul. I really like the old style Motown stuff - got a double CD of it somewhere!

    I suppose it isn't all that surprising that a Cornish Pasty looks a tad uninteresting just sat there on a plate, as all its joys are shut up inside it. I guess if you're ever hankering for a bit of savoury pastry, then give these a go - you'll be surprised! :)


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