22 September 2011

A week of firsts - well, almost. Meal plan w/c 20 Sept 11

Firstly though, I just want to tell you about the end of last week.

A couple of weekends ago, you may remember we invested in a mahoosive great lump of roasting bacon.  I did a kind of pot-roast with the slow cooker and half of the piece has been sitting in the freezer awaiting inspiration.

Eventually we gave up on inspiration striking and went for Ham & Cheese Pasta.

This was to be one of hubby’s cooking nights and my goodness but he did it proud!  The ham was soft and sweetly salty, while the cheese sauce on the pasta was all oozy and delicious.  We have found a new cheese (well, to us it is new!) in the supermarket, called Castello® Reserve HerrgĂ„rd®, which is apparently a matured Swedish hard cheese.  It is a cheese very similar to extremely mature cheddar in its texture, but without any of the salty crystals that you so often find in cheddar.  They reckon it has buttery undertones of caramel and nuts – well I’m not sure about that, as the high flavour tones do tend to monopolise your tongue!

Anyway, I can recommend it in a cheese sauce for pasta.  Working together with a mature cheddar (cheddar in the majority) it completely rounded out the flavour, resulting in a super strong cheesy kick.

Oh and by the way – it’s gorgeous on a cracker with some chutney, too!

So, that brings us on to the new week - and this is how it's looking :
Tues : home-made pizza
Weds : Corn chowder with poppy seed loaf
Thurs : Beef Lasagne with chips for boys and salad for me
Fri : Chicken Traybake with runner beans
Sat : Tarragon chicken, gnocchi and tenderstem broccoli
Sun : Beef Goulash with rice
Mon : Sausage plait with chips and baked beans.

Well, typing that just made me hungry - so I reckon it's looking good.

Looking good!
As is often the way, a few days have gone by in the new week.  So where Monday's pizza day is concerned, because we couldn't think of anything we particularly wanted that wasn't suitable for Son & heir, we all had pizza.  Except, instead of buying frozen pizzas, hubby put his pizza-maker's hat on and made some cracking home made versions.  Son & heir had a ham & pepperoni, whereas hubby and I had everything including the kitchen sink on ours.  That included pepperoni, ham, red pepper, red onion, mushroom and most wonderfully of all - anchovies.  Goodness how I love those little fishies!

The pizzas were so filling that neither hubby nor I managed to finish ours - which provided breakfast for hubby for the following day.

As for Wednesday's Corn Chowder, well, I'd been keeping my eye open for a good hearty recipe for this.  I'd seen a few that seemed particularly lightweight and not really suitable as a main course soup.  Then I clapped eyes on one from www.fresh365online.com.

I made it last night and after a bit of a worry about how the corn was cooking, it turned out fabulously.  I'll blog about it separately, so won't go into detail now.

Tonight's dinner - the Lasagne - is hubby's first ever go at making Lasagne.

We all really like Lasagne and because I've not been well, I've not been making dishes like this that take a while to make.  I just find it impossible to devote the time that's required, what with making the bechamel sauce, then the pasta sauce, then the assembly and creation of a salad to go with it.  Unfortunately, it's just beyond me at the moment.  So, dear hubby has stepped up to the hotplate and had a go.

Having just got back to the computer from devouring a good third of the Lasagne, I can tell you that hubby has got the job!  Again, I'll be blogging about this one - so you'll have to wait until then to hear all about it in detail.

Sneak preview!
Friday is a little bit exciting in a beetroot kind of way.  This is the day that the samples of beetroot arrive for the "So you think you know beetroot" challenge.

I'll be receiving three types of beetroot and, to start us off, several recipes have been suggested.  I thought I'd do one of those recipes - as they are recommended - and just freewheel after that.  So Friday's dinner will be the "One pan roast lunch of chicken, beetroot, potatoes and carrots" from www.lovebeetroot.co.uk site.  I have plans to add this and that to the dish, to make it more an evening dinner rather than a lunch, but again (sorry!) you'll have to wait and see what turns up.

I've got all sorts of fledgling ideas about what to do with the other two types of beetroot, but none of them have turned into formulated plans yet.  I'm waiting to see how much of each type I get, before I decide what to do with it.  After all, it's no good planning on doing something that takes 500g of purpleness, if you are only getting 250g - and you can't get to the shops!

Photo c/o BBC Good Food
Saturday's Tarragon Chicken dish is an adaptation of a recipe that I first saw in Olive Magazine, absolutely ages ago.  I've kept it, thinking "I'll do that one day soon" and some two years later, I've managed to include it!  Because of hubby's potato hatred, instead of the new potatoes (which we'll already have had in the traybake) that are recommended, I thought I'd go for gnocchi.  The sauce for the tarragon chicken should have a good enough consistency for the gnocchi and I think our favourite tenderstem broccoli will be fabulous with it.

Now Sunday's Goulash is all that @sarahcartlidge's fault, because she mentioned it being Goulash weather, which switched on an "oooh, yummy!" response in my brain, which won't be switched off again until I make one.  Fortunately, I haven't put the slow cooker away yet - which may well prove to be a permanent fixture on the worktop, at least until Spring strikes.

What do you reckon to beetroot in vinegar served beside Goulash, a la Margi Clarke's Scouse on MasterChef?  Seems do-able, to me.  More so than the Scouse, because after all, beetroot and goulash do originate from similar places ..

Monday is hubby's day to cook again - and this time he's planning on creating a sausage plait (basically a giant sausage roll, with plaited pastry).  Sounds lovely to me - especially as he's going to be adding some additional flavours to the sausagemeat.  As of yet, I'm not sure what, but all will be revealed!

So there we are.  All except for the home-made pizzas are dishes that are new to us.  Even the Goulash is, as I've never managed to create a "proper" Goulash - and by "proper", I mean one which lives up to the one I've got in my head.  Exciting times in the kitchen, even before the beetroot turned up!



  1. Are you going to be frying the gnocchi to make rapid roastini a la Nigella? I've got those on the menu for next week - something I've been meaning to try for ages!

    Looking forward to seeing the outcome of your beetroot experiments - whenever we get them (which is quite seldom) we usually end up slicing them mandolin-thin and roasting to make healthy(ish) crisps.


  2. I pondered on that, Seren. However, to keep the fat content down, I think I'll just use them straight. They are to take the place of new potatoes which are cooked in the sauce, so I figure if I cook them in water then heat them up again in the sauce, they might do a similar job. The rapid roastini are so tempting mind you! lol

    I'm quite excited about the beetroot - I received it this morning in a beautiful white box with an enormous purple ribbon around it! Very glamorous! I will definitely be making a chocolate cake (or maybe chocolate muffins) with them, as I am intrigued to find out how good the combination of beetroot and chocolate really is!


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