3 November 2011

The last week's recipes - in a nutshell!

Minced Beef & Onion Pie
You remember how I was hoping that the week would stay as planned and not fall apart at the seams?  Yes, well, that was a bit of a forlorn hope as it turned out.

It all started off well, with the Posh Porks.

From there, the meal plan all went to proverbial worms.

I can't remember why, but instead of having the Leek & Bacon Bake on the Wednesday, we wound up having Fish & Chips.  Which was all very nice, plus being very naughty of course!
Pie making

Thursday's Minced Beef & Onion Pie happened most creditably, but with a slight change to the vegetable list in that we used up the Tenderstem Broccoli, instead of breaking into a Swede.

Hubby did a great job with the pie and declared it a very simple thing to create, so will be doing another variation on another day.  Sounds good!  He used shop-bought shortcrust pastry, plus shop-bought liquid gravy to pep up the mince mixture.  So creation of the pie filling was simply a matter of cooking some onion until it was soft and beginning to brown, then browning the mince.  Add in the gravy and a few other flavourings such as Mushroom Ketchup, Worcester Sauce, ground black pepper, reduce the sauce to the right consistency and bingo!  One pie.

The lovely-looking Chicken, Tenderstem & Cheesy Dumpling Casserole got bumped in favour of the Leek & Bacon Bake.  Well, you see, we were building up for Son & heir's birthday on the Monday by then - and organising his diary for two sleepovers and a day spent at Splashdown (an indoor water park) plus all the normal shopping etc.  So time was becoming something of a premium and the bake was easier to produce than the casserole.

As it turned out, I was a bit disappointed by the Bake.  It was the second time of cooking it and the first time we'd really liked it.  I'm not sure what went wrong this time - unless it was because I didn't have quite enough creme fraiche, which left the whole thing rather dry.  I had thought that one pot was the full amount of 300ml, but saw - too late - that it was 200ml instead.

Goodness knows, it was a simple enough recipe - you simply fry off the bacon, slice the leeks into the bottom of a baking dish, cover with the bacon, seasoning and creme fraiche. Then in goes a layer of grated cheese, breadcrumbs, finishing with more cheese - and into the oven. Not much to go wrong there!

For me, though, the dryness was an issue plus the bacon seemed incredibly salty and the leeks over-oniony.  It may well be that I just wasn't in the right mood for this one this time, so until I make it again and it goes well, I won't blog it just yet.  I like to only blog the recipes that have been successful for me, because then at least I know what I'm recommending is good!

Saturday was a sleepover night, so we all had Pizza.  It was just easier that way.  There aren't many children out there who don't like Pizza, whereas there are many more who are liable to be picky over a chicken casserole or a toad in the hole.  The pizzas went down without a murmur and all were sufficiently fed.  Can't ask for more than that.

Sunday's roast chicken was lovely - it really is so much better to buy a £6 chicken and have it go for two meals, than buy a £3-4 small chicken.  Unfortunately, doing a whole roast dinner - even with help from my sous chef with the cutting, chopping and peeling - was a teensy bit beyond me at the moment.

It was as much as I could do, to hobble from the kitchen to the dining table at the end of the cooking.  All of which brought home to me how much of a downward turn the Arthritis has taken just at the moment.  Pondering on it that evening, we suddenly remembered that my Glucosamine supplements had run out last Wednesday and we had forgotten to get some in the Friday shopping.  It is too much of a co-incidence for that to be anything but a contributory factor to the increase in pain I was experiencing - so we made sure to get some when shopping on Tuesday!

Son & heir's birthday dawned on the Monday and a very disgruntled birthday boy made his way dejectedly off to school.  He'd decided to leave opening his presents until he got home that evening, on the reckoning that getting the presents then having to leave them again five minutes later, would be worse than having to wait.  I think that was a very adult decision, from a 13yr old.

It was the taste that counted - not the decoration!
Still, he was full of the birthday spirit once school was over and got stuck into opening his presents with gusto.  I think he was pleased with the loot that he scored - and even got lashed into his Chocolate & Beetroot Birthday Cake.  He did have the good grace to apologise for his "can't you leave the beetroot out" comment, when I was half-way through making the thing at the weekend.

The other half of the roast chicken went down well in its incarnation as Coronation Chicken wraps and everyone felt just that little bit pleasantly nauseous as one does when too much rich food has been consumed.  I think, for Son & heir, the can of Root Beer was probably the last straw, however following a little lay down he rallied and spent the next half an hour peppering the bathroom door with foam bullets from his new Nerf Gun, followed up by an hour or so getting to grips with his new Ebow for his electric guitar, winding up the festivities with a few numbers on his new electronic keyboard.

*phew!*  I think we made it!




  1. Busy week! The pie looks really professional, and I love the sound of that leek and bacon bake, is the kind of inspiration I like!

    My entire weeks meal planning changed, wonder why I bothered to plan!

  2. Hubby says thank you for the pie appreciation, Anne. lol I always think that, so long as I've planned for a week's dinners and been out and bought for those 7 days of dinners, no matter what else happens - at least we'll eat! LOL

  3. Your pie looks amazing, good job, I wish I could get somthing so pretty together. Beetroot cake, what a great idea for a bit of a healthier cake!

  4. Hi there Helene! I'm not sure how much "healthier" the Beetroot & Chocolate Cake is, not much, I suspect! It has the full ration of all the bad stuff in it - sugar, butter, chocolate etc. However, the beetroot does lend it a lovely stickiness and a light texture that is just so very moreish! :)


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