Well, in fact, I know what happened. It went like this (in chronological order) :
- son & heir's Jazz Band night at school;
- lunch with my parents at their place (we had some gorgeous lamb shanks. Such a treat!);
- son & heir's friend came over for the afternoon;
- we all went to see Mike Dawes & Amy Turk perform at the Bournemouth Folk Club (they were majestically awesome);
- son & heir's Rock Band School night;
- son & heir's Jazz Band night at school;
- a sudden desire for fish & chips;
- my Dad's 80th birthday party at my brother's place (his wife made Beef Stroganoff which was delicious and Coq au Vin which looked delicious! I made him a Beetroot & Chocolate Birthday cake which I hope I can show you, when my niece emails the photographs to me).
So, one way and another, you could probably sum the last ten days up with "guitars & good wishes".
I didn't even get to post the week's menu up for last week, such was my distraction. However, it's probably just as well I didn't - as if you read this week's version it's got a lot of what should have happened last week (and didn't) in it. Fingers crossed for this week!
I did manage to make one nice dinner last week, which was the Tave Me Presh (or Baked Mince with Leeks). Because, this time around, I'm steering clear of carbohydrates as much as possible, I didn't indulge in much more than a forkful of mashed potato. Son & heir loves mashed potato, so I made some for him and stole a forkful. I filled the potato gap with some sauteed courgettes & mushrooms which were a real treat.
Tave Me Presh is one of my very favourite dishes, I've decided. The ingredients seem to be so simple that it sounds highly unlikely that they'll taste good together. In fact, it is one of those dishes that the act of cooking just makes magic happen. The leeks and the lamb combine to make a gloriously buttery collaboration that it is hard to imagine that butter wasn't involved somewhere along the line. The sweet peppers have just enough sweetness to take away that rough edge that leeks can bring, plus they add a welcome shot of colour. If you like leeks and lamb, do try it. I'm sure you'll like it.
Hubby had a flash of inspiration over one of his dishes. He had dreamed up a dish of corn tortillas, interspersed with a hot chilli con carne mixture, which would be baked in the oven. Named the "Mexican Wheel of Pain" it would all be topped off with avocado and was specifically designed to appeal to my anti-inflammatory diet's requirements. However, as the time drew near for him to create this marvellous recipe, he was running out of inspiration and energy (you just wouldn't believe how often that happened to us both, last week!). To save the dinner from disaster, he decided to downgrade his plans and instead made Burritos.
Now I have a marked partiality for Burritos, which was caused by my local Spar shop - approximately 20 years ago - selling the most fabulous Burritos from their delicatessen. I would drive from the horses' field (where I spent all the time I wasn't asleep or at work) 2 minutes up the road, pick up a Burrito and a coffee, drive back and sit munching happily whilst watching the horses doing their thing around the field. Happy days!
Hubby has made Burritos in the past, but I wasn't terribly struck on them. This was because we habitually used flour tortillas which I really don't like very much at all. They always taste of some preservative or another, which I find distinctly yuk. Now because wheat flour is out, but corn is okay (according to the anti-inflammatory diet), we swapped to corn tortillas. Wow! What a difference!
I absolutely loved these Burritos. They were as close as you could get, to those yummy Spar Burritos of days gone by. The chilli mixture had been reduced as far as you could go and was just moist, rather than running out the end of the tortilla wrap. Also, hubby had used a fraction of smoked paprika, along with some smoked streaky bacon, to develop and deepen the flavours. Once again, this was such a simple recipe - but one I'd be happy to eat again and again.
BURRITOS (makes 6-7 burritos)
4 rashers streaky bacon, sliced finely
1 onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
2 long red chilli, chopped fine (seeds discarded if you prefer your chilli cooler)
500g minced beef
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 flat tsp smoked paprika
half a tsp dried sage
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
400g tin red kidney beans (I recommend Bonduelle - in which case, 2 x 200g tins)
pack of 8 corn tortillas (soft versions)
a handful of grated cheddar cheese.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180deg C/350deg F/Gas 4 and prepare a flat baking tray.
2. In a deep frying pan, dry fry the bacon pieces until the fat runs and the bacon is beginning to get crispy. Remove and keep warm.
3. Fry the onion in the bacon fat until softened, then add the garlic and chilli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
4. Fry the beef until all the moisture has been removed from the mince, the beef is completely browned and the fat has separated. At this stage, you can drain off the fat if you're conscious of your weight.
5. Return the bacon and onion mixture to the pan and mix to combine.
6. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree, then the paprika and sage. Season to taste and add a teaspoon of sugar if the tomato sauce seems too acidic. If your chilli hasn't added enough kick at this stage, add some dried chilli flakes to pep it up a bit.
7. Add the kidney beans and stir through. Bring to a simmer.
8. Simmer the mixture (stirring occasionally) until it has reduced to a point where there is no discernible runny sauce.
9. Allow to cool slightly, then fill each tortilla wrap with the chilli mixture and roll it up.
10. Place each roll onto the baking tray and, once all are assembled, sprinkle the lot with the cheddar.
11. Place into the oven until the cheese has melted, the chilli has reheated and the wraps are turning crispy.
12. Serve with a layered salad plus a dollop of soured cream.