7 December 2011

Meal planning the week away ..

Right then!  Enough of this being distracted by birthdays and Christmas - let's get back to the important job of telling you all what we're due to be eating this week.

Ahem!  Pay attention at the back!

I have to tell you, though, that I don't have a great deal of confidence in this week's meals turning out how I've planned them - especially as the first one, Tuesday, has already gone awry owing to the exhausting process that is Christmas shopping.

Anyway, here's what I hope we'll be having this week :

Mon : was to be Pear, chestnut & stilton risotto, but was pizza
Wed : Pork in cider with carrot & swede mash, broccoli & peas
Thur : Chilli beans with chorizo and ciabatta
Fri : Caribbean Curry and rice
Sat : Lamb & Apricot Stew with Green Couscous
Sun : Salmon Filo Parcels with carrots, broccoli, peas & parsley sauce
Mon : Corned beef pie, red cabbage & apple with peas.

I was really quite disappointed not to be having the pear, chestnut & stilton risotto last night.  However, because poor hubby (the Champion Risotto Maker) had been out trawling the doom-laden shops of Poole - doing his Christmas shopping - the risotto was just one step too far.  I don't blame him, as I used to find Christmas shopping exhausting in the extreme.  All that looking at stuff, I always came home feeling as though I'd bought far more than I actually had.  Then, when you look at what you've brought home, you feel vaguely disappointed.  Online shopping rules, so far as I'm concerned.  Even though I can't now walk around the shops, I don't really think I would do it now anyway.  To buy online and have stuff delivered to your door seems a very civilised way of going about it.

So, I'm looking forward to tonight's dinner of Pork in cider sauce.  I'm using a different cider, as we couldn't get any of the usual type from Asda.  I don't suppose it will be all that different, but if it is, hopefully it will be for the better.  Also, because I'm keeping off of carbohydrates, we'll be having carrot & swede mash instead of mashed potato.  Don't tell son & heir, or he might cry.  He's definitely inherited my love for the humble spud!

Thursday's Chilli beans with Chorizo is one of Antony Worrall Thompson's slow cooker recipes.  Son & heir has the day off school that day (teacher training), so it'll be nice to get the dinner organised early and then just make some ciabatta toast for the lads and dish it up.  Easy peasy!

Bless it, I'm still determinedly trying to get the Caribbean Curry to feature on the menu list.  I just hope it's worth all this commitment!  It'd be too bad if, after three weeks of trying to make it happen, it turned out to be disgusting.  Mind you, I can't see it happening.  With all those lovely curry flavours along with bay and allspice, I'm quite convinced it'll be yummy.

No, that's a stew pond, not a lamb stew!
The lamb & apricot stew is a new addition to the BBC Good Food's repertoire.  I've always liked tagine-type dishes, but hubby has been a bit lukewarm in the past.  I hope this one will be a hit, as that would open the door to others.  Needless to say, I can't remember the last time I saw "stewing lamb" in any shops and I'm sure as heck not about to buy a shoulder of lamb (have you seen the price?) so we're going to be having minced lamb.  To create the textural effect of having "lumps" of lamb, I will include some cubes of sweet potato which will also increase the anti-inflammatory factor for the dish.

OMG, that makes me hungry!
I'll be serving it with Ottolenghi's Green Couscous, which has such a great deal of herbs, garlic, onion and chilli included with it, that they are very likely to almost negate the inflammatory effect of the couscous itself.  Not only that, but it is truly gorgeous, so fingers crossed!

Now then, Sunday's Salmon Filo Parcels is my "dish of the week".  I am SO looking forward to having these again.  I first made them over a year ago - before I was writing Rhubarb & Ginger - and blogged them on my general blog.  Since then, I've been looking at the price of salmon going through the roof and wondering when I'll ever get the opportunity to make them again.

Well, as the price of fresh salmon hasn't got anywhere near affordable yet, I'm experimenting with some frozen salmon fillets.  I just so hope that they aren't waterlogged and will do the job required of them.  This is the first dish I made that hubby turned to me and said "this is as good as you'd find in a top restaurant" - which is high praise indeed.  Hence they have a lot to live up to and I so hope that they do, because they were completely gorgeous.

The first time I made them, I paired them with some salad.  Salad days are now pretty much gone and this time, I'm pairing them with some carrots, broccoli, peas and a parsley sauce.  Parsley sauce is something that makes everything taste better - much like bacon and cheese - so fingers crossed, it'll be good.

Sadly this is what Corned Beef looks like, here
Monday's Corned Beef Pie is a blast from the past and having tried to find a photograph of one very much like it, I think it may be something of a one-off.

Many, no really - many, years ago (before I owned my own horse) I went on a week's riding holiday with a girl friend.  The very first night we were there, after an afternoon of gallivanting about the countryside on horseback, we settled down to a completely gorgeous pie of unknown parentage.  Everyone was intrigued by this pie and much discussion was had, back and forth across the table, about its ingredients.  It was soft, like lamb, but tomatoey like baked beans, quite dense, fried onions, shortcrust pastry and a deliciously savoury thick sauce.  Well, it turned out to be corned beef pie.

Now, in the past, I've had one or two goes at recreating the pie - none of which have been the least bit successful.  However, with my (relatively) new found culinary experience and several very successful attempts at recreating flavours from our youth (the Nasi Goreng and Kentish Pie, for instance), I'm quite hopeful I can get it right, this time.

I thought it would be nice (plus seasonal and cheap!) to pair it up with some red cabbage and apple.  Son & heir has been very dubious about that in the past, so it will be interesting to see whether he's any happier about it now.

So there we are!

I'll also be cooking some batches of Lunchtime soup out of any leftover vegetables and thinking about making the profusion of plums that seems to be blocking the light in the fridge, into a light and healthy dessert.

Of course, planning for Christmas dinner needs to become a whole lot more focused than "maybe a whole salmon?" or "perhaps a nice piece of beef?", plus I'll be petitioning my parents to allow me to prepare a dessert to bring with me on Boxing Day, when we will be visiting.

I'm also pondering on joining in with the "White Christmas" themed recipe challenge that VeryGoodRecipes.com are currently running.  However, I may well ponder so much that I run out of time to make something - time will tell!



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