11 January 2012

"Normal" menu planning is resumed.

Pork Ballotine expressed as a Kaleidoscope.  :-)
If you can call it that - normal - anyway!

I suppose it's a whole lot more normal (or should it be "usual"?) than Ballotine of Pork was.

As much as I enjoyed making the Ballotines, I have to admit that it is nice to get back to planning "ordinary" meals again.  In fact, this year, I'm going to have a go at a bit more planning in advance.  Some kind soul on Twitter posted up a link to a "Food Events" calendar, which has enabled me to have some prior warning of times like "Farmhouse Breakfast Week" or "Sausage Week".  In the past, these dates have appeared as if out of the ether and I've always been woefully behindhand with them.  Now I guarantee nothing, but I'm hoping that I'll remember to consult the calendar regularly in order that I can plan some relevant blog posts.  I think that'll make life fun for us - and make for some interesting reading.  Hopefully!

It has already alerted me to the oncoming Burns Night, which has cheered me up no end as it means I get to have Haggis again!  Yay!  Now, what recommendations has anyone as regards a good haggis?  My boss at the Hotel Piccadilly was going to get me one when they ordered theirs in from Scotland, but as I'm not working there now, that's scuppered that idea and I need to find a reliable source. 

So, what's on the menu for this week then?  Well, it looks like this :

Tues : Turkey meatballs in fennel & tomato sauce with corn pasta
Wed : Stuffed marrow with garlic mushroom couscous & mash for son & heir
Thur : Chicken filo pie with carrots, peas & broccoli
Fri : Chicken & chorizo jambalaya
Sat : Maple & black pepper pork steaks with roast parsnips, carrots & savoy cabbage
Sun : Slow Cooker Beef Stew with cheesy dumplings
Mon : Tuna Pasta Bake.

Add caption
Well we had the Turkey meatballs last night and although I found them a bit on the garlicky side, the chaps all loved them.  It was the first time (for ages) that we'd tried gluten free corn pasta (as opposed to the usual wheat pasta) and, although it took for ever to cook (way longer than suggested on the pack), it was really perfectly acceptable.

Pin It I won't witter on for ever about them here, as I will be posting separately the recipe for them.  It is very similar (sauce-wise) to the usual Fennel sauce recipe, but I made the meatballs with different ingredients and very nice they were, too.

Veggie marrow as opposed to marrow bone!
I'm really looking forward to tonight's Stuffed Marrow.

I haven't made a stuffed marrow in years, largely because I think I overdid it and served it a bit too often, in the past.  However, we were watching a Hairy Bikers' programme just recently and they were making stuffed marrow.  Hubby was making appreciative noises and it encouraged me to put a marrow on the menu for this week.  I'll be adopting the Bikers' method of using a thick cheese sauce, rather than simply sprinkling cheese on the top of the marrow, as it appears to make the whole dish more unctuous (such a lovely word!) and rich, as opposed to just having a hard casing of baked cheese over it.

I thought I'd venture out into a couscous dish to accompany the marrow, so rather than go down the normal route of mediterranean vegetables, or herbs, I thought I'd experiment with mushrooms.  Of course, this rules son & heir out of the equation for the dish, so I've invested in some pre-made mashed potato just for him - which he's already got his eye on!  He is the self-styled "mashed potato tester" in the house, which might tell you a bit about his love for the stuff.  Sadly, prior to this anti-inflammatory diet, I was exactly the same - which flags up a few warning signals as regards son & heir's health in the future!

The Chicken Filo Pie is a recipe from Hollowlegs' Blog, which I've had tucked away just waiting for the right moment.  This appears to be it - and I'm looking forward to it.  Everyone likes Filo pastry and so long as I make the pie filling with lovely thick flavoursome gravy, we should be home and hosed!

Photo c/o BBC Good Food website
Friday's Chicken & Chorizo Jambalaya is the one recipe this week that I'm feeling a bit dubious towards.  We've tried a recipe for Jambalaya in the past, which was a singular failure that was verging on the disgusting.  I'm hoping that it was one of two things, either the recipe was at fault or the spice mix that I used was a bit old (very likely!).  So, with a change of recipe (Good Food Magazine again!) and a new spice mix (just bought yesterday), I'm crossing my fingers.  We shall see!  I can't believe that so many people can like this dish so much, for our last attempt to be representative of it.  I'm hoping that's true, anyway!

Now, speaking of dishes that I'm looking forward to cooking - the Maple & Black Pepper Pork Steaks (or chops) is one of them.  The photograph in Good Food Magazine looked To.Die.For - and I just hope that the end result comes out looking just as mouthwatering.  I'll be using a combination of chop (for me) and steaks (for the chaps), but I don't think that should matter.

I just love the idea of Maple Syrup and Black Pepper together in a savoury dish.  Of course, I have to be careful of the degree of Maple Syrup that's used - from a diabetes point of view - but if you divide 150ml between three people, that's only 50ml per serving.  If I'm sparing about how much of the cooking juices I pour over hubby's portion, that will reduce it still further and I think it should be fine.

I'll be serving it with some roast parsnips (to represent the carbohydrate aspect) and carrots with savoy cabbage, which will also go well with the maple syrup flavours.  Yum!

I'm back to opting for an "easy" dish for Sunday.  It certainly doesn't get a lot easier than a lovely beef stew made with shin of beef, done in the slow cooker.  A bit of chopping and frying, then into the slow cooker and enjoy the cooking smells until dinner time.  I'll also be putting together some of those lovely cheesy dumplings that I made for a chicken casserole fairly recently, to cope with the carbohydrate issue for the chaps.

So that brings us to Monday, when we'll be making use of the store cupboard and indulging in the best that Homepride can put into a jar - their Tuna Pasta Bake.  For me, this stuff is very akin to Macdonalds coffee, in that I'm sure they put something terribly addictive in it.  I have never found - even home-made - a Tuna Pasta Bake recipe to beat it.  Considering that, at one time, I really disliked Tuna Pasta Bake - this is really going some, for me.  Plus, it's so easy - open the jar, mix with the pasta, add some water, add some tuna, add some cheese, bake - eat.  Doesn't get a lot easier than that.  So, in culinary terms, we'll be slumming it on Monday.  *grin*  As they say in America, "so bite me". 

As for "extra" cooking and baking, I've been nursing a James Martin recipe for an Orange and Ground Almond cake for the last week or more, which I'm hoping to get made this week.  It's a very different type of recipe in both ingredients and method, so it has caught my interest for those reasons alone.  If you factor in that oranges and almonds are both incredibly good in an anti-inflammatory way, it's only a wonder I haven't made it already!



  1. I am makinf a jambalaya when i get home tonight! I have some lovely cooking chorizo and fresh prawns. Good luck with yours- I hope that it is better than last time!

  2. The food from Northern India: Mainly breads with dishes which has a thick sauce and dairy products such as cream, paneer, ghee, and youghurt. These dishes are warmly flavoured rather than heat from chillies.

  3. Luci - great minds think alike! :) If mine doesn't work out, I'll be calling you up to compare recipes. LOL

    Indian Restaurant Perth - thank you for that insight into Northern Indian food.

  4. Jambalaya was a success! http://mynomnomnom.blogspot.com/2012/01/jambalaya.html

    You'll have to let me know how yours goes!


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  10. Apologies for all the deletions - this post appears to have been made the destination for a good percentage of spam comments!

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