29 February 2012

"Turn the meal plan for this week over to me" he said ...

... and because I don't particularly like Bernard Matthews Turkey Steaks, I didn't.  *chuckle*

However, I did let hubby take the lead on this week's menu plan - only reserving the right of veto over things like putting two major carbohydrates together in a tart case.

My very favourite meal when we lived in Germany
I think we've wound up with an interesting combination of meals.  Although, our first choice for Tuesday (Bockwurst & Kartoffelsalat - a german sausage with german potato salad) had to be dropped at the shopping stage.  For starters, we couldn't find the Jelly potatoes that we've been lapping up (they're only available in some Tesco stores, which obviously weren't the four we went to) and secondly, the supermarket(s) we were in hadn't ever heard of Bockwurst.  ~rolls eyes~

So we wound up with pizza.  Desperation struck, I'm afraid.

Retro - but flipping gorgeous!
Regrettably, I think we're going to have to re-think Sunday's Beef Olives, too.  We weren't sure what cut of beef to get - and decided upon Sirloin - but the price for the quantity we're going to need - even downgrading the cut - is just prohibitive.

I'd quite like to do a pot roast of Brisket or maybe a Chicken, but done in the Slow Cooker.  I'm really not sure about that one yet, I will have to ponder it further - but I've got time for that.

So, what does the menu plan look like?  Why, like this ...

Tue : was Bockwurst & Kartoffelsalat, became pizza
Weds : Rissoles, baked Sweet Potatoes with chilli lime cream, plus peas.
Thurs : Hearty Pasta Soup and Soda Bread
Fri : Smoked Haddock & Fennel Tart with Greek salad
Sat : Chicken kebabs with salsa & greek yoghurt in pitta bread
Sun : Beef or Chicken with potatoes of some kind, broccoli, carrots & peas.
Mon : Meatballs and pasta.

Because the majority of the dishes are hubby's ideas, he is inevitably doing a fair amount of the cooking.  It is difficult to take an idea and not convert it to your view of "how it should be" as he will obviously have a picture in his mind of how he wants the dish to turn out.  As we don't have the technology to be able to download these pictures for public consumption, he's going to have to cook them!

How I imagine Rissoles to look
Case in point being tonight's Rissoles.  Now I can't ever remember eating a Rissole.  Not the kind of Rissoles that he has been speaking about - made with lamb or beef mince, coated in seasoned flour and fried.  For hubby, however, this is part of his childhood and not only does he have a picture in his head, but also the memory of a flavour - which I have neither.  I'm intrigued to find out about these Rissoles, having heard a fair amount about them over the years!

Because of their potential for being high fat, we've decided on having a baked sweet potato with the lovely chilli/lime cream dressing.  For all that it's sour cream based, I'm quite sure there's less fat involved than using a great dollop of butter - and with the green peas to accompany them, hopefully a balance will have been struck.

Picture c/o BBC Good Food website
The Hearty Pasta Soup is my choice and it is a BBC Good Food recipe that I've known about for (literally) years and have put on the menu a couple of times, but each time it's been bumped off and I've never got to make it.  So, I'm having another go.  I was hoping to be able to get some of the walnut & blue cheese tortelloni (which is double yum) to be included in the soup, but  - probably because I was after some - there was none in the shop.  I settled on a spicy sausage tortellini that I'm hoping will have some flavour.  So many of these filled pastas are just little knots of flavourless Plasticine, but I'm hoping that due to the "spicy" aspect these will be different.  I'm looking forward to it - and I will be making some soda bread rolls to eat with it.

Eggs, versus ...
Friday's Smoked Haddock and Fennel Tart is a concept that came about through exhaustive brainstorming one evening.  I do so enjoy making tarts and can't quite decide - in this instance - whether to go down the "eggy quiche" route with it, or deviate into a "white sauce" route.  I know both the fish and fennel will be happy in a thick white sauce that has the fish poaching milk used in it along with maybe some herb or another (possibly parsley & the ferny fronds from the top of the fennel) and perhaps a light sprinkling of cheddar over the top that will melt when baked in the oven (sounds gorgeous).  However, the eggy quiche route is a much more reliable route to the final product.  You know, I can feel an inexorable pull towards the white sauce going on.

....... white sauce?
I think (hope!) that it would be nice when paired with a Greek salad of large sliced tomatoes, cucumber, olives and red onion with a sprinkling of Feta cheese - but is that too much cheese for the fish?  Hmmn, possibly.  We might have to lose the Feta, if so!

Saturday's Chicken Kebabs is another brainchild of hubby's.  He's envisaging strips of chicken that have been marinaded in lemon, thyme & olive oil, laced onto skewers with alternating pieces of courgette, cherry tomatoes, mushroom, aubergine and possibly apple.  He's proposing to grill them (maybe in the char grill pan, I'm not sure) and then once done, release them into a pitta bread.  Slosh on some Greek yoghurt and some suitably tasty salsa and you're done.  Sounds pretty darned yummy, to me.

I touched on Sunday's dinner earlier - and since then I notice that our local butcher is doing whole chickens for around £2.50!  Even if they're tiny little things, for that price we could get two.  I'm contemplating having a crack at jointing the chicken(s), which is something I've never done but would be interested at having a go at.  I'm assuming it'd be easier with a smaller chicken and I know my "Big Knife" (as it's known) is man enough for the job, it just depends on whether I've got the oomph to push it through a chicken!

Monday's meatballs and pasta is going to be an interesting one.  Yes, I've been having a bit of a meatball fest just lately - but I spotted a bag of frozen meatballs in Asda the other day, for a very affordable £1.55 for 500g of cook from frozen.  Now my guess is that these are going to be parlous as best and inedible at worst, but they've just got to be tested.  They purport to be 80% beef and have an encouragingly short ingredients list that doesn't appear to contain anything that would make your eyebrows lift in horror.

I'll be making a lovely powerful tomato sauce (possibly with a little chilli) to put them in and we'll have some grated cheese to sprinkle over the pasta.  It's rather like having your favourite curry the first time you use a new Indian takeaway, just to test what they're like.  Before I try doing anything startling with them, let's try them with a bog-standard sauce and get their measure.  I'm sure you'll hear, whatever the results are!

Apart from that, I still have three types of packeted rice pudding to try out (we tried the chocolate one the other day) and report back on.

I am STILL intending on cooking the Dorset Apple Cake - and had better get cracking on it, because the Bramleys I bought for it are slowly getting older and older!

I've also entered a Watercress Soup competition - so I'll soon be trialling a few recipes before deciding on my potential competition winner.  It's a good job son & heir is out for 5 lunches out of 7, as he'd probably leave home if faced with successive bowls of watercress soup for lunch!

Something else that's going to require some thought is what to cook for National Pie Week!  I'm considering steak and kidney, at the moment.  I do love a good steak & kidney pie, but it needs to contain loads of lovely pieces of kidney as well as be in a luscious rich beefy gravy.  Goodness, I've just made my own mouth water!  It is just such a good job that you can't put weight on by just thinking about food - I hope.



  1. I've done a whole chicken in a slow cooker, Jenny and it can work really well if you get the right flavourings....

  2. Do you know, Sam, I used to cook all my roast chickens in the slow cooker! Right up until I discovered pot roasting in stock, which then took over as I felt the meat was more succulent and less inclined to becoming sulphurous. I'm currently debating a cross between pot roasting in stock, but in the slow cooker, without it turning into a casserole! lol


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