29 March 2012

Planning for a week's easy meals

Well, I can hope, can't I?

In fact, as I am woefully late with this posting (again!), I can report that the first two meals of this week have been satisfactorily simple - and rewardingly delicious!

Son & heir's school concert happened on Tuesday evening and a fine time was had by all.  From the wobblingly unconfident singing of the choir, through the entire range of guitar playing (which went from an intent young man playing two chords repeatedly, through some assertive bass playing, several thrash metal bands and ultimately a divine piece from two acoustic guitar players who must have a bright future ahead of them) to some happiness-inducing, toe tapping pieces from the entire company, I very much doubt anyone there went home without a big smile on their face.

As parents, we're just glad that the show was such a success and that son & heir didn't let himself down in any way.  We're also a teensy bit glad that we now get a break from trying to source items for his costume and having to drive backwards and forwards to school conveying either guitar, costume and son (or any combination thereof) to rehearsals at random times of day.

So you won't be surprised to hear that I've been on the lookout for easy recipes for this week's menu plan.

Here's what I settled upon :

Tues : Courgette, prosciutto & blue cheese tart with salads
Weds : Sausage & mustard pasta
Thurs : Tandoori turkey masala with chapatis
Fri : Hoisin pork with jacket sweet potatoes & salad
Sat : Chinese chicken curry with rice
Sun : Turkey & chestnut cider pie with mashed potatoes & broccoli
Mon : Chilli con carne with rice.

The first cab off the rank was the tart - which proved to be an absolute winner with its simplicity and speed.  We needed something super-easy to have before reporting for duty at son & heir's concert - and this was it.  The combination of courgette, prosciutto and blue cheese was another winner that I thoroughly recommend.  Watch out for the recipe which I'll be blogging very soon - and tuck it into your memory for "meals to make in a hurry"!

Wednesday's Sausage & mustard pasta came from a BBC Good Food recipe which you can find here.   The name gives the impression of a fairly pedestrian sausage & pasta combo, but oh no!  Far from it!  The combination of ingredients - including Dijon mustard, cream, parmesan and fresh tarragon - was simply alchemical in its results.   This is another one that I'll be blogging, as it very definitely requires sharing far and wide!

I'm quite looking forward to tonight's curry offering.  The recipe originated from a combination of my looking for inspiration as to what to do with some Turkey mince that I'd been sent to play with - and the discovery of Maunika Gowardhan's Tandoori Gobi Masala recipe on lovefood.com.

Her recipe deals specifically with cauliflower florets, but it got me to wondering whether the same preparation principle would work for a turkey patty or meatball.  Because turkey is such a low fat meat, when you cook a turkey meatball in the oven very little fat is released.  To me, this is similar in many ways to a cauliflower floret, which doesn't release much water when baked.

I'm not quite THIS bad - but it's been close!
So anyway, that's what we'll be having tonight - Tandoori Gobi Masala, along with Tandoori Turkey Masala, with a raita.  Tear a piece from a chapati, pick up a piece of cauliflower or a meatball (or both at once, if you're clever!), dip it into the raita and into your face it goes.  What's the betting I'll get it all down my front?  Pretty sure fire thing, I'd say - break out the napkins!

Friday's Hoisin Pork is borne of a desire to use the other jar of Hoisin sauce that we bought last week and my current pork chop lust.  I'll be getting some pork steaks for the chaps, as they both aren't keen on pork chops - hubby hates the fat and son & heir can't be bothered with negotiating with the bone and also hates the fat aspect.  I'll make some of my lovely chilli & lime mixture to go with the sweet potatoes - which is another guaranteed winner.

Both hubby and son & heir really like the sort of curry that you get from a Chinese takeaway.  Personally, I don't like it at all, but I'm hoping that Lily Kwok's version from goodfoodchannel.co.uk is a cut above the rest.  Still, if I'm not too keen on the result, hopefully that will mean that the chaps really like it!

You'll notice that Sunday's pie has re-appeared, as I didn't get to make it last Sunday.  The turkey leg chunks came out of the freezer the most peculiar colour - so I'm afraid they went in the bin, as I'm not prepared to risk food poisoning.  We had sausage & mash instead, which is always a good standby.  So having bought some more turkey leg chunks, fingers crossed this lot will look a bit more pleasant and I'll be able to make my pie.

Weightwatchers' Turkey & Cider Sauce - not SO far out after all!
Hubby has said that he's not too sure about the idea of this pie, in particular the combination of cider and turkey.  It's interesting, because one of the points of being sent the turkey meat to play with was to create interesting dishes that people would want to try out for themselves - and pairing turkey meat with unusual combinations is all part of that.  I can see the pie in my mind's eye and can imagine how I want the flavours to combine.  I'll need to make sure that the pie doesn't stray too far towards the sweet, as a number of the ingredients (turkey, cider, chestnuts, carrots) can all go that way.  However, hopefully the balancing of the gravy/sauce along with the savoury pastry and celery will help to carry it back towards the savoury.  We'll see!

Monday's evening meal will be what a Monday dinner often is - something easy, something we've got confidence in, something everybody likes.  Good old Chilli Con Carne.  I think of Monday as being a day when we get to have a rest from the efforts of the earlier week and when we can step back a bit and get ready for the creations that will appear over the coming week.  Cue comfort food, one of which - for us - is Chilli.  Yum!

Hubby made an interesting observation last night, which is something that had occurred to me but that I hadn't voiced.  He said "we're so lucky, really, in that for the last couple of years almost every night we've had something different for dinner.  Not everyone can claim that!".  So thank you, Rhubarb & Ginger, for driving interesting - if not always successful - mealtimes in the Jenny Eatwell household!


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