24 April 2012

The family Eatwell brainstorm this week's menu plan

Hubby and I have decided that we seem to do quite well when we brainstorm the menu plan. What I mean by that is, we go through various recipes that I've collected and he's discovered via Pinterest and either develop them in ways to suit our tastes, or use them as inspiration to go completely off-piste and inevitably, come up with something completely different.  Quite apart from anything else, it's a nice way to spend a Monday morning.

Fascinating ... pray continue ..
I'm sat at my computer desk with my recipe folders spread out on the bed beside me, notepad and pen in hand.  Hubby, meanwhile, is on the other side of the bed fending off Jack Russells who want to join in the filing of last week's recipes.  In this way, we do lots of pondering, a little bit of arguing, a lot of discussing, some disagreeing and occasionally come up with a potentially brilliant idea.

This week's brilliant idea is a Tuna Lasagne - but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's have a look at the menu list for this week :

Tues : Sausage & Saffron Risotto
Weds : Honey sauced chicken with special fried rice
Thurs : Tuna Lasagne with green salad
Fri : Spring time Pasta and meatballs
Sat : Smokey chicken with warm corn & potato salad
Sun : Roast Pork Fillet with fennel, rhubarb sauce, butternut squash and petit pois
Mon : Eastern Spiced Chicken with chapatis.

That's an interesting list!

Tuesday's risotto is an Antonio Carluccio recipe that you can find here.  I suspect that, rather than follow it to the letter, hubby will freestyle a little here and there - but certainly, this is the base recipe.  Son and heir has been asking for another of hubby's risotto's for a few days now - so one involving sausage should go down very well.

We're going to be busy bunnies on Wednesday, as we have to pop over to my parents' place and collect a compost bin some time during the day.  As a result, the dinner that night has to be an easy one - and the Honey Sauced Chicken which hubby found via Pinterest on www.mmmcafe.blogspot.com is perfect for that.  It's a recipe that can be either made in the slow cooker or in the oven - and given that our slow cooker is so huge and I suspect the ingredients would rattle around in it, I've opted for the quicker oven method.

To make life that little bit easier, we've opted for some frozen Special Fried Rice to accompany it.  Well, it's quick and easier on me - and I suspect I'll probably be a bit tired by then!

Photo c/o www.fizzleout.com.au
Thursday is hubby's Tuna Lasagne.  He's got great plans for this one and will be making it from scratch, no jarred sauces or packet mixes - just fresh veggies and tuna from a tin.  You didn't think we could afford fresh tuna, did you?  *snort*  I wish!

Such a lot of Tuna Lasagne recipes that you see, don't seem to contain any vegetables at all.  Of course, there may well be a very good reason for that, but we were thinking down the "Mediterranean" route, so he'll be adding some courgette, asparagus and petit pois to the standard tomato, onion & carrot sauce.  I'm looking forward to it and reckon it'll be a meal all on its own, never mind the accompanying salad!

Friday is a lovely simple "variation on a meatball" pasta recipe, using a few ingredients cooked and presented simply.  The meatballs are going to be made from pork mince and I'm tempted to add a little fennel seeds to the mix.  The original recipe came from the BBC Good Food magazine, but it is available online here.  Having read the comments, I like the idea of cooking the pasta in stock - so will probably pinch that idea.  I'll bet a crunchy lettuce like Little Gem - sliced into ribbons - would be lovely added in at the last minute, to just wilt down into the sauce, too.

Saturday's Smokey chicken depends entirely upon whether we can source any Sweet Smoked Paprika in the meantime.  We've drawn a blank in both shops that we've looked in so far.  Having had a look at the comments on the original recipe here (which claim the chicken can come up bland), I reckon I'd be okay to use the Hot Smoked Paprika and just tone it down a little with some straight unsmoked paprika and seasoning.  I'd like to make this dish as I absolutely love cooking on the griddle pan and I've never cooked chicken on it before - just veggies - so it would be an education.  I absolutely love the sound of the warm new potato and corn salad too.  I'll try to get hold of some muddy Jersey Royals (rather than the bagged-up, all the flavour washed off them, type) for it, too - and the whole lot will be sat on top of a spinach-based salad that can wilt interestingly as the warmth penetrates it.  Yum!

We spent quite a bit of time discussing what sort of roast to have this coming Sunday.  Hubby has taken on the mantle of "Sunday Roast Chef" and (I think) is quite enjoying the new challenges this brings.  We were having trouble coming up with something suitably interesting, when bingo! I found the recipe for the Roast Pork Fillet with Fennel.  Don't tell him, sssshhh!, but the recipe originates from the Weightwatchers website!.

The recipe involves marinading the fillet in a combination of garlic, ginger, red thai curry paste, soy sauce, muscovado sugar and sesame oil - which sounds completely divine.  It is then roasted on a bed of sliced onion, fennel and red pepper - which also sounds gorgeous.

Ruby rhubarb - we've now got a Ruby 2 as well!
We decided on some spicy roasted Butternut squash pieces to go with it, as well as some petit pois for a little "green".  It then occurred to us that it would need a sauce or gravy of some kind.  Hubby has been keen to use Ruby (our rhubarb plant) in any and every way possible, this year - so decided to develop a suitably spiced rhubarb sauce (along the lines of a plum sauce), which I think sounds completely divine and suitably "off the wall" to appeal to my sense of the ridiculous.  Watch this space!

Monday seems to have become "curry day".  I suspect it is because curries tend not to use too many vegetables, which fits in perfectly with a Monday - being the last day before we shop next, when all the freshest salad and vegetables have been used up.  This one (which I have no idea where I found it) is an interesting lightly spiced chicken dish that uses toasted fennel, mustard and cumin seeds.  It also contains red kidney beans (substituted for black beans) and chick peas (love them!) and relies upon yoghurt for its thickening.  Having seen how brilliantly a couple of tablespoonfuls of plain flour mixed with "whatever you're making your sauce with" thickened the Tamil Coconut Chilli Chicken last night, I'll have some of that on hand too - just in case the sauce needs to be made a bit more robust! 

So there you are.  I'm very definitely looking forward to this week's menus!

As for additional cooks, well, we've got intentions of making a Rhubarb Chutney (just need to develop a recipe for it) and I'm getting nearer to making that cake.  I just need to decide what sort of cake!

Oh, incidentally - I made the Rhubarb & Strawberry Pie last Sunday - and I shall leave you with a photograph.  If you haven't made one, you just don't know what you're missing out on ....

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