11 April 2012

Fish, beef, lamb, chicken, pork - is there anything we've left out?

Looking at this week's menu plan, purely by accident, I think we've about covered all the main meat groups one way and another!

Last week's meal plan went out of the window at regular intervals and we managed to have, instead, a takeaway curry, pie & chips and chicken & chips (with a kebab for hubby).  I'm not really sure how that happened, but it can't be allowed to continue!  For one thing, we wouldn't be able to afford it!

The first recipe to be jettisoned was the Couscous stuffed peppers, which I just lost all enthusiasm for.  Anyway, my prize voucher from The Heart of India was burning a hole in my psyche and I just SO wanted to use it - so we did.  I had a gorgeously tender and non-fatty Lamb Biryani which comes with a lovely vegetable curry.  Hubby had a Chicken Pathia and son & heir had a Chicken Korma.  We all shared a Sag Bhajee and a Keema Naan and it was absolutely glorious.  I'm not sure when we'll be able to have another, but I can't wait!  With the prize voucher for £25 to use, it only cost us around £4 which was brilliant.

The next recipe that got the heave-ho was the Sherried Chicken Casserole.  This was part of a swap with the Smoky Pork & Bean Wraps because we were trying to fit the best meal to match up with an extra guest as son & heir had invited a friend for a sleepover.  I was intending on giving him the chicken dish and so swapped the two dishes around - only for us to forget to buy the Smoked Paprika when we'd gone to the shop specifically for it!  We got rather distracted by other things and the old grey cells aren't what they used to be, you know.  By the time we realised the lack of paprika, it was too late to do anything about anything, so we had a quick trip to the chippie instead.  What a shower!

The poor old Five Spice Beef noodles was the next one to go, as son & heir decided to stay at a friend's house for tea that night and it was just easier to go out and get something, rather than cook.  Hubby is always in the market for a kebab, so I got some chicken & chips.

So - you can see - all this has got to stop or we'll be completely spherical and skint!

This week's meals - which we WILL stick to (there, I've said it so it's got to happen now) are : 
 Tues : Fish pasta
Weds : Minced Beef Curry, vegetable curry and rice
Thurs : Sandwiches
Fri : Moussaka with tomato salad
Sat : Sherried chicken with broccoli & crusty bread
Sun : Beef Olives, roast potatoes & parsnips, Yorkshire puddings, carrots & savoy cabbage
Mon : Barbecue Sausage & Red Pepper with mashed potatoes, peas & sweetcorn.
A number of those meals require explanation, so I'll do my best.

Yesterday's Fish Pasta was something of a disaster for poor hubby.  Before I go any further, I will say that I liked the dish.  However, I was in the minority.

It all stems back to when I had a yearning to use papardelle pasta with the Pork Ragu that I make.  Don't ask me why papardelle - I just had a fancy for it.  Somehow (and I'm not too sure how), this got translated into hubby volunteering to make a fish pasta dish with the papardelle (which we'd sourced in Sainsbury's and bought by then).  He had planned to make a dish using a lesser-known type of fish (and we sourced and visited a Fishmonger, but they were closed, unfortunately - which was the start of the dish going wrong) in a Buerre Noisette sauce with lemon, capers and dill.  Sounded flipping lovely, to me.  With no fishmonger available, we were stuck with whatever Asda could supply - which wasn't much.  Hubby had got sidetracked a little by smoked fish - smoked trout in particular.  However, he couldn't get acceptable trout (never mind smoked) and opted for smoked salmon pieces.  Can you see how the expectation for the dish is being scuppered at every turn?  Well, unfortunately, we were too caught up in trying to make it happen to notice.

As he was cooking the meal, he began to lose faith in his vision of the Beurre Noisette and how it would marry up with the smoked salmon - and I think he has a point.  I suspect we should have swapped out to something totally different at the point that the fishmonger was shut - but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.  What he landed up with was nothing like his original vision, which was such a shame - but something of a learning experience, I think!

Keema Mutter - a lot to live up to!
So, tonight's curry will be something of a return to more pedestrian dishes - but hopefully, dishes that will soothe the savage breast and comfort the thwarted creativity with delicious and exotic curry spices.  I'm basing the Minced Beef Curry on the Keema Mutter (which is lamb) recipe and hopefully it will be just as nice.  I absolutely love a vegetable curry and it will be nice to have one as a side dish, along with the plain rice.  It also gives the sugar snap peas something to do, now they're not being used for the noodle dish!

We're visiting my parents on Thursday and if we're out for either lunch or dinner (not sure which, at the moment), sandwiches will do for whichever meal we'll need to provide at home.

My Moussaka - along different lines, but still nice!
Hubby is back in the kitchen on Friday, making a Moussaka

Hooray!  The Sherried Chicken makes its come-back on Saturday.  I was quite determined not to lose this recipe altogether as I've been really looking forward to it and so back onto the menu list it went.  The crusty bread we bought for it last week is still good as we bought home-bake petit pain rolls that keep for ever.  I suspect that the broccoli will meet its Waterloo in the vegetable curry, so that's probably the only ingredient that will require buying again for the recipe, so it's all good (as they say).

Hubby is back in the kitchen again on Sunday, making a dish that he's been craving for - quite literally - years.  Way back in the seventies, Beef Olives were all the rage at dinner parties around the country.  It is one of those dishes that has taken a back seat along with the prawn cocktail and sole veronique, but hubby has every intention of it making a delicious reprise on our Sunday dinner table.  Fingers crossed that the butcher has the right kind of Braising Steak, or we might end up with sausages instead!  

Speaking of sausages, if we can find some that might meet my exacting sausage requirements (a sausage with flavour and some fat content - hubby tells me that Sainsbury's should be able to answer this brief), I'll be using up the remainder of the Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce on the sausages and red pepper (left over from the abortive stuffed pepper recipe).  I really like the idea of baking the sausages in the barbecue sauce, then pairing them up with mashed potato, peas and sweetcorn.  In fact, the mental picture is making my mouth water!  It will be a simple dish that's exactly right for a Monday evening.

So there you have it.

Now, as for extra cooking ventures, well my first go at Watercress Soup went down the drain regrettably.  I hate waste - but that really was horrid.  Something happened in the blitzing that caused the mascarpone to suddenly split and I wound up with great globs of cheesy fat with bits of smashed watercress sticking to them, floating on the surface of the soup.  Not nice at all.  Even with those bits sieved off, it was poor.  Very poor.  So that's that one tried and rejected.

The next one is an intriguing mix of crab and watercress in a warm soup, for which we will need to get ourselves back down to the Fishmunglers.  Fingers crossed, he'll be open this time!

Apart from that, I have an ever-growing desire to bake a cake of some sort.  Watch this space!



  1. wow that is a very ambitious meal plan, you're amazing! and don't beat yourself up over straying from plan, often the most delicious things I make are a result of making do and experimenting (:

    1. Hold backon that "you're amazing", Shu Han - because right now I very definitely don't deserve it. Everything I have touched in the kitchen this week has become instantly inedible - and I'm feeling like a right failure at the moment. :(

  2. Nope, you *ARE* amazing so sit down and put your tiara back on. To go into that kitchen and produce stunning meals every time would be impossible AND unwelcome. The only way to learn is to experience the lows as well as the highs.

    As we remarked only a week or so ago, our family has been fed a different dinner experience almost every night for almost two years. I seriously doubt that many families can make that claim, let alone families where the main cook is disabled. The sheer effort of researching, refining, cooking and then blogging what must be well over 200 recipes is an almost superhuman achievement and you really should be as proud of yourself as I am, of you.

    Amazing.....no other word for it really :-)

    1. *gulp*

      Well that's me told. :) Thankyou dear heart.


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