18 April 2012

Menu Planning - determined to recapture my cooking muse!

If you see a short, stout, elderly cooking muse trotting past your house, would you catch her and send her back to me?  I'd be most appreciative.

This week, I am determined to recapture some of my old confidence.  So I've taken a bit of a step back and have booked in meals for this week that (I hope) will help bolster my wilting lettuce of an ego.

I'm not expecting to be immediately successful - but some small steps towards success would be nice.  (Are you listening, cooking muse?  Yes?  Good).

So let's have a look at what I've chosen for this week :

Tues : Cheese stuffed meat loaf with salad and crusty rolls
Wed : Cheese, leek & potato pie, with bacon & peas
Thurs : Salmon & Asparagus Quiche with tomato salad
Fri : Pork Schnitzel with potato wedges and salad
Sat : Wine & Garlic Pork Chops with jacket potatoes & green veg.
Sun : Roast Chicken, roast potatoes & parsnips, carrots & swede, peas & Yorkshire puddings
Mon : Coconut chilli chicken with rice.

What do you reckon?  Do-able?  Well, dear hubby has volunteered to cook the Pork Schnitzel and the Roast Chicken, which leaves the remainder for me to trash, sorry, cook.

We had the meat loaf last night.  Considering we always have an issue with meat loaves, in that they seem to resemble meat porridge held together with a crusty edge, some might see it as a bit of a risky move.  However, I'd got confidence in it.  I'd been talking (via the comments box - nothing so exciting as a phone conversation!) on her blog with Gail Kruger Snyder who runs Good Deal Meals, which is where I'd found the recipe, about various methods of cooking meat loaf.  We'd come up with a plan - and that plan worked, although I suspect I could have taken the meat loaf out of the oven a good ten minutes before I did, just to save the slightly overcooked edge.  However, it was a successful recipe and I'll be blogging it in due course.

Tonight's Cheese Leek & Potato Pie is all Suzi on Facebook's fault.  She posted up a photograph of her version of the pie (using onion, in that instance) and it immediately made my mouth water in a way which said "make that - and make that soon".  In fact, the original recipe comes from The Happy Housewife blog and it doesn't look any the less inviting there.  It's an easy mix of mashed potato, leeks and cheese that you serve with grilled bacon rashers and peas.  Surely I can't get this one wrong?

Tomorrow's dinner will be a little bit more ambitious, but I'm hoping that as I really enjoy making tarts and quiches, that might help a bit.  I found the recipe on the BBC's food section of their website and it's a Simon Rimmer recipe (which ordinarily makes it a bit dubious - sorry Simon - but I'm hopeful).  I love the combination of salmon and asparagus, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday is hubby's pork schnitzel, which should cater to both our yearnings to panné something.  Isn't it funny, how you get a fancy for doing a certain technique, or making a certain type of food?  We've, both of us, had a real yen to do "something in breadcrumbs" for some time and hubby decided to take the bull by the horns and start off with something relatively easy, like the pork schnitzel.  Of course, after making his Beef Olives at the weekend, we now have a meat mallet and maybe he just wants to spend time bashing something.  Well, better some pork fillet than my head, eh?

Couldn't you just? I know I would!
Saturday's Wine & Garlic Pork Chops enticed me purely because of its pictures (and the fact that it's a pork chop recipe - I'm a total sucker for a pork chop!).  I found it on the Tasty Kitchen website, but as it turns out, it is a recipe by The Pioneer Woman - who is about as famous as any food blogger gets, these days.  For all that I'm sensitive to garlic, I shall have to be brave with regard to the amount of garlic involved here.  I'm not too sensitive if the garlic is thoroughly cooked out - so I have warned myself and will only have myself to blame if I'm itching like a hedgehog with fleas, later on that night.

Sunday's roast chicken is going to be delicious, if hubby's description is anything to go by.  I won't spoil the gorgeous Sunday lunch surprise here - you'll just have to wait for the blog post!

Monday's dinner is a return to our well loved spicy chicken dishes.  It's not a curry, but it has lots of curry influences.  I particularly liked the spice combinations and the intent within the recipe of not winding up with hubby's hated "pond water" for a sauce.  The recipe uses a combination of coconut milk with a little flour added as a final note to thicken the sauce.  Now that's a method that's new to me and I'm keen to see how it works, as it could be used in other dishes where the sauce is coming up too thin.  A learning experience, that's what it is!

Well, there we are.  I have every intention of making another Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie, now that Ruby Rhubarb is bursting out of her planter again.  I'll probably pair that with the Roast Chicken, as pork and strawberries have been proven to be an unwise pairing for me, in the past!  As hubby is cooking the dinner, I can make the pie in the morning without getting in anyone's way and without wearing myself out, having to make dinner as well.

I can well remember, in my incarnation as a horseriding instructor, telling pupils that the best thing to do when you've come off your horse, is to get right back on again and carry on.  So, that's what I'm doing.  C'mon neddy - we're off!



  1. My attention immediately grabbed by coconut & chilli, strawberry & rhubarb. I'm thinking this is the sign of someone about to cook great things! Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labours

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence! I made the Salmon & Asparagus Quiche this evening - and it was fabulous. :)


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