9 May 2012

"Making the most of a little" - this week's Menu Plan

Eeyore - very good at making the most of things
Quite by accident, this week's menu plan seems to be following a theme - that of "making the most of a little bit of something".

After our big splurge last week on a leg of lamb, we're having to watch the pennies a little this week.  We're hardly rubbing two brass farthings together, but have just got to watch that we're keeping things under control in a manageable fashion so that we get to the end of our financial month without stress.

Amazingly, only one recipe got bounced from the menu plan last week, which was the Chicken with asparagus and tarragon.  It's a shame we lost that one, but I have the recipe still and I am sure it will make a re-appearance very soon.  I haven't used it this week, because we already had two recipes involving asparagus on the list - and there's only so much asparagus you can eat in a week!

So what have we scheduled for this week, then?  It looks like this :

Tues : Roast Lamb & Chargrilled Vegetable Terrine, salad & baguette slices
Weds : Frankenbeans with rice
Thurs : Chicken Korma curry with rice
Fri : Swedish Meatballs, mashed potato, peas & carrots
Sat : Souffled Crab & Asparagus Tart with salad
Sun : Smoked fish & prawn Koulibiac, crushed Jersey Royals, peas & baby corn
Mon : Tuna pasta bake with garlic bread.

At first sight, it doesn't look like we're making the most of little, does it?

We ate the Terrine (or two-thirds of it!) last night - and it was completely amazing.  I was so worried about it - never having made a terrine before - and was concerned that the stock wouldn't have been flavoursome enough (it was!), that the thing would fall apart when out of the tin (thanks to the clingfilm, it didn't), that it would be murder to cut (again, thanks to the cling film, it wasn't) and that it would just taste horrid (no chance of that!).

So that was the first instalment of making the most of a little, because I had wanted to make the most of the flavours hubby had infused into the meat during roasting.  Using the bones to make the stock certainly helped where that was concerned - but I mustn't tell you ALL about it here, or there'll be nothing to say in the blog post!

So, tonight's Frankenbeans (hubby's name for it) follows fairly closely a recipe for Boston Beans, except it uses frankfurters (we're using our favourite Bockwurst) along with bacon.  In this instance, we're making the most of a jar of Bockwurst that cost less than £2.  Hubby found the photograph on Pinterest - and it looks unctuous and gorgeous.  I think he's going to be making some sort of vegetable rice (sweetcorn & peas, maybe?) to eat with it.  Mind you, we've half a baguette left from yesterday's Terrine which needs eating up!

Thursday's dinner has been sponsored by Spice & Sizzle, who have created some fresh curry kits.  They sent me a selection of their kits to try out - and this is the first.  Apparently all I need to add is the chicken and a can of coconut milk, so I'm intrigued to see how it all works.  The kits contain such a small amount of shallots and spices, I can't wait to see how they all behave. It will be my first go with fresh turmeric - and considering how much I love that stuff, using the fresh version will be very interesting.

Friday's Swedish Meatballs is hubby's idea in response to my desire for "something with gravy".  Well, I suppose it has gravy - and mashed potato - so I'm catered for.  The chaps both love Swedish Meatballs (the ready-made packeted version), so everyone should be happy that night.  It's a cheap and easy dinner to make, too - and we could do with a couple of easy nights, after our recent endeavours in the kitchen.

I'm making a Souffled Crab & Asparagus Tart on Saturday (a Mary Cadogan recipe from BBC Good Food) which involves several different processes before you get the tart into the oven.  It's a bit of a step up from my regular tart-making endeavours but sounds completely delicious from the recipe.  Regrettably, as I am having trouble finding a fresh crab that is affordable, I shall be using tinned crabmeat.  I doubt you could find a fresh crab for the same money - around £2.50.  I agree that the flavour is nowhere near the same, but at the moment, price is the issue.

Asparagus is in season right now, so the prices have reduced significantly - enabling us to use it twice in one week.  We all love asparagus, so I'm determined to use it wherever and whenever I can.

All the way from the 1970's
The Sunday chef is back in the kitchen again the following day, this time making my recipe for a smoked fish & prawn Koulibiac (or Russian Fish Pie).  My recipe is a development from my Mum's recipe for the Russian Fish Pie, where the end result is a pyramid shape, rather than the more classic en croute shape.  We'll be making the most of a half a bag of King Prawns left from last week, as we would never normally buy King Prawns just to include in a dish like this.

The pie filling involves the smoked fish & prawns, in a thick roux-based sauce (either white, or herb, or cheese), with sweetcorn and sliced hard-boiled eggs.   We have been discussing whether to leave the hard-boiled eggs out in this instance, as we've got prawns in there too - so watch this space!

It'll be hubby's first go at making home-made rough puff pastry, too.  He's been researching various recipes online for it and I think has a plan mapped out now.  I can't wait - I love Russian Fish Pie!

We're ending the week on a bit of a fishy note, as Monday night's Tuna Pasta Bake completes the trio.  We all love Homepride's Tuna Pasta Bake jarred mix - it's one of our guilty pleasures!  Plus, it's another chance to just dive into the kitchen and whip up something gorgeous for tea, without having to go through hours of preparation and "will it work, won't it work", which is all fun - but can be a bit wearing on the nerves.

Oh, stop press!  Son and heir has decided to join us in the kitchen and will be making some Lemon Curd Syllabub on Sunday, for dessert following the Koulibiac.  Well, he will, if I remember to include the recipe in the shopping list on Friday!  Wish him luck - he's sourced the recipe from my James Martin's "Dessert" cookbook and taken the initiative all on his own and without encouragement, so I am crossing my fingers for him.  The recipe sounds lovely and relatively simple to make - so it should all go perfectly.

Who knows what else we might wind up making.  After all, at this stage last week, we had no idea that we'd be making a ground-breaking terrine!




  1. Oh, so pleased the terrine turned out ok - looking forward to that post!

    Your menu plans always sound lovely - but this week I'm particularly jealous that I can take up residence under the Eatwell stairs! All sounds fantastic - especially that crab and asparagus tart.


    1. If we had some stairs, Seren, you'd be welcome to become the mad woman who lived under them. LOL As it is, we live in a flat which is completely stair-free. Would the meter cupboard be any use? :)

    2. Don't tempt me!! ;-)

    3. Hahahaha! Okay, if I hear scratching around in the hallway tonight, I won't blame the dogs - it'll be you getting comfy. lol

  2. ...And obviously by can I mean can't...sigh...

    1. Course you do. (Says she, humouring the mad woman who lives in the meter cupboard). *giggle*


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