I always look at the menu plan once we've decided upon it and think "if one or other of us went down with a cold, could we still produce what's on the list?". The answer is (pretty much) always a "yes", but even so, this week's plan is so intertwined and - in some places - completely reliant upon our being compos mentis enough to make the meals, I can only hope that son & heir's current sniffles stay as sniffles!
So what's so complicated about this week, then? Well, it all looks reasonable enough :
Tues : Kedgeree
Weds : Chicken, asparagus & tarragon with Jersey Royals, and sweetcorn
Thurs : Pea & Ham soup, with crusty bread
Fri : Crunchy fish and wedges
Sat : High Tea
Sun : Braised Oxtail, roast butternut squash and parsnips, Savoy cabbage and Yorkshire puddings
Mon : Chicken Gnocchi in Sorrel pesto with garlic bread.
However, it's when you get into the planning of the week, that you notice how dependent everything is, upon having things happen on the right days and at the right moment.
We had the Kedgeree last night - and it was as predictably gorgeous as always. I used a good two pinches of dried Kasoori Methi (my new favourite ingredient, Fenugreek) in it, along with chopped coriander, and the Methi seemed to even out the slight coarseness of the curry powder, resulting in a flavour with less "sharp edges" to it than normal. (If you see what I mean!).
|Egg mayo - with lots of black pepper - yum!|
As I've been hankering for egg mayonnaise sandwiches for the longest time, when I was boiling the eggs for the Kedgeree, I made sure to boil two more for today's lunch. So roll on lunchtime!
Wednesday's Chicken with asparagus & tarragon is the same recipe that appeared in the menu plan a couple of weeks ago, but that got bumped out for some reason. I'm reckoning it should be delicious, so have brought it back for another go. Mind you, we had a bit of a shock when we went to buy the chicken breasts this morning, as the local butcher has taken them off of special offer (5 for £5) and they now cost just under £8 for 6! So we'll have to think rather more carefully about the chicken dishes we schedule in, in future.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and all that - they are now doing 1kg Silverside joints of beef for just £4.95! We couldn't buy one of those quickly enough - and it is now roosting in our freezer for next Sunday's dinner.
So - today being Wednesday, means that I need to start the process for making some home-made Pea & Ham Soup in the slow cooker for Thursday.
To explain about this, needs us to step back a few days, when we picked up six or seven 1970's cook books (and a 1963 one) from a Freecycle lady at the weekend. One of which was the "Prestige Crock-Pot Cookery Book" from 1977. Oh, and it does look like it's from 1977, too. It has the best recipes in it - things like Hungarian Goulash. Now their Hungarian Goulash isn't anything like traditional Hungarian Goulash, but it IS like the sort of Goulash that my Mum used to make - and as such, is the kind of Goulash recipe that I've been seeking for years.
I'd been after making a main course soup for the last couple of weeks, but couldn't think of one that would suit. Having found the recipe for Pea & Ham in the Prestige book, it was just begging to be made. I even - wonders will never cease - found a ham hock in the Rotisserie department of our local Asda that will be perfect for it.
So, getting back to how things are intertwined, I needed to put the dried split peas on to soak this morning, then assemble everything in the slow cooker (crock-pot) tonight and cook the soup overnight on low, to give it the recommended 10-12 hours of long slow cooking.
Hubby is planning on making us either a loaf of bread or some bread rolls to accompany the soup, which he can start on Thursday morning, all being well.
You see how none of this could be accomplished (well, not easily) without meal planning?
We're both having a night off on Friday, as we're slumming it with "crunchy fish" (a.k.a. fish in breadcrumbs) with potato wedges. It's not quite "fish fingers and chips", just missing that title by the narrowest of squeaks.
|High Tea - a favourite in our house|
Saturday's High Tea looks like it's going to become something of a production. However, interestingly, not that expensive a production (for once!). Hubby has promised to bake a cake - details to be confirmed - and we're looking (currently) at having Corned Beef & Pickle rolls, plus some Red Leicester cheese sandwiches which we'll keep plain for son & heir (Red Leicester is his favourite cheese) and dress up with some lovely red onion for us. I'll also make a little potato salad with some Jersey Royals and we'll have a small mixed salad to go with it. I'm busy quizzing my American friends as to Devilled Egg recipes, as I've always wanted to try Devilled Eggs - and now seems as good a time as any. Poor hubby can't indulge in them as eggs are his bête noir, so maybe I'll make him a stuffed tomato as a consolation prize! We'll have all the standard cherry tomatoes & radishes in the salad and pickles, including chutney, piccalilli and pickled walnuts alongside too.
In fact, looking at that list, it all looks like good ammunition for indigestion! Maybe I'll have to re-think the sandwich fillings. *chuckle*. Whatever we have, I hope it'll be a good old-fashioned High Tea. Maybe I can convince Hubby to make some Seed Cake - that'd fit the mood of the thing! Oh, and what about a little dish of stewed rhubarb? Am I going too far? Yes? Hmmn. I thought so.
Getting back to the interlinked nature of this week's meals, what with the cake baking and potato salad making, some work is going to be needed prior to the event!
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that almost everything I've mentioned above, we have in the kitchen already. The only things requiring buying would be the Red Leicester, a red onion and perhaps some cake ingredients. This is a radical change from the norm, as ordinarily High Tea costs more than a roast dinner to produce.
|Photo c/o Delicious Magazine|
Speaking of roast dinners, this Sunday's "Roast Dinners of the World" is going to suffer another diversion. We got diverted onto a Russian Fish Pie last week and this week, we've been diverted onto Oxtail by the Prestige Crock-Pot Cookery Book.
We rang our local butcher and asked whether he could obtain Oxtail for us, and how much it would be. Turns out, it comes in at a really quite reasonable (or so we thought at the time) £5.50 a kilogram. However, we didn't realise (then) that it would be more expensive than Silverside - but there we are, we'd been seduced by the idea of Oxtail by then.
I know the slow cooker will do a brilliant job of cooking the Oxtail and am really looking forward to the end result. It should be excellent with the roast veggies and cabbage.
Depending on what cake hubby decides to make - as to whether it turns out to be more of a "dessert" than a "tea time cake" - we may or may not be requiring dessert for Sunday. What we had planned to do (and if we don't need it, we'll carry it over to next weekend) is make a fruit terrine. Yes, you knew I'd have to investigate this terrine idea further, didn't you!
I'm currently thinking along the lines of a terrine (which would have to be made on Saturday, for use on Sunday) involving grapes, rhubarb, strawberries, poached pear, mint and amaretto crumbs. I have a cunning plan for the jelly, which I'm not prepared to divulge yet. ~taps side of nose sagely~ You'll just have to wait and see!
|What a fine figure of a Sorrel plant!|
After all that activity, we've planned in a relatively easy one for Monday. We were thinking along the lines of pan fried chicken breast with gnocchi mixed with a pesto, when suddenly it occurred to us to make use of our abundant supplies of sorrel. So, we'll be making a sorrel pesto (probably 50/50 with parsley) to go on the gnocchi - and pairing the whole thing up with some of hubby's fabulous home-made garlic bread. Yum!
Having decided upon all that cooking, I don't think we've any additional makes or bakes planned - but then, we didn't plan on making hubby's Walnut & Cheese Loaf (from one of the "new" old cook books), last week, either - so it's a case of "watch this space!".