26 September 2012

Meal planning is so much easier in the Autumn!

Cranborne Chase, Dorset
Or is it just me that thinks this?

There seems to be a much greater selection of dishes that are available to make, as not everything has to have a salad with it, or be a salad.  It's lovely to consider using the slow cooker, or to break out the soup pan again.

Of course, the downside of all this is that - being Dorset - the rain has started up again.  ~rolls eyes~  Nobody told us before we moved, about the link between the lush greenness of this area and what seems to be above average rainfall.  I suppose we could have put two and two together ourselves, but we didn't.  Now, whenever I say "I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow", hubby will say "It's Dorset - it'll rain" - and be absolutely right.

Ah well, better that than living in a desert.  I certainly couldn't handle somewhere like Arizona!

We almost adhered to last week's meal plan.  The only thing that fell by the wayside was the Bacon & Onion Pie - and then only because I lost confidence in how well it would be received by my potato-hating hubby.  Yes, it was his choice of meal so I should have felt more confident in it, but it just seemed to be way too much potato - which is never a good thing.

The Sausage & Bacon Pilaff was a bit of a weird one.  I won't be blogging it, basically because it made me feel quite disgustingly bilious.  Now I do accept that it might just have been the black pudding that did it - as I seem to have developed a distinctly unpleasant reaction to the stuff, even though I really like the flavour.  However, even after I'd pulled out all the black pudding and stalwartly continued munching, I did not have a happy belly by the end of it - so we'll skip lightly over that one!

So what's on the menu for this week, then?  Well, it goes like this :

Tues : Shop bought cheese & bacon lattice topped pie with vegetables & cheese sauce
Weds : Curried Butternut Squash soup with flatbreads
Thurs : BBQ Pork Wraps with sour cream & salsa, plus curly fries
Fri : Pasta Sardinia
Sat : Cajun smoked sausage ricey thing (good name, eh?)
Sun : Shepherd's Pie and vegetables
Mon : Fish crumble with fine green beans, carrots & new potatoes.

Now that's a bit better balanced than last week's bacon-fest!

We had the lattice topped pie for dinner last night, which was okay - nothing to write home about, but okay.  However, what completely made last night's dinner for me, was that hubby (well done, that man!) found a Romanescu Cauliflower in the supermarket when we were shopping.  Now I had never tasted Romanescu and it was on my Bucket List of "things I need to sample".  I was so excited, you would have thought he was serving up lobster with white truffles.

Last year, we had attempted to grow some Romanescu - tried and failed, as it turned out.  The plants did have some teensy tiny florets that might have been something vaguely akin to a Romanescu Cauliflower, or they might have just had a fractal trip, man.  Either way, none of them produced anything edible - and I was so disappointed.

So to find one in the supermarket-that-never-tries-new-things was little short of astounding.

Also, is there any better way of eating vegetables (especially cauliflower-type vegetables) than dousing them in cheese sauce?  No?  I didn't think so.  Parents all over the globe take note - your children WILL eat vegetables, if you cover them in cheese sauce.  Son and heir was getting almost possessive over the remaining cheese sauce and was even - *gasp* - heard to ask whether any vegetables were left over!  Kudos, hubby, for your cheese sauce making abilities.

Romanescu is now my new favourite vegetable.  Prepare to find it featuring in main courses from now until it is out of season again!

Getting back to the purpose of this post, tonight's meal is to be a hearty curried butternut squash soup, with added vegetables in the shape of carrots, peas, chick peas - oh, and (you guessed it) Romanescu cauliflower.  What?  I told you I liked it!  The curry base will be made with coconut milk thickened by the use of red lentils and I'm liking the sound of the whole thing already.

We'll be eating it (or should it be "drinking it?") with some of Asda's Coronation Flatbreads alongside.  Yum!

Thursday is an extraordinarily easy meal, involving frying off some pork mince and onion and adding Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ sauce.  Bung it in a wrap, add sour cream & salsa and Bob's your uncle.

Oh, incidentally, the threatened germs of last week seem to be staying away - but I thought I'd add a really easy dish in the middle of the week, just in case!

Hubby has already declared Friday's "Pasta Sardinia" (my title) to be a tad frightening.  I'm not so scared about it, but I'm still in two minds as to whether to use fresh sardines or tinned.  We've bought some tinned sardines already, but I'll take a gander at the sardines on the fishmunglers slab on Friday morning and decide then I think.

Do you remember the t.v. programme when Giorgio Locatelli took some art historian around Sicily (apologies, art historian, I've forgotten your name) and cooked him a very interesting dish of sardines with sultanas and pasta?  Well, that's what we're going for here.  You probably understand hubby's qualms a bit better, now.

It's funny, because Saturday's dish of "Cajun smoked sausage ricey thing" (my title for an as yet unnamed dish created by hubby) strikes a note of trepidation into my heart.

I've always been a bit dubious about Cajun style dishes, mainly because I've never had one that really floated my boat.  They always seem to be a bit pale pink, whereas I'd been expecting something with big flavours.  Hubby's plan with this one involves a jar of German Bockwurst, but I have faith.  I know that hubby likes his flavours to be big and bouncy, so I'm trusting in that and going with the flow.  If he can cope with my sardines and sultanas, it'd be rude not to.

Aaaah, now, everything should calm down beautifully for Sunday.  After the singularly spectacular success of my Rich Beef Cottage Pie, I thought it only right to present its counterpart, the Deliciously Lamby Shepherd's Pie.  I'm quite excited, too, because it will be the first chance I've had to make use of Essential Cuisine's lamb stock powder.  Fingers crossed!

Hubby devised his plan for his Fish Crumble after I'd made the Fish Pie recently.   From what he says, it seems to involve a creamy mixture with fish much the same as the base of my fish pie, except with a crumble topping instead of the mashed potato.   Sounds like it could be really nice and if he can, I'd advise him to get son & heir to do the rubbing in of the butter to the flour for the crumble, as he does it really - no, really - well.

So there it is - our next week's menu plan.  As for any additional makes or bakes, I had no plans for anything but hubby has been out and harvested Ruby the Rhubarb this morning.  The high winds of the last few days had beaten her down and broken a lot of the stalks and it really needed doing before all that lovely rhubarb rotted on the plant and went to waste.  So, I can see some cooking with rhubarb in my immediate future!


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