13 April 2011

The latest menu plan & a fit of pique

First of all, I shall admit something that probably nobody noticed - but I feel I should tell you anyway.  Which is that I deleted the blog on Sunday evening, in a fit of frustration and bad temper.  I had been trying, all flipping day, to post the Pork & Rhubarb recipe but with little success.  When, finally, I got everything together in the right place and had it written, photograph installed and ready to post - the computer threw a wobbly and wouldn't post it (or so it seemed - unknown to me, it had posted anyway).  It seemed as though I had spent the last two days trying to a) be a mum, b) be a wife (albeit not a great one, as poor hubby has to do almost everything thanks to my disability), c) write the damned post and d) time was running out, as I should (by then) have been in the kitchen making steak & kidney pie.

So, after a lot of shouty noises, swearing and general stomping about, I decided that the best thing was to delete the flipping blog and get that source of frustration out of my life.

Kerpow!  With one fell click of a switch, there it was gone.  Strangely, I didn't feel any lighter.

I missed not being able to go into Google Analytics to see who'd been by, what they'd been looking at, whether the results were up in comparison, or down.  I missed having the hope that someone would have commented (which is by far the best part of the whole blogging experience, and I wish more of you would!).  I missed the mad scramble for the camera as dinner is served.

Although, I did enjoy the freedom that not having the blog gave me.  Not having to remember to take a photograph of each meal.  Not having the next blog post forming itself at the back of my head.  Not feeling pressured to think of or find some interesting recipes that would blog well.  I actually managed to spend some time reading my book (and very good it was too - "Wolf of the Plains", by Conn Iggulden.  All about the early days of Genghis Khan).

It was in this period of time that I had to put together the week's menu plan and convert it to a shopping list.  I didn't spend any time scouring the internet for inspiration, nor did I waste much time looking through my lever arch folders full of categorised recipes (yes, I'm THAT anal - I have one folder for "tried & tested" and one folder for "untried & ideas").  I just got on and wrote down things that sounded nice, fitted with what we had already or were things that we'd liked in the past and were worth doing again, interspersed with old favourites.

So you won't find any curried lark's tongue, or fricassee of lamb niblets going on this week.  I think this is a good thing, as I suspect I had been being driven by the blog rather too much - and instead, I needed to get back to the driving seat and take a firmer control.

Obviously, I re-instated the blog the following day, having calmed down and talked it over with hubby.  Thank goodness for Blogger's "cooling down period" approach to blog deletion, eh?

So here I am again, suitably contrite (although as I say, I doubt any of you noticed it was gone!) with a new and improved approach to finding time to write the blog and every intention of never deleting it again.  Honest.

Now then, let's have a look at what I decided to cook for dinners this week.

Unfortunately, we missed the steak & kidney pie - but I write briefly about it in my latest blog post for the Bournemouth Echo - which should follow this blog, so look out for it if you're interested.

Tuesday brought a return visit from an old friend from last summer.  Spicy chicken with mango salad & naan bread was what it should have been, however having received a brick-hard mango with the shopping delivery on Tuesday, it rapidly became just spicy chicken with plain old salad instead.

We've acquired a nice non-stick frying pan since last summer, so I decided against cooking the chicken in the oven (as I'd done before) and opted for the pan frying version.  That way created a gorgeous crunchy spicy crust on the chicken which was really satisfying to eat.  The chicken is a lot more controllable where cooking time is concerned when you're breathing down upon it, watching its every move, too.

I'm really not sure what the naan bread is supposed to bring to the dish, other than a fabulous accompaniment to the sour cream & lime mixture that goes so well with the chicken and salad.  It was a bit out there on its own, without any friends other than the sour cream & lime and seemed a bit surplus to requirements.  I think I'd have far rather had some sweet potato wedges or some such.  Much more appropriate.  So, that's my recommendation, which I've included in the recipe - which I'll blog next time.

Wednesday (tonight, as I write this) we've got good old Impossible Quiche.  Except, with this one, it'll be made with some of the leftovers from last night's salad, such as red onion and red pepper.  With lovely back bacon, how could it go wrong?  I'll definitely be doing some potato wedges to accompany it - probably with a sprinkling of Cajun spice or maybe even ras-el-hanout.

Photo c/o BBC Good Food
Thursday is one to look forward to.  Thyme & mustard gammon with mashed potato, peas and carrots is a not only delicious but easy to make, too.  Can't argue with that!

As for Friday's dinner, well, here follows a bit of child psychology.  You see, son & heir hates stir-fries, for the simple reason that the dreaded vegetables are mixed in with the lovely meat to the extent that if he attempts to pick one from the other, he gets told off.  So, as and when he asks, it's a Pork with red peppers dish and not a Pork & Peppers stir fry.  I just know he's going to really like this meal, as the vegetables are represented by both red and yellow peppers and the pork will be the steaks from our local butcher, which he really likes.  So, it's best not to colour his opinion early on, by calling it a stir-fry.  Better to let him find out it was stir fried, on the day.  *wink*

As hubby is now working, Saturday has become our "top up shop" day.  So because I will only cook fish that is as fresh as I can get it, fish is only available on a Tuesday or a Saturday for us.  As a consequence, Saturday shall be Kedgeree day.  Is there much nicer than a lovely little mountain of smoked fish, curry spices and rice, all held together with lovely butter and topped off with crumbled egg yolk?  Naughty, but oh, so nice!

Sunday sees the return of an old friend, in that I thought I'd have a second go at the Lamb & Orzo bake.  This surprised me, last time, as to its depth of flavour and general niceness and seemed perfect for a "getting away from a roast" Sunday.

Which leaves the poor old packet of prawns that I'd bought for the prawn curry that we should have had on Monday (see Bournemouth Echo post as to why we didn't).  I'd bought everything required for a prawn curry - so, prawn curry it is!  Just a week late!

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