17 May 2011

Winding the week up - from Tuna salad to Champ.

The final three days of this last week involved some delicious food worth talking about, but only one real recipe.

Tuna salad - the adult version
I had scheduled a tuna salad for Saturday, but this was a salad that involved more than just lettuce.  Indeed, it had to grow in the making as Son & heir's best friend stayed for tea, so I was glad we had a "stretchable" dish on the menu for that day!

It had come about because I'd been searching for something to use two tins of tuna in.  I'm not that keen on the old tuna pasta bake (which is the obvious choice) and anyway, we're talking Spring here - and a pasta bake isn't exactly in keeping with spring like weather.

Tuna salad : kids' version!
Another point was that hubby had very cleverly found a griddle pan in the local charity shop, which got me yearning for something to cook on it.  The tuna was out, as that was tinned.  Hmmn, asparagus - it's in season and if I'm going to use it, now would be a good moment, plus it would be lovely done on the griddle.  Bread, too - Ciabatta rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and griddled.  All that was left was to fill in the blanks.

The salad began with a large handful of lettuce and herb leaves, sprinkled with fine slices of red onion, quartered slices of cucumber, cold griddled asparagus, blanched fine green beans, warm new potatoes and quartered tomatoes.  The children didn't have the beetroots that we did, and we didn't have the soft boiled egg that they did.  They also had less Tuna than us.

The Ciabatta was just gorgeous - we all had some of that - and everyone except Son & heir ate it all up.  He declared that the asparagus was "horrid" and is going through a phase of not eating anything green, most especially anything leaf-like.  I served it with a dressing from Asda, made with Balsamic vinegar and sweet peppers.  It gave a welcome almost chutney-like feel to the salad that went exceptionally well with the tuna.  Definitely a "do-again" salad!

On Sunday, Son & heir was due to be cooking his bacon-wrapped, garlic butter stuffed chicken breast dinner.  As it turned out, I made the garlic butter while Son & heir finished a battle on the X-Box.  He then asked if he could go to watch a football match and could I cook his dinner for him, except he returned in time to prepare the vegetables and see the dinner through to serving.  So, it turned into a joint effort - and was very tasty.

Monday's dinner was a cracker.  Unfortunately, I didn't catch a photograph of it, as we were all far too keen to get tucked in.  I had seen "Perfect" on the Good Food Channel on t.v., where Paul Merrett made a cheesy Champ.  It got my mouth watering then and I resolved to try and reproduce it very soon.

Flipping heck, but it was good.  I mashed some Maris Piper potatoes with a splosh of milk, some salt & pepper and a large knob of butter, then mixed in a bunch of finely chopped Spring Onions and around 150g of grated Mature Cheddar.  Served with some of Spring Fields' Cumberland sausages (pan fried), baked beans and plain old boiled peas, it was simple but absolutely delicious.

One thing, though - I can remember thinking, as the sausages refused to lay down and cook, the potatoes threatened to overcook, the baked beans threatened to weld themselves to the pan and the peas shrieked about being forgotten from the freezer, that I got less stressed cooking a roast dinner!

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