17 July 2012

Back to menu planning as we kick the takeaway to the curb!

Do you know, I'm sure I heard a little pained whimper from hubby, as I wrote that title.

We have, over the last couple of weeks while we've been dashing hither and thither, had a shameful reliance upon the local takeaways in the area.  We've had some utterly fabulous Chow Mein from The Alma Fish Bar & Chinese Takeaway in Winton (more than once), we've had fish & chips from an assortment of places, plus Doner Kebab (for hubby) and BBQ ribs (for me and which were the best BBQ ribs I've ever had from a takeaway) from our local Californian Chicken place.

We've also had takeout supermarket pizza, plus takeout curries (which weren't bad at all) from Asda.

Now, all this fun has to stop.  This mad carousel ride of rejecting the perfectly nice, balanced meal that we'd scheduled for that night, in favour of some mad and potentially disgusting (but often extremely moreish) concoction that someone else has cooked.  Just bung it in the microwave before sitting down and vacuuming up in ten minutes of guilty pleasure.

So, now we're back on a more even keel, we've managed to devise a menu plan for the week and have every intention of sticking to it.  No, I didn't have my fingers crossed as I said that, because if I did, I wouldn't have been able to type!

What is it, then?  Well, I think it all sounds rather nice ...

Tues : Chicken & sweetcorn pie with new potatoes, broccoli & carrots
Weds : Lasagne & chips
Thurs : BBQ pork wraps with salsa & sour cream, plus cheese & chilli cornbread
Fri : Sausage meatball pasta
Sat : Turkey Mufaletta with Caesar wedge salad
Sun : Slow cooker braised veal, roast potatoes, carrots, green beans & peas
Mon : Veal & ham pie with mashed potato & vegetables.

I'm working my way through a selection of meat products I was given to try, plus there's a Blogger's challenge in there and an "end of the school year" celebration dinner, too.

A previous chicken pie incarnation that was pretty good, too!
Firstly, the Chicken & sweetcorn pie.  This is going to be a home-made pie, in which I'll be using the other half of a French chicken that was given to me to try as part of a Westin Gourmet Variety Selection Box.

We made use of the first half of the chicken in a Chicken & Fennel Ragu which we ate last night - and which was absolutely fabulous.  To say it was really, really chickeny might sound a bit odd - but then there are flavourless chickens and there are chickens that have great flavour.  I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker for some 5-6 hours, surrounded by a selection of flavour enhancers for the stock - and both chicken and stock are superb.

So I'm holding out some hope for the chicken pie tonight.  I've saved enough stock to make the gravy with and it's going to be a "pie dish pie" i.e. top and bottom shortcrust pastry, as opposed to just a puff pastry lid.  So a "real" pie, not a shorthand version of one!

Photo c/o Westin Gourmet
More Westin Gourmet produce appears on Wednesday, as we try some of their Steak Mince in a Lasagne which will be crafted lovingly by hubby.  You might have noticed the chips involved with this Lasagne.  We had a somewhat intense few minutes while I argued for salad and hubby argued both his and son & heir's case for chips, before I gave up in the knowledge that we'd got plenty of salad and vegetables to come later in the week.  Choose your arguments, that's my advice.

Thursday is the last day of school for this year before son & heir moves up into year 9 in September.  He's done brilliantly well this year, having scored mostly A's and B's in his end of year report, so we're having a little celebratory dinner of some of his favourite things - including wraps made with pork mince and Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ sauce.  Some silver may cross his palm at the same time - he'll have to wait and see.  *wink*

Mmmn, Cumberland sausage, mash & onion gravy.
Friday sees another batch of Westin Gourmet produce - this time it's the turn of their Cumberland sausages.  I'll be posting a blog about these sausages very soon, as we had them last week as plain old sausage & mash and I have got to say that I really - no really - like them.  They're reminiscent of sausages of old - the sausages that my Mum used to dish up to us when we were kids.  Hubby is going to be converting them to sausage meatballs to go with some interesting Mafalda Corta pasta that we found in the local supermarket.

Now, the Turkey Mufaletta for Saturday is a bit of a work in progress.  "What's a Mufaletta?" I hear some of you cryWell, it's basically an entire loaf of bread that's been hollowed out and the inside crumb replaced with meats, cheeses, vegetables - you name it.  It it will go in a sandwich, it'll go in a Mufaletta.  Once filled, the top is replaced and then a heavy weight is placed on top for some 3-4 hours to compress it.

Ours is part of the the Lean on Turkey summer challenge, where we have been asked to think up an original recipe for summer food (not barbecue food) costing £10 or less.  It really didn't take us long to think of the Mufaletta - but boy, did it take some negotiating to decide what was going into it!  *chuckle*  I won't spoil the surprise by detailing it now - just suffice to say that it's going to involve turkey in one way or another - but not your common or garden sandwich turkey!

In line with our desire to keep the complication of cooking to a minimum (we might have got a tad carried away with some things just lately, so decided to rein back to food which doesn't need a day's worth of effort!) we've decided to follow on from the Braised Beef Silverside that I cooked in the slow cooker and go for the same approach with the socking great piece of Veal which the lovely people at Farmer's Choice sent us to try.

I've bought a bottle of Fuller's Organic Honeydew Ale to cook the veal in and I'm looking forward to it.  The gentler more subtle notes of the lighter ale, as opposed to a dark stout which you'd use for the stronger beef, should be interesting!

It's such a huge piece of veal that I am quite sure we'll have more than enough left over for a veal & ham pie the following day.  I suspect I'll approach it in the same way as the chicken pie I'm making, in that I'll hang onto some stock for the gravy.  Should be fab!

Now, as for other bakes and makes, well hubby has been plaintively bleating about wanting, nay needing, some chocolate & banana muffins.  I've had some bananas going suitably black on the window ledge and they're about ready now, so maybe tomorrow?

I've also been intending to make a rhubarb & ginger crumble for weeks, but keep being foiled by our random relationship with the local takeaways.  Maybe this weekend.  Cross your fingers for me, because Ruby (the rhubarb) is beginning to take over the garden.

So there you have it!  Feels good to have a menu plan again.  :)

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