Lazy Days…

Thats what I’ve been having. Well, the past two anyway. Had to have some dental work done on Wednesday which left me in no mood to shop or cook. So the kids have been living off quick stuff (pizzas and burgers) while i got treated to a meal out to cheer me up 😉

But…i did manage to throw some stuff together for a portion of Butter Pecan Ice Cream which went down well. My only criticism of the recipe (click the link above) is that it says to bring to the boil and then to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally…ummmm, yeah, right, this is a custard we’re making. So if you’re going to try this i’d recommend stirring frequently, unless you want lumpy custard and a burnt pan bottom lol

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Bloody good though 🙂

Date night tomorrow, so no dinner required..i will however be baking on Saturday…something I’ve never tried before, but especially close to my heart…

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My First EVER Home Made Lasagne

I got on the scales this morning to discover i’d lost 2lb…is that it? 2 measly pounds?   Hardly seems worth dieting lol 😉

So today was not a fast day. In fact, it was a momentous occasion…I made Lasagne 🙂  I used the recipe that Gennaro Contaldo demonstrated on Food and Drink last week. I took these notes from watching the TV show.

Gennaro’s Lasagne

  • 300g minced beef
  • 300g minced pork
  • Lasange pasta sheets
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 celery stick chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • large glass red wine
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (i used one with italian chopped herbs) + the same again of water
  • 1 ball Mozarella
  • 2tsp plain flour
  • 40g butter
  • 500ml milk
  • 100g Parmesan
  1. Fry the mince in olive oil until all the liquid has gone. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until the meat begins to caramelise and the vegetables are beginning to tenderise.
  2. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated then add the tomatoes and water and simmer gently.
  3. Meanwhile make the white sauce using the butter, flour and milk. Remove from the heat and add the parmesan.
  4. Add more liquid to the meat if it seems too dry and season to taste. Layer between the pasta sheets, finishing with the white sauce. Grate some Parmesan over the top before baking in the oven covered with foil for 35-45 mins. Remove foil for 10 minutes to allow the top to brown.

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Ok, i used a bag of mixed grated cheese on the top of mine, because i know how much The Hubster and my daughter like the crusty bit on top 😉

Soooo, my thoughts, The Fams feedback? It was a bit dry (but it wasn’t when i layered it)…and you couldn’t even tell that i’d put Mozarella between the layers. Then a discussion ensued on whether the white/Bechamel sauce should be between the layers of pasta.

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Still, I’m quite proud of it for a first attempt…but i will be making some changes next time 😉

Do you put your Bechamel between the layers of pasta?

Meal Planning – 24th February

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Last weeks meal planning went well, but Fasting was a complete nightmare lol. Ok, i know diets aren’t supposed to be pleasant, but, bloody hell, it was pure torture! I hope this week will be better. Im sure that was one of the reasons i felt so rough last week 😦

Anyway, this week, I’ve been inspired by several sources. The first one was Food & Drink, when i saw chef Gennaro Contaldo cook Lasagne, and then by having breakfast on Saturday morning in Leon 🙂

So heres how this week is shaping up…

  • Monday (today) – Lasagne & Garlic Bread (i have never made my own Lasagne lol)
  • Tuesday – Fasting/Pizza for the kids
  • Wednesday – Leon’s Sesame Chicken with Spring Greens and then Rice Pudding
  • Thursday – Fasting/something for the kids (to be chosen as I’m walking around the supermarket lol)
  • Friday – Takeaway
  • Saturday – Jacket Potatoes with a selection of fillings & home made bread
  • Sunday – Fasting/The Hubster’s in charge of the kids meal

I’ll also be taking part in another baking challenge 😉

Please pop over to Mrs M”s for more meal planning inspiration.

What will you be serving up this week?

The Lurpak Bake Club – Banana Bread

I found out about this through The Pink Whisk (the blog and website of Great British Bake Off contestant Ruth Clemens) and as i always use Lurpak butter to bake with, i guess i am forced (snigger) to take part 🙂

The whole idea of The Bake Club is to bake…then upload a photo…and you could possibly win a prize. I don’t really fancy my chances, but, what do they say? If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

So i’ve been pulling me hair out, trying to think how i can meet the brief this month which is “a daring loaf of bread”… (can’t believe how many people have uploaded pics that have nothing to do with a loaf of bread…cupcakes? Seriously? Don’t people read the details? lol) and i think this will count.

Recently, my lovely friend Sabrina over in the US has given me her recipe for her Banana Bread 🙂 Now, the reason this loaf would be daring, is because don’t like Bananas lol. But I’m putting my faith in Sabrina that this loaf will change my views ( i bet she’s gulped as she read that lol).

Sabrina’s Banana Bread

Ive had to alter the recipe slightly (US to UK). Hope you don’t mind Sabrina 🙂

  • 1/2 Cup melted butter (Lurpak of course!)
  • 1 and 1/4 Cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 Cup plain flour
  • 1 Cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk
  1. Grease a loaf tin and set the oven to 180 degree’s.
  2. Pour the melted butter in a mixing bowl with the sugar.  Add the eggs and mashed up bananas.  Mix well and add the bicarbonate, baking powder and salt.  Blend well then add the flour, milk and vanilla.
  3. Mix ingredients well and pour into the greased loaf tin.
  4. Bake for 1 hour.  Test to see if it is done by poking the middle with a metal skewer.  If  not cooked place back in the oven until the skewer comes out clean.

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Well….. *grins* what can i say? Its gorgeous! Especially hot from the oven with butter on it 😉

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Thank you so much Sabrina. I can now eat Bananas! 😉 I might try this recipe with other fruits…Blueberry? And next time i might try using just white flour rather than the mixture.

So ive entered this in this months Lurpak Comp…Wish me luck!

Chick Pea Mash…Where Have You Been All My Life?

I haven’t cooked the last couple of days. Fasting on Thursday and of course, Fridays is always takeaway night. Which has been handy because I’ve felt really rough 😦 I’m boring myself now with being ill, let alone everyone around me.

So today The Hubster went to a chess match and I cooked Nigel Slaters Slow Cooked Lamb with Chick Pea Mash. OMFG! Chick Pea Mash! 🙂

It was a bit stressful, especially as I wasn’t feeling too great…have you ever tried to mash chick peas? I tried a manual approach with a potato masher…then I tried the blender…and finally, my Braun Hand Blender… needless to say, the mash was a bit lumpy lol…but still bloody good. As usual, I changed the recipe and just added stuff to taste 😉

Chick Pea Mash

2 cans Chick Peas, drained
1 onion chopped
Knob of butter
Olive oil
Paprika, salt & pepper to taste

Fry the onion in olive oil and butter until soft then add the chick peas to warm through. Place in a food processor and blitz, adding olive oil and seasoning to taste.

Ok, I knew I needed a food processor, but now, I really need one! But, saying that, I quite liked it lumpy 🙂

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I served it with the lamb (that was cooked for 3 hours),

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roasted butternut squash and buttered spinach.

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I also made a pumpkin bread (from a bread mix) that matched the whole thing perfectly.

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So now I’m on the look out for a food processor…do you have one? And if so, would you recommend your model? There are so many on the market!

Stir Fry & Lemon Tart

Well, day one of the fasting was as torturous as i expected, especially as i had some Treacle Tart left over in the fridge lol

Spent most of the day trying to clear a garage, so it was a good job that the meal i’d planned for this evening wasn’t something that took more than a couple of hours.

Inspired by Nigel Slaters Pork With Garlic and Oyster Sauce i made a stir fry

Pork Stir Fry

  • 1 pork fillet/tenderloin cut into small pieces
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber cut into juliennes
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 4 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
  • 1 pack fine egg noodles
  • 1 pack bean sprouts
  • 1 pack baby corn sliced
  1. Put a pan of water on to boil for the noodles.
  2. Fry the shallots and garlic in some oil in a wok then add the pork and brown.
  3. Put noodles into boiling water. Add the Oyster sauce, bean sprouts and baby corn to the pork and toss until everything is coated and bubbling.
  4. Add cucumber and spinach to the pork and fry until spinach is wilted then add the cooked noodles and toss to combine everything.
  5. Serve immediately.

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I told The Hubster i was using Oyster Sauce and he wasn’t impressed lol, but enjoyed it once it was cooked. My daughter cleared her plate, and said it was lovely…but i won’t be telling her it was Oyster Sauce, she’ll be mortified 😉 Personally i love Oyster Sauce and also Thai Fish Sauce…once you get over the thoughts of what they’re made from 😉

I made Lemon Tart for dessert, even made my own pastry again…but i really could do with a food processor to make it easier. It was Nigel’s Lemon Tart recipe from The Kitchen Diaries. I didn’t have the problems he had (shrinkage so the filling comes out) but probably only because i didn’t put all the filling in…i was a bit panicked lol. So the lemon layer is only about 1cm thick and i have a jug of raw egg, lemon juice and cream in the fridge lol

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Was bloody nice though….in fact, I’m off to get another slice, as i’ll be fasting again tomorrow 🙂

Are there any ingredients you don’t like the idea of?

Chicken Patties and Treacle Tart

Today I returned (as I normally do) to Nigel Slaters The Kitchen Diaries for meal inspiration, and of course, I just have to fiddle with the recipe 😉

Nigel’s Chicken Patties are kind of like burgers, which you finish off in the oven in some chicken stock. But as I decided to serve mine in burger buns with Emmental and salad I just fried them, then whacked them into the oven to keep warm as the family arrived home in dribs and drabs.

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A mixture of minced chicken with finely diced onion, garlic, bacon (Nigel specified Pancetta) and Rosemary. Of course, I had to forgo the Rosemary (for fear of complaints about “green bits”) but plenty of salt and pepper made them tasty enough. A definite hit with everyone…unlike the Treacle Tart 😦

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I even made my own pastry! *tuts*

No, come on, Treacle Tart is sooo bloody sweet and I haven’t made one since we lived in London (nearly 20 years ago) so the kids didn’t really know what it was lol. The Hubster and I enjoyed it warm with cream though 😉

So while all that was going on I decided to empty my fridge of all the vegetables in the bottom drawer. The bits and pieces left over from previous meals…threw it all in a pot and made a vegetable soup.

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Added some lentils, blitzed it all up, and now it’s in the fridge in microwave pots to be reheated tomorrow for lunch (and dinner) on a Fasting day. I tend to favour Miso soup to keep me going when I’m fasting, but I feel far more virtuous doing this 😉

Sad Veg Drawer Soup

  • Contents of your veg drawer – today i used: 2 leeks, 1/2 Savoy cabbage, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 Celeriac, 2 sticks of celery, 1 red onion, 2 large carrots and a handful of green beans
  • A large handful of red lentils
  • 2 cloves Garlic sliced/crushed or chopped
  • Large squeeze of tomato puree
  • 2 stock cubes (veg or chicken)
  • Water

Chop and bung everything in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil then add the lentils. Simmer until the lentils are tender and remove from the heat. Check seasoning then blitz when cool.

There’s just something so therapeutic, comforting, about making soup, don’t you think?