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Day 19, in which everything goes out of the window for about 7 days

Yes, I’m writing this a week later because of various things that have happened over the last week, I’m going in chronological order and doing 7 posts in a night, go me!

We went to the cinema and decided that cooking and eating are far to much bother. Tonight we had sandwiches and didn’t eat a full one. This, was probably because we went to the cinema to watch Monsters University (The Unnecessary Prequel) and were full of sugar and hot dogs from Ikea. It should have been chicken chasseur. Here is the recipe from Delicious magazine:

  • 8 skinned and boned chicken thighs
  • 4 large fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g (about 3) shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 300g small chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200g fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
  1. Open out the chicken thighs and place skinned-side down on a work surface. Sprinkle with half the thyme and some seasoning, roll back into shape and tie at each end with string.
  2. Heat a deep, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and fry the chicken pieces until golden all over. Set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the oil, shallot and garlic to the pan. Fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the purée, cook for 1 minute, add the wine and stock, and bring to the boil. Return the chicken to the pan with the mushrooms, remaining thyme, bay leaves and some seasoning.
  4. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Turn the chicken now and then, cooking until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with mashed potatoes.

Old cub picture

New Cub picture

Peace, love and pizza!

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Day 17, in which we get

all creative.

So I thought about Parika Pork and thought it would probably be to spiky (spicy in Cub language), so I decided to play with it and here’s what I did.

Cut up enough pork for all of us about 350g in chunks

Mandolin sliced up 3 red onions,about 300g straight into the slow cooker.

Added, the pork chunks to it

1 chicken stock cube with about 400 ml of water

added about 4 tablespoons of sundried tomato paste I had left over

tomato puree

about a tablespoon of lemon juice

sugar a couple of teaspoons

smoked paprika (about a teaspoon)

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon of cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of parsley, thyme

fresh ground black pepper – we like black pepper so quite a bit ymmv.

Mixed it in the slow cooker, and cooked on low for about 8 hours.

Mixed half a tub of low fat crème fraîche.

Served with rice and garlic bread.

A tiny bit yum, I doubt I will ever be able to repeat this because I did it on the fly.

This is what it looked like:

Twas a tiny bit yum, in fact, I think somebody slipped in some crack cocaine because I’ve been eating the left overs on and off ever since!

Old Picture of The Cub

New Picture of The Cub

Peace, love and pizza!

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Day 12, in which we go off the rails – again

So, I could convince not a soul in the house that garbage soup was a good idea. It sounds vile but what it really is, is a soup that uses up all those left over veggies and any bits of meat that are lurking in the freezer and actually it’s pretty damn good. I like thyme and bay leaves as herbs and serve with either home made bread or a really nice loaf. We have no bakers locally, which is a shame so I do have to go to the supermarket. Here’s tomorrow’s recipe from the BBC Good Food site:

  • 500g Fresh Beef Mince.
  • 400g Dried Spaghetti.
  • 4 Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon, finely diced.
  • 2 Tins of Plum/Chopped Tomatoes.
  • 6 Fresh Cherry Tomatoes.
  • 2 Medium Onions, peeled and finely diced.
  • 2 Sticks of Celery, trimmed and finely diced.
  • 2 Carrots, trimmed and finely diced.
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely diced.
  • 1 Medium Chilli (optional), seeded and finely sliced
  • 75g Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for grating over.
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube.
  • Glass of red wine (optional)
  • Herbs:
  • 2-3 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary.
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, plus extra for Garnish.
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano.
  • 1-2 Fresh Bay Leaves.
  • Olive oil.
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper.

Get yourself a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it on a medium heat. Add a good lug of olive oil and gently fry your bacon until golden and crisp, then reduce the heat slightly and add your onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Next remove the leaves from the Rosemary sprigs and add them to the pot, discarding the sprigs. Move everything around and fry for around 8-10 minutes until the veg has softened. Next, increase the heat slightly, add the mince and stir until the meat is browned all over. Stir in your tins of plum/chopped tomatoes, (plum tomatoes are best as they contain less water, but either will turn out great!). Add your remaining herbs, tomato puree, stock cube, chilli and if using, the wine. Slice your cherry tomatoes in half and throw them in aswell. Give everything a stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the plum tomatoes as you go and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low-medium, put the lid on and leave it blipping away for about an hour and 15 minutes until the flavours develop into a wonderfully rich tomatoey sauce. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t catch. Just as the sauce is nearly ready, Add the parmesan and season to taste. Meanwhile add salt to a pan of boiling water and cook the spaghetti according the the packet instructions. Once the spaghetti is ready, drain it in a colander and add it to the pan with the sauce. Give it all a good stir, coating the pasta in the lovely tomato sauce. Serve with a little grated parmesan and use the extra basil leaves to make a great little garnish. This is expensive and not what I have planned – I shall be using the slow cooker because it brings out the best in the mince. Mince is usually not taken from the best cuts of meat and benefits from a slow cook. We actually had chicken and beef burgers tonight, not home made due to the horror that is shoe and glasses shopping. I love Robin with all my heart and probably, a bit of a few other peoples. But, I cannot abide glasses shopping with him, every year the ‘requirements’ for what a pair of glasses has to do changes and that means everything that has gone before is out of the window. This year, he has got it into his head that if he wears the ‘wrong style’ of glasses people shout at him more. He rarely, if ever, gets shouted at by anyone, he’s good at this job and sets realistic expectations for the company and the users. I have no bloody idea where he’s got this from – his current glasses look nothing like the ones he says will make people more antagonistic so he has no empirical evidence to back up his claim. Sometimes I despair of him. I thought we’d dropped lucky with one of those companies that send you the frames to try on but even that has turned problematic. The Cub however was a dream, it was such a shame there were no actual shoes in his size!

A picture of burgers:

Old Picture of The Cub

New Picture

Peace, love and pizza!

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Day 11, in which we might cheat a little bit

because I’ve posted before with this recipe and I’m busy so I’ll cut and paste some of it:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks – the recipe says a green pepper but as green peppers are nasty un-ripened peppers I don’t use them.
  • 1 x 227g tin of pineapple chunks sliced and juice retained. I use stripey (what we call whatever value range the supermarket is selling because Tesco’s use to be stripey) tins of pineapple.
  • 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp clear rice vinegar or cider vinegar. It’s pretty much always cider vinegar because I love salad dressings with cider vinegar or if I’m feeling sassy mirin.
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar optional
  • 1 tsp cornflour blended with 1 tbsp cold water

The recipe gives a really complicated way of making the sauce here’s what I do:

Stir fry the peppers and ginger in the pan for a couple of minutes. Add everything else except the sugar. Boil the crap out of it for a few minutes. CAREFULLY taste – this is going to be hotter than McDonald’s coffee use to be, so let it cool and then cool some more. Add the sugar if you need to and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Thicken with the cornflour/water mixture if required.

Stir fry your meat and or vegies, we would be having chicken, chinese leaves, pak choi and any veg I can find in the bottom of the fridge – I’m lucky we have a REALLY good veg stall on our local market who stock exotic things like mooli and pak choi. If I can convince them I’ll get them to pose for a picture one day! – and steamed rice. However, as the lurgy got me yesterday we’re just having chicken and extra peppers in the sauce! Because of the lurgy tonight I’ve added extra ginger. For the 3 of us I use 1 1/4 cups of rice and 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. Simmer the rice for 5 minutes then turn off for 15 minutes with the lid on. DO NOT LIFT THE LID before the time is up. Drain any excess liquid, fluff and serve.

We’re shoe shopping for The Cub tomorrow – the horror!

Today consists of the library and food shopping. As I didn’t post next weeks menu planner yesterday when I should have, here it is:

Spag Bol
Fish fingers
Fettuccine with melting Brie, Cherry tomatoes and Basil
Pie
Paprika Pork
Pan Haggerty
Chicken Chasseur

I look forward NOT AT ALL to trying to get The Cub to eat pie, he views it as poison. I might try separating filling from pastry and see how that goes.

Here’s the shopping list for the recipes – although I think recipe is a bit strong for fish fingers:

Enough mince for your family, for us that’s about 3/4lb or 340g
Garlic
2  x Tinned tomatoes – I like the chopped ones
Passata
Fish Fingers
Good chipping potatoes or decent oven bake chips – your choice 😀
Fettuccine
100g Brie or soft cheese – your choice, the recipe says use 300g but this serves 4 and it’s to much for us
extra virgin olive oil
cherry tomatoes – recipe calls for 300g but I find that 100g works for us, that is 1 of my hands full – your hands may be bigger or smaller and your family may love cherry tomatoes, do what works for you 😀
Fresh Basil – have some left over from last week because I bought the sort that grows
Lemon
Vegetable oil
250g streaky bacon (I’ve got some back bacon so I’ll be using that)
The recipe calls for 6 medium potatoes – what does that fucking mean? Sorry, but it makes me SO cross! Apparently, according to our friend Google, a medium potato weighs about 60g so that’s about 360g of potato.
6 onions – I get to play with my mandolin, let’s hope this time I don’t try to slice of my finger. I’ll be using red onions.
9 carrots, use your common sense, if you’re buying chantenay carrots get loads. If they are massive comedy carrots use less.
Chicken stock 1l
150g grated cheddar
Chicken thighs – enough for your family
Fresh thyme sprigs – we have some growing on our front AtAt station
Olive oil
100g Shallots – if there aren’t any on the market today I shall be using red onions
Tomato puree
Dry white wine
500g mushrooms whichever ones you like, I shall be going with what is available on the market – sometimes they have mixed shrooms, yum!
Bay leaves
Flatleaf parsley
1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry, because life is to short to make it yourself.
10g dried mushrooms – use porcini if you can, Aldi do some really good dried mushrooms when it’s Chinese week, I usually stock up and use those.
1/2 kg braising steak
caster sugar
plain flour
150ml dark ale
beef stock cubes
100g smoked bacon lardons – Aldi do really good little packs and you can freeze half
Eggs
400g pork chunks – recipe calls for pork fillet but I’ll be using the cheapest cut because I’ll be using the slow cooker 😀
100 ml crème fraîche – I’ll use yoghurt if it’s to expensive or sour cream, as I have some in the fridge.
Paprika – I’ll be using sweet because the boys don’t like spicy

Of course, you will need to provide accompaniments so this is not an exhaustive shopping list but it is a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for this weeks planner, cook along with me 😀 I have been thinking, and yes, actually it hurt a lot. I’m going to post the recipe on how to do it properly the day before I post what I did and what it looked like. Then, if you’d like to you can follow the recipe yourself and let me know what you did on my blog iyswim 😀

Here’s an old picture of sweet and sour because it was basically identical and the cable for my phone has disappeared, I shall probably find it in the lego box.

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Old Cub Picture

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New Cub Picture

Love, peace and pizza!

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Day 4, in which we reveal how Jamie Oliver got us pregnant

This is my Jamie Oliver story, and, although he features heavily he fails to actually appear in person. It is brought on by the JO inspired dish today which is chicken tray bake. Anyway, back to the bit you’re gagging to find out, how did Jamie Oliver get liddle old me preggers? Well, we use to camp at Tregurrian Camping Club site at Watergate Bay which is just outside of Newquay. Mr Oliver has a 15 restaurant at Watergate Bay and we did the taster menu with the taster wine, big mistake, there is a LOT of wine. The meal was ok, I’ve had worse from higher end restaurants but I was expecting much better tbh. At the time the reviews for 15 were very mixed and yes, the service was terrible. So after the meal we climbed back up the hill to our tent and it was raining. There isn’t that much to do in Cornwall when it’s wet, so I ended up pregnant. I was nearly 40, it’s really hard to get pregnant so I thought no problems. I felt The Cub implant the next day and just knew. I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO GET BLOODY PREGNANT THAT QUICKLY #andbreathe. So yes, Mr Oliver, if you’re reading this, I do blame you, entirely, for getting me pregnant. I, of COURSE, wouldn’t be without The Cub now and love the bones of him, it did take me a while to get my head around it all though. And back to the JO inspired tray bake, here’s the original recipe, which I’m pretty sure I got from the JO magazine:

  • Small ciabatta loaf
  • 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • bunch of basil, leaves picked
  • 1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves, skin on
  • handful of black olives, stoned (the idea of stoned olives always cracks me up, but I have the humor of a 7 year old)
  • olive oil
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 8 slices of pancetta, or thin-sliced smoked streaky bacon
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas4. Get a deep roasting tray big enough to fit all the chicken in one layer. Rip the ciabatta into medium-sized chunks and place in the tray with the chicken, tomatoes, basil, garlic cloves and olives. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and the chilli. Toss to mix up well, then reposition the chicken on top. Bake in the oven turning the chicken after 30 minutes.
  2. After another 30 minutes, drape the pancetta or bacon on top of the chicken and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and falling of the bone. Lovely with a crisp green salad.

Here’s what I actually did No olives, they are nasty little bags of horror. A dry chilli, but I made the mistake of putting all my dried chilli’s in the same jar, some of which were chipotle and now they all smell/taste a bit smoked. I completely forgot the bacon. You may have noticed from a previous post, I bloody hate it when recipes state a drizzle, what does it mean? So here’s what I did, poured a little oil into the dish which didn’t coat everything, so I did a bit more and a bit more until everything got a little coating of oil. I used de-boned chicken thighs so the cooking time was reduced, also, Robin hates bones in anything as he feels he’s fighting with his food. He isn’t picky honest, it’s just that for some reason all his foibles are coming out in my first few blogs 😀 Here are a couple of pictures of the prep and the finished product, it’s is very yum. The bread goes like gooey, but yummy, croutons.

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Today’s picture of The Cub, have just had a thought I should take a new picture every day as well as drag out an old one so there’s a year of The Cub online!

Old picture

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Today’s picture

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Peace, love and pizza!

PS, can you imagine what the Daily Fail will do with this, I doubt they ever fact check anything and quite obviously, from some of the stuff they’ve ripped off borrowed from Mumsnet never bother to read past the title 😀

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Day 3, or the day we let the chippy shop take the strain

Not going to even try to justify this, it’s sausage chips and gravy for dinner tonight. The Cub has looked forward to it all holiday and we are going to P.I.G. O.U.T. I foresee a Buffy marathon with some beer in our future tonight as the wonderful man I live with, bought me the box set for Christmas. Eat your hearts out peasants 😀 No picture, because, although AWESOME, it requires no explanation.

As no post is complete without a picture of The Cub, here, he likes to sleep with a hat on sometimes: 094 Next weeks menu:

  • Monday, baked potatoes
  • Tuesday, sos and squash
  • Wednesday, kedgeree
  • Thursday, Gammon
  • Friday, Hummus/poached eggs/scrambled eggs
  • Saturday, Sweet and sour stir fry
  • Sunday, soup

Next weeks spice list:

  • bay leaves
  • medium curry powder or garam masala with chilli
  • fresh parsley (weekly extravagance)
  • fresh ginger
  • light soy sauce
  • rice or cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • thyme fresh, but I’ve got some growing at the front

Shopping list:

  • a baked potato for each person, for us that’s 3
  • baked beans
  • block of cheese or grated cheese depending on which is cheapest
  • 1 packet of really nice sausages
  • 1 butternut squash
  • Eggs
  • smoked haddock fillet
  • basmati rice
  • peas
  • 1 red onion
  • double cream (might go with plain yogurt if there is any left in the fridge)
  • lemon juice
  • Gammon steaks
  • veggies
  • boiling potatoes
  • hummus
  • pita bread
  • tappas type things if there are any on offer
  • cornflour
  • chicken thighs boned
  • red pepper
  • yellow pepper
  • 1 x 227g tin of pineapple chunks
  • stir fry veggies
  • soup veggies

Peas, love and pizza!

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Day one or, this is where it gets serious

So, I’ve nearly got a years worth of menu planned – only 59 days left to fill so that’s pretty good, ::pats self on back::

Due to family stuff I’m putting 2 posts up today as I missed yesterdays!

The meal planning is geared towards us, please feel free to take the ideas and adapt them for your own family. Goddess knows I’ve borrowed from many many sources, if I know where something has come from I’ll quote the source or link to it if appropriate.

Every month I’ll post a list of spices/herbs that will be needed for the following month and every Friday I’ll post a shopping list for the next week. I have no intention of continuing this blog after the year is up, but never say never.

I’m not going to limit myself to just food, I’ll post stuff about what I’m doing and the family, there will be some politics, if this isn’t for you I hope you find the blog you are looking for. Nice Star Wars ref there 😀

As we start the year mid week and, because nobody REALLY wants to cook just after Christmas this week is a bit hit and miss food wise.

I’m going to assume you have condiments e.g. ketchup, vegetable oil and olive oil in your houses everything else will get listed, this also helps me whilst shopping because we are doing if-it’s-not-on-the-list-it’s-not-coming-home-shopping this year.

Here is the spice list:

  • Fresh basil – my one extravagance this week
  • Dried red chilli
  • Garam masala – I intend to spend some time this year making a perfect one for us, for now this is shop bought
  • ground coriander
  • fresh ginger
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • ground turmeric

Shopping list

  • Chicken breast – enough for however many your family is, for us that’s about 2 large ones
  • chicken thighs – see above
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • 3 red onions
  • 165ml coconut milk (you can get them in B&M)
  • ground almonds
  • lemon juice
  • small ciabatta loaf or home made loaf if you’re feeling up to it after Xmas
  • Green salady type leaves
  • cherry tomatoes – if they are too expensive I shall be going with normal tomatoes
  • streaky bacon
  • 1 pkt pasta mix – we use the own brand ones from Aldi or Asda, other supermarkets are available
  • 1 jar of Brockwurst sausages from Aldi
  • 1 packet of hot-dog buns

Here is the rest of this weeks meal plan:

  • Wednesday, Curry
  • Thursday, pasta mix
  • Friday, take away
  • Saturday, chicken tray bake
  • Sunday, hot-dogs

No, it isn’t the most healthy start to the year, but it does make it a lovely easy start 😀

Here’s my korma recipe please note I rarely measure this now and the amount of sauce given here should do 6 people without to much trouble:

Enough Chicken breasts to do for your family
1 heaped teaspoon of finely grated fresh ginger – freeze your left over ginger and it keeps for AGES
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
150g greek plain yogurt
1 dried red chilli – I have been known to leave this out depending on the heat of the garam masala I’m using, my lot do not like food that is spicy or spikey as The Cub calls it! Or you can use a fresh one, remember the heat is in the white veiny stuff and the seeds, keep or discard as much or as little as your family likes.
2 finely chopped red onions
1tbsp veg oil
1tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp garam masala
165ml coconut milk – if I’ve got creamed coconut and not milk I’ll use about half the amount of milk
100ml milk
2 heaped tbsps ground almonds
Lemon juice

  1. cut chicken breasts into chunks you would like to eat – I hate when recipes say bite size, bite size for Robin is not bite size for The Cub. Just make sure they are all the same size
  2. Mix the chicken with the ginger, garlic and yogurt. Cover and marinade, if you are organised – I am not – you could do this the night before. I’ve done it with 15 minutes to go and it still tastes good.
  3. Liquidise the onions and red chilli, if you don’t have the equipment to do that, chop them together for a bit. If liquidising add water if you need to, to get a smooth paste.
  4. Heat oil in a pan to a medium heat, don’t you hate that? WTF is a medium heat anyway? I heat my pan on the hob just until the flames get big. Then, add the coriander, black pepper, tumeric and garam masala, stir fry for about a minute. This releases the flavours of your spices. If you’re feeling particularly fruity, you can always use whole spices, dry fry them then grind them and use that. This takes effort though!
  5. Turn up the heat, add the onion and chilli paste or chunks and stir fry until softened, do not allow the onion to brown, or do, I think it tastes horrid if you do though.
  6. Add the chicken and any marinade left to the pan and stir fry for another 10 minutes.
  7. Add the coconut milk and normal milk, stir until completely combined. If you’re using creamed coconut, stir until fully dissolved. Add the almonds. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. NEVER, serve or eat raw chicken. I popped that there to stop me from being sued 😀
  8. Add lemon juice and salt to your own peculiar taste and mix well.

Serve with usual accompaniments e.g. naan breads, rice etc and chutneys.

Use the rest of the yogurt with a couple of teaspoons of dried mint, some lemon juice and voila! Raita.

My foolproof way of doing rice.

Use a half a cup (the measuring kind, not the massive comedy mug you have in your cupboard!) of rice per person. Add double the water. Boil the rice for 5 minutes and then leave with the heat switched off for 15 minutes.

DO NOT LOOK AT THE RICE OR LIFT THE LID DURING THE COOKING PROCESS INCLUDING THE 15 MINUTES!

Drain any excess water off the rice, fluff with a fork and serve.

Do not be scared of cooking rice, it will be lovely.

And here’s a picture of the curry:

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And here’s a picture of The Cub because he’s bloody cute, he’d taken his braces off as he was now a rebel not a farmer. 😀

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Peace, love and Pizza!