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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 15, in which I explain

why the only recipe’s I follow are baking ones. I use recipe’s as a guideline not an absolute. Robin can’t do that and it drives him up the wall, this is a bonus. Baking to me is a dark art, I rarely do it and when I do tend to follow the recipe slavishly as I don’t have the 10,000 hours required to be as spontaneous with desserts. I understand that other people may not have the same cavalier attitude (cavalier attitude, not said enough in my opinion), I do towards meal meals iyswim. So I know what I can do with the recipes that I change due to lack or ingredients or whimsy.

Which is why I’m putting the recipe’s up and then telling you what I do, so last night was the Brie thing. The boys don’t like brie sometimes they think it tastes a bit amoniaey (legit word!) and tastes a bit like the smell of wee so I use a packet of normal cream cheese. Robin not so keen on the lemon so a quarter of the lemon zest and about a teaspoon of juice. Mixed the non-pasta ingredients and left to ‘infuse’ for the length of time it took to cook the pasta.

Picture:

It was yum, the boys had a minor revolt. The Cub did NOT like the sauce on his pasta and Robin complained about the amount of lemon – again. I thought it was extremely yum, so yahboo shucks to them.

Tomorrow is soooooooper complicated, but not really, beef in ale pie, from a magazine, I have no idea which one.

For the Beef

  • small handful (grr) dried procini mushrooms (about 10 g/1/2 oz) not essential
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg 2lb 4 oz braising steak (buy this as a whole piece and cut it yourself into large chunks)
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 300 ml/1/2 pt dark ale
  • 2 beef stock cubes mixed with 400 ml/14 fl oz boiling water
  • small bunch each thyme, bay leaf and parsley, tied together
  • 200g/80z smoked bacon, lardons or chopped rashers
  • 200g/8oz chestnut mushrooms, halved

For the pastry

  • 650g/1lb 7oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g/9oz lard or cold butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze
  1. Start by braising the beef. If you’re using the porcini, cover them in boiling water for 20 mins, then squeeze out but keep the soaking water. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, brown the meat really well in batches, then set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan, adding a drizzle more oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured. Add the soaked mushrooms, sizzle for 1 min more, then scatter over the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour turns brown. Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir. Pour over the ale, stock and porcini soaking liquid, discarding the last few drops. Season stew, tuck in the herbs and bring everything to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the meat is really tender.
  2. While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more oil in a frying pan and sizzle the bacon for 3 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 mins until golden. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through. Leave everything to cool completely – better still, make this up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge as the pie will be better if the filling is fridge-cold when added. Can also be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted when needed.
  3. Make the pastry up to 2 days before you want to assemble the pie. Crumble the flour and lard, or butter, together with a generous pinch of sea salt until completely combined, then add up to 200ml ice-cold water to make a soft dough. This can be done in a food processor if you want. Knead the pastry, then wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hr. The pastry can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge or frozen for up to a month.
  4. When you want to make the pie, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and place a flat baking tray in the oven. Heavily grease a 24-28cm pie dish and dust well with flour. Cut a third off the pastry and set aside. Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin. Add the beef to the dish using a slotted spoon so some gravy is left in the container, as you don’t want too much sauce in the pie. You want the filling to be slightly higher than the rim of the dish. If you have a bit too much, set it aside.
  5. Roll out the remaining pastry to a thick round big enough to cover the dish. Brush the edges of the pastry in the dish with egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration, if you like – I always decorate my pies with pastry leaves. Brush the top heavily with egg. Make a few little slits in the centre of the pie, place on the hot baking tray, then bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins while you heat up the gravy left in the container. Serve the pie at the table with a jug of gravy and a big pile of something green and leafy.

Old Cub Picture

New Cub Picture

Love, peace and pizza!

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Day 10, in which we catch up with ourselves

Today we are back on track and are actually having what the meal planner says we should be having – yay!

One day I PROMISE I’m going to make my own hummus – today is not that day! I want to use this recipe from Nigella:

  • 800 grams chickpeas (2 cans)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (or more as needed)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes (or 1 teaspoon pouring salt)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 5 tablespoons greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (to serve)
  • pitta breads (or bread sticks, tortillas or crackers to serve)

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put the garlic clove, chickpeas, 3 tablespoons oil, peanut butter, lemon juice, salt and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a knobbly purée.
Add 4 tablespoons of the Greek yogurt and process again; if the hummus is still very thick add another 1–2 tablespoons yogurt and the same of oil. (This will often depend on the chickpeas, as different sorts make the hummus thicker or not.)
Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if you feel it needs it.
On serving, mix the chopped peanuts with the paprika and sprinkle on top if you wish, and put an array of bits and pieces to eat with or dip in, as you see fit.
Additional information – for gluten free serve with something appropriate, such as crudites.

We are lucky in that, right now, we don’t have any food allergies so can do this – swap the peanut butter out for tahini if you can, but watch the amounts because imnsho, it makes things a bit claggy with mouth feel. Tahini, is basically peanut butter made with sesame seeds, if you have a fav hummus recipe (and no allergies) try swapping out peanut butter for your tahini. It’s MUCH cheaper to!

Tons of crudites, pita bread. I was a bit gutted that Aldi didn’t have any of their vac packed tappas things today – naughty Aldi! I do like their hummus though.

No picture today because it’s bloody hummus and everyone knows what that looks like – but I promise one for tomorrow!

Old Cub:

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New Cub:

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!