0

Day 21, 22, 23 & 24 where nobody can be bothered cooking

still having a hangover from a late night, simply talking to adults does this now apparently, nobody really felt like food. The Lurgy abides apparently. (Extra points for the film reference).

Day 21

Tonight we had Aldi hotdogs – seriously, I’m putting somebody who owns Aldi shares child through college with the amount of bloody hotdogs we are consuming!

Day 22

Tonight it was Spag Bol (sans Spag) with garlic bread out of the freezer, no-one finished it because we don’t want to eat.

Day 23

The Cub had hummus and bits, Robin had a sandwich and me? I had Christmas cake 😀

Day 24

We all felt a bit better today so the boys had noodles, sausage and sweetcorn and I had a sandwich.

How rock and roll the last 4 days have been 😀

Cub:

Peace, love and pizza!

0

Day 20, in which we realise that food processors aren’t good for everything.

today is a governors meeting about the school premises and was really quite promising, the school continues to grow and the ideas the head have are really good. We are currently looking at putting in an outside classroom type space the children can use to go and be quite in during breaks and lunches etc. This is a GOOD THING!

So, today is meatloaf day, the texture of meatloaf is NOT improved by making it in a food processor with the blade that does the choppy things. I should have chopped up the onions and garlic and swapped to a dough hook or mixed with my hands!

Here’s the original recipe:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (ground shoulder roast is good)
  • 1 slice bread (broken or chopped finely)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small vidalia onions or 1 small type sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2-2/3 cup whole milk or 1/2-2/3 cup half-and-half

Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 -4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed firm (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  1. Meatloaf: Combine meat loaf ingredients and place into a loaf baking dish.
  2. Smooth out top.
  3. Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients and pour on top and sides of meatloaf.
  4. Bake at 350°F about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until done.
  5. ENJOY!
  6. *The addition of 1 or 2 teaspoons of Kitchen Bouquet® makes this recipe very good.
  7. **Recipe should be”plump” from the addition of the milk or Half & Half.
  8. It should NOT be runny.

Here’s what I did.

Chop up the onion and garlic in the food processor with the choppy choppy blade:

choppy choppy blade

 

Until it becomes really finely chopped up.

Add the bread until it becomes breadcrumbs and the onion/garlic gets even more chopped.

Add the rest of the ingredients and a bit of meat – I used 750g of mince – blitz. Add more meat, blitz, repeat until all the meat is added.

What I should have done is done it to the point of adding meat then whacked it in a bowl and squiged it with my hands. Squiged IS actually, a valid cooking term 😀

I used half the cider vinegar advised because my stomach gets upset with to much acid, I can’t even drink wine – the things they don’t tell you about having a baby!

I’m not actually sure I took a picture but if I did I’ll post one soon.

Old Cub Picture

New Cub Picture

From now on we’ll just be going with new cub pictures, there is to much of a good thing!

Peace, love and pizza!

0

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!

0

Day 18, where I cut the boys hair

and they still love me. Not like my mother use to ::shudders:: But with clippers and a great deal of bribery on The Cub’s part. He HATES the idea of having his hair cut, and, as long as I cover his face with a towel to keep the hair off, he quite likes having it done because the clippers tickle. I really should do them both more often but, it’s a bit like clipping horses, hot, hairy work and not v pleasant. Still, it saves us quite a lot of money and the clippers paid for themselves in the first year. I used this web site to get started and have kind of winged it since then 😀

Tonight was supposed to be Pan Haggerty, but nobody really felt like it so we had beans on toast instead, which was a bit yum 😀

We went to see a van today, Robin’s new plan is to buy a van instead of a car. Don’t! I know, I KNOW! He has this idea he can trick it out and make is a short term holiday van. I do not see this happening, I will be fully supportive of him, but I really blame George Clarke and his bloody program.

Old picture of The Cub:

New picture of The Cub with a new do!

Peace, love and pizza!

0

Day 16, in which we find that

The Cub is an adorable freak. I love him, one of the things I love about him most is that he’s a freak and hasn’t learned to see the world they way everyone else is ‘supposed’ to. He does, however, drive me nutso sometimes with it. Take tonight for example, The Cub thinks that pie is poison. So I popped his filling in a dish, cooked his pie top separate and did him veggies like us. He bloody loved it – he was’t keen on the carrots being squishy but that’s ok. If I’d served him it all together he’d have freaked. Still moving on.

So, what did I do?

First off I DID NOT MAKE THE PASTRY, I can, but life is far to short to do that kind of thing. I followed the recipe in a frying but used only 700g of beef cut into us size chunks, for pan for step 1. Put put the bits in the slow cooker. Bunged the lid on and let it cook on low for 8 hours.

I followed the bacon (pack of lardons from Aldi, really Aldi should have me on comission the amount of bigging up I do for them) and mushrooms step. There was no time to allow it to cool before putting the pie top on, I’m NOT a pie purist so to me is anything with pastry on it. Did the mushrooms etc. before it went in the oven. Popped in the oven to cook the pastry, served with boiled potatoes and peas. Twas V yum and there was enough left over to make 3 more portions, so that’s in the freezer now.

I did forget to take a picture of it, so use your imaginations.

Tomorrow night is Paprika Pork in a pot definitely from the Good Food magazine.

  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 600g pork fillets
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 300ml/½ pint chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100ml crème fraîche (about half a tub)
  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan add the onions and fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly coloured.
  2. Cut the pork into sizeable chunks, then add to the pan and stir over a fairly high heat to seal and brown them all over. Stir in the paprika, cook briefly, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
  3. Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the pork is tender.
  4. Stir in the crème fraîche and simmer for a further 2 minutes. (You can prepare the dish to this point up to 2 days ahead or freeze for up to 3 months.) If you have a few chives or a bit of parsley handy, snip this over the pork before serving with rice and a green vegetable – broccoli or stir-fried cabbage make the perfect accompaniment to this simple but delicious dish.

Old Picture of The Cub

New Picture of The Cub

Peace, love and pizza!

0

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!

1

Day 13 in which we actually have what is planned

but don’t make it like the recipe.

Here’s how I did it:

1 red onion and 3 cloves of garlic, blast in the food processor with the sharp blade attachment until v small. Or, as they are known in this family, invisible onions. I’ve been known to do this with a few onions for the week but it makes the fridge smell. I’ve also bought a bag of cut onions from Asda and popped them in the freezer to use – I keep meaning to do this with invisible onions but keep forgetting, or there is no room in the freezer.

Fry off until soft but not brown in some veggie oil – you know how much you like to use for this.

Add the mince beef (or mince beef and pork if you can get it, better flavour and texture imnsho). Fry until browned. If you have to much and are doing it a bit at a time plonk the browned beef straight into the slow cooker. If you’re using mushrooms (The Cub doesn’t like mushrooms so we don’t bother) fry them with the mince beef until they release their liquid.

When all the minced meat is in the slow cooker add 1 carton of passata and or 1 can of tomatoes (chopped or otherwise).

You know what your family likes, mine likes mixed herbs so I put 3 heaped teaspoons in.

An anchovy – I promise it will disappear during cooking and you will not taste it in the end. Obviously, if you have a fish allergy don’t do this!

A tablespoon of lemon juice.

Mix.

Put on low and allow to cook for 8 hours, whilst it fills your house with garlic and spag bol fumes.

Serve with garlic bread and salad if you’re feeling sassy.

It’s just as nice as the other one and nowhere near as expensive.

Spag Bol Picture:

Tomorrow it’s fish fingers and chips – there’s no recipe for this as they are coming out of a box but I buy the more expensive type because the fish is better. One day I will make these though:

From the Good Food Website

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 85g white breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g skinless sustainable white fish, sliced into 12 strips
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 140g frozen peas, cooked and cooled
  • 100g young leaf spinach
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish. Tip the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Mix the lemon zest into the breadcrumbs along with the oregano and some salt and pepper.
  2. Brush a non-stick baking sheet with half the oil. Dip the fish strips into the egg, then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 20 mins until golden.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the mayo with a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss the spinach leaves and peas with a squeeze more lemon juice and the remaining oil. Serve the fish fingers with the spinach and peas and a spoonful of the lemony mayo.

I do make my own ‘tartar’ sauce with some capers and cornichons chopped up into mayo.

And, instead of the oven chips we’ll be having I’ll try making these:

Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips

  • 1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chips (approx. 2 × 2 × 6cm)
  • Groundnut or grapeseed oil
  • Salt
  1. Put the cut chips into a bowl under running water for 5 minutes to wash the starch off.
  2. Place 2 litres of cold tap water in a large saucepan and add the potatoes. Place the pan over a medium heat and simmer until the chips are almost falling apart (approximately 20–30 minutes, depending on the potato).
  3. Carefully remove the cooked chips and place them on a cooling rack to dry out. Then place the rack in the freezer for at least 1 hour to remove more moisture.
  4. Heat a deep-fat fryer or a deep pan no more than half filled with oil (to a depth of around 10cm) to 130ºC. Fry the chips in small batches until a light crust forms (approximately 5 minutes), remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Put the potatoes on a cooling rack and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. (At this stage, if you don’t want to cook and serve immediately, the chips can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.)
  6. Heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 180ºC and fry the chips until golden (approximately 7 minutes). Drain and sprinkle with salt.

Tomorrow, is not that day.

Which reminds me chips in our house are called Chris Normals due to Robin’s inability to read clear handwriting and mistaking Chips Normal for Chris Norman. Crinkle cut chips are Chris Crinkles 😀

Old Cub Picture:

New Cup Picture:

Peace, love and pizza!