Spoonful of Sugar

Friday, 25 February 2011

Sloppy Joes

I've always wanted to try a proper sloppy joe but whenever we've been in the States the opportunity has never arisen (hark at me.. I've been twice. Probably why the opportunity has never arisen!)
Whilst scootching through Nigella's Kitchen I spotted her bbq beef recipe which she served as a sloppy joe, and thinking it vaguely resembled bolognase with white bread, I thought the kids might eat it. I was half right.
It went into the intellichef which was a bonus, I should be able to comment at this point that it would help keep the hob clean, but despite my mum cleaning it within an inch of it's life last weekend, it's filthy again, so it didn't. Ho Hum.

Whizz up streaky bacon, onion, garlic and carrot (there's meant to be celery in there too but it's the work of the devil...)

Fry the smush until soft

Mix together a tin of chopped tomatoes, water, worcester sauce, bourbon, dark sugar and tomato puree

Stir sugar and allspice into the veggie/bacon smush

Mix through the minced beef, stirring to break it up, then add the tomato mix and simmer for 25 mins

Serve with soft white baps and grated cheese


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Midweek meals

It's half term so my mum has been staying to help with the kids. Always a good excuse to try something new.
On Tuesday we had Paprika Pork - it was a lot hotter than I anticipated.. I've never found paprika to be that hot before but this smoked paprika really was! I must have been a bit generous. It was really tasty though

For dinner last night we had Bastichio. I'm (fairly reliably) informed that this should be Pastichio to be authentic, which is a greek pasta dish - a bit like a version of lasagne crossed with a moussaka. The Hairy Bikers Mums Know Best recipe that I used though said Bastichio, so that is what I made.
I didn't try it out on the kids but gave them the mince part mixed with penne for their tea and that went down well. We had ours with some garlic bread (that was lurking in the fridge needing using up) and a salad.
I really liked it and would definitely try it again.


... time to craft and learn

... energy to create for my home and family
... money to buy things with which to create and craft
... more patience in everything I do
... enthusiasm to persist
... the ability to count my blessings
... some time off from feeling like I should have to

"I want"s don't get.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Killer Jerk Chicken - Jamie's 30 min meals

Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be...
Sorry. Wrong gig.
Tonight lovely blog audience, we had a Jamie's 30 minuter. I think it was close. I still refuse to time them. Also I started cooking as I was talking to my husband on the phone not thinking about the fact that I was directing him to what missing ingredients I needed in the supermarket. D'oh. I stopped and restarted when he got home. Plank.

The "Get everything out before you start" method Jamie recommends. Problem being you then have nowhere to cook..
Jerk Chicken before it went into the oven

Dinner is served..

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Meal planning, being psychic and shortcuts

I meal plan waaaaaay in advance. Mostly because that's the only way to squeeze in all the recipes I want to try when I get a new Good Food mag, or have a read through a new cook book. Also because I'm a bit like that and need to have some things organised in order to cope with those things that aren't.

Anyway. For some reason I'd made this week a bit of a use up the freezer, easy week. I'm not sure if I just knew it was going to be a bit of an effort to do anything this week, or if it was luck more than judgement but I'm glad I did!

I have very full freezers. And inventories to go with them. Ahem. Organised, Anal or OCD, you decide.
Every now and then I feel the need to lose my security blanket of a stash of food and use some up. It doesn't last forever, after all.
Also, I like to fill my freezers with bulk cooking, bargainous whoopsies and other such things. Can't do that if they're full already!

This week then (excluding Monday which was Valentines day and therefore worthy of extra special nosh) we've had on
Tuesday - Speedy Meatball Stew, to use up some whoopsied meatballs that were in the freezer
Wednesday - Chicken en croute (Ready made. Whoopsied.) To combat the "it's a ready meal!"ness of that, in the end, I tarted up the veg that went with it. Carrots baked with wine, cumin and thyme, leeks in butter and a splish of wine and wine-less broccoli.. and then an impromptu apple and raspberry crumble using frozen crumble topping (homemade, natch!) and fruit that needed using up in the fridge.
Tonight - Chilli, rice and nachos. A combo of leftover veggie and meat chillies defrosted and nuked. Nom.
Tomorrow? Somerset stew with cheddar mash, made with sausages, from the freezer.

Thank goodness for shortcuts! 

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

What's cooking?

Dinner tonight was an adapted recipe from BBC GF... speedy meatball stew.
I'm saying I "adapted" it, because I read it and then made it up a bit. Was perfect for a horrid cold wet grey day.
Brown meatballs and remove from pan

Fry assorted bottom-of-the-fridgeveg, onion, rosemary and garlic

Throw back in meatballs, diced potatoes, passata, enough wine to rinse out passata carton, peas and seasoning.            

Leave to simmer until potatoes are edible, add extra water when it looks scarily like it will dry out.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Valentine's Day

Cupacakes (excuse their appearance, my first attempt at fondant covered and I was a) in a rush, b) in a bad mood)

Dinner a deux

Steak and shallot pie with a mustard crust

Easy peasy lemon and raspberry baskets..

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Who needs an elegant Sunday dinner anyway?

Don't get me wrong - I love a big roast that has trimmings and leftovers and that "my jeans are going to pop" feeling. Today though, a big, squodgy, comforting, "what? is it raining outside?" Toad in the Hole was on the menu. And lots of veg. And leftover lemon meringue. And a table laid badly by the gorgeous children.
Word for the day is Smile.
Ok it's a bit scorched in places.. I got a bit distracted on facebook with a glass of wine in hand.. oops.

Yes I did eat all of that :o)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

What's cooking?

Dinner tonight was Arroz con pollo and Lemon Meringue Pie.

The Arroz con Pollo was a recipe shown to me by my friend on the Ocado website.. I'd have never have seen it myself as we're too in the sticks for Ocado here.. It was delish - after I cooked it I stripped the chicken from the bone and mixed it though as it was a curl up on the sofa with a bowl of food kind of evening so wanted to make it easy. Child number 1 even ate and enjoyed it, though she picked out the peppers. Child number 2 had a bowl of plain rice. He'll learn.

Fried peppers, garlic and onions, with paprika, thyme, oregano and bay leaf

Chicken, stock, tomatoes, tomato puree, saffron, rice, lemon juice, S&P added..

Comfort food!
I'm not sure I've ever actually made Lemon Meringue totally from scratch before and sadly when I started making this one I forgot to check the state of my lemon stash.. there were 4 small sorry looking ones rather than 4 big juicy ones as demanded by the Hairy Bikers. I topped up the juice bit with some jif type juice but that did leave it a bit too tart and lacking in the fragrant zestyness that makes it so good.
It worked out pretty good in the end, although not quite what I'd hoped for.
Obviously I'm about to go and raid the fridge for a supper sized slice..

Bread based products..

Call it post diet rebellion, comfort eating after a wobbly week, who knows. Either way there's been bread based abundance this week
On Wednesday I made "no knead dough" ready to bake No-Knead Nutella and Roasted Hazlenut Challah for an after school snack for the kids and their friends on Thursday.
I didn't roast the hazlenuts as in my graze box I'd received some honey coated hazlenuts that I'd been saving expecially to bash up and cover this bread with.
It turned out pretty good!

This meant that there was still a big ol' bowl of dough sat in the fridge this morning that needed using up as it was starting to smell a bit like it had aspirations towards being sourdough.

Cinnamon buns are a favourite in our family and I normally use a Nigella recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess (link to it here on Not Quite Nigella blog) which in itself has it's little issues, but after making them for ooooh, 5 years? I've pretty much got them how I like them.
I found a recipe for cinnamon buns using this challah dough so I improvised and the results weren't bad! I like my buns tear-and-share, which is lucky as there's no separating them the way I make them! This was a particularly squidgy dough, and I think on the whole, I will stick with the Nigella one. I did attempt heart shaped buns rather than swirls but the dough was too soft really. I'll save that idea for next Valentines weekend and try again..
After all that eggy, sugary indulgence, I made a basic loaf of bread for lunch too.

A healthy pud

   Don't all fall over at once..  
It's a Jamie's 30 minutes pudding - fruit and mint sugar with yoghurt.
Bash up mint and blend in caster sugar

Cut up pineapple

Add blueberries and the mint sugar.. dollop on greek yoghurt

Chocolate loveliness..

Last weekend I escaped to London and during my superfast walk from a blissful hour spent in the V&A to the nearest useful tube station (Thank you TFL and your weekend works..) I decided to take a detour to the mecca for chocolatiers that is Artisan du Chocolat. Westbourne Grove was almost on my way. Honest.
Much as it pains me to spend so much money on choklit when I have access to it 5 days a week, it was well worth it. Sea Salted Caramels are a classic.
I just ate the last 2.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

What's been cooking...?

There's not been too much cooking here of late, but I thought I'd pop up a quick blog with some pics. There's an ongoing food fight (not the fun sort) going on with the young one so I'm not dwelling on what they're eating and am enjoying what we're eating.
We've had a couple of days of Jamie's 30 minute meals..
Last night we had the pork chops with crispy crackling, crushed potatoes and minted cabbage..

Tonight, Chicken skewers..
Will come back to the whole "30 minute" thing later...!