Monday, 7 April 2014

Menu Monday 7th April

April Showers


Another busy week. I've done a course that made me really use my brain and a Manic Street Preachers gig that made me shake ma booty, all good. Glad I made some soup for the freezer last week as along with those April showers, comes a nip in the air so a bowl of soup still goes down a treat. Not long until Easter, can't wait for a break and some serious relaxation. Have a great week and here's the plan!

Monday
#MeatlessMonday but still delicious will be homemade Butternut Squash Soup with
Cheesy Jalepeno Pull Apart Bread .

Tuesday
Take one Roast Chicken, I serve mine with brown rice from my family food post.

Wednesday
A really simple dish of John Dory with lemon butter sauce and a tomato and onion salad.

Thursday
We'll be having the leftover chicken and rice, turned into special fried rice by adding finely chopped ginger, garlic, chilli and a couple of eggs and a good glug of soy sauce and whatever greens that are in the fridge.

Friday
Friends over for dinner, we're doing a bit of a cider tasting so think I might drag out the old fondue pot for a some Cheesy fun.

 Have a brilliant and joyful week and for more menu inspiration visit OrgJunkie.

Love Food X


Monday, 31 March 2014

Menu Monday 31st of March



The clocks have "sprung" forward this weekend and the evenings will be getting longer, can't wait for full on BBQ season to start properly. I plan big things in the smoking and marinade department and am collecting some funky herbs and spices, will keep you posted. In the meantime, here's what's happening food-wise in our neck of the woods.


Monday
We're getting an early crop of very nice aubergines/eggplants from Spain in my local market so #Meatless Monday is a classic Egg Plant Parmigiana .

Tuesday

Tasty, speedy and easy to make Lamb and Pea Keema Curry have with rice or naan bread.

Wednesday

Main course salad, quick to throw together, White Bean, Chorizo and Herb Salad, chunk of crusty bread, done!

Thursday

I have today off so I'll be making stock for future soups etc and actually have time to make 2 courses for tonight. Starting with Persian Duck with Walnuts and finishing with gorgeous and seasonal  Rhubarb Crumble.

Friday

Making burgers. Grilled fish, homemade tartare sauce served on oven- bottom Barms, shredded iceberg lettuce and tonnes of sweet pickled beetroot!

Have a great week and for more inspiration visit OrgJunkie 


Love Food X


Monday, 24 March 2014

Menu Monday 24th March

Get Fresh


After a brilliant weekend away playing with friends, laughing way too loud on public transport and learning more than I ever thought possible about cranes, I'm ready to tackle another week of the baffling and delicious stuff the universe sends me. Hope you are ready too! 

Monday

For Meatless Monday today the Greek classic feta and spinach pie, Spanakopita is perfect. If you can't find filo pastry, I know it's not authentic but I put the mixture into a pie dish and top with ready rolled puff pastry. Not "perfect" but still delicious. 

Tuesday

An easy one pot dish from Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, Chicken with Tomatoes and Tarragon, served with nutty brown rice, cooked while the chicken is roasting away.

Wednesday

Home late tonight,so some super quick pasta!
Peppered Smoked Mackerel Pasta
500 grams of dried pasta, best with shell types to catch the sauce. 
150 - 200 grams smoked, peppered mackerel, skinned removed and broken into chunks
100 ml single cream,
 handful of spinach and/or frozen peas
squeeze of lemon juice
Cooked the pasta as per directions on pack, drain.
Put the cream in the pot on a medium heat while pasta is
draining. Add the fish and frozen peas, simmer for a minute or two.
Throw the pasta back in the pot with the sauce and add the spinach, 
heat through and add lemon juice, taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
Any leftovers are brilliant served cold for take to work/ school lunches.

Thursday

Putting the kids in charge of tonight, a simple and delicious tortilla, Spanish Omelette with some bread and  salad. Ole'!

Friday

Bit of a fancy date night dinner, Pan-fried Sea Trout with Spinach Puree, Spring Vegetables and Sauce Vierge . 
Serving that with the first of the seasons glass of rose', maybe a cheeky large bottle .

Have a great week and for more ideas visit OrgJunkie 








Monday, 17 March 2014

Menu Monday


Deep in Pink Thought..



Monday has a bad rep but I really do love the start of a new week and the chance to do it all over again but better and bigger and with a little bit more throwdown!! I hope your week starts the way you want it to, here's the menu plan. 

Monday 

   
My kids tell me I've been" living under a rock "cos I hadn't heard of pizza dough made out of cauliflower, Doh. It's all kinda Paleo and Low Carb and it looks delicious and perfect for Meatless Monday, Cauliflower Pizza Crust-with-Roasted Vegetablesand GoatCheese.   
Let me know what you think of it if you give it a try.


Tuesday  


This is quite similar to a dish of mine but I love apricots  so I'll give this a try,  Saffron Chicken with Apricots and Cardamom


Wednesday

Even though I should really wait till the summer to make these , I have a major craving for one of my favourite dishes, Piedmontese Peppers and serve them with piles of good sour dough bread to mop up the yummy juices.


Thursday


Friends over for dinner so it's one of Nigella's recipes an easy one pot wonder, Coq au Riesling, chicken in white wine with mushrooms.


Friday


Going to the movies tonight so a quick batch of Fish Tacos, I shorten the length of the marinade to the time that takes me to shower and put on some slap!

Friday Night Cocktail would have to be a marvelous Margarita.



Have a great week and for more ideas visit OrgJunkie . 



Love Food X


Monday, 10 March 2014

Menu Monday

Menu Monday
I'm old Mother Hubbard today. I went to the cupboard, no bone for the poor dog,nada for us, just a whole lot of bare happening. So it's off to the shops and the fruit and veg market, so happy the sun is shining and spring really is in the air! Hope it's fab where you are too. Here's this weeks menu.

Monday -  Keeping to Meatless Monday and thankfully my girls are fans of both spice and veggies. We will be having Black Bean and Vegetable Burritos but will be swapping the Monterey Jack for cheddar.


Tuesday - The pickled veg are great with these Vietnamese Grilled Pork Skewers and cucumbers are 4 for £1 in my local market at the moment, result!


Wednesday - I get home late most Wednesdays so it's a quick stir-fry of udon noodles, broccolini, ginger, chicken  and kecap manis. But after dinner I'll make the Labneh for tomorrow night.


Thursday -  Bulgar Wheat and Spinach Pilaf with Labneh , great recipe, add a platter of grilled lamb chops and it makes a perfect spread for a crowd.


Friday -  I made this last week, well worth the effort, repeating Ottolenghi's  Codcakes in Tomato Sauce .
Friday night cocktail, the Lemon Gingertini .

Have a great week.

Love food X

For more menus visit Orgjunkie

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

5 Cool Gifts For Mother's Day


Mother's Day Top 5 Gifts
"My Mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it" Mark Twain

Mother's Day in the UK is on the 30th of March this year, are you prepared? Are you tired of giving the same old presents to your Mum every year? Well I bet she's a bit sick of petrol station chrysanthemums and the daggy nighties from M & S but way too sweet to say anything..  Check these little giftlets out and hopefully they might inspire you a wee bit.


I'll have 5000 yuan on the West Wind !

1. Mahjong Set
I have always been fascinated by Mahjong. Full of west winds, red dragons, kongs, pungs and chows it seemed full of magic to me and you can play for money!
Mahjong is a Chinese game of skill, strategy, and calculation. Researchers have recently developed a form of healing using Mahjong, as they believe that playing the game is beneficial for individuals suffering from dementia, cognitive and memory difficulties but that's probably better kept to yourself....
Buy beautiful vintage ones on Ebay for between £10 and £40 or new one from game suppliers such as fruugo  for around £60.
Antique Mahjong Set on Ebay

2. Home Brewing Kit
There has been a boom in microbreweries in the last few years, nearly 200 started brewing last year and over 1500 are now operating in the UK. Although female brewers are at the forefront, it's not a new thing, even Jane Austen was happily ensconced making a few brewskis in between writing novels back in the 1800's. I wrote about my Dad's home brewing here in 2012, he's been doing it for over 50 years and he'll chew your ear off with his money saving stats and hops to barley ratios but as well as saving you money, brewing your own is fun and I'm sure a lot of Mums would love to give it a go.  Check out CAMRA for brewing information and Muntons for kits, although there are loads of different great sites around. Basic kits start from £55.

She Bangs!


3. African Drum Lessons


How epic would this be?? Unleash your beats in an African drum circle! Courses are quite readily available worldwide, you can even do them via Skype. Great fun, uplifting and affordable.Gift vouchers are available in £10 increments from the  London African Drumming in the City of London.


Tim Ferris as Curator

4. Quarterly Co.
Quarterly Co is a subscription service for wonderful things. You can subscribe to a curator such as Tim Ferris, Bill Nye, The Cool Hunter, Jordin Sparks and others, to receive a box of items selected from that curator. A sample of one contained amongst other things, a microscope, Mexican jumping beans, magic tricks and a piece of wood that sells for $25,000 a pound - oudh.

 It's a drop-dead smell, very complex, honey, fresh tobacco, spices, amber, cream. ... Incredibly strong, first of all. It knocks you over, clubs you like a falling stone. But its vast dimension is what astonishes: a huge smell, spatially immense, and incredibly complex, a buttery layer as deep as a quarry…
Oudh grows inside a particular species of evergreen tree in south Asia. When the fungus attacks the tree, its wood becomes dark and resinous. Oudh is arguably the most-highly prized ingredient for perfume makers and a pound can cost as much as $25,000 (making it over six time more costly than high-grade medical cannabis).
What mother wouldn't want some of that?!

5. Fungi To Be With.
Fungi to Be With, is dedicated to "connecting the Greater London public to the natural environment through the magical world of fungi". They provide educational walks and workshops about all things mushroomy, or to put it correctly, all things Mycological. A great combo of being social and learning something about the world of foraging. Gift vouchers are priced at £25 for a foray .

If none of the above float your boat, as a mother myself, the presents don't matter but my kids being present really does.
Oh and I wouldn't mind somebody cooking me dinner, craving a bit of sunshine, this looks nice doesn't it? .

Love your Mum, Love Food X

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Christmas Bake Off

Baking at Christmas, I wish...
 
Well the Christmas preparations have started in earnest now. I've shaken off my bah humbug, which was mainly due to the miserable weather. I should be used to it by now ,you can squeeze a girl into ski pants but you can't stop an Ozzie one yearning for the economy-sized bottle of Hawaiian Tropic and a garishly printed sarong at this time of year.
I've mentioned it before, I don't do that much baking normally but it gives me real pleasure to do lots at Christmas time, whether it is to give as gifts or to eat with family and friends.
Here are some of my favourites.

Cocoa Nib Florentines

Cocoa nibs are small morsels of fermented, dried, roasted and crushed cocoa beans. Nutty, slightly bitter and very moreish, they work in both savoury and sweet recipes. And they are a major superfood, having more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea.This recipe for  Cocoa Nib Florentines is really delicious, and would make the perfect pressie for the chocolate lover in your life.

Girdlebuster Pie
Now I seriously don't have much of a sweet-tooth, you're more likely to find me fanging on duck fat ,triple- cooked chips dipped in bearnaise sauce than truffling in a bagful of candy, but I saw Nigella on TV the other night making this Girdlebuster Pie and although not really baking as such, thought genius! Ice-cream, buttery biscuits, bourbon and butterscotch sauce, what's not to love?? This will be our Christmas dessert and I'll try making individual ones in mini -muffin tins for New Years Eve treats.

Orange Popping Chocolate Chip Cookies
For the last couple of years Santa has popped an Über British,Terry's Chocolate Orange with Exploding Candy into our stockings and this year shouldn't have been any different except Santa's helper didn't factor into them not being readily available in the shops and being a bit to late to order online.... so in the the spirit of make do and mend, these cookies make a pretty good substitute. You can buy popping candy at the bigger Waitrose stores or online but they're just as good without.

Orange Popping Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
250 grams plain flour
175 grams butter, cut into small cubes
50 grams sugar
1 large orange,zest and juice
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of orange essence (optional)
100 grams of chocolate chips
25 grams popping candy ( optional )
Pre-heat the oven to 180C, butter a baking sheet
 
Put the flour, sugar and bi-carb into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb texture. Add the orange zest, juice, vanilla and orange essence, mix to combine, add a drop of milk if mixture too dry. Add the chocolate chips and popping candy and squish through evenly. Roll into a sausage shape, approx 30cm by 5cm, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 10 minutes. Slice into rounds about 2cm thick and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. This mix freezes well and I'll be giving these away uncooked in their sausage-shaped wrap, bon-bon style so they can be sliced off and cooked when needed.
Cornbread with cheese and jalapenos


Cornbread, not very British but I love it all the same, rich but light and spiced up with jalepeno peppers or chorizo served with the left-over turkey or with chunky guacamole and red cabbage coleslaw, makes great comfort food. I use the Barefoot Contessa's recipe as a base, but substitute buttermilk or natural yoghurt for the milk. Adding whole corn kernals and chopped up coriander works really well too.
 
Well we're coming to the end of a pretty challenging year for many people, many countries. Maybe we'll be a little more kind, a little more thoughtful and better humoured over this Christmas time.I send you all the best for the holidays and wish you a bright and love-filled 2013.
 
Love Food X
 
Ps. Some great, green, last minute gift ideas from Inhabitat, free and next-to, perfect for the kids to make!