March 15th, 2009 by balor
The Ireland victory was great. Saturday was a long day of rugby so we started with a decent breakfast. Dinner was the leftover Normandy Pork from Friday. And, I broke a Twecipe challenge rule. When passing the fishmonger I spotted some whitebait and I had seen a simple chilli-dipping sauce on a food program on the BBC earlier that day. So, I decided to fry the whitebait with a little lime and some salt and serve them as a starter with the chilli sauce (reduction of rice wine vinegar, sugar and chilli). So the recipe wasn’t from twecipe. However, why let rules stand in the way of good food
Today I made the butternut squash soup that I made in the first week. I intend to do the shopping for week three tomorrow evening. Hopefully I’ll stick to the £40 limit but it’ll be difficult as we have overseas visitors next weekend. So I’ll be cooking for six. I want to make something slightly special for our visitors. Special in the sense that I would like something of slightly restaurant quality. I want to attempt some fine-dining stuff.
March 13th, 2009 by balor
No updates on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday as Lord Vader caught himself another bug. I think he’s over everything now. Meh.
I didn’t cook on Tuesday. We spent the evening in hospital. Too tired and all that. On Wednesday I made Pork and Mushroom Crespilini. They were really, really nice and surprisingly easy to make. I made one mistake in using self-rasing flour for the pancakes rather than plain flour. I simply didn’t have any plain flour. Also, I don’t have a photo either. I’ll get one as soon as my wife lets me use her netbook. It has bluetooth-foo and the picture is on my mobile phone.
Last night, Thursday, I made Beef Ragu with Gnochi. Again, surprisingly easy to make. The Gnochi are similar to dumplings or potato bread. I made them a little too big and was inconsistent in size. I think they’d be much better if I made them about 1cm to 1.5cm square.
The picture doesn’t show the pure joy of this dish. It’s simple, hearty and can be customised to your tastes. I added some chilli to give it a bit of lift.
I also made some more white yeast bread. I asked Lori to buy some strong white flour. She came home with a bag of organic yada, yada strong white flour. It’s three times the price of a non-organic bag. But in context that’s only £1.50. Add in some yeast which is 50p for seven sachets and you get 500g loaves for a total cost of 60p. A 500g loaf in a shop costs £1.09 and an organic loaf costs £1.15. However, my bread contains flour, water, lard (50% lard, 50% olive-oil) and yeast. No preservatives, no crap and no junk. And. Lord Vader likes it.
Normandy pork with a bread crust Using the bread I made yesterday. It probably should cover the entire top, but I want some toast for the morning.
I think this would be much nicer if I made my own cream of mushroom soup rather than using it from a can (as the twecipe said). Tasty, and still have some for lunch tomorrow.
March 9th, 2009 by balor
He’s feeling better now. But confused, because there’s a sticker on his head.
March 8th, 2009 by balor
Day 7 was rather uneventful. It consisted of cleaning up baby puke and eating leftovers from day 6. But I did get a shopping list together for today. A task that was achieved for the sum total of £38.39. So we came in under the £40 rule this week.
We had spiced pork with sweet potato. It was a little sweet as one of the ingredients is orange marmalade. I thought I had some, but I didn’t. So I substituted honey. A little too much honey. It would be a lot better with the bittersweet of marmalade. However, it was very tasty. Certainly something I wouldn’t normally make, as I’d normally steer clear of star anise. I’m going to make the fennel soup again tomorrow. And I got some smoked haddock to add some depth to the flavour.
Oh! And my bread making has also improved. I switched from the dodgy yeast I had in my cupboard (we’d call it a press in Ireland, but my wife’s student’s don’t understand the word – so I’ll use international English) to an instant yeast. I can’t see myself trying fresh yeast….unless….I start brewing beer. Now there’s an idea
March 6th, 2009 by balor
Yesterday’s lentils tasted great. Unfortunately they looked purple, the carrots looked purple and the plate looked purple. Obviously my substitution of red cabbage for sprouts purplified everything (yes I just made that word up). Which made me think that cooking cannot be a zen process. You can’t simply concentrate on the here and now. Like developing software, you have to have a vision of the end product. Imagine: Puy lentils, crispy bacon, bright orange carrot and green sprout leaves. That sounds like it looks great. And I should have taken the aesthetic into account when making my substitution.
Today I made what twecipe called Curry Puffs. I’m not a great curry cook. I do one Thai style coconut curry well enough for my tastes. However, I find the complexity of flavour of Indian curries to be, currently, beyond me. I added some carrot to the recipe to account for the aesthetic (my one Mexican reader may be impressed). The result was surprisingly presentable and tasted great. I think it needs a salad to go with it though.
March 5th, 2009 by balor
I have some chicken, lentils and chorizo. Twecipe suggested making Lentils with pancetta and sprout leaves. Sounds nice, but I don’t have either pancetta or sprouts. However, I do have streaky bacon and red cabbage. So by the twecipe challenge substitution law tonights’ delight will be Lentils with streaky bacon and red cabbage.
This warms my heart just thinking about it. The monster didn’t sleep much last night, so I really want something warm and filling. I also threw in some chorizo, one of my most favourite things to eat – ever. So, pics later when dinner is served.
March 4th, 2009 by balor
We got home from the hospital early this morning. The monster is fine. All of the nurses on the ward were excellent, making a worrying night more comfortable. The beetroot salad was great as it’s one of those things that releases its energy over a long time. Plus the combination of beetroot and pear tastes earthy and homely.
So we felt like having some kind of comfort food for breakfast. I have eggs and streaky bacon in the fridge so Eggs Benedict sounded good. Here’s the result. The toast is from the bread I made on Sunday. I got the recipe for Hollandaise sauce on Wikipedia. I couldn’t find it using twecipe.
Eggs Benedict and steaming hot strong coffee:
Expect further updates for lunch and dinner today as I’m off on parental leave today. Also, I bought two chocolate bars last night to eat in the hospital (at about 0400) but didn’t eat them. I wonder if I can turn them into some kind of chocolate torte today.
Fennel soup is nice. I didn’t blend it because that would require making another piece of equipment to need to be washed. It tastes like an excellent base for seafood chowder. I may try that next week.
March 3rd, 2009 by balor
The monster has just gone and gotten himself an upper respiratory tract viral infection. So we’ve to stay the night with him in hospital. Hospital food sucks (they offered him chips and beans) so I’m making Beetroot salad with feta and pear so that Lori and I get something decent to eat. It’s quick and looks nice. I serve it with some of the leftover rice bake from yesterday.
The monster is fine though. Staying in hospital is just a precaution. You can do things like that on the NHS. Crazy things like taking precautions are ok, because they’re at no cost (other than a tax rate as high as other European countries) to us.
Many thanks to my Games Development class who were understanding when I had to run out during the lecture today.
March 2nd, 2009 by balor
The pie and soup I made yesterday has fed two people for dinner, lunch and dinner again. So it looks like my chicken will actually stretch over four days. Today I cooked a chicken, chorizo and rice bake and I made some white bread for the side. I think I should have let the bread to proof for longer than I did (i.e. rise in the bowl before you cook it) but it looks and tastes fine. I can’t eat anything more today, so I won’t try the rice bake until tomorrow. I did take the liberty of changing the recipe to include 200ml chicken stock (from yesterday) and 200ml water. Having only 400ml water sounded a little lacking in flavour….but what would I know.
More than one person has told me that I must be an excellent cook and have tons of gadgets in my kitchen. Both are incorrect. I like to cook, but I’m not a great cook. For example, I forgot to take the pips out of the squash yesterday…I’d get fired from a restaurant for that, but it still tasted great to me. Secondly, here’s a picture of my preparation surface. I have a knife and chopping board! They’re all my gadgets. Oh, maybe apart from my N810. I use twecpie on the N810 whilst I cook. Finally, you may also pick out a bowl of yesterdays soup I was eating as I was waiting for the bread to proof
March 1st, 2009 by balor
Ok, so I spent £47 on food for the week. But I can justify it by saying that the chorizo, parmasan and oils will last me about 2-3 weeks. So really I’m only borrowing £7 from the next two weeks budget I also bought an expensive organic chicken. It’s not that we’re all organic in this house, but there are some things that I prefer organic, for example, organic onions are worth the extra 50p or so. Organic potatoes are not.
Anyway, I can make the chicken stretch. I took the breast for a chicken, leek and apple pie today. The legs and wings are for baked chicken and rice tomorrow and the rest of the carcass was picked clean for chicken meat balls on Wednesday. I then made a stock from the bones and used it as the base for a Thai-style butternut squash soup.
Today we had chicken, leek and apple pie with a butternut squash soup for starter. The squash soup was fantastic and the pie was pretty good, if a bit enemic. I had too much lard to butter in the shortcrust.