Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Tuesday Night Spaghetti Bolognaise

As you know we always have spaghetti bolognaise on a Monday night. There is simply no better way to finish off the first working day back at work. I love the consistency of every Monday because I love spaghetti bolognaise and so whenever I am finished I really do think to myself that it’s not so bad as I will have it again next week. I love the deep flavors, the warmth of it, all the different variations to try – it is basically my feel good food. However, Monday was a public holiday in the UK and we didn’t get back from a weekend away until too late. So we swapped, for just this week, to Tuesday. We justified this that it would be better anyway as the first working day back after a long weekend is nothing short of horrendous, especially when the weather has started to turn.

I had done a lot of blog surfing last week for different variations and recipes and came across that aniseed or fennel seed gave the ultimate flavor and depth. I couldn’t find Aniseed but I did find fennel seed, tomato and basil as part of the Schwartz range. While at the herbs section I decided to invest in some oregano as well

So The Man was in charge, he fried an onion, garlic and mince in olive oil, added a tin of diced tomatoes, 500 ml of beef stock, a teaspoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, salt/pepper, a teaspoon of our new spices (fennel and oregano) chopped tomatoes and mushrooms and 2 slices of un-smoked bacon chopped up. This is left to bubble away on a medium heat for 30 min. We forgot the basil this time.
Then served with spaghetti (I decided to give the cabbage a miss this week) – the end result was nothing short of spectacular !! Simply amazing and I would say the extra herbs definitely added to the strong flavor. The best part is that I have the left over’s for lunch today, so I don’t even need to wait until next Monday !!
Next week I am thinking of trying meatballs, or quorn mince – or if anybody has something they would like us to try please shout out. I did come across some recipes that included milk – strange but true, we may just try that one too.

The Gathering

Bubbling Away - The herbs definitely give a deeper flavor, you can see the difference in colour

The Perfect Result

Friday, 26 August 2011

Friday Night – Home Made Pizza Without A Doubt The Best !

We decided that the Man would become known as Giuseppe for the evening, and undertake the role of master pizza maker. I am yet to learn how to make my own dough (I really should) so Tesco basics range to the rescue. The toppings I gathered included tomato pizza topping, salami, olives, cheese, basil, tomatoes and two bottles of wine (its Friday night!)- the things we already had onions & chillis, The below photos show the building of the master pizza – into the oven it went for 15-20 min. This was absolutely delicious, so much tastier then delivered takeaway and we worked out a lot cheaper than going out for pizza or ordering it in.

The Gathering

The Base

The Build

More Building - with more cheese

The Final Result – tasty and incredibly easy

How much do you spend at the supermarket?

Each month on pay day I try to work out how much I have spent on each category – food, eating out, drinking out, taxis etc.
On average I am happy with £250 a month on food, I think this is reasonable – is it? But this month after reconciling the statement I had spent £340 – ah a little bit over the budget. So for the following 4 weeks it shall be an economic gastomic journey – I will be looking for the bargains, the deals, seeing what is cheap/inexpensive but still taste good. I will give a weekly total. Tonight we plan to give the pub a miss and stay in and cook homemade pizzas with salad!

Tomorrow we are off to Devon for the long weekend – very excited. Sunday I am hoping to go to a cavalry for a roast and we will be back on Monday and the plan is to do a slow cooked spaghetti bolognaise (photos will follow)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Just What I Needed Today

It’s been a tough day – it’s raining outside and the general feeling is that winter is on its way. After a disastrous conversation with my mum I decided that I needed a "treat" to cheer me up.

I had after all had been having soup all week and I had been craving something in particular for a while – A Pret Tuna Nicoise Sandwich. I love it, I really do – I tried to find it on the website to see how many calories I am looking at but could not locate
After searching the web for a bit I decided that actually just go ahead and enjoy it!

I haven’t decided on dinner yet - perhaps chorizo with spiral pasta with chili and broccoli or after a long shower to wash the bad mood away dinner at the pub! Suggestions welcomed x

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Spaghetti Bolognaise – the soup, soy sauce, carrot and chili edition

So the man decided to cook last night, because I seemed to be absolutely exhausted.
He browned the mince with chopped onion and garlic, added half a tin of tomato soup, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a mug full of beef stock, a tea spoon of tomato paste, salt, pepper, tossed in some uncooked bacon chopped roughly – then a dash of soy sauce in went some mushrooms and then another twist for this week chopped up carrots and green chili (only a few). Mine was served with cabbage (4 weeks until Australia) and his was with spaghetti pasta. The result was brilliant - the tomato soup gave a really light healthy texture. The bacon was a treat but the whole thing was simply perfect.
Next week is a public holiday and as such we are looking for and thinking the ultimate bolognaise – something that is to be cooked up for hours before serving. Any suggestions welcomed !

Bubbling Away

Hers with cabbage - on diet until Australia Trip 4 weeks


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Roast Chicken with leeks - simply a perfect addition that adds a unique twist

I know I am lucky, I am very lucky. The Man decided to cook up the roast dinner tonight while I caught up on the papers. He did a brilliant job. He baked an onion with potatoes (potatoes were for him not me) he made his special mushroom sauce with tomatoes, garlic and chopped onion. He sautéed the leeks with a bit of white wine and olive oil and boiled the carrots and cabbage. Served with piping hot gravy and English mustard. Simply brilliant and the best way to end the weekend! And there is enough left over’s for my lunch tomorrow.
The leeks added a creamy texture and were simply complimented the chicken perfectly.
It my turn to do the spaghetti bolognaise for dinner tomorrow night and next week the roast is an away edition down in Devon for the long weekend.

The mushroom and tomato side, leeks and carrots/cabbage

The perfect result for roast chicken!

Roast Chicken – not sure what to do with the leeks?

The man and I ventured to Tesco together, we have decided on roast chicken for this evening. We are thinking with peas, carrots, roast potatoes for him (not for me) served with his mushroom/onion/garlic/tomato sauce specialty. We also purchased leeks (I love leeks)– just not to sure what we will do with these – any ideas welcomed. This will be cooked up after a lazy afternoon with him in front of Football and me planning our long weekend next weekend. Very excited that next week’s edition of the roast will be at a cavalry in Devon and as Monday will be a public holiday it will be a special edition of Spaghetti Bolognaise – I am thinking of doing the ultimate one that is cooked up for hours, so am going to search a few blogs this afternoon for ideas.

The gathering also consisted of ingredients for tomorrow night’s spaghetti bolognaise – I will be trying an idea that someone has mentioned to me – using a tin of condensed tomato soup!

Browns Restaurant Islington London

3 friends and I wanted to explorer a different part of London yesterday, one of the girls is thinking of moving to Islington. When I arrived up north it was pouring down with rain, the weather forecast had been for Saturday to be a heat wave, this most definitely was not the case. I was lucky in that one of the girls came to my rescue in the form of a black cab to collect me outside the station and off to Browns restaurant. I can’t remember the last time I spent a Saturday with the girls over a few glasses of white wine. One of my friends was starving and so immediately ordered the baked camembert, bread and olives (no diets allowed with these friends – the best kind) the cheese was lovely and soft, warm and the baked baguette bread was perfect. The olives were fresh and had a bail glaze all over them. For main I chose the King Prawn and & Chorizo, butterflies prawns tossed with chorizo and linguine in a mildly spiced tomato, red pepper and garlic butter – it was nice but to be honest could have used a bit more flavor, perhaps some chili. The wine was brilliant I didn’t order so I am not sure which one we had but it was perfect and served perfectly cold. We had two bottles over lunch and a great catch up. The bill came to £32 each including service, reasonable really. The service was a bit slow and unattentive but the afternoon was not rushed. I would go back but I wouldn’t put it up there with a recommendation to go to or race back for another meal.

So now the attention gets turned to the Sunday roast – am thinking roast chicken for this evening so it will be off gathering I go, will be back later and photos will follow

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Staying In Friday Night Burgers & My Favourite Breakfast

It’s not often we get to just stay in on a Friday night, we can normally be found in a pub somewhere. But if we do, we actually really love it. We planned to stay in last night so off gathering I went. Hamburgers patties (two buffalo and two Aberdeen steak ones) from Loverstoke Farm butchers, fresh bread rolls from Greggs the bakers (the crusty ones are best), tomatoes, cucumber, cheese slices, feta and two bottles of white wine – no chips. We already had avecados and lettuce in the fridge. Planning ahead for Saturday morning I decided on one of our favoutite breakfasts – smoked salmon, lime, sparkling water. It does make me laugh that on a Friday afternoon the preparation did take me to two supermarkets, a bakery and a butchers. The man cooked up the burger patties and they were absolutely brilliant and woth the running around –he will be having the same again for lunch today while watching the football.
The salmon for breakfast was brilliant, served with the scrambled eggs, basil, fresh bread (purchased this morning with the paper and milk for coffee) The key ingredient for this breakfast is the sour cream and chive dip from taco night – it completely complements the salmon and is core to this being our favourite and we shall be having the same again tomorrow morning.

The Gathering

Friday Night Staying In Burgers - no chips I had no cheese on mine

My Favourite Breakfast

So now I am heading up to Islington for lunch with the girls and later meeting the man at a local pub for dinner (photos will follow)
I haven't decided on the roast for tomorrow yet.. ideas and suggestions welcome!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Thursday Night – Tacos, well a healthy version for me

The man had been craving Tacos for ages, and it is a brilliant Thursday night dinner, quick, easy, tasty and best of all goes brilliantly with wine. However, as I am on a health kick until we leave for Australia my plan was to have all the toppings on top of cabbage. So the gathering I did commenced of – Mince from the local butcher, Tacos, Fajita seasoning (the local Tesco didn’t have the taco version) avocado, lettuce, cheese for grating and sour cream and chive dip (not so healthy but amazing) – we already had onions, tomatoes, cabbage.
It was brilliant – actually the fajita seasoning gave a stronger/spicy flavor and I am thinking we will use this from now on. The sour cream was a highlight and I know not really part of the healthy eating but really added to the enjoyment. The wine went down a treat !
We plan on using the left over dip with smoked salmon, on fresh brown bread and scrambled eggs on Saturday, the plan for dinner tonight is another firm favourite of the mans – homemade hamburgers with salad – mine shall be without cheese (photos will follow)

Gathering Done

The finished result - the wine was absolutely lovely

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Back To Soup – Spicy Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato

Although this blog is all about food, I am trying to lose weight. Not much -just a little before we have a trip to Australia in 5 weeks !!
So I try to be good during the week when I am at work and do try to have a healthy dinner. The work lunches normally have a theme. I have tried Dukan lunches (got over those quickly and still can’t look at eggs) salad and now soups. Todays Covent Garden Butternut Squash is really nice. I love that they have a themed soup for each month, people can enter to have their soup recipe made and distributed in UK supermarkets. Seriously how cool would that be – they are currently looking for Januarys flavor, the theme is Chinese New Year.
I didn’t fancy this month’s very much – lettuce, cucumber, celery, peas, crème fraiche and mint. I am sure it is very nice I just wasn’t feeling that adventurous today.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wednesday Night – Salad Night with no alcohol allowed

One night a week – Salad is on the order, its normally a Wednesday night (our one a night a week no alcohol allowed)
Its normally always chicken, lettuce, cucumber, olives & basil – the man has cheese with his. It’s easy, simple, relatively cheap (especially that Tesco have half price chicken at the moment) and healthy. The chicken was fried in a griddle pan with a little bit of chilli oil.
I will try and do a different type of salad next week.

Thankyou and ideas welcome !

I am so excited to have my first follower and thank you for your comment, I cant seem to comment back. The Spaghetti Bolognaise was nice, however it was from a restaurant - as it is your wife’s favourite dish perhaps you have a favourite recipe. If you let me know (or anyone else has a suggested way of doing Spaghetti bolognaise) we will try it this Monday!

Home For Lunch - using what I aready have rather than buying something

I was going to have soup for lunch today – but ended up working from home and so decided to use what we already had in the fridge/cupboard. Rather than buying something, as we had such an expensiuve weekend celebrating The Mans birthday – it may only save £5 but it’s still £5. So on toasted white bread – no butter - I had cucumber, tomato, basil with a drizzle of chili oil.
The menu for the rest of the week is Chicken Salad this evening, Tacos tomorrow night (mine will be with cabbage and no taco shells) For lunch Mushroom Covent Garden Soup tomorrow and Friday lunch we I be going to Zizi as I have been invited to a meeting/lunch. I plan on trying one of the different summer salads. Trying to decide between Bietole e Ricotta or the Spiedini di Gamberi
Photos will follow.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

This weeks theme for work lunches - Soup

This week for work lunches - I have decided on a soup theme. The weather has turned a little chilly and so soup will be on the menu. Today’s choice was Tesco Chicken and Vegetables £1.30. With only 115 kilos I am feeling over the moon, easy to heat in the microwave as well as it can be done in its own packaging. Tasty but I wished I could put some salt on top – not sure it my favourite soup I have ever had. . Tomorrow I am out of the office so without access to a microwave I am planning on grabbing a Pret soup.
Someone at work also complimented me on how much thinner I am looking. Very pleased. So although we still have a roast on Sundays (mine without potatoes) and a spaghetti bolognaise every Monday (main mainly has cabbage or vegetables instead of pasta), I think it is working, with 5 more weeks until we leave for our holiday.

Spaghetti Bolognaise – the eating out edition Bella Italia, sometimes it’s nice for someone else to cook

We normally have a rule – no going out on a Monday nights, never. However there are always exceptions to rules. Yesterday I had a late meeting planned in London (finishing at 8pm) and so we arranged to meet at Oxford Circus and go out for a spaghetti bolognaise at Bella Italia. This is not the usual and I don’t even remember the last time that we have done this. So when deciding where to meet we did agree that we still had to have a spaghetti bolognaise, I normally never order this at a restaurant as we have it so often at home.
The Spaghetti Bolognaise description: Bella’s very own beef ragu, inspired by Bologna’s rich tradition of simple home cooking £8.50 (photo below) I was tempted to have Bucatini al Ragu d’Agnello (£8.95) described as A classic from the Abruzzo region of Italy, our secret recipe for a rich lamb and red wine ragu. However, I was advised that I could find this a bit dry. We also decided to have a side of Gamberi (Succulent king prawns in chilli & garlic butter, served with a flamed pepper dipping sauce and toasted ciabatta £5.95)
I would say that the nicest thing about the eating out edition was that it was nice for someone else to cook while we caught up on the day’s events. The waitress was lovely and friendly and a highlight was the white wine, Pinot Grigio - Donini, Delle Venezia £5.75 (large glass). I am well aware that red wine is a better match for bolognaise, however, I was so tired that a glass of red would have put me straight to sleep on the train.
Overall I would say that spaghetti bolognaise made at home is still better and more satisfying. However, it was lovely after such a long day (especially horrific being a Monday) letting someone else cook. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and the bill came to £35.00 for the two of us.
Next Monday we will be back to cooking in the tiny apartment.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Gathering Done - Chicken & Bacon Lattice Pie From Tesco with Vegetables

I have been very bad today and there has been no gathering at the supermarket, due to the 4 cocktails and half bottle of wine - I have been rendered to the couch all day. The football is back and as such The Man has been glued to the TV since 1.30pm.
The little shop across the road is now closed, the Waitrose up the road will now be closed (why do they close at 4pm on a Sunday) the Tesco and M&S will as a result now be packed. The options I am trying to decide between
A)Convince the man to take me out for a roast - well he has been watching football all day
B) Venture to M&S and get one of the "Dine in for £10" deals - easy to cook
C) Gather ingredients from Tesco
D) Give the man Friday nights challenge of using what we have in the fridge/cupboard

We decided to go to Tesco together, Chicken and Bacon Pie (purchased will not be made today, perfect for when too tired but want something nice for dinner still) we will be having this with cabbage, peas, mushroom tomato and onion sauce (the special one that Man has made up) he will be having his with baked potatoes - I will be having extra vegetables. Photos to follow ! This shall make up for last night’s disappointing meal.

It wasn’t a roast - but it was pie and The Man did have his with roast potatoes. We both had a roast onion. Served also with cabbage and peas, the man’s special mushroom, garlic and tomatoes sauce and loads of gravy piled on top. It was a great way to end a lazy Sunday.

Tomorrow night is spaghetti bolognaise night, but tomorrow will have a different twist to the normal. I am going to be in central London and working late, so we plan on meeting at an Italian restaurant and have a spaghetti bolognaise out - at the moment the front running choices are going to a Carluccios or a Bella Italia. Photos will follow

Rock and Rose - Average

If you live in or around London – there are an abundance of good places to eat. We are lucky enough to get to eat out quite often and I don’t really mind the cost, normally – you get what you pay for is the general norm. We live in the tiny little apartment so that we can afford to do this as we really enjoy it. I am fairly easily pleased and don’t find fault in much – but Rock and Rose was a terrible disappointment. I really do feel like calling this morning and asking for a refund as it was so unmemorable. Firstly we we were in and out within the hour - starter and main, a bottle of wine all in under an hour !!
I had the liver pate for starter and the man had the calamari – the food was okay, just okay. For main I had a burger (the choice was limited, very limited - no seasonal specials at all)and the Man had the steak – both were average, the steak was £30 and I would expect more than average for that price. We didn’t stay for pudding as the atmosphere was loud, boisterous and not at all the classy, elegant description from the website.
The service well he simply could just not be bothered - no attention, it was like we were an annoyance to be there.

Such a shame – oh well we simply will not be going back!
No photos - the meal simply was not worth it

After this we decided to go to a cocktail bar, as I was feeling so deflated -So Bar in Richmond, this my friends was a bad idea. 4 cocktails each and another £80 tab - it’s a good thing that we do live in the small flat. Why is that after a few drinks we think we are millionaires, So now I have a shocking headache and there shall be little attempt at making that nut roast. I can’t feel too bad after all it won’t be long (fingers crossed) that I shall be pregnant and eating out and cocktail bars will become a thing of the past. The cocktail were amazing though. Actually I would recommend this place as somewhere nice once in a while. It will be a very long while until we go back.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Friday Night Challenge - you can only use what we already have

Everyone in the tiny flat was exhausted last night, a friday night when your brain is done for the week. Just one of those too tired to really even try to decide what we wanted to do. Should we keep it simple and just have a pub meal or cook something in. Too tired to go the supermarket I gave the man the challenge - either we go out for dinner or we use what we already have. He was up for the challenge and after searching around the fridge and cupboards he started.
Chopped up onion and garlic, mushrooms, 2 tins of tuna, chicken stock and white wine - left to bubble away and reduce, for about 20 min. A little salt added (I still need to get more black pepper) at the very end he put a little dash of cream in. Served with penne pasta. The penne had a little extra virgin olive oil stirred through. This was absolutely delicious, it doesnt look the best but it is, and I would have happily paid £8-£9.00 for this at a restaurant. The trick is to always have pasta and tinned tuna - a meal can always be made when too tired to venture out

He did well with breakfast the next day too - fresh bread from the local bakery (I know it should have been brown bread but they only had white left)and he made a type of breakfast bruscetta - tomatoes, cucumber and mint with extra virgin olive oil - no butter on mine - he had feta stirred through his. An incredibly simple but really nice breakfast - yes I have given up on the Dukan diet and have decided to opt for healthy options. I am still going to cut out carbs during the week.

Tonight we are off to Rock and Rose in Kew. We have been wanting to try here for ages. Described as food, passion and glamour - this could be good! Photos will follow tomorrow.

For tomorrows roast I am trying to decide between trying (for the first time) a nut roast or doing a roast chicken again. Swaying more towards a Nut Roast - but have no idea where you buy these from - may try Waitrose

Friday, 12 August 2011

A Happy Kiev Household and My Favourite Place For Pie!

The week started well – chicken salad for work lunches (haven’t decided on next week’s yet) for dinner though, not so good. The man wanted chicken salad for dinner and chicken kievs are a firm favourite. So I made him an elaborate one with lettuce, cucumber, feta, olives and tomatoes – I mean seriously the man is spoilt. Mine had cabbage and peas. I loved it, he loved his, everyone in the tiny flat had a great meal. I did feel a little guilty about the kiev having crumbs but only a little. I did also have a few olives with mine.


The Mans

It was the next night that it all went wrong and food resitance was futile. We met friends at one of my favourite pubs, the White Cross in Richmond. This place is amazing, brilliant views of Richmond bridge, you can sit outside on a nice sunny day, sit inside in the cosy wonderful lounge if its cold outside. The service is always really friendly and quick but the real reason I love this place – the pies !!! They are always pipping, steaming hot. There is a special pie every day and my past two visits have been my favourite – chicken and leek, my visit before that was the steak and guiness. There is a choice of mashed potato or chunky chips. I did ask the man to request if mine could come with vegetables, but was served with mash. I didn’t eat it , I didn’t. It comes with an individual gravy pot and the gracy is always brilliant. See why resililiance was a futile exercise – photo below.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Monday Night - Spaghetti Bolognaise Night - The Healthy Edition

Monday night is always about Spaghetti Bolognaise in our tiny little flat. To us its just the best way to finish off the first working day of the week. I literally look forward to it from lunchtime. Every week we do some sort of different version or a different type or style of recipe.
Last night I want to do a weight loss friendly version and also try a technique someone mentioned to me. Popping a full tomatoes on top, with a cross sliced in the top – let this bubble away and dissolve into the bolognaise. I had mine with cabbage and the Man had his with spaghetti. I didn’t put any bacon in last night’s version – something that I found gave it less body. On the positive note – it was probably just about as healthy as a bolognaise can be
Chopped onion and garlic, sautéed in a pot with extra virgin olive oil, Tesco finest mince browned. Poured in a tin of Tesco basic tomatoes and 500 ml of beef stock, tomato paste, chopped mushrooms added at the same time and this was all left to boil away for 30 min while I then sat down to watch the news at 7pm, perfectly timed to be ready when Coronation Street starts. Extra basil added at the end.
I am not having any salt with mine as apparently salt retains water, however I did add some while it was bubbling away.
End result: loved how healthy it was and I didn’t feel bloated afterwards, I did miss how bacon makes a bolognaise a deeper fuller taste and I must remember to buy black pepper for next weeks. Any ideas, hints or tips on how to make a healthy, tasty bolognaise for next week would be really welcomed! I have been told that adding a tin of condensed tomato soup gives a deep flavor as a good replacement to bacon – so I may try that.

Everything in together

After 30 minutes of bubbling away

cabbage instead of pasta

The finished result - good but I missed the bacon flavour

Monday, 8 August 2011

I wanted Pret - But resisted and now very happy with this

Everyone was going off to Pret - I wanted Pret, how I would love a Duck wrap or a Tuna sandwich. I remember the days before my diet that I believed that either of the before mentioned was a fine and healthy lunch. No I resisted, I was tempted but I took myself off to Tesco to buy the ingredients for this week’s work lunches. I struggled to think what to have this week as anymore scrambled eggs could put me into a breakdown. I did see that Tesco had a special on different chicken pieces - 2 for £5 and I thought this with some lettuce and cottage cheese wouldn’t be too bad and some Activia Vanilla Fat free for afterwards. Very happy and actually probably more satisfied than I would have been with Pet. So this is now lunch for the remainder work days. I have worked out if I purchase enough on Monday and keep it in the fridge I am not tempted to buy something unhealthy. It also gives me time to duck out to the gym at lunch - but no gym today (its Monday)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Back Home - Back To Reality & Back to the Diet

I am not going anywhere near the scales until Tuesday. I simply don’t want to know what the damage is. I am however, meeting a personal trainer at the gym tomorrow.
We are going to do a different, healthier version of the roast tonight. Roast chicken with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onions and olives. We are also going to detour from the red wine. There shall be wine (there always is) but it is white for tonight - so although it will not be the typical Sunday roast - it can still be classified as a roast on the quest for the perfect one.

I am going to have to be really good this week as next week it is the man’s birthday and I have booked Rock and Rose in Kew. It has a fantastic reputation and I want to have a special, romantic, casual night to celebrate his birthday. Even the website looks uber cool so we are both really looking forward to it.

Sam's Chop House Manchester - When can I go back?

I loved loved loved this place - Sams Chop House. If anybody goes to Manchester the have to make sure this is a must go to place. How wonderfully refreshing and such a great find. It looks like a pub, well it is a pub, you walk in and the bad is rammed packed. The little restaurant section at the back is cozy and comfortable. The manager and waitress are and were amazing - so friendly, so funny, so familiar - they simply made you feel like you had to be having a great time. Well they are !!
If you go to Sam please just follow this order without question -
Sam’s Famous Crispy Corned Beef Hash Cake £6.99 it is what they are famous for and it does not disappoint.
For main I had the roast beef £13.99 - it was lovely but next time I will be having what the man had Home-made Steak & Kidney Pudding £12.99.
My roast had the most enormous Yorkshire pudding I have ever seen, a little gravy boat all to me. Crispy roast potatoes, tender roast beef (red in the middle just like we like it) carrots that had been marinade in I think a honey glaze. So the envy only settled in when I tried the man’s steak and kidney pie - the meat must have been slow cooked for months !!!
We finished this off with a fantastic cheese board at the end.
The wine of the evening was an amazing bottle of white. I must remember to get the name of it next time as it was grand. The wine glasses were a treat - big and solid. I have decided we need new ones like these.
His was served with thick chips and mushy peas - he thinks it’s his perfect meal and if had to order a final dinner this could possibly be it.
Please anybody going to Manchester please make sure you experience this place I could not recommend it higher. I came to about $50 each – for a Saturday night and an amazing meal I think good value for money. The man loved it and it put a huge smile on his face - we have decided we are definitely good old pub favorites people.

Who Knew Selfridges Manchester Lunch Would Be As Good As Shopping

Moët Bar and Gallery Restaurant - Selfridges
After aimlessly wondering around the stores of Manchester - looking at the beautiful dresses, trying on some far too expensive shoes we decided to head to lunch. We decided on something light as we were going out for dinner later in the evening.
I have never eaten at Selfridges before and normally shy away from department store restaurants as they seem to be a little on the drab side. Selfridges was a nice surprise the food was incredibly tasteful.
I had the Chicken liver Salad and it was simply incredibly. The chicken was done in a lemon marinate and just so wonderfully tender. It was exactly what I wanted full of flavor but light so I could still look forward to my dinner. There was no guilt for this lunch as was Dukan friendly – chicken and Salad = allowed. The accompanying glass of champagne – not so much but we were in the Moet bar - it would be rude not to.

The man had the Mushroom Risotto and now I love risotto and I cook it often for him - so I was surprised he ordered it. I would love to know the ingredients for what was in this as it was like tasting some sort of magic.
The view over the city was really nice and the waiters were kind, attentive and in good spirits.
After such a nice lunch I am thinking I should try the London Restaurant with some friends.

A Culinary Trip To Manchester

The diet had a sabbatical while we went on a trip up to Manchester. The friends that were meeting are big fans of champagne and fine dining. So I knew it was going to be an impossible task to eat Dukan friendly - I supposed I could have but how often do you get a chance to go to famous restaurants, drink endless champagne and enjoy amazing Northern food. So the man had one rule for me – have fun and enjoy lets worry about the diet on Monday. I eagerly agreed.

We were spending two nights at ABode Manchester and lucky enough to be going to Michael Caines Restaurant for lunch. After setting of at about 9am we arrived in Manchester just in time for a glass of champagne before going in for lunch. The restaurant is downstairs in the basement and you can easily forger that it is actually the day and not an evening meal. There was a special lunch menu available but nothing on it seemed to take anyone’s fancy – Sweetcorn Soup or Poached Salmon just seemed to be something I could pick up from Waitrose or M&S instead. The Al La Carte menu had far more appetizing options.

I had the Almond crusted veal sweetbreads poached quail's eggs, gribiche sauce and a green bean salad as a starter £15.50. Basically the veal sweetbreads are like a high quality chicken nuggets and I could not taste any difference from a quails egg to a normal poached egg, that may just be that I have not been refined enough to appreciate the difference. The bean salad was lovely. I am still not sure what exactly a gribiche is nor could I tell you what it tasted like.

For main I enjoyed the slow poached cod scallops, leek fondue, baby leeks, wild mushrooms and chive butter sauce £21.50 – I love leeks sauces and I do like fish - So this I would say was enjoyable. We finished off lunch by sharing a few cheese platters and the wine was flowing over lunch. Lots of bottles of a nice New Zealand white. As I didn’t do the ordering I am not sure what the wine was called but it was lovely.

It was a long leisurely lunch that was fun as we were catching up with friends we really like. The food was nice – but for £100 each I am not sure if the value for money was worth it and I dont think I would rush back - it was good, it was nice, it wasnt memorable. I love catching up with friends and I love food and a good bottle of wine – would we have had any less fun at a more reasonably priced restaurant, probably not. Should we have ordered from the special lunch menu of 3 cources for £18.95 – probably deffinately ! The men went off to the Football and the ladies spent the rest of the evening drinking Champagne. No dinner was had by anybody.

I would recommend staying at the Abode, it is a lovely hotel and the service is excellent – the rooms are large and the beds are comfortable. The rooms are quiet and no traffic noise could be heard. The included breakfast was lovingly prepared with an beautiful spread of continental bakeries (that I did not try) the coffee served piping hot, cold orange juice. I ordered the Eggs Benedict which was really tasty, The ham was what made it, the hollandaise sauce was not as strong as I do prefer, but the muffins were soft and not over cooked and the eggs were perfect. The man had salmon and scrambled eggs – but after having that for lunch for the past two weeks I simply could not stomach the thought of it.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Back to the Gym and update on weeks progress

I am not on target - I already know why, the search for the perfect roast (even without potatoes) and the ultimate Spaghetti bolognaise. Combined with my sheer refusal to give up my love of a nice glass of wine (or two) and my 1 day a week of carbs. I think we can all see the problem.

But the goal is still 55 kilos by the 23rd of September. So I have joined up at Virgin Active - Power Plate me. I have done this in the past and it worked a treat, so its full on work out time.
I also purchased some 2.5 kilo weights to walk with in the morning.
This week I have done Power Plates once
Walked for an hour with weights twice
Sauna for 20 minutes

Lunch has been scrambled eggs with either peppered Markel from M&S (lovely) or with some Tuna from Tesco (not so nice)
I have been mixing some chopped onion with the scrambled eggs and putting some coriander on top for flavour.Bit over scambled eggs for lunch so am planning on looking for some other ideas for next week.

Dinner Tuesday night was pork cutlets (I thought or was told they were lamb) with cottage cheese, cabbage and peas

Last night was amazing weather and after convincing the man that we work hard and deserve to sit in the sun – it was off to the beer garden. 4 glasses of wine in total but I did only have the Thai Chicken Stir fry – no rice. The man orded a big plate of tempura prawns and I did not have one !! I have decided that a minute on the lips is not worth the feeling of guilt afterwards and the disappointment when the scales don’t go down (this does not count for the wine)

Tonight for dinner I am planning a Crab Meat Omlette with onion and Mushrooms – will remember to post a photo this time

So all good you say and think and my clothes are feeling looser and I am feeling thinner. have not braved the scales for a few days.

However, tomorrow I am off to Manchester for a long weekend, and we are having lunch at ABode Manchester home to Michael Caines Restaurants - so planning tomorrow to be my no diet day (well 1 day a week’s not bad) let’s see how this goes as we will be eating out with friends and family for the remainder of the time. Please, please, please have willpower and be good and for god sake keep the drinking down - they are after all wasted callories and not Dukan friendly

Buffalo Mince was good for a bolognaise - I wouldn’t say worth twice the price

My local butcher thought it would be good to try Buffalo mince for my Monday bolognaise as it was leaner and meant to be a better quality. So I said yes. The thing I find difficult about being in a butchers is I can never guess how much something is going to be - I normally spend about £2.50 on mince at Tesco - so at £4.80 I wouldn’t say it was a cheap trial.

This was combined with diced onion and garlic, then added the mince, tined tomatoes, fresh basil, a little red wine, bacon, 1 liter of beef stock and lots of mushrooms. All bubbled away for about 40 minutes. I have decided no pre-made pasta sauces - unless it walks, grows, falls or swims it is not allowed in the cooking.

The man had his with pasta, parmesan shavings and salt

I had mine with cabbage and peas and no salt. Apparently salt retains water so I have given it up salt for 2 months.

It was however served with a glass of wine in the beer garden before cooking, a glass of wine while cooking and a glass while enjoying the cooking.

It was amazing but I forgot to take a photo (probably because of the wine)

The conclusion was that it was lovely, a more smoother taste - but at twice the price - beef mince will do next week. Or we are thinking of trying pork mince instead !