Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Spaghetti Bolognaise – the last one before holiday

The Man cooked again last night – I know he is really going above and beyond at the moment, it’s the last meal to be cooked at home (we plan on eating out the night before) and so we wanted to use up ingredients in the fridge and not buy to much new fresh produce that won’t last. So it was fairly simple but very tasty. Fried onion and garlic with mince, mushrooms and bacon with a pasta sauce last night. We haven’t used one in a while but without the extra fresh herbs I thought we could use a jar just this once.
I have also purchased new pasta bowls to try and cut down our portion sizes as well – I think they look great. However, I did have grated parmesan on top.

So we leave tomorrow – flying Cathay Pacific there and Qantas internally in Australia, I promise photos of the plane food and the meals we have while on holiday. We are also going to try and do a local bolognaise and roast.

Sunday Roast Lamb Cutlets

I purchase a rack of lamb from the local butcher, at £12 I know it was an extravagance but we hadn’t been out all weekend. The man made dinner, I know he has been doing all the cooking lately (v.spoilt) he seared the side with the fat on it in the griddle pan and popped it in the oven for 30 minutes. He par boiled the potatoes before hand and put these in the over about 15 minutes prior to the lamb going in. I have decided that the smell of cooking lamb is without a doubt my favourite smell of a Sunday roast. He boiled beans and cabbage and made his special mushroom, garlic and tomatoes sauce to accompany.
The lamb cutlets were amazing – juicy, tasty and well worth the money! And I am definitely on the road to recovery.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Steak with mushroom Sauce and homemade fries

I purchase the Tesco Finest Fillet Steaks, they are not cheap but are well worth it. Restaurant quality and simply incredibly tender and easy to cook. The Man was in charge last night and so chopped up peeled potatoes and after coating them with oil popped them in the oven. He made an incredible mushroom sauce by sautéing some onion and garlic then with some white wine, lime juice and Philadelphia and added chopped mushrooms. He served this with boiled green beans and steaks pan fried on the griddle pan. The mushroom sauce was my favourite part. The steaks were beautifully cooked and we had room for the ice-cream we couldn’t manage to fit in last night.
Tonight is my turn and I am going to venture to try a rack of lamb with green beans, cabbage and potatoes (haven’t decided between baked or Dauphinoise)

There is a steak under there I promise

Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday Night Chili

Finally feeling human again, breathing has returned to normal and only a lingering cold left. My appetite is definitely back and I felt like something comforting and warm – Chilli Con Carn it is to be!

I went to Tesco to do the gathering -I have spoken before about how I try to do something pub worthy on Friday nights as a strategy to sway us to stay in – drink less and save money. This week I decided on a chili con carne with the trimmings – corn chips and sour cream. When I make this during the week I leave out the later to make it a tad healthier. So the gathering consisted of an Uncle Bens Con Carne sauce (cheating I know but its Friday) Mince, Tesco Sour cream and Chives (I love this condiment seriously tasty) Doritos and Rollo Ice Creams for after. I also gathered some smoked salmon and lime to have the next morning for breakfast on fresh bread with the left over sour cream (my favorite of all breakfasts) and some sparkling water and a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (Part of the Tesco wine festival on at the moment)

The end result was spectacular as I hope you can tell, although there was no room for the ice-cream as we were simply far too full, but very content x

The Gathering

The Finished Result - Definitely Pub Worthy

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The only Spaghetti Bolognaise I didn’t love

And thats not because it wasn’t amazing – because it was. It’s because I have a shocking cold, cough, sore throat and was feeling really faint. I really wanted to try this recipe from Cooking Healthy For Me, unfortunately that is going to need to wait until I am better as The Man was left to cooking and as such he wanted to do it his way. Fortunately I had gathered the mince on Sunday from our local butcher. Now I have talked about this before – but I always find it daunting going into the butcher as its always a surprise how much things are going to come to once put on the scales and therefore your now ownership – well I just about fell over myself when it came to $5.00 for 500g. Ah I think I will be going back to the less expensive butcher near work in the future. So as I lay on the couch the man went to work – to tell you the truth I didn’t pay much attention to how he made it this week (sorry) and the finished result looked amazing and steaming hot. He put steamed spinach under the bolognaise for some added iron – bless his cotton socks. The only problem was that my cold reeked havoc on my enjoyment and I only got half way through before having to excuse myself and go off to bed.
So after a few days off work I am finally feeling on the mend. Thank goodness as in one week today we are off to Australia !

£5.00 Mince - expensive, but did taste very fresh

So nice but just not well enough to enjoy

Monday, 12 September 2011

Perfect for when not well – let someone else do the cooking

It was a rainy rotten Sunday and I have come down with a shocking cough and sore throat. So the man came to the rescue with a roast chicken, served with cabbage, peas, carrots and roast potatoes. The Man also made his special tomatoes sauce (sautéed onions and garlic with chopped fresh tomatoes) it’s perfect for a roast and last night was more like a chutney.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Keep Him Home From the Pub Lasagna

So in my opinion it’s very easy to get very drunk on Friday night at the pub – a stressful week, the relaxing of alcohol, the added boost it gives you and for me I seem to drink more quickly to wash away the week - before you know it we wake up with a massive hang over and we have spent a heap of money. If however we stay in and have dinner it somehow seems a lot easier to monitor your drinking to a non hangover level and we get to bed relatively early. I came up with a plan a few months ago that if I plan a nice dinner at home we are more likely to want to stay in and have it. If I plan on making something you can normally order at the pub we are definitely more like to stay in be responsible and 9/10 have a better night.
So this week’s it is lasagna – my view on making the perfect lasagna (and this may not be anything new) but to make the mince sauce to be exactly the same as you would for spaghetti bolognaise. The base should be just as deep and as satisfying. So I fried up onion, garlic and the mince – tipped in a can of diced tomatoes a mug of beef stock, chopped bacon (vital ingredient) chopped mushrooms a dash of soy sauce, oregano, , salt and pepper. This was left to bubble away for half an hour.
I made my own white sauce by melting butter, adding milk and stirring in the flour – I then added a handful of cheese.
In the lasagna dish I layered the meat first, then the lasagna sheets, white sauce and repeated. Topping with white sauce and cheese. Popped this into the over for 30 minutes.
I served this with a salad of peppered rocket, spinach, cucumber and chopped olives.
The finished result was absolutely brilliant even if I do say so myself. Much cheaper than a night out and far far more satisfying

The meat sauce bubbling away – needs to be as good as a bolognaise

The end result – I personally really like it with crisp bit at the end

Served with a fresh salad

Next weekend is the last one before we go to Australia – I am thinking either stay at home Fish and chips or a homemade curry – advise or recommendations are warmly welcomed x

A Trip To Ireland - Galway

So this week I was fortunate enough to be sent to Ireland for a work dinner. We book in a group of 8 people to Martines Restaurant in Galway. It looks like a warm and cozy little pub from the outside and it is just a little way up a cobbled alley way. Out the back in the candle lit room is an intimate and friendly restaurant. The table were comfortable and the room was lovely with a friendly atmosphere. The specialty is steaks and the waiter brings around a selection uncooked to choose from. The did all look fantastic however a little on the big side for me. So I went for the Lamb Cutlets and a starter of Salmon Fish Cakes.
I have been to Galway before and the food never disappoints, it’s a lovely town with friendly locals and a bustling nightlife. We stay at the G Hotel which is an absolute treat. I highly recommend both these places if planning to visit Ireland. The Guiness complemented the starter brilliantly followed by a small glass of red wine.

So it’s been another busy week with work and The Man and I are both tired. I am planning on cooking up a lasagna for dinner with a crispy salad – he wants garlic bread as well, I may give that a miss as our Australia trip is now in under 2 weeks (photos will follow)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Spaghetti Bolognaise Sauce with Spinach and Cabbage

If you have a look at what was one the menu last week you could understand my desire to give carbs a miss for a night. So my spaghetti bolognaise was served with raw spinach mixed with some steamed cabbage.
I went to the local butchers for the mince and bacon – mince is cheaper than the supermarket but the bacon wasn’t- however, we do find it is a muich fresher and smoother taste. The Man cooked on Monday night – chopped onion & garlic followed by the mince – then the tinned tomatoes and mug of beef stock, salt and pepper and left to bubble away – he did forget to put the mushrooms oh well.
The finished result with the spinach and cabbage was lovely, tasty, filling and incredibly satisfying.

Next week I am thinking of making a spaghetti bolognaise salad !

Monday, 5 September 2011

Pret New Autumn Menu Out Today

had to have a look and try out the new Autumn Menu at Pret - overall quite impressive from the online choice. However, my local Pret does not seem to have the range in store just yet. But what they did have, and something I had been wanting to try was the new Toasted Sandwich range. I chose the Tuna Melt and it was a brilliant choice. Unfortunately at £3.50 its not something I will be able to have often. This was complimented with a Mango and Passion Fruit drink.

Tonight’s Spaghetti Bolognaise will feature meat from the local butcher and with a Waitrose Tomato and Olive tinned sauce (I am loving this new range of tinned tomatoes in store now - perfect for store cupboard to whip up a pasta anytime). However, the upload of photos will be delayed as I am off to Ireland for tomorrow. I will feedback on the restaurants and hotel so be sure to check back on Thursday.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sunday Sausages Caused Silence

As said, we decided to skip the roast today and The Man suggested good old Bangers and Mash. We were by a Waitrose so the gathering occurred here. I picked up the Sausages, the paper, red wine, milk, spinach, mushrooms, wine, some Ben and jerry’s as a treat for afterwards (just a little) and some Waitrose tinned tomato and olive for tomorrow night’s spaghetti bolognaise – we already had potatoes from last night’s meal.
I have not had sausages for ages – since ordering at a pub and being served half cooked sausages. I hate nothing more and it had put me off having them again until now.
The Man decided to cook and was under strict instruction “make sure they are cooked through” – you will see from the middle photo below that he takes his instructions seriously!
The mashed potatoes were cooked as per normal, he steamed the spinach (only a little as otherwise it wilts too much) the gravy was once again done with pan fried mushrooms, garlic and onion – it s so much better than on its own and I seriously recommend doing this!!
I have come to the conclusion that bangers and mash is always better at home –this one was incredible so much so we didn’t talk through the eating. I don’t think I will have any ice cream tonight.

The Gathering

Bangers and Mash - Instructions followed (see above)

With the ultimate gravy ontop, look closely you can see the steam

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Laverstoke Park Farm Buffalo and Peppercorn Pie

As we were staying in for a Saturday, I pushed the boat out and wanted to try one of Laverstoke Park farm pies. They are £10.99 so a bit extravagant but we are staying in. There is a huge variety to choose from – I decided on the Buffalo and peppercorn. Words will never be able to explain how amazing this pie is and well worth the price. The peppercorns are strong, flavorsome and a hidden treat, the meat is incredibly soft and just perfect.
We do plan on trying the lamb and mince in a few weeks – but I just don’t see how there could be an improvement and I think this may just be a firm favourite in the tiny little flat going forward.
The man served this with homemade fries, cabbage, broccoli and a special gravy – he pan fired some garlic, onions and mushrooms and then stirred this through some bistro gravy (prepared as per directions) it’s a cheats gravy but it is Saturday night after all and with the added extras it tasted absolutely perfect!

Bisto gravy - with added pan fried garlic, onion and mushrooms!

Sunday Night we plan on giving the roast a break and doing good old english bangers and mash!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Home Alone Pasta

The Man was out playing pool on Friday night, and so a simple quick pasta meal was on the menu for me. I try to always keep salami or chorizo in the fridge for this reason - it keeps for ages and can always be used to whip up a really tasty meal. I fried up some onion and garlic with the chopped chorizo, this was done in chili oil with some extra chili flakes (I really like spicy pasta) - after about 10 minutes I threw in some chopped broccoli (uncooked) this was then stirred thru spiral pasta that had been coked as per instructions. This pasta could not be simpler but gives such as strong flavor as the chorizo releases its own tasty oil. Perfect for Friday night on my own!! I also love this recipe as I boil the pasta, strain and keep it aside while quickly preparing the ingredients in the same pot = not as much washing up

Tonight we are cooking up (or heating up) a Buffalo steak and ale pie from Loverstoke Park Farm – with homemade chips, cabbage, broccoli, peas served with a mushroom gravy (photos will follow)

A Good Old London Chicken Curry Pie At The Pub

I know our trip to Australia is only 3 weeks away, but after a really long day at work The Man suggested dinner at the pub, we are both working later and getting back home late due to forward planning for being off work for 3 weeks – how could I say no to one of my favourite dinners – a good old English Pie with mash potatoes and vegetables. I reconciled in my own mind that if I didn’t drink any alcohol then I was allowed this treat.
On the specials was a a curried chicken and vegetable version – it was absolutely lovely. The only thing I would suggest to improve it, you may remember from a few weeks ago we also went for pie at a different restaurant, the previous place is our favourite place for pie as it is served with gravy in individual pots. This would have been the only thing I would add to give it 5 stars.

The Man had his with chips

Tonight I am all on my own while the man goes out to play pool – Coronation Street, Eastenders, Coronation followed by the UK Bachelor served with pasta spirals, chorizo, chilli and broccoli – a quick, easy and incredibly tasty Friday night meal (photos will follow)