My mad weekly kitchen diary

Just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’, successes and disasters in the kitchen.


… I wanted something easy. I also wanted to use up baby new potatoes, and in my head new potatoes don’t ‘go’ with all roasts. Lamb seems expensive to buy compared with pork and chicken and never seems to be very good value, but I do like lamb occasionally so what I do is get frozen. It’s almost like buying a ‘lesser cut’ of meat, so I treat it as such. I got my big casserole dish and put the smallish lamb leg in. I then threw the washed whole baby new potatoes around and added about half a pint of lamb stock. A final twist of salt and pepper and a liberal sprinkling of dried oregano it was ready for a lid and to go in the oven. I leave it in for a couple of hours and when it’s cooked the potatoes are soft and flavoursome, almost confit, with the lamb melting and falling away from the bone. There was also enough residue to add water and make up a tasty gravy. I served the lamb and potatoes with steamed runner beans.


… there was a little lamb left over from Sunday, but not enough for two roast dinner meals. I didn’t want to do a curry and I had leftover veg to use so I cobbled together a sort of hash. I roasted my last zucchini separately with olive oil and (a lot of) garlic whilst I got the lamb off the bone and chopped up the cooked potatoes, a couple of spring onions and a fresh tomato. I defrosted soya beans to add to the hash too. When the time came I just stir fried everything, adding the tomato and a liberal sprinkling of sumac toward the end, then tossing through the zucchini. It really made a little lamb go a long way.


… there was a tin of salmon BEGGING to be used up but it’s not ideal for most things. It is good though, for fishcakes. I steamed a couple of baking potatoes then mashed and cooled them, added seasoning, lemon zest and the salmon. After forming them into patties (which, it turned out were MASSIVE) I coated them in panko breadcrumbs before frying and finishing off in the oven. I need a patty maker so I don’t serve mutant patties! I served them with nothing other than celery and leek gratin as there was potato in the cakes.


… comfort food was necessary, and my comfort food is a chilli con carne. I made my favourite type too, because I had everything I would use in my best chilli which was a bonus. I was able to start with a trinity of celery, onions, and red pepper which is THE best way to start. I don’t always have celery so a chilli made with a trinity is a treat! I also added some finely chopped coriander stalks at that stage too before sautéing gently for around ten minutes. Adding a spoon of tomato paste to the mix I cooked that off for 6 minutes which really rounds off the flavour (thanks for the tip Simon Rimmer, it really works!) before adding cumin, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, oregano, salt, and cocoa powder and cooking a few minutes further. At the meat stage I usually like to add a dry fried 50/50 mix of ground pork and ground beef, but today we only had beef, so I dry fried and added that, along with kidney beans, tinned tomatoes, beef stock and crushed fresh garlic. I add the garlic at the liquid stage so there is no chance of it burning. I hate burnt garlic. Halfway through cooking I checked for seasoning and also added dried chilli flakes. I like the back heat of the cayenne; that little tickle at the back of the throat, but the flakes are for the front heat, the slap across the face of heat! After another 15 minutes and not long before it was ready I added a fresh chilli, some lime zest, and coriander leaves. I served the chilli with extra coriander (of course) and basmati rice.


… I made a carbonara for only the second time, linguine carbonara to be precise. I had never eaten carbonara until I made it the first time and I’m now a little sad that I didn’t try it earlier. The first time I followed a Nigella recipe, which although not quite authentic made me feel the recipe was a little more forgiving because of the double cream. I imagined scrambled egg with pasta if I followed an authentically Italian recipe at my first attempt. Also, the first time, WedJ was eating which meant I could follow Nigella’s recipe and know that the ridiculous size of the ‘serves two’ recipe (500g of spaghetti??) would feed him comfortably. I love you Nigella, but carbonara is not for lugging upstairs to share in bed! This time I halved the recipe, and followed it relatively closely. I had less pancetta which I fried off earlier before adding the wine and reducing. I let that cool for later. I mixed Parmesan, eggs, and cream together and stored that in the fridge. When the time came I just cooked the linguine and added it to the warmed pancetta and tossed it for a while before adding the egg mix I had twisted a lot of black pepper into. Another toss until it was all warm and I served it as is. I love this dish for its simplicity and the fact that I can prep most of it ahead.


… was one of my favourite meals; meat and potatoes. I know, not very exciting you think, until I tell you the ‘meat’ was tandoori chicken, and the ‘potatoes’ were Bombay potatoes. I use a tandoori masala mix from our local Indian shop, which is very good. It’s a mixture of spices done well, so it saves me time. On Friday morning I put chicken fillets in a bowl and added Greek yoghurt, fresh ginger and garlic, lemon juice and zest, and the masala mix. After a stir I put a lid on the bowl and put it in the fridge for as many hours as possible. For the Bombay potatoes I popped black mustard seeds in oil then added onion and eventually turmeric, salt, garam masala and chilli powder. I steamed chopped potatoes and added them to the onion mix with a little water to finish off the cooking. Toward the end I added fresh tomato and a chilli. When it was time to cook the chicken I grilled it. I wish I had a tandoor but I don’t! Putting the chicken under a high grill though until it starts to char is a very close alternative to the tandoor. I grill for a while on both sides, then finish off in the oven to give me a chance to do other things. I served the ‘meat and potatoes’ with cucumber and home pickled red onion salad.


… there’s only one thing better than eating a chilli con carne, and that’s eating a chilli con carne a few days later. Always more delicious the longer it sits. We had the leftover chilli with leftover rice and tortilla chips. I also threw together my pico de gallo as I had everything. I chopped up onion, tomato, chillies, and coriander, and added lime juice and salt. Without a doubt my favourite salsa and it elevates a chilli con carne to another level!

Lamb & new potato hash, salmon fishcakes, chilli, linguine carbonara, tandoori chicken & bombay potatoes
Lamb & new potato hash, salmon fishcakes, chilli, linguine carbonara, tandoori chicken & bombay potatoes
My mad weekly kitchen diary

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