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 was all ready to cook a roast dinner, well, in my head at least, then on Saturday our butcher friend had some beautiful steak we could not resist buying. That was Sunday sorted then! We have steak with a few different sides, but this time we went with homemade onion rings that I coated in panko breadcrumbs and oven baked to see if a healthier option than frying would work. We also had fresh tomatoes of varying sizes which I like to halve and sprinkle with a little sea salt, black pepper and dried rosemary before baking. Next was hard fried very garlic mushrooms. I mentioned the technique in a previous post but I can’t remember which one, so if anyone actually reads this and wants the delicious mushroom hack, comment and I will write a put together! All of these sides I start at different stages throughout the day to make life easier. All I had to do nearer the time was the oven chips (I know… sorry… I do have a bad head!), the steak, and finish everything off. A steak dinner is a real treat. Thank you butcher friend!


… we ate shop bought ‘oven bake’ chicken kiev, steamed new potatoes, and broccoli. If you remember I didn’t get to take a picture of the labour of love that was my homemade super duper chicken kiev so this one isn’t getting shot! We’ll just move on, shall we…


… I had a cunning plan. I love ‘savoury mince’. But I love savoury mince with mashed potatoes, and mashed potatoes can be a tad long winded for a weekday meal when you’re not feeling one hundred percent, so I had a brainwave. I also love pearl barley, and pearl barley is much underused. I tend to throw it in beef stew, a particular thick soup I make, and a meat free idea I’m coming up with, but that’s it. So I decided to make the humble pearl of barley part of a duo and serve it with savoury mince, with my cunning plan to hatch later in the week…
I made the mince by sautéing ground beef, then adding carrot, onion, and cooking that off for a while. I then added nearly a cup of red split lentils, a little flour and cooked that off before adding beef stock, oh and always a splash of soy sauce. I don’t use salt because the stock cubes I make up and the soy sauce are enough. I simmered it until cooked and reduced. To cook the barley I put a cupful in a sieve and washed it well then added it to a pan with a lot of cold water and a chicken stock cube for flavour. Barley doesn’t really taste of much but it’s a great sponge. Anyway I brought the barley to the boil then simmered it for maybe an hour until it was plump but still quite firm. My timing could be out because I never time anything, I just watch and listen. I served the barley as you would rice and it was delicious although there was too much, so maybe half a cup for two meals next time, and I have leftover mince for later in the week so watch this space!


… Our guest wasn’t here, I couldn’t be bothered to cook, AND the final of The Great British Bake Off was on. I decided to look at the menu of our local Chinese takeaway in the hope of finding inspiration because I’m not that keen on them, they do fantastic fish and chips, and good Chinese food, but I’m not the biggest fan of either. A quick look at the menu though revealed Singapore fried rice so I tried that. Rice AND chilli. I win! C had a Chinese curry, and The Bake Off was brilliant!


… remember I love savoury mince with mashed potatoes? Well it occurred to me. Why not make ‘cottage pie baked potatoes’? The base of a cottage pie is effectively a savoury mince, and if you scoop out a baked potato it’s just mash. This sounded like a plan. I put the potatoes in to bake and perhaps made the outside a little too crisp, but C said he liked it, but I wanted them to hold together. Once the potatoes were cooked I let them cool a little then cut them in half and scooped most of the flesh out, I tried to leave a little margin for ballast. I ran the flesh through the ricer and added butter and seasoning, and only a splash of milk to make it spreadable. I then filled the potato shells with the leftover savoury mince before topping that with the potato. I went down the edge from potato to shell to create a clean seam (like icing a cake) before ridging the top to help with crispy bits. I then popped them back into the oven until the filling was cooked and the top was golden. This cottage pie baked potato was perfect for my savoury mince and mashed potato hit!


… I needed lamb curry, NEEDED I tell you! And we finally bought some lamb leg steak, so lamb methi was a go! I’m still sticking quite closely to this recipe as I’ve only made it a couple of times but as usual I have to adapt. I can’t get fresh methi, so I use dried, I added probably about four tablespoons of dried methi, next time I’ll add a little more. Actually it would be helpful if the recipe had the dried equivalent. I served the lamb methi with a spare baked potato I chopped up and added to a mix of black mustard seeds, onions, curry leaves, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder, a sort of makeshift Bombay potato if you will, and basmati rice, of course!


… we ate leftover lamb methi which was even more delicious after twenty for hours which barely seems possible, but it was! I tried to ‘wing’ a naan bread for C, and it was disgusting! I placed it in the bin carefully because if I’d have dropped it on the floor a tile would have cracked! I’m still looking for a decent (in my opinion) naan bread recipe; I just want one without butter. I don’t mind oil, just not butter. I know that probably isn’t authentic, but I don’t like butter that much!

Steak and all of the trimmings, savoury mince & pearl barley, cottage pie baked potato, lamb methi curry
Steak and all of the trimmings, savoury mince & pearl barley, cottage pie baked potato, lamb methi curry
My mad weekly kitchen diary

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