This is just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’, successes and disasters in the kitchen, and also document trying to get the best out of leftovers.
… Rotisserie chicken again which is great as I don’t have to cook it! It seems to be the indoor version of barbecuing so husband takes charge. He’s struggling at the moment to replicate the crispness he achieved the first time he did the chicken, so I suggested he goes back to square one and then only changes one thing at a time, each time. For me though it’s still delicious and I can handle it if the skin isn’t quite crispy. Unfortunately, he can’t so I want him to figure it out so that he enjoys the chicken as much as I do. I baked some potatoes which we then drizzled with jus from the chicken, and stir fried some broccoli with garlic, chilli and lemon. The broccoli was a little under, I don’t know what happened. I tested it with my trusty knife to see if it was par cooked, and then stir fried it, I blame my head! I told C to think of it as a warm broccoli salad…
… I had some tomato sauce in the freezer that I made a week or so ago to use on pizza, I decided to turn it into a quick pasta sauce as it was a Monday and we were busy. I had put ‘smoked bacon’ on the list for the sauce but gammon was on offer so I said I would try that. The smoked gammon came in a pack of two so I chopped up some of one, removing the fat first for the pasta and saved the surplus and the second for later in the week. Anyway… I just sautéed the chopped gammon to get some caramel on it then added the defrosted tomato sauce which was already chock full of goodies such as onions, garlic and oregano and let it simmer. I used macaroni because I have some open and when cooked tossed it through the sauce and sprinkled it with freshly grated parmesan. The gammon worked very well, and my quick Monday meal was both quick and delish!*
… I needed to use two pork loin steaks that were sitting in the freezer. I also had asparagus, mushrooms and potatoes. This is not a combination I would normally shove together but I don’t normally have fresh asparagus. I marinated the defrosted pork in oregano, a little olive oil, and seasoning for a while and got on with the rest. I wanted to go down the route of Boulangere potatoes so had a little look at this recipe for inspiration but barely followed it. I sliced a couple of baking potatoes and an onion, shoved it into a baking dish and seasoned, then poured in stock, about half way up the dish. I covered it with foil and put it in to bake. About forty minutes later I took the foil off to let it brown. Fifteen minutes before the end I placed the prepared asparagus (trimmed, brushed with oil, seasoned) on top of the potatoes to roast, saving me extra washing up. With the mushrooms I just hard fried them after cleaning, but when they let out some of their juice, instead of reducing it to nothing I left it there and added a little butter to make an emulsion. I also stole and added a few cooked sliced onions that I’d cooked down for a few hours to make a base for a curry later on in the week, because I could! The pork just had to be pan fried and rested before being served with the veg. It was a pretty special weekday meal!
… We’re still tying to make room in the freezer, Wednesday guest was due, and I needed easy. Everything was pointing to salt and chilli chicken wings that C had bought on a whim a while ago. I still don’t know what should accompany them so I served them with oven chips and my volcanic chilli sauce/ hot sauce mixed into mayo as a dippy thing, because guest doesn’t take heat too well. Instead of following the instructions for cooking the wings (because they are never crispy enough for C) I baked them in a moderate oven until they were cooked through but not crisp at all then cooled them quickly. When dinner time came I put the oven on very high to second bake them and they crisped up beautifully. Husb was very pleased!
… more guests. Only this time the staying kind. They were also arriving after dinner and I didn’t know if they would want food. With all of this in mind I had decided to make a lentil tomato and bacon soup, only this time I used the gammon. I actually made the soup the same day as the pasta because I didn’t want the chopped gammon sitting around, but let’s pretend. I rendered any fat I cut off the gammon in which to fry the onion for extra flavour, removing it when I had what I needed. I sautéed the onion and then the chopped gammon, then it was just a matter of adding the lentils, tinned tomatoes and stock. I always season with salt near the end with this one because I don’t know how much salt the gammon will impart but I added fresh ground black pepper. Before serving I like to whizz with a stick blender as it makes the soup really creamy without using cream. We ate the soup beforehand with some crusty bread and the guests did have some much later on.
… again I wasn’t sure if guests were eating with us so I needed to make enough to feed us all should they, and that it would keep if they weren’t. I planned a curry. I started earlier in the week by gently sautéing the onions for HOURS until they were almost jam-y, then whizzed them into a pulp in the food processor and set it aside. I then whizzed together fresh tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and chillies. This wasn’t going to be a proper ‘from scratch’ curry, my head wouldn’t allow. But doing these few things helps make it more authentic I feel. I popped some black mustard seeds in a little oil before adding the onion pulp, frying gently for a while. I then added the tomato mix and fried that until the oil started to separate. I don’t use much oil so it’s not too obvious but the sound changes. No, I’m not nuts! The sound changes from a wet sizzle to a dry crackle. At that point I added my favourite curry powder and some garam masala, cooking that off for five minutes. Lastly I added chunks of potato as there wasn’t much chicken to come. I added water and salt and simmered that for a while before adding chopped skinless chicken thigh and methi (fenugreek) leaves that I had ground in the mortar and pestle. That was it. Oh! I added fresh tomato towards the end. I served it with flatbread, cumin poppadoms and basmati rice. Guests went out for dinner so we had plenty of leftovers!
… guests were out again so we had leftover curry. There’s only one thing better than a curry, and that’s a curry the day after! Yum!
* Pasta pic is shocking because I tried to shoot it it the dark and lighten after. I promise I’ll take all pics in the light from now on. Even if I have to get husb to take it!