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, whilst trying to get the best out of leftovers.

Larger image below
Larger image below


… So… occasionally, when I really can’t be bothered midweek I use shop bought frozen pellets of mashed potato. The type I like is just potato, and then I add to it. In his wisdom recently C came back with frozen ‘cheesy mashed potato’ pellets. Now… I have only eaten cheesy mash once, last year because I wanted to see what it was like and I made it myself with ingredients and cheese that I like. So this addition to my freezer was disconcerting. Anyway… I had a mini brain wave and decided to do a gammon joint as that was the meal I had served the cheesy mash with before. I boiled the gammon for an hour as usual – it’s only a small joint – then roasted it with a little maple syrup for half an hour.

I made the cheesy mash as per the instructions in the microwave then added a good handful of my favourite extra mature English cheddar, snipped chives, and the milk that we use until it was a good consistency.

I couldn’t get any fresh parsley so I tried making a sauce with dried and it was fine. Not as fragrant but very similar to the parsley sauce granules I usually keep in for emergencies.

Lastly I did the roasted savoy cabbage, which I could probably eat on its own it’s that good!

So… That was my Irish-ish style Sunday roast. The adapted cheesy mash worked well, and I still have pellets left so will have to either repeat this dish or come up with new ones!


… I needed something easy and modular as Mondays are hellish and I had the ingredients for carbonara so that was the dish of the day. I’m not sure everyone would consider a ‘from scratch’ carbonara easy but I really do because many stages can be prepped ahead. I work from a Nigella recipe – halving it for two people – which is not entirely authentic due to the addition of cream, but I feel the cream makes the recipe more forgiving; you’re less likely to end up with scrambled eggs. Anyway… at lunch time I chopped the pancetta and fried it off in a little oil until crisp then sloshed in the white wine and reduced it. I then put a lid on and took it off the heat to cool. I cracked the eggs into a jug, added the cream, parmesan, and seasoning, mixed and covered with cling film, placing in the fridge for later. All that was to be done later was the linguine and assembly. At dinner time I put the pasta on to cook whilst gently reheating the bacon and wine mix. With the pasta ready I strained it then added it to the bacon and tossed it well before removing it from the heat. Finally I added the egg mix and tossed that very quickly before serving. The last stage takes less than ten minutes, that’s my kind of speedy dinner!


… whilst online shopping I chose frozen battered cod that is oven baked which is great for a midweek meal. I’d been meaning to cook this meal for weeks but I kept forgetting to soak the dried marrowfat peas. This week I remembered and on Monday night I set the peas up to soak as per the instructions. I also wanted to try making homemade oven chips instead of wedges, or anything shop bought. I had some baking potatoes that needed to be used so I peeled them, cut them into chips; then par boiled them with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. After straining and cooling the chips in a colander they were ready for a little coating of oil, seasoning and the heat of the oven.

To make the mushy peas I just threw the soaked, rinsed peas in a pan with water and seasoning and simmered until they were perfectly mushy. If anyone tells you mushy peas can be made with frozen garden peas they are fibbing, it has to be dried marrowfat.

I served the delicious homemade oven chips and mushy peas with the shop bought battered fish and a wedge of lemon.


… WedJ was visiting and I had hotdog buns in the freezer so hotdogs were a perfect choice. I got C to buy good German sausages in a jar – probably bockwurst but I forgot to look – so all I had to do was a shed load of fried onions. I sliced two MASSIVE Spanish onions and sautéed them gently for an hour or so with seasoning and dried thyme until soft and sweet then added a splash of balsamic vinegar. I then cooled them for later. At dinner thyme (geddit?!) I heated the sausages, split the buns and threw in some oven chips to bake. I never know what to serve with hotdogs, I don’t like the idea of chips or fries but I can’t think of anything else. Anyway… Wed J had two large hotdogs with onions, a buttered hotdog bun to make a chip butty, almost a full bottle of ketchup and a pile of chips! C had two hotdogs with onions, and chips, and I had one hotdog with onions, a sausage on its own and chips. I didn’t take a pic because… well, hotdogs…


… I was craving a tapas dish I haven’t made for some time because tapas night is postponed until I have a functioning head. This craving became unbearable so I decided to try and recreate it as a main meal. I call it Jerez chicken because I use sherry. I think the bottle of fino sherry I have at the moment is even from Jerez – pronounced Hereth, but I’m sure you already know that. I just want you to know that I do too! – which is apt.

Anyway scaling this dish up I used skinless, boneless, chicken thighs instead of fillets or breast and started by sautéing onion, garlic, and mushrooms. When the onion was soft I added smoked paprika and cooked that off for a few minutes before adding a good slosh of sherry and the chicken. A few minutes later I added a little tinned tomato and water so that the dish would be self saucing then let it simmer until the chicken was cooked and the sauce thick. I served it with lightly roasted baby new potatoes and savoy cabbage. In the pic the chicken is definitely there, it’s just underneath the vegetable laden sauce!


… I wanted to make a Moroccan lamb tagine so that I could use my newly acquired pomegranate molasses, but the lamb on offer at the supermarket was rubbish so we plumped for beef. I veered quite quickly from a recipe online, in fact I just ignored it all together because it didn’t have the ingredients in it that I wanted! I basically went on taste. Trying as I went. FYI sumac is REALLY citrus-y! I added ras-el-hanout, cinnamon, sumac, z’ataar, to the browned meat and onions, then added water a stock cube, and a glug of pomegranate molasses. Half way through the slow cook I added soft dried apricots.

I served the dish with long grain rice pilaff, flavoured with onions and spiced with cinnamon and saffron.

The resulting stew was delicious, but the meat was not up to standard and I STILL don’t really like fruit with meat.


… I made a lentil, tomato, and ham soup with the gammon stock, tomatoes, and leftover gammon. I just threw it all in, let it cook and then blitzed it with the stick blender. I served the soup with pici spiced – dried chilli, parsley, garlic, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil – baked farmhouse bread. That pici spice is DELISH!

Gammon & cheesy mash, linguine carbonara, fish chips and mushy peas, jerez chicken, beef and apricot tagine.
Gammon & cheesy mash, linguine carbonara, fish chips and mushy peas, jerez chicken, beef and apricot tagine.
My mad weekly kitchen diary

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