My mad weekly kitchen diary

This is 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.

If I ever talk about a dish that you want more detail on, please let me know.

Larger image below
Larger image below


… It’s quite difficult to keep meals on a Sunday new and fresh when I like the tradition of a Sunday roast but will only eat certain proteins. I have the choice of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey. Turkey only seems to be available at certain times of year so that limits to four potential roasts. So… this week we bought lamb, frozen lamb. In our experience it’s not the best way to buy lamb, so the way I cook it is to braise it. The advantages of braising the lamb are that it ends up meltingly tender and flavoursome, and it’s also really flipping easy! The lamb doesn’t look the most spectacular in the picture, but trust me, it’s delicious!

Anyway… I hefted my big casserole dish out of the drawer and plonked in the leg of lamb. I then threw in washed baby new potatoes and peeled whole carrots. I then made up about half a litre of lamb stock from a good cube and chucked that in too. The stock was just enough to cover the potatoes. Lastly I sprinkled dried oregano liberally over the top side of the lamb then put the whole thing in the oven with a lid on, on a low heat (about 140 degrees c). Then I just left it to do it’s thing for three ish hours. The timing isn’t essential, just take it out when the meat is tender and soft.

The other accompaniment was teeny peas, straight from the freezer so dinner so far was far too easy. I like easy, but not ‘no effort at all easy’ so I pondered an extra side. I eventually came up with a variation on the shallots in white wine and cream sauce, but used mild onion instead.

When the lamb was ready, the braised veg was more than ready too, but the potatoes hold their shape and although the carrots aren’t as we would normally eat them, they are very tender, they taste absolutely delicious after absorbing the stock for three hours.

I put the lamb and veg on the carving tray and in the top oven to keep warm whilst dealing with the gravy. We invested (a very small amount of money) in one of those jugs that separates fat in liquids and it is brilliant, especially for this dish. I decanted the liquid, removed the fat; then whisked in a gravy granules to thicken. I couldn’t be bothered to do it properly with a roux!

I served the lamb, as mention before, with the braised potatos and carrots, teeny peas, and onions in white wine and cream sauce, and gravy. Oh and mint sauce from a jar! For a meal with barely any effort the reward is huge!


… We had cauliflower! Yum. It had to be a cauliflower couscous salad and rotisserie chicken. I whizzed up the raw cauliflower in the food processor then added tomatoes, cucumber, and spring onions. Next was a dressing made from olive oil, white wine vinegar, a touch of French mustard and seasoning.

Husb cooked the small chicken so I scorched a red pepper under the grill until it was as black as it could be without setting on fire then shoved it in a plastic bag to steam for a while. When cool enough to handle I peeled the blackened skin off and removed the stalk and seeds before slicing the tender smoky red pepper.

Just before serving I added the dressing to the cauli, I add it earlier if the other veg is hardier, but tomatoes and cucumber aren’t nice if dressed for too long.

The ideal dinner for a spring day!


… I’d frozen the leftover lamb meat to make a curry with later on, but I made a stock from the bones to add to a curry for which I had a small packet of fresh ground lamb. This was to be an experiment so I was very excited. I have, in my possession, an old notebook in which my dad used to jot down recipes. He was a great cook, and cooked foreign food, not British. The book is mostly full of curry recipes, there is one for potted sheep’s head though. Never trying that recipe! And one in particular is intriguing because it was written down by me, and I would have been no more than 14. There was no title or method, just a short list of spices so I thought I would try the mix and see how it went in making my lamb kheema with peas.

The handwritten recipe, we don't know what for!
The handwritten recipe, we don’t know what for!

In short, the mix? Amazing! Okay… I tweaked it a little. I added cumin, because you have to with coriander in the mix. I added cayenne instead of chilli powder because for some reason in this country you can’t get JUST chilli powder, it has other spices in, which is really annoying! I also didn’t add the vinegar that dad always liked to make up pastes with, because C doesn’t like curries to be too acidic. Oh, I also used garlic granules instead of powder.

So… I popped mustard seeds in a little oil then added onions and fried until they were translucent but not too brown. I then added the spices and a spoonful of tomato paste and sautéed that gently for about five minutes before adding chopped fresh tomato and the mince, along with water and salt. I let the kheema cook out for about 30 minutes then took it off the heat for later.

At dinner time I reheated the mince and made sure it was well reduced before adding defrosted frozen peas. I served what turned out to be the most delicious curry with plain boiled basmati rice… what else?!


… We were on our own so we had leftover curry!


… I wanted to try my three ingredient pasta with sardines in tomato sauce and chilli, but add more ingredients! Husb said he would like more seafood so I thought I would give it a try. I defrosted mussel meat and large cooked peeled prawns to add to the sardines. At dinner time I cooked the linguine whilst heating the sardines in tomato sauce, to which I added dried red chilli flakes and when nice and hot, the mussel meat and prawns just to warm through. With the linguine cooked I drained it and dropped it into the sauce, mixed, and hey presto! Dinner! It was lovely with the extra seafood.


… We had prawns again, but this time tossed in pici (dried chilli, garlic, parsley) spice for a few moments and served with lots of crusty bread. Note my elevation of the humble green salad into a pink and green salad! I could eat that every day!


… Lentil, bacon and tomato soup was the order of the day. I sautéed the bacon with onion, added red split lentils, tinned tomatoes, water, and a stock cube and let it do its thing. It did its thing then I whizzed it with a stick blender until smooth. This soup is the best!

Braised lamb, cauliflower couscous, lamb kheema, lignuine with sardines in tomato sauce, pici prawns.
Braised lamb, cauliflower couscous, lamb kheema, lignuine with sardines in tomato sauce, pici prawns.
My mad weekly kitchen diary

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