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.
Chicken. If in doubt do chicken. I didn’t want to do the ‘roast chicken with all of the traditional trimmings’, such as bread sauce and cranberry sauce, I wanted something else. I wanted new potatoes and green beans but ended up having to use white potatoes. I roasted the potatoes after par boiling them along with the chicken which was stuffed with lemon and drenched with it too. I sautéed the green beans with garlic, then made a gravy from the jus, water, and gravy granules.
… I so wish I had a pic of this meal, it was our first foray into making a decent pizza at home, but we ate it before I remembered! I bought an indoor pizza oven that looks a bit like two very large clamshell frying pans. I made bread machine pizza dough at some point which is as simple as throwing the ingredients into the bread machine in the correct order. Once finished I wrapped the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge until later.
Husb wanted to roll out the bases, so he did. He did really well, in fact he was a natural! I prepped ingredients to go on top of two pizzas, one to be salami and the other leftover chicken. I sliced peppers and onions, and sliced and ripped (he wanted sliced on the salami, I wanted ripped on the chicken) two balls of mozzarella. As a cheat we used passata on the base instead of my usual homemade tomato sauce.
When it came to dinner time husb assembled his pizza then carefully placed it on the stone of the pizza oven, and then closed the lid. The pizza cooked in about five minutes and looked like a proper pizza! I put his in the oven whilst we cooked mine then we cut them both into wedges and served half of each. Comparing and contrasting ensued as we tried each pizza, but what we both agreed on is that the base was pretty close to a proper stone baked pizza!
… I’d always wanted to try an omelette Arnold Bennett. I know, I’m odd, but there you go. So… We bought smoked haddock and made sure we had plenty of eggs, I also had plenty of milk and parmesan… because omelette Arnold Bennett is a different sort of omelette. Imagine an omelette filled with smoked haddock and topped with béchamel and grilled. I’ve always found the thought of this intriguing.
Anyway… I didn’t follow a recipe, and I probably did it wrong, but I love the way it turned out. I started by poaching the smoked haddock in milk then once the haddock was cool enough to handle I broke it up into large flakes. Next I made the béchamel with a big spoon of butter, melted, and a big spoon of flour. I didn’t follow anything, but the roux is one to one butter and flour. I used the milk from poaching the fish plus extra, adding and stirring until I had a thick sauce, thicker than you would normally have. I also added a little cheese which I think would have Arnold Bennett turning in his grave.
Next the omelette… I used six eggs, whisking them and adding just a splash of milk and seasoning. After melting butter in a smallish frying pan I added the eggs. When the eggs were starting to set on the bottom I sprinkled over the smoked haddock and continued cooking the omelette until set. At this point I spread the ‘béchamel’ over the top of the omelette, sprinkled that with parmesan, before placing it under a hot grill until golden and bubbling.
We had half-ish each as a main meal with salad and husb loved it. I was in ‘can’t taste anything’ mode so I didn’t enjoy it and left half. What a disappointment. Stupid taste buds!
… Wed guest was absent again so I had a go at a pho! Well, to be more specific a pho ga. But I wanted to use leftover chicken. I used this recipe as a guide only because I had cooked chicken and the carcass it came off.
I began by making a forty five minute stock from the chicken carcass, adding aromats like star anise and ginger to try and help things along. Once that was done and the stock strained from the carcass I cooked the stock further with extra aromats.
When dinner time came I softened rice stick noodles in boiling water from the kettle and reheated the chopped chicken in a little of the stock. When the noodles were ready I popped them into individual bowls then started assembling.
I added the chicken on top of the noodles, then chopped spring onions, then chopped fresh mint and frozen coriander. I added jarred jalapenos because I didn’t have any fresh chillies and I added lime zest because I didn’t have fresh lime leaf.
Lastly I ladled the stock over everything and served the cheats leftover pho ga with a wedge of lime.
The jarred jalapeno worked really well, adding a hint of acidity, and I’ll definitely be making this again!
… We were going to have a take-away but I’d ended up with a boat load of salad ingredients that needed to be used up, along with salami and pepperoni. With all of this in mind I decided to cobble together a salad. First of all I peeled and small-ish diced a couple of potatoes, putting them on to boil until tender. When just warm I stirred mayo and spring onions through then set aside. Next were green beans that I needed to use up. I steamed them after tailing, until tender; then whilst still warm added a dressing I threw together; just oil, red wine vinegar, a smidge of French mustard and seasoning. I then set the beans aside to absorb the dressing. The last bit of actual cooking was hard boiling a couple of eggs.
Now came more dressing and assembling… we had some delicious small vine tomatoes, bigger than cherry, smaller than the usual, so I chopped them and added the catch all dressing along with fresh mint and spring onion.
When it came to plating I added chopped romaine lettuce to the middle of the plate, added a little dressing, then some of my very pink onions. Next I added sliced cucumber drizzled with salt and lemon juice. Finally I tried to position all of the other components nicely, adding sliced radish to the beans before arranging the salami and pepperoni on top.
The salad was delish. I particularly loved the beans and tomatoes. Husb said her would have liked more meat. If he had told me whilst he was actually eating I would have grabbed some from the fridge!
… I had bought a Japanese curry base from my favourite online world food shop that I really wanted to try. I would rather make my own base but it seems impossible to get a recipe. The upside though is that it’s rally easy to throw together the curry.
Husb had come home with skinless boneless chicken thighs and I’ve now decided they’re no good if they need to be chopped. It could be the place we buy them from, but the resulting ‘chunks’ are very uneven. Anyway… I sliced an onion then sautéed it as per the recipe on the box of curry base. Next I added the chicken and browned it. I was instructed to add veg of my choice at this point so I added small-ish diced potato because it was Friday so not much left in the fridge in the way of produce. Also, at that point I was to add water and effectively stew everything until cooked, which went against the usual way of cooking a curry, but I followed the instructions. When the meat and veg were tender I added the curry base in chunks, stirring constantly until it was thick and glossy.
I served the curry with boiled rice and a quick pickle of salted radish and cucumber with soy sauce and lemon. The pickle tasted pretty horrid on its own but was DELICIOUS with the curry.
So… the Japanese curry… Sweeter than Chinese I would say, and not as spicy, and by spicy I don’t mean hot. I mean spicy, maybe the brown spices, like ground coriander and cumin. It didn’t have as much depth, but was very pleasant nonetheless.
… We had a take-away! I had hot chicken wings, chips and salad. Husb had a chicken wrap. I do enjoy not cooking sometimes!