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.

If ever I talk about a dish that you want more info on, let me know and I’ll do my best to elaborate!

Larger image below
Larger image below

Sunday

I don’t do meat and sweet, so on this day I decided I wanted to make fruit cocktail chicken! I know, I know, fruit and meat. A mad thought one day was the inspiration for this dish, and I’m not sorry I’m mad!

So… Fruit cocktail (fruit salad), tinned; in natural juice is one of the few tins I try and keep in the cupboard. To make this strange Sunday dinner I undressed the chicken (removing string and shaking it out) and plonked it into a shallow roasting dish (a lasagne type dish), then added washed but unpeeled baby new potatoes around it. Next I went to my go to ingredient… garlic! In this instance (and in most instances) I added four cloves, crushed, to the opened tin of fruit cocktail which was then poured mainly over the potatoes, but I allowed a little of the juice over the chicken. I then poured a little chicken stock (made from a cube) to the potatoes, not much; about 200ml, but I used the whole stock cube. I finally seasoned the chicken and shoved it into the oven to roast. I left it for the time it takes to cook the chicken, but at some point I added foil to parts that had browned quickly because of the sweetness of the juice. Other than that I didn’t have to look at it.

When the chicken was ready I put it and the now roasted new potatoes on a warm carving tray, taking care to leave the fruit pieces in the roasting dish. Once the potatoes were out, I took a right angled metal potato masher to the chicken-y, garlic-y, fruity, liquid that was left in the dish until it resembled gravy, which I thickened just a little more with chicken gravy granules.

I served the fruit cocktail chicken and potatoes with steamed mange-tout. It was delicious!

Monday

I had planned to make Vietnamese chicken salad, but I decided I would prefer a pad thai-ish. This is my variation of a pad Thai, and one that I don’t have to use a recipe for. And I love the dish because the prep is modular!

So… we had leftover chicken from Sunday which was the main protein. At some point during the day I took the chicken off the carcass, stuck it in a container and back in the fridge. Next I bashed a few peanuts and put those in a container. Okay… everything will be put in its own container and either stuck back in the fridge or left out. Next I chopped spring onion from one mahoosive spring onion (nearly a metre long!) from our friend’s garden. I made up a liquor for the pad Thai-ish consisting of equal measures of brown sugar, dark soy, fish sauce, and tamarind liquid. To that liquor I added a clove of garlic and a spritz of lime juice. I put all of these ingredients into a clean jam jar for easy mixing later.

Nearer the time I used a potato peeler to make carrot ribbons using two carrots, and even nearer the time I chopped fresh mint and coriander.

At dinner time I put the rice stick noodles in a large bowl and covered them with boiling water to sit for 7 minutes whilst I cooked the rest. Adding a little sunflower oil to my wok I chucked in the spring onion, carrot, and chicken, and stir fried it for a minute or two. Then I added the magic liquid stir frying a minute or two more. When the noodles were soft I strained them, chucking them into the wok with the bashed peanuts, stirring well for until all was combined. Finally I added most of the fresh coriander. At this point I would usually add the mint too, but husb apparently doesn’t like the dish with mint. HOW CAN THAT BE?! Anyway, I love him dearly so I left the mint out, sprinkling it liberally on my own meal and tossing it through before eating. I really could eat this stuff every day!

Tuesday

I love a chilli, but we always use ground beef, this time I wanted to try cubed meat. Our supermarket had ‘diced beef’ on offer, we used it last week in a curry so we got more of that because it cooked really well. I browned the meat off first before removing it and setting aside. In the same pan I sautéed the trinity of onion, pepper, and celery until translucent or soft. When the trinity was glistening I added cumin, paprika, cayenne, dried oregano, a smidge of cinnamon, and a little cocoa powder, stirring and cooking out for a minute or two. At this point I added the browned meat and a splodge of tomato paste. I like to cook the tomato paste out for 6 minutes before adding liquid, re chef extraordinaire Simon Rimmer’s advice and it really does work! Then – differently from the ground meat chilli – I sprinkled in a couple of dessertspoons of flour and stirred that in before adding a tin of tomatoes, kidney beans, a fresh chilli, snipped with scissors, and beef stock to cover. Then it was just left to do its own thing until the meat was tender and the sauce was thick. I served what is nearly my favourite chilli con carne ever sprinkled with fresh coriander and strands of lime zest, boiled basmati rice, and warmed tortilla chips.

Wednesday

… Our guest was here and we had take-away, but I’m that behind I can’t remember what!

Thursday

… We were supposed to be having sausage, mash & onion gravy, but I couldn’t be bothered! I made a chicken noodle soup with more leftover chicken, stock made from the carcass, rice stick noodles and julienned veg (carrots and spring onions). It was certainly cheap and cheerful!

Friday…

I wanted to try a double test. The first test? Using ground turkey instead of beef in a lasagne. The second test? Using cottage cheese instead of a béchamel/cheese sauce. If this worked it would save a chunk of faff when making a lasagne. I think the cottage cheese idea was from Simon Rimmer’s mum incidentally – see Tuesday and tomato paste – !

Anyway, I made the ragout in the usual way, brown meat and remove, sauté onion and garlic, add meat back, tomato paste (cook out six minutes), then salt and pepper, oregano, mixed herbs, passata, and grated carrot, I like to hide extra veg and lasagne is perfect for that. I then cooked out the ragout until thick and absolutely delicious. I check at some point to make sure I don’t need to add a sprinkle of sugar, but passata usually isn’t acidic.

So… Assembling the lasagne I just used cottage cheese, then a sprinkling of grated parmesan and mozzarella instead of the sauce and layered it up with ragout and pasta sheets. Unfortunately I had to be sparing with the cottage cheese – I could have done with another tub – but I saved the majority for the top. I added extra mozzarella on the top layer, I like the way it crisps up, and then I threw the assembled lasagne in the oven for about forty minutes.

I served the lasagne with basic salad, and I must say this was a great start. Next time I’ll use more cottage cheese, add cheddar, and more parmesan. Husb commented that he was ‘getting dairy’, and he does cheese, but not other dairy so I think the extra cheddar and parmesan might de-dairy the ‘sauce’, if not I’ll go back to plan A!

Saturday

… Leftovers! Lasagne!

Pad Thai-ish, chunk chilli con carne, turkey lasagne with cottage cheese
Pad Thai-ish, chunk chilli con carne, turkey lasagne with cottage cheese
My mad weekly kitchen diary!

Her name is Rio (2016), their names are ‘dopes’

I’m vocal on this subject, and I will be as long as people are CHEATING! So here’s round 526265…

The subject I’m piping up about (again) is doping in sports, or ‘dopes’ which is my preferred word. And the various committees talking about Russia, and its apparently state sponsored dopes.

Now, part of me wants the widespread ban (They are already banned from athletics, have appealed, and lost) against Russia for the 2016 Rio Olympics, because I feel it’s the only way to hit them where it hurts. It seems nothing else has worked. Maybe this is the only way to get them to listen, and toe the line.

But then another part of me feels bad for the Russian athletes that have been proven clean and will be penalised for the bad behaviour of others.

I was pondering this last point when… Eureka! The PTB (Powers That Be) suggested these proven clean athletes compete under a neutral flag. Excellent Idea!

But… Yes! There’s another ‘but’… there will probably be plenty. Let’s whiz back to the issue of the widespread ban.

I haven’t watched, listened to, or read every segment, article, or pause for thought on the subject – I have to work for a living, but I am a gleaner of information, and as far as I can see not one Russian, be it official or competitor (or not… hopefully) has expressed remorse or regret for the situation. Okay, some officials were ‘suspended pending investigation’ but to me that smacks of ‘let’s give the idiots something to cling on to’.

When the McLaren report was released on Monday I expected some seriously humble regret, but what we got was a succession of arrogant and snotty text-bites.

How can you say otherwise when Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko apparently called the decision to uphold the athletics ban…

“politicised and illegal”.

No mate, organisations and countries are perfectly within their right to hold people and countries to account should they be in the habit of CHEATING. *angry face*

 

Then Evgeni Plushenko, a Russian skater, said he wasn’t a dope, but finished with…

“I suppose the countries competing with Russia, who launched this campaign, are just nursing a grievance and are burning with envy because of that.”

No mate, the worldwide system found your country’s system to be corrupt, and it would be great if you could acknowledge that, at least just a tad. *sarcastic face*

 

Next was Yelena Isinbayeva. Someone, whom I’ve watched in the past as a sports fan and enjoyed her accomplishments. She was quoted as saying (allegedly)…

“Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.”

No Yelena, the funeral for athletics would be continuing to ignore widespread doping. And if you mean because you won’t be competing… apparently you can, but under a neutral flag. And if competing is your life, your breath, then that’s what you’ll do. (I’m sure you can wear nail polish in the Russian colours if that helps) Otherwise I question your motives. And don’t worry about ‘other countries, I’m sure the PTB have everyone in their sights. They just started with the apparent worst offending country first. *sad face*

 

A little remorse may have been all that was needed, but instead, subterfuge, slight of hand, and mouse holes were the order of the system.

I will miss Yelena (and the camera on her, asleep during jumps) if she doesn’t compete, because she’s fantastic, but there will be more than one winner. The female that wins the pole-vault, the other competitors, and the spectators who are reassured in the knowledge that the PTB are doing something about dopes in sport will be winners, because Yelena might be clean, but allegedly others weren’t.

The Russian competitors and officials that are, need to stop blaming everyone else, and turn and look behind them, maybe then they can have a sport to be absolutely proud of. Winning is not winning if you’re a dope.

Now we have the hurdle of the IOC making a final decision on the rest of the ‘sports’ competing at Rio, and I URGE them to be strong. Any other decision will look like ‘persuasion’. As long as you let ABSOLUTELY PROVEN CLEAN athletes compete under a neutral flag that’s all the compromise you need at this point in time.

Trust is a many layered entity, and it breaks my heart every time I hear of a competitor that would have medalled had the dope or dopes not been in the mix. Yes, when the dopes are found out the athlete that previously came fourth gets his or her medal… in the post. Now that’s what I call ceremonial. At least if it was third or second place they got to that podium. There has to be trust that the athletes want to compete clean, coaches want their athletes to be clean, and if not we have to trust that officials all the way up the ladder will stamp hard on dopes. It might get worse before it gets better, but I want to be able to watch sports without that niggling doubt in my mind, the one that questions whether the competitor is a dope every time they step up to the line. And yes Gatlin, I’m looking at you.

 

Sources for quotes: BBC, The Indian Express, Bangkok Post

 

Her name is Rio (2016), their names are ‘dopes’

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.

If ever I talk about a dish that you want more info on, let me know and I’ll do my best to elaborate!

Larger image below
Larger image below

Sunday

I decided, instead of a Sunday roast, that we would have a Sunday steak. We don’t have steak often because it’s expensive so as Sunday is the day for special dinner, it’s a good day for the occasional steak!

I couldn’t be bothered though, to make onion rings, which really is a must with steak. Now, husb had a steak when we went out for a meal recently and instead of onion rings they served caramelised onions. This sounded like a good idea, and I always keep two (three if you count spring onions) types of onion, red and mild (Spanish) onion. So… I halved and sliced two mild onions which are very large, and put them in a cold pan with a little oil and seasoning and just put a lid on and left them on low. This was hours before dinner needed to be ready because I like to do as much as I can ahead. When they were soft and delicious I added a little butter and with the lid off, let them brown. At this point I took them off the heat for later. At dinner time I reheated the onions and added just a splash of white wine vinegar.

I did garlic mushrooms too before hand, I’ve mentioned them so many times on here that I’m not going to again! I also baked fresh tomato halves sprinkled with salt and pepper, and dried rosemary. If I’m baking a tomato, I always do them this way because they are so delicious.

You may have gathered I was in ‘can’t be bothered to cook’ mode, so I didn’t do a black pepper cream sauce either, I wanted to be able to have horseradish, and the two don’t mix!

The usual suspects made up the rest of the dinner; chips and petits pois and when I plated up I served the steak on the onions so you can’t really see them in the picture, but they worked so well I will be doing that again!

Monday

So we’re still experimenting with pizza and anything remotely close, so today we were going to try pizza, and the garlic bread you get from the pizza shop. The ones we use never seem to show the garlic bread any garlic at all, so it was a given I would tray and make it. I’m scared of a lot of things but garlic isn’t one of them!

The bread machine pizza dough recipe that I use makes enough for two pizzas so it’s ideal for this. The pizza was a pepperoni pizza with onion and peppers, and for the garlic bread I crushed four cloves of garlic in a small bowl and added olive oil and seasoning.

Super duper counter top pizza oven
Super duper counter top pizza oven

At dinner time I rolled out the dough and made up the pizza first, and after cooking that in our super duper pizza oven we put it on a tray in a warm oven and put the garlic bread the SDOven to cook. At some point we lifted the lid and the bread had ballooned and caught a tad, but that ended up being my favourite piece! I served the pizza with a basic salad.

Tuesday

We bought a teeny chicken and husband cooked it in his rotisserie. I know he puts lemon inside, because I always use the carcass for stock and I have to discard the lemon so as not to make the stock bitter, other than that though he uses a secret blend of herbs. I served his delicious chicken with salad and a baked potato topped with the onions left over from Sunday, which was also a perfect match!

Wednesday

… I had ground beef so wanted to try a Korean beef recipe I found on Pinterest, if you post a picture of something with rice, chances are it’ll draw me in! I almost followed the recipe, I just had to substitute the sesame oil for sunflower oil, oh, and I had mushrooms to use up so I added those, and also a fresh read chilli. It was really quick, and it was something I’ll do again!

Thursday

… A gold old British favourite… fish and chips! I didn’t batter the fish, but we bought good oven bake battered fish, I made the mushy peas and the oven chips though, and the oven chips have been a revelation. The peas are easy peasy, you just soak fried marrowfat overnight with a little bicarb, then rinse and boil, in this instance, until they’re mushy.

For the oven chips I cut baking potatoes into chips then par boiled them for about six minutes, just until they lose that raw feel when you poke them with a knife, then I take them off the heat and leave them in the water that’s seasoned with salt and scented with rosemary. I don’t have a time for steeping them, I think it was about an hour, but depending on the par boil you wouldn’t want them breaking up. If they are just off raw though that shouldn’t happen. Anyway… after steeping I drained and dried them well, then brushed each side with olive oil and placed the chips on a baking tray. When needed I bunged them in the oven and roasted for about forty minutes, until cooked. The only problem with the chips is that, at this time of year potatoes are really sweet, so the brown on the chip is more of a black because of the sugars. The chips were delicious though, regardless. I served the fish, chips, and mushy peas with a wedge of lemon and lots of tartare sauce!

Friday

… I wanted to continue testing the secret curry spice mix I found in my dad’s book, and tweaked a few weeks ago. Diced beef was on offer so I was using that.

This time with the curry I wanted to follow the procedure for methi gosht. So… I sliced the onions and cooked them down for ages until soft and melty, I then put them in the food processor with a little more oil, a fresh red chilli, a knub of ginger, four cloves of garlic (my default setting for garlic appears to be four cloves), and half a tin of tomatoes. I whizzed the contents well then poured them back in the pan and sautéed until the oil split from the mix, I then added the spices mentioned in the previous post, and again waited for the oil to split. At this point I added the meat, water and salt, after half an hour I added potato too, which saved me from making Bombay Aloo! The curry was just left to do its thing then for an hour or so, until the meat was tender, potatoes cooked, and the sauce was thick and dark, which is my FAVOURITE type of curry! I served the curry with basmati rice and poppadoms.

Saturday

… Leftovers! Curry! Yum! Curry, or anything cooked in a dark sauce, always tastes even better the next day!

Steak and chips, homemade pizza, homemade garlic bread, rotisserie chicken, Korean beef, fish chips & mushy peas, beef and potato curry
Steak and chips, homemade pizza, homemade garlic bread, rotisserie chicken, Korean beef, fish chips & mushy peas, beef and potato curry

 

My mad weekly kitchen diary

When lots of wrongs make it right

I started pondering this when my head exploded for the 354466978th time because someone on a cookery programme pronounced chorizo ‘choritso’.

Obviously, they are ALL pronouncing chorizo incorrectly. If they don’t want to pronounce it correctly (choreetho), they could pronounce it in English (chorISo), which I can handle. But no-oo, they have to pronounce it like pizza. ITALIAN! Where did the Italian come from?? It’s a Spanish sausage, and we’re talking about many of my fellow Brits pronouncing said Spanish Sausage, Italian is not suppose to be anywhere near this convo!

Anyway… the reason for this post… after my head exploded for the 369966978th (what? I know the number’s different, I am exaggerating here! And my head didn’t actually explode either) time my husband uttered a very simple but ultimately chilling sentence, which shook me to my very core.

He said… I don’t know if I can even say it… He said…

“You do know if enough people say it, it’ll become the norm, therefore right…”

Aaaargh!! I cannot bear the thought!

Ponder once more! All of those people saying ‘Europe’ instead of ‘The E.U’ or ‘The European Union’ will be right? And those of us saying ‘The E.U’ etc. may be roundly mocked, even sneered at should we slip?

Ponder again the Spanish person living in Blighty who thinks that ‘Choritzo’ is the correct British pronunciation, so uses that, the incorrect pronunciation because that’s all she hears. This ACTUALLY happened.

I just can’t take it!

And ponder further… Does this apply to the written word?

Will ‘Your welcome’ become right, and ‘You’re welcome’ be wrong?

Will ‘Their/there doing very well in the match’ become right, and ‘They’re doing very well in the match’ all of a sudden be wrong?

Will ‘The other team are playing very well to’ become right, and ‘The other team are playing very well too’ now be wrong?

Will people look at my tweets, see ‘you’re welcome’, and roll their eyes? Will they have just rolled their eyes at me writing ‘roll THEIR eyes’??

It’s just all too much! Or should I cave and write ‘it’s all to much’??

Nope. Not going to cave.

IT’S ALL TOO MUCH!!!

When lots of wrongs make it right

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.

If I ever ramble about a dish without a recipe that you want more detail on, give me a shout and I’ll do my best to be more precise!

Larger image below
Larger image below

Sunday

… I wanted ham, but C has decided that the usual ham, colcannon, savoy cabbage, parsley sauce isn’t ‘Sunday roast worthy’ *raises eyes to the ceiling*! So… I came up with a plan. No colcannon, no parsley sauce. Instead, roast potatoes and Cumberland sauce were to be the accompaniments that could not be substituted.

The ham almost takes care of itself. I boiled it for an hour or so, then drizzled honey over the top before sticking it in the oven. The vegetables we had were French beans, and carrots so I peeled the carrots and ‘batoned’ them, and just topped the beans leaving the cute tail. I was to steam these later. I then parboiled peeled potatoes before roughing them up a bit so that there are lovely edges to get crispy, and tossing them in a little oil to roast in the oven.

I found a Cumberland sauce recipe online, but had to adapt. We didn’t have redcurrant jelly so I used cranberry. I also added extra seasoning and more water to create a pouring sauce, rather than a spooning sauce.

The meal worked really well. The Cumberland sauce went beautifully with the salty ham, so that is a worthy Sunday roast imo!

Monday

… I know I keep banging on about this but the reason I love ham so much is that it’s frugal. One uses everything. This Monday was no exception. On the Sunday night I put 250g of dried marrowfat peas to soak with a little bicarbonate of soda. On Monday at lunchtime I was able to cook the rehydrated peas in the ham stock until they were tender, adding a little ham towards the end. Once everything was cooked I took the pan off the heat and let it cool for a while before whizzing it with the stick blender until smooth.

Now… Even I know it’s really just pea and ham soup, so I spiced it up a little with pici bread. I’ve mentioned pici bread before. I usually have pici spiced oil in the fridge, which is dried garlic, parsley, and chilli. In the first instance I add a spoonful of each to a pan and cover it with oil. I then put it on a low heat with a clove of fresh garlic and a spritz of lemon to infuse. So… with the pici spiced oil in the fridge I was able to whip a few slices of crusty bread from the freezer, spoon over the pici spiced oil, making sure to get nuggets of garlic and chilli as they tend to get left behind, then bang the bread in the oven for ten minutes. The result? Pea and ham sooooooup!!!

Tuesday

… Pork steaks were on offer so we bought those, and mushrooms were too. This planted a seed of ‘pork in a mushroom cream sauce’, as I had cream in the fridge. I started by slicing the mushrooms and frying the slices in a little oil until they released that delicious caramel aroma, there’s nothing worse than insipid mushrooms! I then put the mushrooms aside and fried the pork steaks for a few minutes to brown, then shoved them in the oven to finish off to enable me to do the sauce. In the same pan I sautéed a little finely diced onion then added the browned mushrooms. Next was a splosh of brandy. After the brandy had reduced I added chicken stock and a little cream, and let it bubble away until it was thick and lovely. I served the pork with ‘savoury rice’, I just cooked rice using the absorption method using stock instead of water, and sautéed diced mushrooms and peppers before adding the rice. I added a handful of petits pois towards the end.

Wednesday

… We made pizza with the wonderful pizza oven. This thing is a revelation, and I like pizza done this way. Wed guest was here so I made the dough, upscaling the ‘bread machine pizza dough’ recipe that I like to use. I made a tomato sauce for the base earlier, using up tinned tomatoes and passata that I had in the fridge along with a little onion and oregano. It was then whizzed until smooth and cooled. So… at pizza time I rolled the three pizzas then we topped them with tomato sauce, salami, mozzarella, pepperoni, onion and peppers. I had pickled jalapeno on mine too!

I know our guest is easy to please, but he absolutely loved the pizza. To understand why we are so enamoured with this thing I have to tell you about the local take away pizzas. I’m sure for most pizza lovers they are great, loads of dough, loads of topping, and loads of cheese. They are heavy, doughy, and really not my thing at all.

Our version is thin, crisp, and not loaded with topping and cheese, but is so tasty!

Thursday

… We had soup… Pea and ham soup… and leftover pizza.

Friday

… Chicken shwarma was the order of the day, and it was so because I wanted to try making my flatbreads on the pizza oven. I marinated diced chicken for the day in oil, red wine vinegar, a grated fresh tomato, garlic, chilli flakes, and oregano. At some point during the day I made up the flatbread dough using my favourite recipe then wrapped the ball in clingfilm before leaving it out of the fridge.

I also decide to try oven baked zucchini fries again, C wasn’t particularly fond of the first attempt. In addition to panko breadcrumbs I added the usual seasoning, but then garlic granules and chilli flakes. After chopping the zucchini into batons I tossed them in flour, then egg, then finally the breadcrumbs before lining them up on a baking tray to go in the oven.

At dinner time I skewered the chicken, and some separate veg skewers, and grilled them until cooked, then readied the flatbreads that I’d rolled out earlier. C put the super duper pizza oven on; then slid on a flatbread. After a minute or so he flipped it over because he thought they needed it.

When everything was cooked, I tried to assemble the flatbreads and chicken, then decided it would look better with everything on the plate, the zucchini fries threw me, but they were delish, and C liked them too! And I don’t need to say the chicken was great, because it was marinated grilled chicken! Oh and the flatbreads were fantastic!

Saturday

… We had a microwave meal… It was a nice one, honest! Marinated lamb rogan josh with pilau rice. Delish for a microwave meal!

Roast ham & Cumberland Sauce, Pea & Ham soup with pici spiced bread, Pork in mushroom sauce & savoury rice, Chicken Shwarma
Roast ham & Cumberland Sauce, Pea & Ham soup with pici spiced bread, Pork in mushroom sauce & savoury rice, Chicken Shwarma

 

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My mad weekly kitchen diary

The EU Referendum – I’d like to say it was nice knowing you…

So it’s nearly over. At the time of writing the polling stations are open and hopefully the people of U.K are voting on the EU referendum.

I would like to say that it was a great run up, with both sides putting their points across with good grace, listening to opposing views and conceding occasionally that the opposition ‘have a point’.  I suppose what I wanted was a little objectivity. What we got though, with few exceptions, was negative rhetoric and blindly recited narrative. If you are debating, I’m not going to be convinced that what is coming out of your mouth is what you believe if you have to read a sheet of paper.

The referendum campaigning frankly, has been horrible, and this is coming from a person who watches the shenanigans in PMQs. You should all (mostly) be ashamed of yourselves. Scaremongering, doom and gloom, buses and posters. Come on! I credited you all (mostly) with more intelligence.

I was so excited about the EU referendum, actually getting a chance to use my vote in a momentous decision. But you all (mostly) ruined it for me.

It started badly with who you chose to front the respective campaigns. You PICKED THE WRONG PEOPLE GUYS!

Rightly or wrongly most of the spokespeople are viewed by a lot of the voters’ negatively. I imagine some voters’ ticking or crossing (I haven’t voted yet, going later) the ‘OUT’ box because Mr Cameron wants us to be ‘IN’*, and some voters’ ticking or crossing the ‘IN’ box because Mr Farage wants us to be out. Bubble voters’ do that sort of thing.

The Prime Minister should NEVER have been at the front, and I believe both side needed alkaline spokespeople, but then maybe the whole campaign would have been different.

And Mr Cameron, you said last year that you would want to leave if you didn’t get a good deal. Well, you didn’t get a good deal. It’s a rubbish deal, and all of the watered down changes made will probably be overturned by the powers that be when they need to. Yet here we are with you preaching fire, brimstone and world war three should the outcome be ‘leave’. I’m VERY disappointed in the way you have behaved during this referendum.

For the sake of objectivity I have followed people from both sides on Twitter, and with few exceptions the tweets are filled with ‘lies! Rubbish! Bulls**t! when the other side was putting its point across, whilst filling my timeline with lies, damn lies, and statistics, with scaremongering and semantics thrown in.

So I’ll go and vote today with a feeling of relief that it’s nearly over. I’m happy at least that I didn’t listen to most of the debates because of the ‘Boris bashing’, and… lies, damn lies, and semantics. I found the information I needed to make myself believe that I will feel well informed when I make my mark.

Finally… the light in all of the doom and gloom, the optimist amongst the pessimists was MEP Daniel Hannan, so thanks for that Mr Hannan, It’s a shame you weren’t at the head of your campaign.

The EU Referendum – I’d like to say it was nice knowing you…

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

Sunday

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.

Monday

… 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!

Tuesday

… 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!

Wednesday

… 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!

Thursday

… 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!

Friday

… 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.

Saturday

… We had a take-away! I had hot chicken wings, chips and salad. Husb had a chicken wrap. I do enjoy not cooking sometimes!

Omelette Arnold Bennett, Pho ga, good old salad, Japanese chicken curry.
Omelette Arnold Bennett, Pho ga, good old salad, Japanese chicken curry.

 

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My mad weekly kitchen diary