Saturday, 14 January 2012

Friday - another weekend already?

We've had a good, but busy week this week, so we rounded it off by an evening at home with comfort food, wine and movies. 

Since Joe is running so much at the weekends, he informed me that he needs to fill up on pasta.  I'm not usually a huge fan, but luckily back in December we were given some nice pastas by @gustoitalianouk in our hamper of goodies. 

I made a slight fusion dish of pasta with chorizo, grilled peppers, broccoli and prawns in a tomato sauce.  It was seasoned with smoked paprika and everything came together really well - livened up with a squeeze of lemon, it was light and tasty - no stodge in sight.

Pasta with chorizo, grilled peppers, broccoli and prawns
Pasta, topped off with some fresh parmesan. 

Thursday - Fat club and baked potatoes

Joe has stepped up his marathon training since the start of the year, and has decided the key to doing a good time is working on his "core strength".  So on Thursday this week he dragged me along to a circuits class.  I'm not sure I've ever done one before, and I'm hoping the memory of the horror of this one will have eased by the time it comes around next week again!  Shuttle runs, sit ups, press ups, weights, step ups........I was definitely using muscles I didn't know I had! 

On the plus side, we returned home to baked potatoes in the oven, which by that time were perfectly cooked!  I do think I make a pretty awesome baked potato - crispy skin and fluffy inside.  Joe had his with the classic butter and cheese, while I went for prawns and salad.  Really yummy!

Baked potato with butter and cheese
Baked potato with prawns and salad

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wednesday - Joe's birthday at Carluccios

So Wednesday was Joe's birthday (33, since you're asking...) and he didn't want any huge celebrations.  No celebrations on a birthday is a bit alien to me - it's a bit like Christmas without turkey - bah humbug.  So we decided to go for a quiet dinner (with enough time to get home and watch the Liverpool v Man City match - good skills Liverpool!) at Carluccios.

Carluccios arrived in Leeds last year, the latest restaurant to crop up on Greek Street.  It's an Italian bistro/deli/coffee bar under the Antonio Carluccio brand, serving "authentic Italian food at great prices"  (ref Carluccios' website).  We've been in for coffee and some deli treats before (great olives and fun varieties of pasta) but not dinner.

Off to Carluccios we trotted, armed with a voucher for half price main courses (it is January, after all!).  The voucher entitled us to 2 for 1 main courses from the salad, pasta and secondi menus.  After some deliberation between pastas and the secondi, I opted for the seabass with tomato salsa and sauteed potatoes, while Joe made a last minute curve ball change to the fritto misto.  We also had some olives to nibble on while making our choices.

The Carluccios menu isn't huge.  This is usually a good thing, as a huge menu always strikes huge, clanging warning bells of outside catering and microwaves with me.  However, I didn't fancy pasta, and the secondi options weren't massively inspiring.  The seabass looked nice though - simple ingredients done well are always a winner.  It just didn't win me over unfortunately.  There was nothing overtly bad about it - perhaps the seabass was a bit overcooked and under seasoned - but in general the whole thing was just lacking.  Simple dishes need amazing ingredients, and I wasn't convinced they had them.  Everything was just a little bland.  Poor Joe, well, he chose badly.  The fritto misto was a mix of calamari, whitebait, prawns and seabass.  Everything tasted exactly the same, and while the calamari was cooked well, the whitebait and prawns were over cooked.  Being honest, the whole experience was just very underwhelming.

To top it off, the atmosphere was totally flat, despite the restaurant being quite busy.  AND they knew it was Joe's birthday before we went, we had birthday cards, presents, and "happy birthday" confetti all over the table, and not one of the serving staff wished him a happy birthday (or really cracked a smile).  It was all just rather functional.

So over all, faintly disappointing, but nothing too dramatic, which says it all really.

But on the plus side, Joe returned home to a surprise birthday cake.  As always with my cakes, it tasted better than it looked (and perhaps some day someone will teach me how to ice a cake properly!)

Starting with the good - the birthday cake - covered with glitter, naturally
Fritto misto
Seabass with tomato salsa and sauteed potatoes
Me with a beer - breaking our no drinks during the week - shhhh
And the birthday boy

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tuesday - Leftovers...Already?!

Usually we don't get to leftovers until later in the week, so I'm clearly having a lazy Tuesday.  That's combined with the fact that I never seem to be able to make food for just 2 - there's always lots sat in the fridge or freezer, which annoys Joe after a while!  He did make it a bit more interesting by bringing me some Waitrose Indian treats to cheer things up so............. drumroll.......

Left over prawn curry with vegetables, Indian treats and poppadoms.  Get in.

Waitrose Indian treats
Prawn curry with vegetables
Poppadoms.  Job done.

Monday - Turkey Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is one of our staple dinners - isn't it everyone's??! As we are on a bit of a health kick (let's not talk about the biscuits) so this one was with turkey, a few noodles and load of vegetables. It looked like alot for us to get through but we managed it! - great success.

The big bowl
My little bowl with my first serving

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday - Chicken and Leek Pie with a Puff Pastry Lid

Today has been a nice and relaxing Sunday, as they should fact looking at my legs it seems I have been in my pj's all day!! (I have had a bath though with alot of Radox to help my aching muscles!).

We get married in September, and although some of the basics are in place, there is still alot to do. Today we made a good start on finalising guest lists, invites and photographers - I have also decided on the stag which needs some significant organising too!

In the week I bought a free range corn fed chicken, and although it was relatively expensive, it was really tasty and has supplied us with 2 big meals and our lunches for 3 days. One of the meals was tonight's chicken and leek pie with had a very impressive puff pastry lid and we finished it all! Fatties.

Saturday - Jo's Awesome Curry & Home Made Bhaji's

Yesterday I went for another long run (13.5 miles) and afterwards my body really hurt!! if I am going to get round a marathon in less than 4 hours then I really need to man up! - hopefully next time will be a little aches and pains (and slight cold!) put me in a bad mood but luckily Jo puts up with me! - after a couple of drinks at the pub where we decided on more wedding plans, we headed home and Jo made a seriously good prawn and chargrilled pepper curry with the best home made onion bhaji's and rice.

I am sure that she will give you the recipe if you ask nicely!

A home made onion bhaji
My plate - rubbish picture!

Friday - M&S Treats

After a long first week back at work, the last think we wanted to do was cook so it was straight to M&S for some high quality convenience food! When we go to M&S we tend to bicker as we ALWAYS want different things.... to avoid this Jo suggested that I wait in the car (like a dog!) but I went in with her. After some debate we decided on chilli poppers, char-grilled squid and pizza - just what a Friday night calls for!

Chilli pepper poppers
Char-grilled squid - delicious
Vegetable pizza with added chicken!