Saturday, 28 January 2012

Thursday Night - Open Vegetable Lasagne

This a late one, but as comitted daily bloggers we need to get it up! After a couple of post work drinks at the brill Further North, we headed home in good spirits as we both had Friday booked off work.....get in!

Creatively using the ingredients in the kitchen Jo made what she called an Open Vegetable Lasagne that was made up of oven roasted vegetables, lasagne sheets and sun-dried tomato pesto - nice presentation!

Open Vegetable Lasagne

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wednesday Baked Potatoes

I'm weirdly proud of my baked potatoes.  I rarely get them wrong and a good baked potato is a fine thing.  Well skewered, salt rubbed into the skin and put into a high oven for an hour.  Take it out, hit it on top with a karate-esque chop so the filling bursts out and et voila - the perfect fluffy baked potato!

This week we had it with prawns and salad in a spicy marie rose sauce - a classic for a reason!

As it was Joe's dad's birthday, we also raised glass of whisky - a fitting drink for Burn's night (which we will be celebrating at the weekend).

Baked potato with spicy prawns
Joe's favourite whisky - Dalmore

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tuesday - Check this out! - Moroccan Filo Pie

Jo spent a lot of time in the kitchen on Sunday, including preparing the filling for this in advance. The ingredients included pork mince, slow roasted aubergines, raisins and an array of spices, which were cooked for an hour or so before being boxed up in the fridge to let the flavours mingle until yesterday! It was delicious with a ace mix of spice and sweetness - a keeper I think Jo!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Monday night light eggy treats

Monday is Joe's late night at work, which means it's mine too as we drive home together.  As we were working late I wanted something quick, light and tasty.  Little did I know that Joe had scoffed his face with biscuits and Soreen (his new most favourite thing) so wasn't even hungry!  Humph.........

I made a super light omelette with chorizo, peppers and mushrooms, whipping the egg whites until fairly stiff and mixing in the yolks with some paprika.  It makes a cross between an omelette and a souffle but was pretty tasty, even for someone who usually dislikes eggs as much as me!

Omelette with Spanish flavours

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sunday - Spruced Up Left Overs and Cous Cous

Sunday was a pretty lazy day....ok, I went for a run but the wind defeated me before I made it round the 13.1 miles - there are a few months yet to the marathon so no biggie!!

We are Liverpool Football Club supporters - me since birth and Jo since she fell in love with a young Michael Owen! I am very lucky that Jo is an active football supporter,  and I get away with watching more football at home than most I know. In fact a lot of the time she has more of an idea of the upcoming matches than I do and she a particularly a fan the big clashes!

As is a cross that the modern LFC fan has to bear, we beat the big teams and lose to the so called smaller ones. On Saturday we lost 3-1 to Bolton who are bottom of the league - horrific! Historically I have had a very poor betting record on football matches, and I put that down to the fact that I usually put a couple of quid on LFC to win and they usually let me down......I have never bet on Manchester United out of principle.

On Sunday (I am a little ashamed to admit) this changed as I took a commercial view and bet on both the Manchester clubs to win on Sunday with Jo splitting the stake with me. I felt a little dirty when I cheered when United scored the winner but we won!!! Not a huge amount but enough for us to top the wine rack with a few nice bottles......please don't judge me!!

Dinner was very good, with the left over chicken stew from mid week spruced up and served with cous cous which is one of my favourite foods at the moment.

Chicken and cous cous
For dessert, Jo used some of the mincemeat left over from Christmas and put in a filo parcel with some stilton on top - wow!!
Sort of mince pie

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Saturday - Jo's Spring Rolls with a Fragrant Chicken Broth

Last week I dismembered a chicken to make slow cooked chicken in a tomato sauce.  I also used the remains of the carcass to make a chicken stock for a nice mid week supper.  As invariably happens, I forgot to use it for a mid week supper and on Saturday was faced with cooking it or throwing it away.

Joe was of the view that I wouldn't be able to make a Saturday night dinner using boring chicken stock/soup - it wasn't fun enough.  Well that was enough for me.  Challenge accepted.  Coupled with an aim to finally make some well presented food (you may have noticed presentation is not my strong point), I searched the recipe books and settled on some Chinese inspired dishes.  It is Chinese New Year, after all.

First up were some spring rolls.  Well, unfortunately for me, these were a bit of a disaster.  I'd seen a recipe at some point which suggested filo pastry was suitable for spring rolls.  I made my vegetable mixture, seasoned with some soy sauce and hoisin and wrapped up the rolls.  At some point between placing them in the oven and taking them back out again, there was a disaster.  Stuck pastry, spilled filling.  Huge fail.

Onwards and upwards though, and proceeding with the fragrant chicken broth with noodles and dumplings.  I flavoured the broth with ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass and set it on a very low heat to simmer.  The pak choi, julienned carrots and peppers were steamed on top, and small pork and prawn dumplings were fried in a separate pan.  The dumplings were then finished in the broth, topped with lime juice and spring onions and voila - lovely flavoured soup, dumplings, topped with a butterflied crevette.  And it didn't look too shabby either...
The spring rolls - I'd advise by-passing this picture quickly!
Fragrant chicken broth with steamed vegetables and pork and prawn dumplings

Friday night in

So what I didn't say in Thursday's post is that as well as consuming rather a lot of cheese, I was also on the vino!  First proper time this year, so by the time Friday rolled around the last thing I wanted to do was go out.

Joe, who thinks out of the box more than me, persuaded me that the perfect Friday night dinner would be take away, and pointed me in the direction of The Red Sea Restaurant, a Lebanese restaurant/takeaway on Roundhay Road. 

I checked online and it seemed to have some pretty good reviews, so we gave it a shot.  The menu isn't huge, and if ordering online, the menu on the website does not exactly match that on the ordering site.  Not to worry though, there is plenty on there anyway.

We started with Mossaghat Bethenjan,which is fried aubergine with onions, peppers, chickpeas, parsley and mixed spices.  It was nicely flavoured with cumin and cinnamon and came with a huge naan bread.  It may also have converted Joe into an aubergine fan which is excellent from my point of view!

This was followed by Chicken Mousahab, boneless chicken marinaded in lemon, garlic and olive oil and served with fries and salad, and Sweet Lamb and Sultana Tagine with rice.  The lamb tagine (admittedly Moroccan) was an absolute treat - succulent lamb on the bone with a well spiced sauce full of cinnamon, cloves, cumin, honey and mango.  We also liked the chicken, but it wasn't nearly as interesting as everything else and was slightly overdone.  The chips weren't great either.

A word of warning to anyone thinking of ordering from there - we chose an extra naan (not really thinking we were getting one with the starter) and they were both huge (but very good).  The online ordering menu also doesn't specify the lamb came with rice, so we ordered another one of those.  There was definitely no need - the rice is enough to feed four and we had tons!

All in, I would go back there, but I'd probably stick to the slow cooked dishes as the lamb definitely outshone the chicken.

Mossaghat Bethenjan
Two HUGE naans
Some sort of chilli sauce/dressing
The fries - next time I wouldn't bother
Rice one - massive!
Sweet Lamb and Sultana Tagine

Thursday - Homage2Fromage @ Primos!!!

On Thursday we ventured to Primo for January's Homage2Fromage event - Alpine cheese (and some Lancastrian).

We were a little late (my fault...delayed at work) and so missed the first cheese round of raclette, Vacherin Mont D'or and Lincolnshire Poacher.  It shows it pays to be on time at Homage2Fromage!

However we timed it perfectly for the fondue - a swirling mass of emmental and white wine.  Loading up on skewers of baguette (the trick is to put multiple pieces of bread on each skewer), we were in for quite a treat!  Nutty, slightly sharp, and the taste of the Swiss slopes, it was an excellent fondue.  Note to self though - eating fondue is never going to be the most graceful of looks - see below.

After ploughing our way through a considerable amount of baguette and cheese we were then treated to a talk by Conor from Dewlay, traditional Lancastrian cheese makers.  Conor brought four Lancastrian cheeses progressing from a mild, Creamy Lancashire, through Crumbly Lancashire and Tasty Lancashire to a Garstang Blue.  Dewlay's cheeses are "Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire Cheeses", so are under the Protected Designation of Origin.

Now my preferred cheeses are truly eye watering: I like to feel like I'm being challenged by my cheeses so I'll usually go for a really ripe goat or a blue. The Creamy and Crumbly Lancashires were a little mild for my tastes - too soft and milky.  The Tasty Lancashire was getting more into my territory, but I was most impressed by the Garstang Blue - it was rich, creamy and nicely tangy.

All in, a great event and I'm very much looking forward to the next one.

A mound of Garstang Blue
Cheese munchers
As I said, there's no classy way to eat fondue
Gemma, attempting to be a delicate fondue eater
Tasting notes for Crumbly Lancashire - fun and educational
Conor from Dewlay - look at all the cheese!
Joe, very much proving my point about looking good eating fondue.