Thursday, 23 February 2012

Thursday Chilli Prawns

So Joe is out on the town AGAIN!  This time playing (and hopefully winning) pool with the boys he works with.  Don't feel too sorry for me though, my social life hiatus is totally my own doing.  I am going on what should be my last bridal dress shopping excursion next week so I am off the booze and eating steamed vegetables.  No pain, no gain, hey?!

So tonight my dinner comprises of stir fried prawns with chilli, pineapple, steamed broccoli and pak choi with steamed white rice.  It's actually not so bad for a healthy dinner, although I definitely now want to eat all the chocolate in the house....

Chilli prawns with pak choi, broccoli and rice

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednesday Green Pancakes!

Tuesday this week was Shrove Tuesday, traditional day to eat pancakes of all sorts and generally clear out the cupboards before the frugal Lent period.  I've never given anything up for Lent before, and this year is no different.  I don't have too many vices and I failed miserably giving up the booze in January so I'm not punishing myself!

Joe had dinner out with his other wife on Tuesday so we postponed pancakes for a day.  I'm sure Joe spent the day convinced he was going to dine on naughty pancakes stuffed with nutella (my personal fave) but oh no, not when I'm in the kitchen!  Today we had green pancakes (i.e. made with parsley, rocket and oregano) with chorizo, roasted shallots, tomatoes and goats cheese.  It was a pretty tasty dinner although the herbs might have been a little overpowered by the chorizo!  Ah well!

Green pancakes with chorizo, goats cheese and tomatoes

Tuesday - Thai Aroy Dee 9.5/10

Recently on twitter, a couple of people had started talking about Thai Aroy Dee, which is new thai place on Vicar Lane in Leeds. Hunter Pig and I decided to try it out and we both loved it....for me it is the best thai restaurant in Leeds. To be honest, it has more the feel of a cafe than a restaurant, with lovely staff and a BYOB policy.....

I am not going to go into war and peace about each dish, but everything was cooked perfectly and the high-light for me was pad broccoli which was cooked in an oyster sauce - delicious simplicity.

Goong Tem Pur/ Prawn and Veg Tempura

Thai sausages! Can't remember name
Sticky rice

Pad Broccoli

Kaeng Ped Phed Yang/ Duck Curry

Duck and rice

Pad Gaprao


Monday - Hot & Sour Soup

We are in catch up mode. Mondays dinner was a hot and sour soup that Jo made from scratch in a flash after a long day at work - we both didn't get home until 7.30pm!....not to bad an effort hey!

Hot and Sour Soup

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday night ragu

It's rare I cook pasta - usually I require some serious persuasion from Joe before I will break and cook the Italian beast.  However, after a few months of not being able to eat any carbohydrates without feeling like death, I'm enjoying a period where I can eat what I want.  So tonight it was a celebratory meal of ragu with whole wheat penne.  My ragu is not so traditional - it is seasoned with chorizo, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and topped with rocket - but it tastes mighty fine and that's all that matters.  And that celebration, you ask?  Well, a 6-1 super win over Brighton in the FA cup.  We might just make two finals this year..........!

Penne with ragu

Saturday - Postponed valentines

Jo and I decided to postpone our valentines day till yesterday to give us more time to enjoy it. That's not to say that we need a reason to eat, drink and have a laugh together,  but it was a good an excuse anyhow! On valentines we take it in turns to cook, and my previous bi-yearly efforts have included monk-fish wrapped in parma ham, and a red snapper dish which were well received by Judge Jo! Jo is more of a seafood fan than a meat eater (unlike me) so I decided to keep up the fishy theme with a crab starter and classic moules marinières for the main; Jo took up the dessert challenge.....

So, after taking some advice from the very helpful Mario of Gusto Italiano fame, I decided on getting a live crab from Leeds Market, and turning it into a sort of posh crab tower. I headed into town yesterday, but some b@st__d bought the last live crab who was in the queue just before me! So, with only a pre-dressed crab on offer I decided on potted crab instead that was served with some delicious bread from Waitrose. 

Potted crab
Action shot
For the main course we had moules mariniere et frites, which to be honest was okay! I followed a Raymond Blanc recipe but the shallots were a little raw for our tastes, and although the mussels were big and juicy some had a small bits of grit in them. I know this is to be expected, but I can't stand the texture!! Luckily, we had moved onto our second bottle by then so there weren't too many complaints.......

The star of the show was definitely Jo's mini croque en bouche complete with sugar work - this was REALLY REALLY as good to eat as it is to look at - bravo!!

mini croque en bouche

Friday Fajitas - Ole!

When my parents came down to visit they brought quite a few of our Christmas presents with them (left in Edinburgh due to the restriction of train travel).  All the gifts were fantastic, and one of them was a rather nifty fajita kit - a sizzling griddle pan with chilli oil and marinaded chillis.  Muchos gracias James and Fiona! We thought Friday night would be the perfect time to try it.

For anyone who is interested (and this is probably already common knowledge and I am just massively in the dark), fajitas are not Mexican (despite being sold in most Mexican style restaurants here).  A little bit of research points to them being a Texan invention from the 1930s, borne from the tradition of giving cowboys the beef offcuts at the end of a cattle drive.  Traditionally made with skirt steak, it became a commercial dish in around 1969 when peddled by a street vendor chap called Sonny Falcon, and has been on menus ever since.  I'm a little disappointed that its not a traditional Mexican dish, but mine was made with chicken anyway so who am I to complain?!

Back to the food.  I had already been out for a few drinks with lovely Sophie, and as anyone knows, cooking post-vino can always be a bit of a challenge!  Luckily for me this time there was no slicing of fingers or smashing of wine glasses (two things which have almost landed me in hospital over the last few years) and just some pretty impressive fajita making.  I think I've finally perfected my fajita spicing - lots of cumin, smoked paprika, lime and a hint of cinnamon and the fajita pan toasts the spices brilliantly. Throw in some onions, peppers and mushrooms and you've got a pretty good fajita.

Fajitas would be nothing without the accompaniments and Joe selected a trusty Old El Paso dip set.  I should have made my own but a) it was raining so I didn't want to walk to the shop and b) see above for the drinking excuse, so will keep that for next time. 

Overall, great Friday night treats, and I almost didn't have a hangover on Saturday, almost..........

Sizzling fajitas
Old el paso dips
A pre-rolled fajita feast