Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Tuesday - Spicy Chinese Turkey

Jo was quite ill yesterday but she is a hardy Scot who won't let a little thing like a sore throat get in her way! So after getting through a full day in the office, she then got to work in the kitchen. In a flash, she has knocked together turkey mince into a deliciously spicy dish, to go with stir-fry and soba noodles - remind me why I am marrying her again?? ;o)

Spicy Turkey
Stir-fry and noodles
My first plate!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Monday - Pizza

Just a short post, as there's only so much you can say about pizza and salad!  On Monday, Joe treated a rather ill me to Pizza Express pizza and a salad, complete with fancy tomatoes.  It turns out pizza is good for a throat infection as I started to get a little better today!  Who knew!

Pizza and salad

Monday, 19 March 2012

Sunday - Mothers Day and the Match!

We had luckily been offered tickets to the FA Cup quarter final match from Shereef, with Liverpool playing Stoke City. Even luckier was that that the offer was for three, so Jo, Dave Bro and I headed to Anfield via Hoylake to see Mum for Mothers Day.

Everyone loves their Mum, but I think Dave and I have the best one ever!! She is loving, kind and generous with a hint of eccentricity thrown in for good measure - she is a little under the weather at the moment so get well soon Mum and get yourself up to Leeds soon!

A lunch time spread
 After a spot of light (ahem) lunch, we headed to the match for 4pm kick off....Liverpool won 2-1 and are now in the semi - finals. I really hope that we get Everton!

Dinner was pretty rubbish as we didn't get home until 9ish - a chicken and salad sandwich just filled a food hole before bed time....

Samedi - Une journee francaise

Everyone has their food foibles.  For some, it's midnight KFC, for others its chicken fried rice and chips (I'm looking at you, Joe).  For me, its French.  I'm a huge francophile - I love the cities, the countryside, the people (even the grumpy ones), and most of all I love the food.  Joe and I have been lucky enough to go France roughly once a year since we've been together - benefiting from some very hospitable friends and family around France. 

So this weekend, I went off on one of my food jollies and decided we were having a whole day of French food (bad form, it was Paddy's day and Joe and I were supporting Wales and Scotland/Ireland in the rugby respectively - woops).  Cue an overindulgent spending spree and some serious treats.

First up, a little amuse bouche of anchois marines (aka Waitrose anchovies, yum) and some bieres de France - well we were watching the rugby after all.  We also indulged in some rather tasty extra virgin olive oil (from Andalucia - apologies!) which went rather well with some fresh baguette.

Extra virgin olive oil and baguette
After a petit break, it was on to the entre: fois gras on a light salad with toasted baguette.  I know not everyone is up for the fois gras thing, but as with everything, some is well produced, and some is not.  It's a personal choice, and not one I indulge in very often (it's seriously naughty!), but believe me it was worth it!

So if you thought the starter was rich, wait for the plat du jour!  Having deliberated for some time over what I wanted to make, I ended up falling for a yummy cassoulet (with a twist!).  A proper cassoulet takes at least two days to cook, including confiting the duck, soaking the beans and letting the dish rest.  If I was really keen, I would go through all of that, but a) didn't leave myself the time and b) pah.  For this, I adapted a recipe from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cook book (if you haven't read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, go and buy it now).

My cassoulet is made with duck legs, Toulouse sausage, pancetta and some vegetables thrown in, which I think are needed to make up for the loss of flavour from not confiting the duck, and to make the whole thing a little lighter.  The last cassoulet I had in France had the added bonus (ahem!) of tripe which also didn't make it in to mine.  Maybe next time....... 

Anyways, it might not have been totally traditional, but it tasted absolutely amazing after three hours in the oven and I will definitely be doing this version again.

The cassoulet (with what looks like a dinosaur duck leg!)
And a petit tribute to Anna Duffy who persuaded me to try making some green beans, which I usually hate.  This was an amalgamation of an Anthony Bourdain and a Jamie Oliver recipe.
And to round the meal off, we also indulged in some particularly filthy French cheeses - the names of which I have forgotten - but which were so ripe I'm sure they would have walked off the table had we turned our backs!
Plus fromage

Rosie's Pop Up Restaurant for the Snow Camp Charity

Rather than our normal post for Friday, my rather talented cousin Rosie asked if she could do a post on her pop up restaurant raising money for the Snow Camp Charity.  Well, anything for charity and we gladly oblige.  In fact, it has inspired Joe to attempt a similar thing to raise money for Breast Cancer Care and the Edinburgh Marathon...!

Over to Rosie.............

I twitched my cheek, fluttered my eyelashes and jerked my head. The After-Eight did not budge. It had melted onto my face leaving a brown smear. I had become a laughing-stock. How had I got myself into this predicament? Well... £600 for charity Snow-Camp in three months? No problem! Or so I thought. 

After taking part in the Everest Challenge (a ski-and-board-athon around the Portes du Soleil, France) in January I had £159. Two months left to raise the final £441. However, I was only going to be home for two of those weeks. I voiced my concerns at work, and a colleague of mine, Lucy, suggested a Pop-Up Restaurant. She had run one with her boyfriend, Andrew to raise money for his Talisker Whisky Challenge, a rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean. (He is now a world record holder.) 

The idea. Invite your friends to a three-course meal with plenty of alcohol. And then charge them. The date was set, the guests confirmed and the menu refined. To start, a selection of melon with Parma ham and basil. The main, lasagne, salad and garlic bread. And home-made meringues and ice cream, with strawberries, raspberries and a coulis to finish. Aside from panicking when the my many lasagnes would not fit in the oven, and going a bit mad whipping cream, the evening came without too many hitches.  

The guests started arriving around 7pm. University, school, holidays - they could definitely be described as a fruit salad, but one that worked together very well. I gave my brother, Tom, the title "cameraman" along with my Fuji. Next time I must show him how to use it! Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, or that could have been the very large quantity of wine talking. Next a quick raffle with a mixed-bag of beanies, followed by those legendary After-Eights. The evening ended with everyone shouting over a fiery game of Articulate. Who knew snakes had legs and Attila the Hun acted in Star Wars? If you are looking to raise money for charity, I would definitely recommend running a Pop-Up restaurant. Especially if you like cooking, entertaining people, and folding many napkins into the shape of fans. With the help of everyone I have now raised over £500, and I’m hoping to smash my goal at the end of the month. One tip (passed down from my Mum), there is no such thing as too much alcohol.  
Cousin Tom in a raffle hat
Mini Meringues
Starter delights
Home made coulis
Thanks to my lovely cousin Rosie (whose writing talents can be found at  We will be pilfering her idea to raise money for Joe's marathon, so watch this space for more information!

Toots Hats: (Pink one Tom is wearing)