Wednesday, 18 July 2012

What are we eating this week - 16 to 22 Jul

I'm sorry for not posting last week! The past few days (or rather weeks!) have been so crazy - my almost 20 month daughter has decided she won't eat any food (well, apart from a few bites off my plate). The fact that she was down with a cold on Saturday and that she's getting her eye teeth don't help as well! So the past few days have revolved around getting her to eat dinner, so much so that we often ended up just having something quick from the freezer with a poor salad! At least on Tuesday we were invited round to our in-laws for home-made pizza in their wood-fired oven (and M had more than a few bites of pizza). On Saturday we had a BBQ at home - just a few burgers and sausages and a salad. Same on Sunday - this time it was BBQ chicken breast and a salad. Sunday night I had a not so little meltdown. The frustration of M not eating dinner got a bit too much. I felt like I was a failure - that M didn't like my food, that it's purely a power struggle for her, that she finds no joy whatsoever in food! She refuses food even more strongly on a weekend when dad is home, making me lose my temper even more and then making me feel like a bad mummy. Cue hours of sobbing till the early hours on Monday and very puffy eyes!

So last Monday I decided that enough is enough! I vouched to keep on offering healthy food and try not to make too much fuss about it. On Sunday I had prepared some chicken croquettes for her (recipe to follow). So on Monday I warmed one up for her, but she wouldn't have any of it! Instead, all she wanted was my spicy couscous!!! So couscous it was! She seems to only want food from my plate, so yesterday I played her game. I prepared a puttanesca/norma spaghetti concoction for us, while for her I prepared a pasta bolognese with ricotta (and some double cream to get some fat in her!). I put my portion and her portion on the same plate, and she was happy to eat from my plate! In fact, she ate almost all of her quite big portion (although the cheeky little monkey didn't want to eat until she saw me actually having some from my portion) :)

All this blabber to point that as from today, our meal plans will have to revolve around food that would be suitable for M.

Today, I'll prepare a summery pork stew with cubed pork shoulder, coloured peppers, mushrooms, and aubergines served with basmati rice. I'll process part of the stew with a hand blender and mix it with the rice for M. Fingers crossed my strategy works out!

Tomorrow, we'll be having a frittata with eggs (obviously), spinach, grated courgettes, spinach and grated cheese, served with salad. I'll make M's portion scrambled with some mashed spuds on the side.

On Friday we'll have fish pie with salmon, grouper and chopped hard boiled egges and topped with mash (we were supposed to be at in laws for another pizza night but SIL is in hospital expecting her first baby any day now - oh I'll be an auntie soon - so pizza plans have been cancelled for now).

No plans yet for the weekend, though I would like to do some baking using the fruit that is sitting in the fridge and that needs to be used up asap.

Until next week!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

What are we eating this week - 2 to 8 Jul

This week I'm feeling a bit more organised. Indeed, this week's meal plan was drafted Thursday last week! (though I still struggled with posting it in time yesterday!!!)

Yesterday it was seafood risotto for dinner, with squid, prawns, clams, mussels and crab meat, and some cherry tomatoes and basil thrown in for some colour.

Tonight we are invited to a restaurant opening do, so no cooking today!

Tomorrow it's pizza, from the freezer I'm afraid (I need to make some space in the freezer).

Ditto on Thursday - sausage stew from the freezer (I'll add some yellow peppers and a dried Italian sausage that need using up) - not sure whether to serve it with dumplings or basmati.

On Friday, it's pan fried courgette rounds, with a side of marinara sauce and potato wedges.

On Saturday we'll be going to the farmers' market, so most probably we'll have a light lunch and go out somewhere for dinner.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Lamb and artichoke tart

Almost two weeks ago I had a go at this tart. The main novelty was the pastry - a mixture of flour, white wine and olive oil. I had never used white wine in pastry before. I know cannoli pastry has some red wine in (marsala) but the pastry is then deep fried not baked. I used the same quantities of ingredients for the pastry as indicated in the recipe and it turned out really well - the ratios of wet to dry ingredients turned out to be spot on!

For the filling, I used some leftover lamb, so I did not have to pre-cook the lamb. I also used canned artichokes as the fresh ones are unfortunately no longer in season. I also added some ricotta that needed to be used up in the egg and yoghurt mixture.

The pie tasted great. The pastry lifted the tart to a new dimension - it was light and crispy. I will definately be doing this tart again!

Last week I used the same pastry recipe for a pork pie. I substituted water for the wine. I heated the water and the oil in a pan, just like for a hot water crust pastry. When it was starting to simmer, I added the flour and mixed into a dough. I let it rest a bit whilst I prepared the filling - pork cut into small cubes, parsley, onion salt, black pepper and mixed spice.

We ate the first two portions hot from the oven and we were not impressed - the parsley was overpowering, and the texture of the meat was odd (too gelatinous). However we had the leftovers cold (as pork pie should be had afterall!) and it was really good! The pastry is great both hot and cold - in other word, this pastry recipe is a keeper!