Tuesday, 26 June 2012

What are we eating this week - 25 Jun to 1 Jul

The last 2 weeks, temperatures have hovered in the mid 30s, so I'm really struggling to find inspiration and motivation to prepare dinner. Add to that rushing to our family doctor yesterday afternoon with my 19-month old with a 39.1 degree fever and a rash covering her face and torso (luckily it's just a viral throat infection and she's already much better) and any motivation was out of the window! So yesterday I banged a few fish and prawn kebabs in the grill pan and that was it! (though I did prepare a version of salsa verde as accompaniment, together with some steamed green beans and asparagus)

Today I'll prepare a summery sausage stew with a glut of yellow peppers, and some green beans and asparagus (these need using up). Don't have a specific recipe yet, will most probably make it up as I go along!

Last week I prepared a greekish tart (I will report on the tart later on this week). Hubby has requested I use the pastry to prepare a raised pork pie. Indeed, the unusual pastry (using olive oil and white wine instead of butter/lard) is not dissimilar in texture to hot water crust pastry! So tomorrow I'll most probably have a go at that.

On Thursday I'm planning a beef and veg stir fry with noodles (I didn't get round to it last week).

On Friday we have friends coming over for a BBQ, so it'll be the ubiquitous Angus burgers (marinated chicken breast for a friend who doesn't like beef), potato salad and dips and dippers to start with. Dessert will most likely be Sicilian cannoli stuffed with goats' milk ricotta, ice cream, and a non-dairy gluten free concoction I still need to come up with for the same friend!

The weekend is still undecided, depending on errands and jobs we need to do/finish.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What are we eating this week - 18 to 24 Jun

Last Friday, K had a work do, a BBQ organised by the staff themselves. This year, on the menu, they had doner kebab. As often happens when inexperienced cooks prepare food for a largish crowd, there were many leftovers, so K brought home quite a big chunk of mixed beef and lamb doner kebab. So I'm afraid that with no space in the freezer whatsoever, most of this week's meal plan will evolve around this blessed doner kebab!

On Monday, it was doner kebab salad served with pitta and some of Sunday's leftover chickpea dip. It was really filling.

Today it'll be pasta with lamb ragu and ricotta (perhaps baked).

Tomorrow, it's Mario Batali's lamb and artichoke tart. The pastry should be very light, with olive oil and white wine instead of butter. I'll report back on this recipe, hopefully with some pictures.

On Thursday, hoping that the lamb would be finished by then, I'm planning a fish feast - sushi, prawn dumplings, and fish kebabs.

Friday will be stir fry with noodles.

The weekend seems too distant for any foody plans as yet. If England will be playing Italy on Saturday, we'll most likely go watch the game somewhere. Otherwise, we could do a BBQ.

Fathers' Day BBQ lunch

Last Sunday, for Fathers' Day, we had both our families over for a BBQ. The plan was to have Sour cream and onion hummus, Salsa, and Guacamole to start with, followed by half pound Black Angus burgers in sourdough panini, served with Mesa grills southwestern potato salad and Creamy coleslaw.

I didn't manage to find avocadoes in Lidl on Friday, so the Guacamole idea was scrapped. Instead, I did a globe artichoke dip, with a can of artichoke hearts in brine, half a tub (125g) of mascarpone, onion and garlic salt, paprika and celery powder. Ideally, the dip is prepared a few hours before for the flavours to develop.

I also changed a bit the hummus recipe, having forgotten to get tahini from the supermarket! I used a can of chickpeas (half drained), the juice of half a lemon, a clove of garlic, a handful of fresh basil, a bit of fresh chilli pepper, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. It was good, but nothing out of this world.

On the other hand, the salsa was amazing, perfect. Right amount of heat, freshness, tang! Definately recommend!

The coleslaw and potato salad went down a storm, as did the burger.

We rounded off the meal with a slice of nutella swiss roll served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

What are we eating this week - 11 to 17 Jun

Late on parade once again this week, and no excuses for it this time! This week it was really hot, with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius all week! So as you can guess, dinners were mostly light so far.

On Monday we had a  curried chicken tortilla wrap with yoghurt and mango chutney and a side salad.

Last week in Lidl we bought some speck and brie filled gnocchi and a bunch of green asparagus. So on Tuesday we had an asparagus and gnocchi bake. I used up some leftover pancetta in the bake as well. The bake turned out really good. Now I just need to make up my mind about what to do with the leftover stems!

Yesterday afternoon I couldn't stop watching Dines, Drive-Ins and Dives. After numerous episodes, I quite fancied some 'junk'. K was supposed to have a business dinner, but this was postponed for today. So we ended up having burgers in crusty sourdough panini and a side salad.

Today and tomorrow I'll be having dinner by myself. Pre-M, this would have been my chance to have a go at something K does not like. However now, with a bouncy almost 19-month old daughter, my choice is limited to quick dinners that require minimal preparation and that cook in no time at all. So I'm afraid I can't commit myself to anything right now.

On Saturday, I'll  be stuffing an aubergine for lunch and most probably we'll either go out for dinner or have a BBQ.

On Sunday, for Fathers' Day, we have parents, in-laws, sisters and partners coming over for lunch. We'll be having Angus burgers for mains (dad, who's a pescatarian, will be having fish skewers) with Mesa grills southwestern potato salad, Creamy cole-slaw and an array of dips and dippers.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

What are we eating this week - 4 to 10 Jun

I'm quite late on parade this week, but I have a good excuse for it. As I said in my previous post, we went away on holiday last Saturday. We spent a few days in Piemonte. Picturesque views, excellent salumi and cheese, in particular the toma and tomette, and great accomodation at Camping Margherita. But oh how we suffered at dinner time! The area where we we staying is renowed for ski resorts. Our trip coincided with the closing of the season, so most restaurants were 'chiusi per ferie'. It was a shame as I would have loved to get a taste of the typical dishes.

On Saturday we managed to find a restaurant open - Ristorante lo Stambecco. For starters, we shared a platter of cold cuts served with warm chestnuts in honey and bread. K had the pizza mediterranea, a Margherita topped with mozzarella di bufala cooked in their wood-fired oven, whilst I opted for the 'Bistecca alla valdostana', thinly cut tenderloin steak breaded and topped with prosciutto and fontina cheese and baked in the oven. Can't say I was overly impressed (I was expecting some juicy thick cut of meat, though it's partly - well mostly - my fault for ordering something without doing some research beforehand. Table close by had the 'carbonada', a thick meaty stew served with polenta - my original choice but was persuaded by K to opt for the bistecca - was very sorry afterwards ... grr). The salumi and pizza were good.

Sunday we went to Aosta. There we bought some coppa (a traditional Italian cold cut made from pork shoulder or neck, and dry-cured whole), a small toma (soft or semi-hard, Italian cow's milk cheese made primarily in the Aosta Valley), and a small goats' cheese coated with raisins. We weren't that hungry at lunchtime, having shared a pizza al taglio on arrival, so we decided to go out for dinner instead. BAD MOVE! All restausants were closed back in Valle d'Aosta. We ended up eating in - a platter of salumi and toma to share over some Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and potato gnocchi with Barilla ready-made sauce to follow (cooked in the microwave since the gas hob wouldn't function properly). No masterchef cuisine but it hit the spot!

Monday's highlight was Pasticceria “Caffe Lyskamm” - great tasting small pastries. Fearing that once again all restaurants would be closed, we had dinner at the first one we found open - a pub that serves food all day. That should have been of enough warning! All pizzas were marked as being frozen, and with not much other choice, I opted for a hamburger whilst K had the 'sausage'. We ended up with plates half filled with fries, the other half with lettuce - mine had a tiny burger (sans bread) plonked on the lettuce, whilst K's had a rectangularish flat meat patty (looked like 2 burgers remoulded). Bread was served separately in a brown bag, as were the condiments!

I'm afraid this trip was pretty much a disaster food wise - at least the baronetti and cavalieri (baguettes filled with different salumi) were good!

Back home, yesterday we had a concoction of chicken and smoked sausage stew/curry served with basmati rice. It was actually really good!

Today it's baked stuffed courgettes and roast potatoes.

Tomorrow, I will have a go at the Carbonada served with polenta.

On Friday, it'll be 'salumi e formaggi' with grissini and a side salad.

Saturday we're invited to a BBQ, so it'll be only a light salad for lunch.

On Sunday we'll most probably go out for lunch (no plans yet).