Monday, 25 November 2013

Menu Plan Monday: 23/11 - 29/11

Saturday: I think I’m succumbing to the horrible cold that the rest of the house has, or I’m just exhausted from taking care of everyone. Either way, energy is low and Saturday’s supper needs to be quick, easy, and nutritious... once again time for Sweet & Sour Pork with hot peppers. I may toss some garlic in for extra cold fighting nutrients. Asian food, or asian inspired food, is a go-to around here when there is sickness.

Sunday: I’ve got a chicken coming for this week’s Sunday Roast, along with parsnips and a fresh bag of potatoes. Undecided as to whether we’re going to have pudding or stuffing with this one. I think I have some gravy in the freezer which will be a nice addition. The bonus is that David makes an excellent roast bird so it won’t matter if I’m too sick to cook.

Monday: I’ve been craving brisket quesadillas and, as a bonus, Sainsbury’s had a 3-for-2 deal on tortillas – perfect as I have two small brisket pieces and a can of refried beans just waiting to be used. I think we’ll be in quesadilla land for awhile! To add some vegetable this time around I bought another ‘seasonal squash’ and will be livening it up with butter and brown sugar. A sweet & spicy meal, my favourite.

Tuesday: I want to make Easy Chicken Wellington to use up part of the leftover roast chicken. We’ll have this with rice & broccoli.

Wednesday: I bought too many cans of kidney beans last time I made rice & peas, so I’m going to use some of them to make Rose Elliot’s Stuffed Marrow with Kidney Beans. I’ve never had marrow so I’m interested to see what it’s like.

Thursday: Time to serve up the leftover moussaka. I’m thinking Greek Potatoes as a side.

Friday: Pizza, of course! But we’re going to Ely’s Christmas Light Switch On, and David is dashing off to a meet the author event hosted by Topping & Co. after, so we may do pizza lunch and a light dinner instead, since the evening is going to be hectic.

Now a look at last week’s plan in practice: 

I’m glad that I went with baked beans etc on Saturday. David and Walter were both quite sick and it was nice to have an easy meal to prepare in the evening. The squash was an awesome choice with it – I loaded it up with butter & brown sugar and it really complemented the sweet mellowness of the beans and bread. A winner with everyone but Walter, who has spent the week subsisting on milk, bread, and the occasional piece of fruit.

The brisket joint I got for Sunday was, at first appearance, a stringy piece of meat. Fortunately cooking proved it otherwise, and I managed to make gravy, and it was an excellent meal all ‘round. There was just enough beef leftover for two meals of brisket quesadillas. Also, have I mentioned that mustard & pepper make an ideal and simple seasoning for beef or pork? Trick I learned from my mother and it hasn’t failed me yet.

On Monday we got Thai and it was delicious and loaded with fresh ingredients, as always. We got our usual order: veggie tempura, red curry chicken, spicy noodles with beef, jasmine rice, and stir fried tofu & veggies in red curry sauce. So, so spicy. So, so good.

Tuesday’s Eggs Benny was delicious but the hollandaise sauce that I’d been craving was an abysmal failure. It’s not wise to make hollandaise sauce in an unheated kitchen when the temperature dips below zero, because it really hurts the thickening process. I ended up having to broil the whole dish because I didn’t want to risk semi-raw eggs on a cold suffering David, which at least caused the hollandaise to finally thicken but also left it a bit curdy. The flavour wasn’t affected, but it did lack some of the richness of a properly made sauce. Also, my recipe for it is very vague, which makes me wonder what I was thinking when I copied it out...oh yeah, I was 2.5 months pregnant with Walter and not thinking of much other than sleep. On the plus side, I followed Genevieve Taylor’s advice for poaching eggs and it worked, so that was a win because poached eggs are so great.

Genevieve Taylor’s moussaka did not disappoint, aside from wanting a hearty side. Because there were three different prepping steps (meat sauce, roast aubergines, béchamel sauce) I thought it might prove to be a bit of an undertaking with the kids running around, but she really simplified the process so with a little organisation it turned out to be an easy meal to make. Verdict from the adults: delicious! I think if we could have justified it, we would’ve eaten all of the dish in one go on Wednesday.

I had the fortune of going to a lecture given by two of my former UVic professors who are doing a sabbatical year in Cambridge (and who, it turns out, live a scarce five minute walk from us in Ely!). I’m so glad that I planned a simple, quick supper for Thursday night as it mean we could all eat before I left. The tomato soup, made from the remaining 750ml of a box of tomato juice which I bought for the baked bean recipe, was pretty good but even with ¼ cup of sugar and swirls of double cream I struggled to cut the acidity. So it won’t be a regular, but if I’m in a similar situation with too much tomato juice I’d do the same idea. As for the ham & cheese melty croissants – bliss! I know that some people scoff at sandwich recipes as just being assembly instructions, but I’ve always found that quantity is an important thing to know in crafting a delectable sandwich – in this case the chutney amount given was perfection. I used some apple & shallot chutney that has been hanging out in the fridge. Recipe here for anyone curious:

Ham & Emmental Melty Croissants 

1 tbsp plum or apple based chutney 
emmental cheese 
good quality ham 
butter Heat oven to 400º

Slice croissant in half and butter. Put sliced ham & cheese on bottom of croissant, then add the chutney. Put on the top croissant and bake in the oven until melty, about 5 minutes. Good use for a little leftover ham. Serves one. 

As for Friday's pizza, the ideal comfort food for a cool autumn night. I coupled mine with a chocolate stout and it was perfection. 

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