Surfing the River Cottage pages

Hello again, those of you who pop in on a weekly basis! Don't forget that I update each week's page during the week with comments about the dishes. If there's one you're particularly interested in, it might be worth your while popping back to see my verdict. I would like to say that the Warm squash and mushroom salad (about which I was slightlty dubious) was absolutely delicious!

I couldn't give this week's painting  a better title than the one it has:
It is called "The Gourmand". I think "gourmand" is a great word, and it does give an idea of how the French see food - as something to be enjoyed. It is difficult to translate: when I have to explain it to my students, I use the English word "greedy" but it's not that. Greedy is a negative term: to be told that one is greedy is a bit of an insult, but to be labelled a "gourmand" is different. It implies an appreciation of food, a love of food - a delight in food. Look at the face of the gentleman above - he is really enjoying his meal! And I like to think that - in general - we are gourmans. Though perhaps we do eat our food a little too quickly: we don't savour it quite as much as we should, and we eat from trays in front of the TV....though that is partly to save on heating the dining room!

Anyway, here's what the Gourmands of Dormouse Towers will be tucking into next week:
SATURDAY: We're having the delayed spoufflé from last week. Last time I couldn't find the recipe online, but I'm happy to say I found it this time. So for those of you who are intigued by the idea of a soufflé with pasta, here is the recipe. It requires quite a lot of faffing about, I believe, but I hope the effort is worth it.
Yes, the effort WAS worth it! And, in fact, the faffing wasn't too bad. I used frozen, defrosted spinach instead of fresh, and beaufort cheese instead of cheddar. I also used half fat milk instead of full fat, and I didn't use an extra egg white. Otherwise I followed the instructions (not much left the same!!) and it was very nice. I might use more cheese next time, but it was delicious as it was.
SUNDAY: Chilli. I've not had chilli for quite a while - the last planned time, I ended up using the mince that I'd bought to bulk out the failed refried beans and I made something that loked very similar to vomit. (To be fair, it wasn't so much the beans that were a failure as the flatbreads) This time, I'm using steak, rather than mince. A British Mum gives her take on a beef chilli using steak. I'm going to try following her recipe, instead of my usual "fling in what I've got lying around" method.But mine will have mushrooms in, because I've got a lot to use up.
In the end, I didn't quite follow A British Mum's instructions to the letter, but, at her command, I added more spices than I usually would - normally I don't use cumin, or coriander - and they added flavour. Very, very nice. And Mr FD certainly approved of the meat lumps in place of mince. Using steaks from Lidl meant it wasn't really much more expensive. We had this with baked potatoes last night, and there's a small portion each for lunch with bread. If, that is, Mr FD received my message to buy it while he was at Shopi.
MONDAY: Mushroom Risoniotto You'll need to scroll down to find the actual recipe, but the author of the blog seems very keen on Mr F-W and his book. Certainly, I'm with her on that - my only real disaster was the aforementioned flatbreads, though there have been a couple of "meh" dishes.
The Mushroom Risoniotto was very nice - but I have to admit to making it a Mushroom-and-bacon Risoniotto. I threw in half a pack of lardons. I also used a bit less cream and some cream cheese. We didn't have orzo pasta, but I used tiny spirals (forgotten their names) and they suited fine.
TUESDAY: We're having Mr F-W's Spicy Merguez chips. Don't be afraid by the beginning of this blog which is in (I think) German. The recipe is written in English. Basically it's big oven roasted chips with a spicy rub and a yoghurty dip. I do feel it needs something more, so I'm thinking we'll have sausages (possibly merguez!) and a tomato/onion salad. Yummy.
It is our friend Danièle's birthday on 15th, so we invited her for dinner. I thought she deserved something better than Merguez chips and sausages, so they are postponed till next week. Instead we had brebis-cheese-on-toast and salad, with toasted pine nuts, followed by chicken casserole and potato-and-butternut-squash dauphinoise. Then cheese and a bought (but enjoyable) tarte tatin. I had plans to make a pudding, but after 6 and a half hours of lessons, which included getting up at 5.45, and having a meagre 15 minutes to shove a sandwich in my gob for lunch, I really had no inclination to start cooking whenI got home. I'd already prepared and cooked the main course yesterday. We had a lovely evening. Happy birthday, Danièle.
WEDNESDAY: This needs something quickish to prepare as Wednesday is the day Alison comes down and we drink a bit too much and eat snacks that are bad for us. So I'm going to cook Kamchatka. I'm not teaching much today because it's school holidays, so most of my private students don't have lessons; this means I'll be able to prepare the Kamchatka beforehand and just fry the eggs when we're ready to eat. It's not really called Kamchatka, but that's its name in our house!
We were out on Wednesday night - instead of Alison coming here, we went there for a raclette with her friends who are staying at the moment. So I ate too much. Raclette is lovely, but it can be a bit heavy, eaten late at night.
Melted cheese, boiled potatoes, cold meats and salad. Delicious, but the cheese does lie rather heavy! So, since I'd already been organised and prepared the Kamchatka, we had it on Thursday instead...
 THURSDAY: Vegetable Gratin and garlic bread. The recipe for the Gratin is taken from the "Eat In" magazine that I'm using alongside River Cottage. I can't find a similar recipe to link to, but it's basically leeks, carrots, swede and celeriac baked in stock with a breadcrumb and cheese topping. I'm thinking I may add a little cream to the stock to make the sauce a little more unctuous. And we'll have garlic bread with this.
No Vegetable Gratin tonight.(see above)
FRIDAY: I'm thinking chicken fajitas tonight - stir fried chicken, with a few spices, red peppers and onions, wrapped in tortillas, served with guacomole (Nigel Slater's recipe) and some salad. I may make a quick tomato salsa too. Mmm. My mouth is watering at the thought already.

As an aside, I've just read that there was recently a fairly serious fire at River Cottage HQ. I'm fairly sure that nobody from there reads this blog, but still my best wishes go to Mr F-W and the whole River Cottage team.

I hope you have enjoyed this rundown of what we're eating next week. Don't forget, there's a Giveaway over at my other blog - some of my handmade crafty thingies. But you need to be in it to win it!


  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog - it's remarkable how many people are allergic to penicillin. 8 days in and I'm still in pain! My legs are swollen and are very itchy as are my hands but at least the worse of the rash is over! Your food for the week sounds delicious!

  2. Yummy once again, Mouse!
    When I look at food blogs (only sometimes) I notice the lovely presentation and I like that!
    Happy weekend!

  3. I have just had my breakfast but I am already hungry looking at all that food!!!

    Thanks for popping by and commenting on my blog.

    Gill in Canada

  4. I am loving the sound of the warm squash and mushroom salad and the vegetable gratin (I'm not actually a vegetarian, but it's those kinds of flavours that appeal to me the most!) I have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award and hope you will accept, though I won't be offended if you prefer not to! You can find more details about the award on my blog -

  5. You just got selected as the winner in my giveaway - please email me your address
    ang [at] revbob [dot] org

    blessings - Ang at Tracing Rainbows


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