What are we eating this week?

Last week was changed slightly, due to going out on Wednesday - as you'll have read (maybe!) we went to Alison's to have a raclette with her family and her friends who have been stating at their gite.Here is a link to their website, where you can see their gite, but also some beautiful views of the area where I live. The site was designed by Mr F-D.
Raclette is a traditional cheese based meal of the mountains. Originally a whopping great lump of cheese was toasted next to the fire, somewhat like a cheese doner kebab, and as it melted, it was sliced off on top of potatoes, and eaten with cold meats. Alternatively something like this was used:
Hot cinders or ashes were put inside the "bucket", and the block of cheese placed on top. Then, as it melted the slicery- thing on the right would shave off the melted cheese. We have a much simpler version, shown in my last post, where the cheese is ready sliced, put in little pans and put under an electric grill. But it's still delicious!
Our classic painting today is quite appropriate, as many of this week's meals centre around aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. I know these are summer vegetables, really, and so the food miles value is probably not very good...but I do long for vegetables other than cabbagey brassicas - of which I'm not a huge fan. So I'm afraid, that, this week,  I'm mostly buying Moroccan vegetables!

SATURDAY: Aubergine lasagne. This recipe comes from the magazine "Eat In" which I am also working my way through, recipe wise. I've probably cooked about 1/3 of the recipes now. This recipe uses a lot of different cheeses, one of which (cottage cheese) I've never seen in France. I'm adapting it, to use a pot of Cancoillotte (site in French) which is a type of ready made cheesy sauce, which was cheap in Lidl this week. Probably not very cholesterol friendly though, as it says "Pur beurre" (pure butter) on the label! 

For 4 people
3 large aubergines, sliced lengthways
250g frozen spinach, thawed.
250g cottage cheese
150g feta
3 shallots, finely sliced
2 x 350g tomato based pasta sauce
75g mozzarella

Pre heat oven to 200°C/GM6. Spray oil on each side of the aubergine slices (or brush them with oil) and place on a baking tray, in a single layer. Bake for 10 mins until tender. Cool slightly.
Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the spinach. Then mix with the cottage cheese, feta and shallots.
Make layers of aubergine, spinach/cheese mix, and pasta sauces in a greased dish. Finish with the pasta sauce.
Top with the mozzarella. Then bake for 30 minutes or so, until brown and bubbling.

I'm using the Cancoillotte instead of the cottege cheese and feta, especially as my frozen spinach is with creme fraiche. So my lasagne maybe slightly less cheesy than this version. But probably creamier!!
Edited On Sunday:This was very nice, but I think my version was a lot sloppier than the one in the recipe! My spinach-&-cancoillotte sauce was very runny, and then I made the mistake of adding a bit of leftover wine to the pasta sauce, so everything was a bit liquid. However, it was very tasty and with a big thick slice of bread, it fed us very well! I'll use the rest of the Cancoillotte spread on two left over tortillas, with grated cheese and a tiny bit of bacon to make a wrap to have with lunch. Oooh, my mouth is watering already at the thought! We'll have them with more of the very, very thick vegetable soup that I made yesterday. 
SUNDAY: Some kind of made up chicken, bacon, mushroom pasta dish. I have a chicken breast saved from the fajitas on Friday - I only cooked one, with mushrooms, onion,leek and a red pepper. I think there was plenty of filling, even though there wasn't that much chicken. I did purposely buy the biggest pack of chicken breast (6€70 for two, instead of the smallest, which is what I usually do. It's quite expensive, as I'll only buy Red Label, reared-outdoors, fed on vegetarian food chicken)
                                             Here is a happy chicken
The wraps were lovely - crispy and tasty, as expected. As wraps come in packs of 8, and we usually only have three for our main meal, it is good to find a use for the left over two, other than let them go stale, or go crispy-through-freezer-burn in the freezer. I dry-fried them, added a cheese and cooked bacon mixture, folded them and fried them until they'd gone crispy and the cheese had melted. Delicious! The chickeny-bacony-pasta thing was very nice too.
MONDAY: Veggie curry. I've got two or three "part servings" in the freezer. They're all coming out to make a Melange of Mixed Veggie Curry tonight. With rice (no naan breads left, and I'm really not a naan bread making kind of girl.)
My computer decided to go all Pete Tong on me, so I haven't been able to get online all week.  All the updates are done on Saturday. The curries weren't very spicy, but they were tasty enough.
TUESDAY: The postponed Merguez chips and sausages from last week. This is a River Cottage recipe, which I'm serving with a tomato and onion salad.

Merguez chips were yummy. Not much more effort than usual homemade oven chips, but with a bit more interest. Sausages and salsa-y tomato salad. Fine!
 WEDNESDAY: Sweet Potato and peanut gratin. I have linked to this before, as I'd planned to make this a while back, but forgot to buy the peanut butter. Mr FD will be pleased: he loves peanut butter. The only question is, will the jar last between me getting the shopping home and making the gratin?! (As it's only an afternoon, I think the answer's yes. Had it been a few days between the two events, I would have been more doubtful! Actually, I need peanut butter for Saturday's meal too. Hmm. That might be a bit less certain!)

I wasn't totally convinced that this made a meal by itself, so in the end I caved in and served it with some charcuterie and a green salad. I think I was right: it was nice, but as a main course, I think it lacked something. 
 THURSDAY: The postponed Quinoa with Courgettes and Onions. Again, this is a link I've used before. I'm a tad dubious about this one - it doesn't look very exciting - but Mr F-W has surprised me before, so let's Go For It!

Thursday was cold and damp and foggy. I really didn't fancy something that was billed as a "summer dish" so I made a hearty pasta bake instead, with the courgettes and onions, with a bit of an aubergine that I had, a leek, some passata and some chorizo. It was rib-stickingly what we needed.
 FRIDAY: Patatas Bravas, with sautéed chorizo, and a good hearty mixed salad. This recipe isn't quite the River Cottage one, but it's close enough. It also suggests making an aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to serve with them...Hmmm. I might just do that!  

Oh, the Patatas Bravas meal was fab! I pushed the boat out a bit, and not only made the patatas, but a garlic mayo, some garlicky roast courgette and aubergine, and put out some marinaded peppers and olives. With a glass of Chilean red, this was a delight of a meal! Definitely one to make again. Thanks, Mr F-W!

 And so there we are. Some meat, but not too much. We are still eating quite a lot of meat in our lunches - I usually take sandwiches to work, and Mr FD has bread and stuff that's in the fridge. It's been quite a lot of cheese this week. I find it trickier finding healthier options for lunches, as it's usually mostly processed meats (salami, rosette, air cured ham, paté etc) or cheese. I could start making  mushroom paté, etc, or preparing a tasty salad to take...but to be honest, when I get home I can manage to prepare dinner for that night. To start faffing round with lentils and chickpeas, and washing salad leaves, is not an appealing prospect. I'll stick with my sandwiches I think. I do enjoy a nice egg mayo sandwich though. Mmmmmmmmmm. I think that will be on the list for next week's lunch somewhere.
Though, I'm just back to say I've had, for lunch today (Saturday) a big bowl of vegetable soup, made with onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, butternut squash, turnip and tomato. I put in a splash of wine, a chicken stock cube and a vegetable stock cube, some soup pasta and an old parmesan rind. When it came to time to zuzz the soup, I couldn't find the rind, so I just zuzzed it with everything else!!  With the soup I had a reblechon and coleslaw sandwich, and I'm now enjoying a cup of coffee and another slice of pain aux céréals with home made rhubarb and orange jam. And this afternoon, I WILL go for a short walk - the weather is beautiful!


  1. Oh my goodness. Can I come over for dinner every night next week? ;)
    You got me thinking. I have been eating inferior cheese. I must poke around the cheese aisle today.
    Our daughter made a lovely pasta sauce with lean meatballs last night and kindly invited me over to share it. I always applaud her cooking.
    I so enjoy your blog, Mouse.

  2. You'd be very welcome, PomPom. Just let me know when to meet you at the airport!


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