Saturday, 24 November 2012

Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy.

And cooking done with care is an act of love.” ― Craig Claiborne

I hope that this is remarked upon by Mr FD. In taking care to think about what we're eating, I'm showing my love for him.  We've eaten well this week (as usual!) - and I have to make sure I go for a walk directly I finish this blog post. As I said over on View from the Teapot, I don't seem to get much done when my PC is tuned up, so I have to be very disciplined today! My self imposed exercise programme of exercising on Tuesday/Thursday/weekend has already slipped as I was busy on Thursday, and "forgot" to go on Friday to make up for it! Never mind!

We've kept to the Menu Plan from last week, but I'm changing it for tomorrow. I bought a Turkey joint stuffed with chestnuts and currants from Lidl on Thursday. It was on special offer at 5,99€, and it serves 5-6 people. I'm hoping I'll get two full meals and a set of sandwiches out of it, which will be an acceptable cost for a meal . So, in recognition of American Thanksgiving on Thursday, we're having turkey on Sunday.

Ooh, the constantly moving graphics on that are a bit irritating...but I like the sentiment very much, so it can stay. Sorry if it brings on an epileptic fit!

So, I'm planning on doing a bit of a big bake/cook today after my walk, so I mustn't come back and turn the PC on again, or else I'll be sucked back into the abyss of reading favourite blogs... and I won't get round to cooking. I'm planning on making (ready to freeze) the Steak and Ale casserole I'd planned on having tomorrow, making a pizza for tonight's tea, preparing some more jellies (nice, low cal dessert), and maybe baking some flapjack too. But that last depends on whether I've got any oats, and if there's room in the oven. I did do a version of the Hairy Biker's Skinny Lemon Cup Cakes on Thursday - coconut with lime icing. It's a nice recipe, but it doesn't keep well. I think I should have frozen half, as it's already going a bit dry. Maybe we'll have to have it with custard!

SUNDAY: Lidl Turkey roast, with hasselback potatoes, carrots, and roast parsnips and butternut squash..

MONDAY: Cold turkey roast, with baked potatoes, salad and home made pickle

TUESDAY: Postponed steak and ale casserole, mashed potatoes, broccoli.
WEDNESDAY: Oat and chickpea dumplings. I last made these back in March, and remember being very dubious about them, before cooking them, and enthusiastic afterwards. Then I forgot about the recipe! So, they're featuring again at the Fat Dormousehold. We'll have them with more broccoli, I think.

THURSDAY: Vegetable Lasagne - just keeping an eye on the weight of the pasta I use. I usually cook 50g of raw pasta per person, so it depends on how much a raw lasagne sheet weighs. Of course, I might make it big enough for four and pop half in the freezer. It's a made up recipe, using whatever veg is hanging around, so I can't give you a link.

FRIDAY: I'm travelling back to River Cottage to have Spoufflé - not exactly a recipe, but it gives you idea enough of what it is. I'm probably going to adapt the bechemel sauce to a Hairy Dieters sauce. Let's hope it doesn't all go pear shaped!

SATURDAY: Today is the day of the Cycle Club's outing for the Telethon - this is the French version of Children in Need. Every year the St Just Cyclos team up with the Cycle Club of StGermain Laval, down the road. They cycle from one town to the other, stopping in various locations to demand money from people and to drink large quantities of aperos. They then descend on the other town for lunch, when large quantities of wine and food are consumed, for the ride back to the first town where they left their cars. This year it's St Germain / St Just/ St Germain so we're providing lunch. This will be my annual foray into the land of Choucroute (not a dish I particularly like, but I can manage it once a year!)
As you can see, it consists of boiled potatoes, fermented cabbage and a startling array of pork products. Miam,miam! 

SUNDAY: Our friends Mij and Bill are coming over from t'other side of the mountain for lunch. I think we'll have Warm Butternut Squash and Mushroom Salad (scroll down for the recipe) - which is another River Cottage old favourite - followed by the Hairy Dieter's Spanish Chicken Bake .After that, I don't know. I'm not very creative when it comes to puddings...How about a festive (sort of) apple-and-mincemeat pie? I have a jar of mincemeat from last year, and I can buy apples and puff pastry. Yes! That's decided then...and I might make proper custard too.

* * * * * 
Thank you for your comments on my last post.  
Pom Pom - you can't eat cheese??? Is that by choice or necessity? I think I would be heartily upset if I couldn't eat cheese! I have cut down my consumption quite a lot, but I still always have a slice on my morning toast (Yes, Mr FD thinks it's wierd too!)

Nana Go-go - you're right. Christmas is coming and we do plan to eat quite a lot! We're at MiL's and she is a fish eating vegetarian, so I suspect we might be having fish on Christmas Day. Not that I mind, too much, as I'm not a great turkey fan. It might be a little healthier - but there'll still be all the extra goodies as well!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Hello everyone

Just popped in to tell you about today's lunch - delicious.

Chop a bit of chorizo, a few mushrooms, a leek, half a yellow pepper, some cherry tomatoes, half a bal of mozzarella into bits. Throw into a greased (I forgot this bit) baking dish.
Mix together 3 eggs, beaten, a glop of creme fraiche, about 20 cl semiskimmed milk, black pepper, salt and herbs. Pour over the veggies.
Sprinkle on some grated cheese and bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes until set. But not too set.

We had this with oven chips and salad. I didn't take a photo, I was too busy eating it! 

Also, Hello, hello! to my newest follower, Aninha. I don't know how you found me, but I'm glad you did. Your cats are lovely! In fact, I'm going to make a link to Anhinha's site, because there's a picture of a cat on there which, for some reason, made Mr FD and I howl wth laughter. I think it's the fact that the cat does look very like George, and the expression on the cat's face that is so funny! Go here and tell me what you think.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

I made you a cookie...

Excitement! Excitement! Another Follower (or should that be two followers, as it's Jane-and-Chris?! Actually, as they have thirteen cats -thirteen?! We think that 4 is possibly too many! - maybe I have 15 new followers!) Anyway, however many you are, Welcome and I hope you find something to interest you.
I'm not going to make cookies today - I made some for a new "incomer" to the area on Monday. They weren't that good I made Oat and Apple cookies, but I'm not sure I cooked them for long enough. They tadted a bit undercooked and were very crumbly. However I am going to make Hairy Lemon Drizzle cupcakes.  But I'm going to use the recipe to make a tray bake, rather than cup cakes, which means that I can cut the bake into more portions (I'm hoping to get 16 out of the quantity) making them less calorific.(125 calories each instead of 167) I haven't got blueberries either, so I'll use raisins - but fewer of them. In fact, a quick calculation tells me that the100g of blueberries in the recipe gives you 57 calories. To match that, I can only use 25g of raisins! Hardly worth the effort!! Still, I'll see what 25g of raisins looks like and then decide.
Despite saying last week that it would be a small shop, I still managed to spend almost 100€ in bits. And that doesn't include the 312€ excess I had to pay to have the bumped door replaced on the car. It's done now. Mr FD is pleased because the car got valeted inside and out, so it has a shiny clean smell about it. I suppose I ought to clear out all the sweetie wrappers now! We ate a lot from cupboard and freezer, but somehow I still found myself buying a lot. Last week, when I blogged, I wasn't sure what I was going to buy for dinner tomorrow; ShCarrefour had an offer on Red Label chickens (that's the label to show that they are humanely raised) so I bought a big corn fed one. I'm going to try cooking it in the slow cooker tomorrow - never done it before, but I've seen it recommended in several places. However, I think I'll use a lemon rather than the orange that the blogger used. I love lemon and herb chicken! I'll slow cook some potatoes too, wrapped in foil at the bottom of the slow cooker, for the chicken to rest on. 

For the rest of the week...
MONDAY - I've taken a box of vegetable curry from the freezer. We'll have that, with some left over chicken added, and some rice.

TUESDAY - Chicken and mushroom pasta. Made up recipe, but I think it will consist of:
  •  sauté a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in a tsp of oil. Add some chopped mushrooms. 
  • Cook pasta. 
  • Meanwhile add a tbsp of pesto, some chopped chicken and a tbsp of reduced fat creme fraiche to the onion mixture. 
  • When the pasta is cooked, tip into the sauce and mix well. Add a shaving or two of parmesan and enjoy!

WEDNESDAY - Mr FD made a very nice merguez-and-rice-sort-of-chilli last week, while I was out carousing with Cathy and Alison. There was (just) enough for two portions to go in the freezer. I think we will have that tonight. I might make some garlic bread to go with it, if there isn't enough.

THURSDAY - Hairy salmon with chilli and ginger sauce I don't have, and won't be buying, ginger in syrup, but I will "busk" with the ingredients I've got to make something similar. I'll also use the chicken carcase to make soup for supper. But then, you probably don't need telling that, do you?

FRIDAY - I think I might make a chorizo, pepper and onion frittata to have with salad and maybe some Slimming World spicy potato wedges. I've got half a chorizo sausage in the fridge, so that should be okay.

SATURDAY - I think I might make a pizza for tonight. If I can use pizza dough to make a reduced calorie pie, why not use it to make a pizza?! So, vegetable and lower calorie mozzarella pizza for tonight, with more salad. Mmmmmm. I'm already looking forward to it!

SUNDAY - Pizza for lunch, and then for dinner we'll go for Hairy Beef and Ale casserole - using 500ml dark ale for 6 people, plus 1 kg braising steak, onions, parsnips and carrots I think this will be very tasty. 
Although the cost for the meat will be quite high, I will get 3 meals-worth for 2 people from it, so it shouldn't be a problem. I think I will cook it in the slow cooker and then portion it out, putting  sliced cooked potatoes on top. That way, it can be frozen as a complete meal and, when I warm it through, the potatoes will crisp up in the oven.

PS You may remember I had an already opened tin of French baked beans to use, which I wasn't sure quite how to use. I finally used all the scrag end of veggies from the fridge bottom and the beans to make a thick soup. Which was very well received by Mr FD and has given us some very hearty lunches.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Menu Planning this week

Because of Aaron's visit over the weekend, we ate things that hadn't been planned, meaning I have ingredients to use up. No problem! I hope to get away with a small, low cost shop at ShCarrefour (This is the supermarket in the village. It used to be Shopi, but is now Carrefour Contact. Of course, we often forget and start to call it Shopi. Hence its new name ShCarrefour. I feel a little like Sean Connery when I say it. I don't know why) especially as I have a voucher for 10€. That will help.

MONDAY: We are out (again!!!) This time at Monique and Michel's, just across the road. They always put on an enormous spread...last time we ate foie gras, king prawns and dessert. This time, I'm taking dessert - a low calorie (not!) Banoffi Pie. I suppose I should have tought about trying to make a low calorie dessert, but I know that they love this, so, well! Why not? I only need have a small piece.

TUESDAY: Lamb Tagine leftovers from Sunday. It was delicious - though maybe a bit too spicy for me.. The recipe was for 4 people, so I used half the amount of lamb, but the given amounts for the other ingredients (tomatoes, chickpeas and sweet potato) so we have a slightly-light-on-meat-but-full-of-everything-else second go at the pot!

WEDNESDAY: Sausage & bean hotpot. OK, so this might not be VERY low fat, as it's difficult to get reduced fat sausages. However, I bought a tin of French baked beans by accident, and then opened them yesterday, thinking they were chickpeas, so I need to find a way of using them up fairly shortly. This looks quite possible - and I'll try to get Merguez sausages, which will add some spiciness to the mix!
THURSDAY: Bacon and chilli pasta, as planned last week, but not cooked. We have the bacon and tomatoes and pasta already.

FRIDAY: Felafels and hummus as already planned. I'll make a salad to go with this, and we'll probably just have it with bread.

SATURDAY: There's a Hairy Cheese and potato pie in the freezer. We'll have than with a baked vegetable dish of some description - to give a bit of "sauce" to it. A seasonal version of ratatouille.

SUNDAY: I'm really not quite sure! I think there is a piece of meat of some description in the freezer. I'll check. If not, I think I may buy a chicken and roast that. We'll have a traditional roast chicken dinner, and then I will make a chicken-and-vegetable pasta bake for Monday.

So that's our not-much-of-a-shop week. Just the fresh stuff - vegetables, yoghurts, milk, bread, plus some things for sandwiches to buy. Plus the aforementioned chicken.

* * * * *

Angela : thank you for helping me get in touch with Mags last week. It's great that we have a little network set up!! and Mags, Aaron told me all about you! Hah! I know everything now (well, not really!)

PomPom, you said you didn't know cyclists ate like that... well, I've lived with a cyclist for quite a while now. Mr FD claims that on a usual Saturday afternoon ride, he will expend at least 2,500 calories. As Aaron has been cycling over Alps and so on, with a bike + load weighing about 20kg, he needed to refuel more than that. And he is young too, with the young person's voracious appetite! He seemed to enjoy everything we gave him, so that's good!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Vast amounts of Food disappear!

Goodness, don't young people eat a lot? Especially young people who are refuelling having cycled from Istanbul, by way of the Alps!

(Aaron is a little bit older than the baby in this photo. I suspect this child couldn't quite reach the pedals on a bike yet. ) (source)

We have had the pleasure of hosting Aaron, from this site , for a couple of nights. There was a flurry of panic on Wednesday, as due to a misunderstanding, we thought he was arriving that day. But he turned up on Friday, Mr FD riding down about 20 km to meet him. On arrival, he devoured huge amounts of beer, crisps, soup, ham, potato gratin, salad, cheese, flapjack and profiteroles. The following day, I fed him croissants and cereal, for breakfast, then more soup, bread and meat for lunch. He decided to stay over on Saturday too, as  it was due to rain all day and Ireland were playing South Africa at rugby, and we have UK television! I was at a very tedious AGM, and Mr FD was working so we left Aaron to his own devices in the morning. In the afternoon, he and Mr FD moved an old fridge/freezer to the cellar (I've been waiting over 9 months for it to leave the dining room!)  and then watched the Wales/Argentina match.

Then we went up to Cathy's for a raclette and a maple-and-walnut tart. Huge quantities of meat, potatoes, salad, and cheese went to fuel Aaron for the next leg of his journey. Then we watched "Sideways" on Cathy's big screen
before going back home where Mr FD and Aaron watched the aforementioned now-recorded rugby match. I went to bed.

Then this morning, Aaron loaded his bike and he and Mr FD rode off up the hill outside our front door. Aaron was heading for Taizé, where someone he knew had offered more hospitality, while Mr FD went along for the ride. I drove out later to collect my husband at Briannon. Aaron had continued, taking the flapjack with him!

It was a real pleasure to welcome such an interesting young man into our home. I hope that we stay in contact, and maybe meet up again some time. Thank you Mags for the introduction!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Untitled 2

It's only untitled because I'm feeling uncreative and uninspired. Sorry!

In the comments from last post, PomPom encouraged me to google some chowder recipes, after Mags had said she'd eaten some chowder and I confessed to not really knowing what it was. I had vague recollections of reading about both clam chowder and corn chowder - neither really appeals. I like sweetcorn as kernels, but I'm not wild about it when it's been liquidised. I think it becomes a bit gloopy, nor am I turned on by the thought of fishy soups - I recall rather unpleasant corn and crab soups at second-rate Chinese restaurants (though, to be fair, I adore a good, spicy provençal fish soup, with croutons, cheese and garlicky aioli to plop into it. Mmmmmmm!) However, on this site there are other vegetarian chowders too...but I have to say, I'm not sure the Hairy Dieters would approve - they all seem a bit creamy. Though this roasted sweet potato chowder might pass the Hairy Dieters test!

I'm a bit "off" my Boys at the moment. Like I said last week, the Hairy Dieter's recipes are a bit meat heavy. So I've gone elsewhere for one or two other recipes this week. I need to pull my socks up, as we've had quite a few indulgent meals recently, and in fact for the first time since I started, I put on weight - 500g up from last week. That's not good. But, I'm not going to beat myself up - I know why it happened. I enjoyed the reasons it happened, so there you go. I don't think I will quite reach my target of losing 6 kg in 10 weeks, but if I can manage 5 kg, then that's all good. Exercise is the key - swimming once a week plus two longish walks is good, if I can do it - with less wine and rich food. 

So, last week I didn't cook the lamb Tagine on Sunday as planned. See here to find out why. So the lamb is in the freezer, waiting for another time. We didn't have the cottage pie either - instead (because I'd done a lot of exercise, and felt I could treat us a little) we had chilli with garlic bread. Unfortunately, I'd also opened a bottle of wine to have with Cathy, and I finished that off too! I think I treated myself too well!

This week:
MONDAY: (yesterday) I had some pastry to use up and made a chorizo and vegetable quiche. We had that with oven chips and coleslaw.
TUESDAY: (today) Aubergine bake and a veal escalope. 
WEDNESDAY: (tomorrow!)Hairy coconut prawn curry . In this blogpost the author describes how she made the curry. I think it gives enough detail, should you wish to follow the recipe.
THURSDAY: We're going to try Hairy Haddock, spinach and egg pots. I can't find a recipe on the internet, so I shall describe the dish as pots of a spinach, smoked haddock, creme fraiche, and onion mix, with eggs baked into the little pots. When we went to the Belgian restaurant last week, several of the party had these, but with smoked salmon instead. As smoked salmon is easier to find than smoked haddock, I am going to use that instead. We'll have this with a salad and some bread, I think. 
FRIDAY: Today I'm off the Hairy Ones, and back to a tried-and-tested Slimming World recipe: bacon and chilli pasta. Keeping the amount of pasta to 50g per person, I don't think Si and Dave can complain too much about this.
SATURDAY: I think we'll go for a vegetarian meal again, of felafels, houmous, salad and flat breads (tortillas) I've made these before, and I remember they were yummy and easy to make.
SUNDAY: As I've got the lamb, I'll try for the Tagine again (see last week for the recipe). 

Oh dear! I do love my food so much! If they invented a pill that took the place of meals, I certainly wouldn't be interested. I love the whole food experience too much! I can still taste delicious rose veal escalope from lunch!  

We are planning a film night up at Cathy's this week, and we may well be going over to friends' for apéro-diner another evening, so this week's menu definitely has to include "movable feasts". If necessary, I can cut out the bacon pasta, or the eggs, or the felafels, as they all use ingredients that are tinned (chickpeas), will keep until next week (bacon lardons, eggs, frozen spinach) or we can use for lunch instead (smoked salmon) 

And finally, a big, ( no, that's not big enough) huge 
to Mags who sent me a CD which I received today. It is 
I love this band from No'rn Ireland. I can't choose a favourite, so here is the first song on the CD for you to enjoy. "Praise like Fireworks" - quite suitable for the day after Bonfire Night! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Stuffed like a Christmas turkey!

We went out last night for dinner. A friend of ours, Richard, took Cathy, her mum & sister, Mr FD and me out for a meal to celebrate a windfall he had received, and to reciprocate for meals he has had with us. (At the moment, he is living in a caravan while renovating a ruin, so he can't have people for a meal) We went to La Murette, a Belgian/French run restaurant/Auberge about 10 minutes drive from here
The choice wasn't huge, it being out of season, but what there was was delicious. I had good intentions of choosing healthy options - well, there wasn't really anything "healthy" so I just went for it! And ate too much!
I started with mussels, crispy coated in breadcrumbs and fried, with tartare sauce. And salad! I had salad!! Then Carbonade - a rich stew of beef cheek cooked in beer, served with chips. Unfortunately, the chef served out our portions, but then brought the rest to the table - and, when tempted like that, I have no willpower. I had seconds! Then cheese, and finally tarte aux myrtilles

We had coffee, which was served with a glass of avocaat (Yuck! Just like drinking liquid snot!) and then the chef/owner brought us a free glass of liqueur - which was much nicer than the snot-in-a-glass!

My stomach felt stretched to bursting point, and I rather regretted my greed during the night - slight indigestion, and just not sleeping too well. This morning I didn't want breakfast - I just had my Danacol yoghurt and coffee - and this lunch time, I still feel full. I met Cathy and her family for a coffee, while they had an early lunch, and pinched a couple of chips from Cathy's plate. I really didn't feel much inclined to have anything else! I will cook for Mr FD, when he returns in an hour from work, but I may only have a slice of toast. I might have my main meal this evening, when I feel more like eating again.

Here is another photo of the restaurant
Not that you can see much of it!

PS, I forgot to say "welcome and hello" to my newest Follower. How lucky I am to have so many Followers. Please do comment occasionally, even if it is just "Hello" - it's nice to know somebody reads this blog! And don't forget there's also View From the Teapot, which is my other blog. You can visit that too!