Are the chocolates finished yet?!

No...They're not! We've still got half a huge box of Thorntons chocolates left and a bag of Révillons (which are very, very popular in France over the Christmas period, and which are made in I went to the factory shop to get ours!)
But we are only eating two an evening, as a dessert (for me at least) so I don't feel too guilty.

As I type, my first slow cooker (or Crockery pot, as the recipe book calles them) effort from my"new" recipe book is bubbling away. I'm cooking Lamb with Spinach & Yoghurt - I've added some garlic, and Worcester sauce to the mixture, to give it a bit more bite.

Last Thursday's Full English Breakfast (at dinner time) was met with great delight by Mr FD (and by me!) It was a bit of a pig-out, but it was definitely enjoyed!! I'd planned to save one of my chipolatas, to eat cold at lunchtime the following day, but I'm afraid I was seduced into eating it! Sadly, I used up the last of my Brown sauce - stocks of which I've forgotten to replenish whilst in the UK. Grrr. And Malt vinegar for my chips. I forgot that too. They have now been added to my "Things to ask people to bring over from the UK" list - but too late for this trip.

Next week we are back, full time, to our Healthy Eating, and to the exercise regime too. I've been über-lazy this week, doing nothing that requires effort (except a bit of cleaning) so next week is going to come as a bit of a shock! 

MONDAY: Hairy Dieter's Butternut Squash tortelini - but I'm adapting this to make a sauce to have with pasta instead of making tortellini. There's no recipe on-line, but this is (kind of) what I'm planning on doing:
Cut 500g butternut squash into chunks; toss in 1 tsp oil, salt & pepper. Roast at 200°C for about 35 minutes until tender. Slice a small red onion, toss in same bowl, put in oven with squash for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Zuzz mixture in blender. Add 25g grated parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp low fat creme fraiche, handful basil leaves (or a tbsp of pesto) and two big handfuls baby spinach leaves. Heat gently. If sauce is too thick, let down with some semi skimmed milk or water. Serve over cooked pasta.

TUESDAY: Hairy Vegetable Tagine - again an adaptation, as theirs is a lamb tagine. I'm using aubergine in place of the lamb, but otherwise following the recipe (which I can't find on line!). This is a similar version - though not exactly what I'll be making. I'll cook this on Monday, when the squash is roasting for the pasta sauce, because I have another student (woo-hoo!) on Tuesday evening so will get home late. I can just blast it in the microwave while preparing the cous-cous.

WEDNESDAY: Another slow cooker recipe. This one is Slow Cooker Spicy honey glazed chicken 
INGREDIENTS: 1 jointed rabbit (but I'm using chicken legs)
100g butter (I'm using a lot less!)                             6 tbsp honey
300ml chicken stock                                                 2 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tsp curry powder                                                   seasoning
METHOD: Turn the cooker onto HIGH for 20 minutes. Cream the butter, honey, mustard & curry powder together. Coat the rabbit/chicken. Put meat into cooker and pour over the warm stock. Cover & cook on LOW for 6 - 8 hours, or on HIGH for 3 - 4 hours. Baste with the stock before serving
We'll have this with pasta, and carrots. Maybe steamed cabbage too, as I bought a large red cabbage for no real reason...!

THURSDAY: Hairy Mediterranean Burgers  with Slimming World chips and Home made (red cabbage!) coleslaw. I'll grate an apple into this, and maybe add some celery too, if I can find any (it's surprisingly difficult in France to find good crispy celery)

FRIDAY: Slimming World Pasta Arrabiata - a nice quick vegetarian sauce. If I have a spare courgette I may add that to the mix. Or maybe some olives.

SATURDAY: Lentil & tomato cottage pie This is a really good hearty cottage pie - very enjoyable. It may be made with a topping that is a mixture of ordinary and sweet potatoes. It depends on whether Lidl have sweet potatoes or not. I should have one left from this week, but that probably won't be enough to cover a whole pie.

SUNDAY: Slow Cooker Pork Catalane
INGREDIENTS: 1 kg pork steak (I'll use less.)            2-3 tbsp oil (and less of this too)
1 onion, sliced                                                              2 cloves garlic, chopped
175g mushrooms, chopped                                         1 green pepper, deseeded & sliced
200g tinned tomatoes                                                 Mixed herbs, to taste
1 tbsp flour                                                                1 glass white wine (goody! We can drink the rest!)
300 ml chicken stock                                                 Handful black/green olives + chopped parsley
METHOD: Turn the cooker to HIGH for 20 minutes. Cut the meat into cubes, heat the oil & brown the meat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add everything else & cook briefly. Cover & cook on HIGH for 30 minutes, then on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. Garnish with the olives & parsley, & then continue cooking on HIGH for about 10 more minutes.

As I read the recipes in the book, I begin to see that in fact one is supposed to do the browning of meat etc IN the slow cooker itself. I've never done this, always cooking/browning stuff on the hob before putting it into the slow cooker. What are other people's experiences of this? I'd be interested to know.

LUNCH/SUPPERS : These are mostly of the soup/sandwich variety, but I am trying two new soup recipes. One is in the slow cooker, and is Oatmeal & Leek soup. Basically, follow this recipe, but put it in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on LOW instead of cooking for 50 minutes on the hob. I am a tad dubious, but you never know until you try!
The other is Hairy Golden Vegetable soup - the blogger gives a step-by-step description of what she did to make the soup. I may change my mind on this, and just make ordinary Vegetable soup, as I bought a Pot-au-Feu pack of veggies in Lidl, which will need using. I can still use the parsnips and squash that I have for the recipe, but with everything else too. Here in France, it is possible to buy barquettes, with all the veggies in that you need for a pot-au-feu, or a soup. A goodly portion of carrots, leeks, turnip, onion, and...usually something else too. Parsnips are unlikely, as panais are not very well known. I have had a lump of swede included before now; this time it's a sachet of herbes de Provence. These are probably a bit over priced for what they are, but equally, it is convenient to have everything together. I bought one on impulse, forgetting that I already had the stuff necessary for the Golden Veg soup. Stick to the Shopping List, Fat Dormouse!
For one lunch/supper we'll have scrambled eggs on toast. This is on Thursday...We'll have used up the last lot of soup (I make enough for 3 days on Monday) I won't have time to make the next lot of soup before Friday, so we have something different on Thursday evening: something on toast, as I can buy a nice Pain aux céreals in the market on Thrsday morning.
* * * * *

I'm going to have to do an audit/ rearrange in the freezer, I think - several (most) of the slow cooker recipes are for 4/6 people, so I'm cooking the full amount (though I am cutting down the meat rations) and planning on freezing the remainders - but I've got lots of stuff in the freezer that is taking up lots of space and probably needs eating soon.

No comments to reply to?! Where are you all?



  1. Hello cooking Mouse!
    You'll have fun with that slow cooker! I just bought a new book (on my Kindle) titled Paleolithic Slow Cooker. I'll let you know how the recipes turn out. I have the same slow cooker that I've had for 34 years! It's called the Poke Along! Funny!
    Your meal plans sound delicious as usual.

  2. We don't generally eat chocs, but Lady Magnon did buy a box of Lindt chocs, for Christmas, that were quite amazing. I could easily become adicted!


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