Cats, remote controls...and Food!

Hello everybody! I hope everyone is now back into the swing of things (whatever those things are!) after the Christmas break. Usually I'm very sad to take down the Christmas decorations, but this year we haven't had any up, except some tinsel and a wreath on the front gate. I haven't taken those down yet, but I ought to do it soon. It's just that it's been so cold and wet recently I've not wanted to leave the comfort of my warm study to spend time - ooh, minutes! - inravelling tinsel.

We're now eating normally, except for finishing off the chocolates. Two a night, in place of a dessert. But I will have an apple too. Got to try to keep up the 5-a-day. Last week I gave you the menus up till tomorrow: I'm writing the blog post today, because I want to go to church (well, I'm not sure about the want - but I'm going to go to church) tomorrow and craft in the afternoon.

MONDAY: Hairy Spicy bean and vegetable stew I've made this before, and remember it as being yummy.  I'll make the full quantity (for 5) but then transform the leftovers into spicy bean and vegetable soup for the following three days' lunches/suppers

TUESDAY: This is a quick dish, because I don't get home from shopping/ teaching/ learning French until gone 7.00. So this is an old Slimming World rapid stand by - made with fresh pasta it's even quicker than the recipe states! Pasta with spring greens, garlic and chilli:
Put pasta on to cook. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil & add 2 large chopped red chillies and 4 - 5 sliced cloves of garlic. After about 2-3 minutes, add 200g shredded spring greens (or leeks if spring greens are not available) Stir fry for 5 - 6 minutes until wilted. Drain pasta, add to frying pan and toss everything together. Season to taste and add 30g grated parmesan. SERVES 4

WEDNESDAY: A slow cooker day, as I'll be in Roanne teaching until 7.00 ish. This is a dish called Stracotto; in Italian the name apparently translates as "cooked, cooked and more cooked". It can be used (if the meat is shredded) as a filling for ravioli. I'll be shredding the meat and using the remainder as a pasta sauce some time in the future. There are various recipes for this online, but here is one which is quite similar to the one I'll be using. Except mine uses a tbsp of tomato purée, and it doesn't use cream - but it might now, if I have some reduced fat creme fraiche left!

THURSDAY: I am going to revisit the Hairy Dieter's Minced beef and potato pies These worked well last time, although I made them as bigger pies to share rather than individual pies. That meant I only made two (serving 4 portions) rather than serving 6...but I used less dough, so maybe the calories evened out.  We'll have these with veggies, but obviously no more potatoes. Probably carrots and something green - broccoli, perhaps.

FRIDAY: I'm planning on buying a jambonneau at the market (a lump of cooked ham) on Thursday, so we can have a type of croque-monsieur for supper that day. So for our main meal on Friday, we'll have cold ham, potato wedges and home made coleslaw.

SATURDAY:  We're having another Hairy meal: Cod and Prawn Gratin. I hadn't noticed this was so low in calories. If anyone is following the 2:5 eating regime, this can be a 250 cal meal with a few tweaks. The blogger I've linked to goes into more detail on this. I just like it as a tasty, low calorie meal. Again, this will be with vegetables but no potatoes.

SUNDAY: I'm back to the slow cooker again. For the last few weeks I've been cooking meals for 4 in the slow cooker and freezing the remainder, so I have meals to fall back on. So far, I've got lamb with spinach, chicken in spicy sauce, pork Catalane, and Wednesday's Stracotto. This will be another meal to add to that: Mexican Pork Chops I prefer the recipe I've linked to, as it also uses kidney beans & sweetcorn, so I'll use that idea to add some more vegetable matter to the mix! My recipe uses a green pepper in place of the green chillies - and no garlic! It definitely needs pepping up a bit, I think!!

There you are! Our light meals will all be of the soup/sandwich variety, except for Thursday's Croque Monsieur Light. I made a fairly humungous bucket of very thick soup (so it can stand being thinned down a bit) with the Pot-au-Feu barquette that I bought a couple of weeks back. In fact, that barquette held so many carrots that I have about 10 left over! I am going to use some of them to make a Carrot and Applesauce cake I'll be throwing some sultanas and cranberries into the mixture too. That will go into the oven while I'm cooking tonight's Lentil Herder's Pie.

* * * * * 
It was lovely to have some comments on my last posts. It's always nice to know people are reading, and are engaged enough to comment. And look! I've found out how to change the text colour!

Pompom: you're right, I think I am enjoying my slow cooker. It has certainly made things a bit easier when I'm working, and it's lovely to come home to a hearty cooked meal, not just a quick thrown-together meal.

Cro: Argh! Lindt chocolates!!! If they were the little Lindor balls, I'm with you on the possibility of addiction setting in. I adore them...which is why we rarely have them in the house.

Ang: I'm becoming a great fan of the Hairy Dieters. I found the series a bit "twee", although I know it's their style, faux-discussing what they're doing, but the recipe book is great. it also gives a good idea about where one might be going wrong - just slugging the oil into a pan, for example, instead of measuring it. I hope you continue to find the recipes helpful.

Karen: I've not tried that recipe yet. How did it go? Mr FD is a firm fan of the food as well, because it's good and hearty, yet low fat too! Brilliant!

Linda: I've never seen Peep Show, although I do like Mitchell & Web. I think I need to do something with our remotes though - with a new sound box and the Freeview box, it now requires three remote controls to watch anything! I quite like the idea of taping them to a cat - but I suspect the cat would complain!- or else hold it to ransom:

Aninha: You ran 9 km!? Hey, well done! I can't even imagine what 9 km looks like, never mind contemplating running it! I hope your French classes go well...Mine are basically conversation with a très sympa teacher...and some homework. I wanted to gain confidence in my everyday conversation, and I think she is helping. On Wednesday I had a long chat with a pleasant couple as we waited in the Orange shop for our turn with an assistant. I understood them, and they seemed to understand me. Yay!

Crystal: I don't remember your picture of Noé with the remotes, but I'm deffo tempted to try it with George (who is the most placid of the cats) Though he may not be so accommodating if I try to mock him. They know, you know...

And to finish the Cats-and-Remote-Controls conversation:

I forgot. I have this photo to share with you too:
Big George overflowing out of Tiny Bib's basket that is on my desk. He couldn't really be comfortable, could he?!


  1. Big George is very pretty!
    The slow cooker is a nice friend when we are away from our kitchens all day. I love my bread maker. It's working on a honey wheat loaf right now! Yay!
    Your menus DO look delicious!

  2. I'm not sure that being comfortable is key to a's the principle!
    Jane x

  3. Oh dear, how comfortable is this basket! George looks very relaxed...

  4. Aww! Big George! he looks so uncomfortable but so comfortable all at the same time x

  5. Great line up of food! I LOVE the picture of the kitty demanding dinner!
    Mary x


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