Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lickety split posting today!

I really, really, REALLY must tackle my ironing pile this afternoon, so I'm not going to take too long posting. This morning Cathy and I went on an organised walk - we planned to do the 5km circuit, but it wasn't very well signposted, so we missed a turning, and ended up doing about 7 km instead. Onion soup was served to all walkers at the end. It was a lovely walk - will post pictures later (if I remember)

Food this week:
We're going to the cinema tonight to see the film about Liberace (in VO) so I think we may have a pizza or something while out.

It was going to be chilli noodles with prawns - but if we're out on Sunday, we need to finish the pork joint(planned to use this on Sunday). So we'll have Sticky honey pork with sesame greens - and maybe a few noodles. (Both recipes from my fabulous 5:2 recipe book)

Parsnip soup and prawn mayo sandwich
Out for dinner at Danièle's house.

Sandwich-in-the-car for lunch
Oven roasted herby salmon - cooked by Mr FD - for dinner.

Spicy aubergine curry (from my fabulous 5:2 recipe book) with naan bread

I'm not here. I'm going away to Toulouse where I'm going to a weekend workshop called "Opening Doors". Then on Sunday night I'm going to stay with Floss, a blogging friend. I'm rather excited about it all! Mr FD will be able to have what he wants - be that something from the freezer (brochettes...daube...merguez...) or something he's bought to cook himself (like liver. Yuck!)
And that's it!

Off to the ironing board!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Less is More?

You need to go over to View from the Teapot to see my card.

But you could stay here and read about what we're eating this week, if you want! There are some delicious recipes too!!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Post 200!!

Gosh! I'm on Post 200. There's a surprise. I wonder how many people are still popping in to see me? It would be lovely if you left a quick comment - even if it's just to say "Hello". Thank you to dear Pompom who always leaves me a little word.

Mr FD cooked a really delicious beef daube on Wednesday - it was our friend Corinne's birthday last Monday and she was all alone (son & husband in the UK, daughter at boarding school) so we invited her for dinner. She was working on Monday so she came on Wednesday. As I was working all day, Mr FD was in charge of all food. We had Mushroom, chestnut and walnut soup to start. This is a recipe from my Good Housekeeping Mediterranean Diet pull-out and it has already become a firm favourite in the Fat Dormouse-hold:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
200g vacuum packed, whole cooked chestnuts, chopped
50g walnuts
1.3 L vegetable stock
4 tbsp creme fraiche
Parsley, chopped

  • Heat the oil, and fry onions till soft. Add garlic & mushrooms and cook over a higher heat until the liquid given off has evaporated
  • Add the chestnuts, walnuts, stock & seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes. Zuzz until smooth.
  • Add the creme fraiche & gently re-heat. Check seasoning.
  • Serve, sprinkled with parsley & a drizzle of oil, if you wish.
Really easy and very delicious. Mr FD added some soaked dried wild mushrooms & their liquid to the mix, which increased the "earthiness" of the soup.

Then the daube - the recipe of which he kind of made up as he went along, I think- but it included a bottle of red wine, orange zest, beef, shallots and lardons. And it cooked for several hours in the slow cooker. Served with creamy mash, and Yve's cabbage and courgettes it made for a lovely meal - enough for 4 on Wednesday, two helpings on Friday for us and two in the freezer as well.

Cathy brought dessert - fruit pavlova. A lovely meal was had by all.

Today I had planned crispy cod, but because we had the left over daube on Friday I changed that to have the chicken and pepper pasta (planned for Friday). But in Carrefour yesterday, I found 8 turkey brochettes for 4€ and 8 merguez sausages for 2€. So we're having turkey brochettes and merguez for dinner, with soufflés Lyonnaise and a tomato/pepper/onion mix; I'll put 4 of the brochettes in the freezer though.
So, next week's menus look like this:

Lunch: Leek & egg salad (a recipe from my 5:2 recipe book)
Dinner: Baked sausages with onion marmalade, boulangère potatoes, cabbage & broccoli
This is a Mary Berry recipe, which I copied from my MiL's recipe book If it's good, I'll post it at a later date!!

Fast day
Dinner: Tandoori chicken, with tzatziki, green salad and some noodles tossed in sweet chilli oil. (about 400 calories)

 Lunch: soup and small sandwich (probably smoked salmon)
Dinner: Nutty vegetable pasta
Another GH Mediterranean Diet recipe: a "dry" sauce for pasta, made with broccoli, white wine, chilli, walnuts and borlotti beans. I couldn't find borlotti, so I'm trying it with red kidney beans. This is a "I'm not really sure about this" recipe.

Lunch: sandwich in the car
Dinner: Apéros at Cathy's - there'll be loads to eat so nothing is planned. Beans on toast are available should they be necessary, but that is unlikely!!

Fast day 
Dinner: Butternut squash frittata & salad. 
Due to my teaching schedule, Mr FD is cooking this. It's a frittata, with butternut squash. It's "exactly what it says on the tin"!! Made with ricotta cheese this is 248 calories a serving. (Because the recipe is for 6, and I'm halving it, it turns out as 372 cals a portion - still not too bad!)

Lunch: Mushrooms & lardons on toast (maybe + egg &/or beans)
Dinner: Low fat lasagne. And more salad.
This may be another Mr FD cooked dinner, or I may have time to prepare it ready for popping in the oven. I think it will be the latter. 

Lunch: Squash soup & cheese on toast
Dinner: Pork skewers wth coleslaw & potato wedges 
This is another 5:2 recipe (sans potato wedges!!) with the pork marinaded in a spicy sauce for 15 minutes or so before cooking, and the coleslaw also having a dash of piri-piri sauce in it. I bought two loin joints at a BOGOF offer in Carrefour (not often you see that) so I got two lovely lean pieces of pork for 6€. I froze them both, but will use one for this recipe and for Sunday's meal as well.


Everything here is going fine. After a long wait, a disappointment and a struggle with the plumbing that turned the air blue, we finally have a new dishwasher plumbed in. Four weeks or so of washing dishes at a sink that is about 6" too low for us has meant that we really appreciate having a dishwasher again!! Especially as during that four weeks we had MiL to stay and had people for several meals, which generated extra washing up!

We didn't ever resort to this method:

 (Well, nearly never!)

Of course the cats helped Mr FD with the plumbing in, which included Bib climbing into the dishwasher when it was open & then cowering at the back so she couldn't be hauled out. Oh! The joy of cats!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Surprise, surprise!

No, I didn't have Cilla Black leaping out of the woodwork at me (Wiki link for those for whom that cultural reference went straight overhead!) but I did have a very pleasant surprise yesterday.

I made the cauliflower crust pizza from Lavender & Lovage. I was so not sure that it was a good idea - and I was so surprised to find that actually, it worked! It wasn't exactly pizza, but it was a tasty, cheesy base upon which to put pizza-like ingredients. Mr FD couldn't believe his tastebuds!
I used a few more toppings than L&L suggested, so it went over the 245 calories that she gave - but not by much. I made a tomato sauce with a tbsp of tomato puree, a squeeze of Harissa paste and a tbsp of water, which I spread over the crust; I then put on half an onion (sliced thickly), some mushrooms, some cherry tomatoes, half-a-slice of ham, 25g mozzarella (as instructed by L&L) and a sprinkling of grated emmanthal.

It gave a very savoury base for the ingredients, with a slight cauliflower tang. It needed a knife and fork  to eat (mine stuck to the baking sheet, & came off in pieces, so I should oil it better next time) but with a salad of leaves (grace à Michel) and coleslaw made with low calorie mayo, and Yve's cabbage it was satisfying enough to keep me going through the evening.

A very pleasant surprise!

Monday, 9 September 2013

What's Cooking Tonight?!

Here are the meal plans for this week:

MONDAY: Fasting today, so not eating much (and feeling a bit light headed if truth be told!) Tonight I'm going to cook the Cauliflower crust pizza, as mentioned yesterday. On verra

TUESDAY: Lunch: Soup and rest of pizza/ cheese on toast.
Dinner: Not sure; we're at Cathy's for apéros which will mean lots of snacks and nibblies. So maybe we'll just have beans-on-toast for supper when we get back.

WEDNESDAY: I'm back to all-day teaching, so I'll have a sandwich lunch in the car.
Mr FD is cooking tonight, as I'll be late home and I think he's invited a friend over for dinner. I'm not sure if he wants me to tell him what to cook...

THURSDAY: Fasting, so not much to eat, until we have Red pepper & Ginger soup, followed by Crab Malabar for dinner. Both recipes from the 5:2 Recipe Book. The Crab Malabar is a spicy mix of crabmeat and spring onions served hot on crisp lettuce leaves. As I've found a few carbs are good to fill one up, I'm considering adding some rice to the crab mixture; the soup is 112 calories and the crab 176, so we have a few to spare!

FRIDAY: Not sure about lunch, to be honest! Something quick - scrambled eggs perhaps? - as I'm out teaching in the afternoon.
Dinner: Mr FD is probably cooking, as I think I have a teaching job until 17h30, followed by shopping, so I won't get back until about 19h30. Chicken and pepper pasta is planned - this is rom the Good Housekeeping Mediterranean diet pull-out. It's a mixture of chicken strips, red/yellow peppers, mushrooms and pasta. Fairly simple, but hopefully delicious!

SATURDAY: Crispy cod with mustard onions - and probably potato wedges and steamed cabbage (grace à Yves from last week!)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Generosity of Friends Mark II

Of course, the post that I lost was much wittier and erudite (and longer!) than this repeat can ever hope to be, as I'm feeling pissed off with myself for hitting the wrong series of keys that meant I lost the just-finished-and-doing-the-last-bit-of-primping post.

(And if you're here for the Less Is More challenge, you need to pop over to the View from the Teapot)

Anyway, back to friends, first of all:

During last week, I popped across the road to see Monique and Michel (and more importantly!) their new kitten, who is called Kitten (French, with the emphasis on the "ten") - he is gorgeous, and sweet and kittenish, attacking eveything with the kind of fearless abandon that comes with innocence.

They gave me a colander full of mirabelles, and three heads of salad. I froze most of the fruit, but made some little tartlets with some Brick pastry that I had in the fridge. A spoonful of plum jam andone of apple purée at the bottom, and then topped with a generous layer of halved mirabelles. Baked for about 20 minutes they were delicious! I also baked a vanilla sponge with mirabelles within for M&M to say "Thank You".

On Friday Mr FD did some work on a friend's computer, and Yves gave him a bottle of home fermented eau de vie aux cerises (Cherry eau de vie). This is a really strong drink, but it smells delightfully of Christmas, so I think I wil be using it to "feed" this year's Christmas cake ! Although computer repairs/web site design is Mr FD's job, and he likes to get paid for it, with friends there is often a less formal bartering method of payment.

Then yesterday, he received a text from Yves saying there was a bag of veggies for us in the Cycle Club House - another token of gratitude. A bag of vegetables? More like the contents of a greengrocer's shop!! Two huge cabbages, a cauliflower, a bag of potatoes,some onions, and three courgette/marrows. We'll be eating this stuff for weeks!
 I'm very tempted to use the cauliflower to try the cauliflower pizza crust over at  Lavender & Lovage It sounds interesting (although Mr FD - who loves his pizza - remains unconvinced!) and a novel use for cauliflower. Mind you, I was less than convinced by cauliflower "rice", so this might be the same!

We did however enjoy our steamed buttered cabbage with our yummy dinner last night. I made a recipe from this book, which I picked up half price in the UK:

It has given me some great recipes for our fasting days, which have been so good, I'm now using it for our non-fasting days!! Yesterday I made Turkey Ragout, which was really tasty:

Serves 4: 190 calories a serving.

  • 1 turkey drumstick (about 625 g)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15 baby onions/shallots
  • 3 carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 300 ml red wine
  • thyme sprigs & 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp port wine jelly (I used redcurrant jelly)
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard

  1. Remove the skin from the drumstick & make a few cuts in the flesh. Cut 1 clove of garlic into slivers and push into the cuts. Crush the other clove.
  2. Put the drumstick into a flame proof casserole dish, with the other clove of garlic, the carrots, onions, red wine and herbs. Season well, and cover. Cook in a preheated oven (180°C/350°F/GM4) for about 1 3/4 hours until the turkey is cooked.
  3. Remove the turkey & veg from the sauce & keep warm. Bring the sauce to the boil, add the remaining ingredients and boil for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Carve the turkey and serve with the veg and the sauce.
Because we weren't fasting, we had it with lots of creamy mashed potatoes and steamed, buttered cabbage. If you were fasting this plus a small portion of starch and loads of veg would be an amazingly satisfying meal.

This isn't a photo of the dish - but it looks just as delicious!
There is enough of the meat left for me to use, together with some of Yve's vegetables, in a stirfry tonight. I'll cook some rice and open a Blue Dragon sauce sachet to make a quick and easy dinner

Now on the Lost Post I told you about our meals for next week. But I'm still fed up with myself, so I'll stop now and save that for tomorrow. I'll post our menus then. Now I really, really REALLY should make some kind of effort to tidy my study. It looks terrible! There are boxes, bags, boxes of jamjars, homeless teddies and Stuff all over the floor, plus two boxes of paper and card that require carrying to the recycling bins (although the paper recycling box is a favourite hide out for Bib when Millie is chasing her, wherein she then curls up and goes to sleep. It mightn't be so attractive if I throw away the paper!)

The Generosity of Friends

Oh crap. I've just lost an hour's post. Stupid bint.
Will repost when I feel up to it!

Monday, 2 September 2013


I'm on a fast day, but - for some reason - found myself on the Hotel Chocolat website.

There are many, many things to drool over. Here is just one: a recipe for  

  • Chocolate Pastry:
  • 270g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 30g Cocoa Powder, sifted
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 extra, beaten, to glaze
  • 2 tbsp milk (if needed)
  • Filling:
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g ground almonds
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g plain flour, sifted
  • Half a vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 2 tbsp golden rum
  • 130g Milk Chocolate Drops
  • 5 tbsp cherry jam
  • Flaked almonds, for sprinkling

  • To make the chocolate pastry, put the flour, cocoa powder, butter, sugar and egg into a food processor and pulse until combined. If necessary, add a little milk to help bring the mixture together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out until large enough to line a 26cm tart tin or you could make individual tarts. Press the pastry into the tin, trim the top, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
  • Line the pastry with greaseproof paper weighed down with baking beans or rice. Bake for 15-20 minutes until almost cooked at the sides.
  • Remove the paper and beans and brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  • To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Mix in the ground almonds then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition – don’t worry if the mixture begins to split.
  • Fold in the flour and mix well. Fold in the vanilla seeds, rum and milk chocolate drops and mix until combined.
  • Spread the jam over the base of the pastry case, leaving a 2.5cm gap around the edge. Spoon the filling mixture over the jam and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until set and golden-brown. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out and serving.
 Excuse me while I just go and hide in a corner and whimper...*

I was at the Canterbury branch of Hotel Chocolat recently, buying for birthdays. I bought three different things for Cathy: Chilli truffles, Kir Royale truffles and Raspberry-and-thyme truffles. I also bought something for Mr FD's birthday, but as he reads this, I won't spoil the surprise. I'll show you tomorrow (if I have time between lessons, making samosas and onion bhajis and icing his birthday cake!)

*Actually, this is a lie. I haven't eaten anything all day (except one dried apricot) and I'm just starting to feel like I'd like something to eat. I'm not whimpering at all!