23 October 2012

The latest meal plan - making the most of what is in already!

October is a month of great import in the Jenny Eatwell household, for it harbors the birthday of son & heir.  He is in the interesting position of having been born on Halloween - 31st October.  Well, we've never been at a loss for party themes, if nothing else.

It's funny how these things work, as having been born on Halloween, we got to take the little chap home from the hospital on Guy Fawkes night.  We always thought he'd turn out to be some kind of scientist, but it appears that he's dead set (see what I did there?) on being a Bass guitarist.

As he's grown older, the expense of his birthday hasn't lessened in any way at all.  At one time, he wanted to entertain large groups of friends at the local soft play area, then we moved on to parties at home and from there to rather more select gatherings of friends who attended cinema viewings.  For instance, one year, he went with a friend to the local cinema's premiere of Quantum of Solace, which just happened to be on the very day.  He's currently on course to see Skyfall very soon after its release date.  So, for all that the parties have got more affordable, the days of being able to buy him a Nerf gun and knowing he'll be bowled over by it, are long gone.

Oh to be so young, so good looking and to have such a view!

All of which might go a little way towards explaining why hubby and I were taking inventory of what we had in the cupboards and freezer, before doing this week's meal plan!

I think it's good to have a bit of a stock take from time to time, as there are inevitably single chicken legs that get pushed to the back of the freezer and half packs of pasta that end up crammed beside the cans in the cupboards.

So, here's what we're planning on having, this week :

Tues : Bacon, cheddar & sundried tomato risotto
Wed : Smoked Brie & asparagus tart with watercress salad and mini roast potatoes
Thurs : Bacon & onion pudding, carrot & swede mash, green beans and peas
Fri : Pork & Apple Sausage Rolls with baked beans & hash browns.
Sat : Veal Marsala with carrots, broccoli, beans and mashed potatoes
Sun : Pulled pork with roast potatoes & parsnips, creamed courgette & mushrooms, peas, carrots and Yorkshire Puddings
Mon : Beef mince & stuff.

Shallots - check!
In order to make Tuesday's risotto, the only thing we needed to buy were some shallots.  We already had the bacon, cheddar and sundried tomatoes, risotto rice, stock and herbs in the kitchen.

Wednesday's Smoked Brie & Asparagus tart is born of a trip to The Dorset Smokery last Saturday - fantastic little gem of a place, do go if you're in the area (Hurn, in Dorset).  We picked up a piece of their lovely smoked Brie and it was just asking to be used in a more interesting way than simply on crackers.  I also had the Filo pastry in the fridge, left over from last week's Goats cheese, leek & hazelnut tart.  I've still got an avocado for the salad and of course, the potatoes are always in the cupboard.

The Bacon & Onion Pudding I sampled at Harvey's Restaurant, Poole
Thursday's Bacon & onion pudding is one which perhaps we shouldn't shout about too loudly, as it is about as good for us as a large Devon Cream tea.  However, it is something that we've been wanting to make for a very long time - and hubby has finally caved and volunteered to the task.  We'll have to buy in the bacon and vegetables to go with it, but everything else is in the cupboards.

This is going to be an exciting one, as neither of us has made a steamed suet-style pudding in the past.  We're planning on using the slow cooker to steam it - which is how my Mum cooks her Christmas Puddings, so should work perfectly.

Oh dear, I've just reminded myself that I've volunteered to cook the family's Christmas Puddings this year.  I must have been mad.

Anyway - that brings us on to Friday's Pork & Apple Sausage Rolls, which will consist of the leftovers from the Pulled Pork that I made for last Sunday's dinner, with some additional sausagemeat and apple from our fruit stocks in the fridge.  We've always got baked beans in the cupboard and might have to buy in some Hash Browns, depending on how many are left in the freezer and whether I decide I want one, or not!

Saturday's Veal Marsala, is just a simple matter of providing the vegetables to go with it - which will be a combination of newly bought in and leftovers from the week.  We have got the veal in the freezer already and we finally managed to lay our hands on a bottle of Marsala the other week.  Everything else I might require for the veal, I've already got.

Just like this - but with different veggies!
Sunday's Pulled Pork roast dinner is using up the other half of the 2kg Pork Shoulder joint that we bought at a marked down price a couple of weeks ago.  Once the meat had cooled, I separated it into three roast dinner portions in one bag and the remainder went into another bag that I'm using for the sausage rolls, above.  Again, we'll just need to provide the vegetables to go with this - I've even frozen a portion of the stock that I used for the gravy.

Not a million miles from this - but with more colour!
Monday's Mince & Stuff (its official title) is a family favourite.  Basically, it is a pack of beef mince that gets browned to the point of caramelisation, together with cooked rice and any old thing that you might happen across in the way of additional ingredients.  So any bits of leftover vegetables will get used up here (particularly the mushrooms and courgettes) and the only thing we've bought in for it will be a yellow capsicum pepper.  Onion is a definite ingredient, as is garlic, along with some denomination of spicing (cumin and coriander, or paprika maybe - we've three types of paprika to choose from).  Mince & stuff is one of the pilaff-type dishes that is very forgiving and accepts just about anything and everything you want to throw at it.

With a little dollop of my spiced rhubarb chutney alongside, it just can't go wrong.

Well, I'm looking forward to this week - I dunno about anyone else!  Just don't remind me about those Christmas Puddings ....


  1. Replies
    1. Oh hubby? Can you get the camp bed out for Ali, please? lol :)

  2. Just to let you know that your link to Food on Friday: Chicken was featured in my Need Some Inspiration? Series today. Cheers

  3. Birthday wishes to your son and hubby!

    Your menu sounds delicious this week! What time shall I be around!?!


    1. Don't encourage hubby, Anne - his birthday isn't until March! He'll be demanding presents, if he reads this! LOL Erm .. so which day will you be over, or shall we book you in for all six? (Well, you've missed the risotto I'm afraid - it was very nice!).


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