8 November 2012

So does starting with a Takeaway, constitute a meal planning fail?

Bacon pea & mint pasta
I suspect it probably does - but it had been an absolute aeon since we'd had an Indian takeaway and, although I'd been lusting after a Chicken Tikka Masala, I eventually plumped for a Lamb Biryani with Vegetable curry, together with a Saag bhajee and Peshwari naan to share amongst the three of us.

I know, it was frivolous and shameful - but boy oh boy, did it taste good!

I've posted the photograph of the meal up on Rhubarb & Ginger's Facebook page, together with a few other Facebook pages and had a mixture of reactions to it.  They range from "you eat that?" to "cor, I would!".  The funniest reaction - for me - was from my lovely friend Jasvinder Singh, who lives in Northern India and who professed that the photograph left him cold!  I keep telling him - it's a whole different world here to where he is!

Takeaway : makes my mouth water - but then I know how it tasted!

Last week got away from me before I could post up the menu plan, but we had some great meals.  Those that will be blogged in due course included a Chicken Paprikash and a Spiced vegetable and lentil soup that I loved but that left hubby feeling distinctly "meh!".

So what's on the menu for this week then?  Well, I think we've got some interesting meals coming up :

Tues : (should have been Bacon pea & mint pasta) Indian takeaway
Weds : (should have been Nasi Goreng) Bacon pea & mint pasta
Thurs : Seco de Chivo (or "Dry Goat") with either rice or couscous
Fri : Hampshire Hash with vegetables
Sat : Fish & Pea Cakes, new potatoes, carrots, asparagus & tartare sauce
Sun : Osso bucco with Risotto Milanese
Mon : Crunchy fish and slavering mice.

Of course, "interesting" doesn't always equate to "nice" or "moreish", but we'll wait and see!

To expand a little - well, Tuesday I've explained already.  Wednesday (last night) I made the Bacon pea and mint pasta and very delicious it was too.  The fresh mint in the sauce just lifts the pea flavour - and pea & bacon is a match made in heaven.  With the creamy sauce from the creme fraiche and a good dose of ground black pepper to add a little warmth in the background, it really is very good indeed.  I used conchiglie pasta this time as I had a bag in the cupboard needing using up - and I particularly enjoyed the way that two peas could snuggle up inside each conchiglie.  Add a piece of bacon on top and you were away.

The planned Nasi Goreng will have to wait until next week.  I can do so easily as most of the ingredients are storecupboard stock, plus the chicken and prawns are safely in the freezer, so can't go off.

Goat meat - looks innocent enough!
Tonight's Seco de Chivo (or "dry goat") is my first venture into cooking goat.  The lovely people at Farmer's Choice Free Range sent me the pack of goat meat to play with (along with the British Rose Veal for the Osso Bucco).  Now the obvious thing to make would have been a Curried Goat, but I just wanted to try something else - something not quite so obvious.  So, following exhaustive research - no seriously, I spent about 3 days looking at various recipes - I settled upon the Seco de Chivo.  I have opted to use the slow cooker for the recipe, which uses flavours like red onion, garlic, green peppers, cumin, chilli, tomatoes, oregano, celery, allspice and coriander - along with a light beer.  Now how intriguing does that lot sound?

I'm also exploring the idea of making a couscous to accompany it, using some absolutely out of this worldly huge and succulent dates that I found in the greengrocer just yesterday - and my new bottle of pomegranate molasses.

So, to say that I'm "stepping outside my comfort zone" would be putting it mildly, for today.

Mind you, I'm firmly back in the comfort zone with the Hampshire Hash for tomorrow.  Hampshire Hash is a minced beef and potato dish along the lines of a Cottage Pie, except instead of mashed potato on top, it uses small cubes of potato tossed in a mayonnaise/tomato ketchup mix.  Yes, I know, it sounds gross - but it is one of my real favourites.  I've made this in the past - quite a long time ago now - and haven't been too careful about the degree of grease that is involved.  As a result, I will admit that the dish has become quite atrociously greasy (but I kind of like that!).  This time, as I'm cooking it for the family and with half an eye to making it a lot healthier, it should turn out to be an awful lot lighter in calorific value! I need to ensure that I keep the flavour, whilst reducing the fat.  The minced beef can include some of the warming curry spices, so I'm hoping to wind up with a slightly different, but much more healthy version.

Hubby's in the kitchen on Saturday, when he's intending on pushing his fishcake recipe to another level.  I won't spoil his thunder by expanding on his plans - you'll just have to wait and see whether it works!

The slow cooker is back in work on Sunday, when I'll be making use of the British Rose Veal that Farmers Choice sent.  I've never made Osso Bucco, but over the years have gone from feeling revolted by the very idea (during my brief vegetarian phase), to liking the idea but being put off by the bones (some 20 years ago), until finally I'm keen to make the dish.  I was surprised at how easy it appears to be to make - but then aren't some of the best dishes the easiest?

I gather that the best accompaniment to Osso Bucco is to make a Risotto Milanese (or Saffron risotto).  Now don't be too outraged, but I'm threatening to make the risotto myself - *gasp*!  I know, I know, why make risotto when you've a Risotto Making Maestro in the house?  Well, I figure that it'll be good to know HOW to make a risotto, even if it's the only one I do ever make.

Photo c/o BBC Good Food website - that's what I'm aiming for!
So all these new and interesting meals brings us to Monday, when a dose of reality bites - and we have a day off, involving crunchy fish (haddock or cod portions in batter or breadcrumbs) and slavering mice (a.k.a. savoury rice).  I love savoury rice.  The flavour takes me back to when I owned the horses and a quick dinner of a Chicken Kiev with savoury rice was about all I was capable of, once I'd come back home at about 9 or 10pm!

As for "other news", well Son & heir has managed to win himself a School Scholarship for Bass Guitar lessons - well done him! - and his musical commitments are going to be taking up a lot of time over the next week or so.  Consequently, we won't have a lot of time left for extra makes and bakes - although you never know!




  1. Some very interesting sounding dishes to look out for - particularly intrigued by Hampshire hash I must say.

    And that Indian takeaway looks like a thing of great beauty - definitely not a fail from where I'm sitting!


    1. Ah, yes, I'm looking forward to the Hampshire Hash - and I think I've a cunning method for reducing the amount of oil, so we'll have to wait and see whether it works! Yes, I think you have to have had and appreciated a British Indian Restaurant takeaway, in order to understand the full beauty - albeit arranged somewhat haphazardly and distinctly hurriedly because I was so hungry I could have eaten a scabby horse inbetween two mattresses - of that meal. LOL

  2. Well done to your son!!! Hmmm goat??? I had goats cheese last night - does that count as being adventurous - lol??? x

    1. Isn't he just a clever old stick? There was just the one place for Bass Guitar, too. We're very proud of him.

      Now then, there was a time when having goat's cheese would have been the height of risque eating for me, so I have to say that it does feature on the adventurous list, yes. LOL

  3. I think for meal planning, I will definitely put pasta in my favorite list and for easy food ordering, I go for the http://www.chefonline.co.uk.


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