Saturday, November 22, 2014


As usual, one of the weekends near my birthday, I have a dinner party for some of my girlfriends - this year was no exception, although I did alter the menu slightly to go with a Thanksgiving theme. Usually, I cook a vegetarian feast, as one of my good friends is a vegetarian. This year, she was unable to make it (and I knew that in advance), so I decided to go with a Thanksgiving theme, as I'd been thinking about Thanksgiving anyway - it's always a bit after my birthday, but still fairly close. In the end, I invited a different vegetarian friend, kind of at the last minute, so perhaps I should have gone with a veggie theme anyway, but it was too late by then...

Here's a photo of the whole table, above, and a breakdown of the food below:

Obviously, there was a turkey. I did a crown (basically just the breast; wings and legs have been removed - much smaller and cooks much faster, so more practical in many ways) - I wrapped it in bacon to keep it moist while cooking...

Also did chantenay carrots, sweet potatoes (just baked in their skins, nothing fancy), 

a green bean casserole, some cornbread, 

and my mother's sage & onion bread stuffing - some in the end of the turkey, and some in a dish. There's no real recipe for the stuffing - it's just bread, celery and onion finely blitzed, sage, melted butter, egg, salt and pepper. Basic stuffing, but extremely yummy. I really must make it from time to time when I e.g. roast a chicken and not just at Christmas/other special occasions.

I also made my take on my mom's cranberry & orange relish (which turned out really well, though not really exactly like hers - mine was more jelled) - this has chopped cranberries, pineapple and apples and orange juice, with orange jelly (jello) - it worked well - nice and tart and fruity.  There was also some regular cranberry sauce from a jar. 

And of course, you've already seen what was for dessert!

Just desserts...

Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie for my birthday party dinner (with a Thanksgiving theme) later today - there is also a cranberry bread/cake/loaf, but it's in the oven still, so no photo yet. And possibly not later, as I am likely to forget!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


What's a birthday without a few pressies? A new cookbook (I need a new cookbook like a hole in my head I know!), a new book I've been wanting to read (The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell), some cross-stitch patterns, some hand cream of my favourite brand, a new CD (My Favourite Faded Fantasy by Damien Rice) and a bracelet from a friend. No, don't be silly, there's not a huge box of chocolate hiding behind the books - of course not!

Dinner, 19/11/14: Cottage Pie

Cooked by Geoff, which automatically puts it quite high up in my book. I like both Shepherd's Pie (with lamb mince) and Cottage Pie (with beef mince), so am happy to eat either one. In this instance, the beef mince was on special, and Geoff prefers beef, slightly. Not really a recipe for this - it just has carrot, celery, parsnip and onion cooked in with the mince (which is browned first) and some stock; then into the dish, mashed potato on top, and back into the oven to crisp up the top. A great dish to come home to, as it makes the whole house smell lovely.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dinner, 18/11/14: Frazzled chorizo & rocket linguine

A quick weeknight supper, once again brought to you by your good friends at Good Food Magazine. Would my family eat without my subscription to Good Food? Probably not...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dinner, 17/11/14: Curried Vegetable Broth

This was a nice, easy, spicy vegetable soup. It would have been nice without the onions, but they did add an extra touch of something.... Recipe from Good Food Magazine, as is so often the case!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dinner, 16/11/14: Beef Stew

It's very tricky to take an attractive photo of stew, but this one isn't too bad - still in the slow cooker.  I love using the slow-cooker on the weekend, Sunday especially, as it seems to stretch the day out a bit if you don't have to get up from whatever you are doing and cook dinner, as the weekend is beginning to wind down. Particularly in the winter, I tend to use the slow-cooker a lot on weekends; this winter will be no exception, despite my kids fussing about "always having stew" (we don't - we have lots of other slow-cooked things, too, like curries and casserole...).

There's no recipe for this stew; it's stewing beef, which I coat in seasoned flour and then fry in a little oil, before placing on top of cut up potatoes, celery, carrots, and in this instance parsnips, as I had some spare ones. A bit of beef stock in for cooking, and Bob's your uncle. Or at least, Stew's your supper.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dinner, 15/11/14: Pork Satay, Stir Fried Veg & Rice

A new recipe, which Sarah chose, to use our pork steaks which were in the freezer. This one was easy - the hardest part was threading the pork pieces on the sticks. As it's November, we used the grill rather than the barbecue, but I'm sure it would do nicely outdoors as well.  The veg isn't a recipe, just some vegetables stir-fried, and some rice. There was a dipping sauce with the satay, which went nicely with the rice & veg as well. We didn't originally plan to have two meals in a row with stir-fried veg, but this meal got bumped from earlier in the week, due to no one being home for dinner on the originally planned evening!

Recipe was from Tesco Recipe Magazine, and is an example of the fact that it sometimes takes me absolutely ages to cook something, as I don't think I've shopped in Tesco in about 10 years...maybe longer.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dinner, 14/11/14: Shredded Chicken with Sesame Seeds; Stir fried Veg & Noodles




This was Ken Hom's Shredded Chicken with Sesame Seeds, with some stir fried veg & noodles of my own making. I thought we had had the chicken before, but I can't find it on my blog. Perhaps we just had something else with the chicken done by the same method of cooking it in hot water and then adding it to the sauce - makes the chicken lovely and tender. We thought this was fantastic, and will definitely have it again. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dinner, 11/11/14: Mushroom & sausage pasta

We have this dish, or a variation on it, quite often. I searched my blog for "sausage pasta" and came up with not only this, but about 7 or 8 other pasta and sausage dishes - some creamy, some tomatoey, some other stuff. Some with mushrooms, like this one, some without. It's such an easy, go-to type meal, that it's no wonder.  But it did mean that this recipe was already posted and I didn't have to scan it in!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dinner, 10/11/14: Spicy Corn Chowder, Biscuits

Another soup from the Covent Garden Book - this one was quite spicy (which is nice) as well as simple to make. We really liked the cream in it - I had forgotten to add it at first, so the first few mouthfuls had no cream, and the subsequent ones had a little - made a huge difference to the harshness of the chili flavour - really mellowed it out.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Dinner, 9/11/14: Lamb Rogan Josh, Courgettes

This was a Slow-Cooker sort of day, using a slow-cooker recipe for Lamb Rogan Josh (a lamb curry). I picked up a whole shoulder of lamb discounted in the supermarket as it was at it's sell-by date, so I managed to get this meal, plus some for the freezer (though not a full meal for 5), for quite a good price.  Plus, it smelled lovely all day while it was cooking.

The recipe is from the book I love (spelled with a heart) my slow cooker, by Beverly LeBlanc.