Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Roundup

  • 31st: leftover Lamb pilau; curry spice courgettes
  • 30th: Cheesy Bacon Puff
  • 29th: Lamb, coconut and mango pilau
  • 28th: Chinese dumplings and takeaway
  • 27th: Penne alla Calabrese
  • 26th: Roasted Vegetable Salad
  • 25th: Spanish Style Meatballs, Roast Swede & Potatoes
  • 24th: South Indian Pepper Chicken, okra & tomatoes
  • 23rd: takeaway
  • 22nd: Spanakopita
  • 21st: Spring-into-Summer pasta
  • 20th: Red Onion and Cannelini Bean Risotto
  • 19th: Salmon with greens & creme fraiche
  • 18th: Surprise Tatin
  • 17th: Toad in the hole, peas
  • 16th: Jacket potatoes with toppings
  • 15th: Spinach and Cheese Lasagne
  • 14th: Chicken Broth
  • 13th: Leek & bacon risotto
  • 12th: Filled pasta bake
  • 11th: Meat & Veg Pasties
  • 10th: Penne with spinach, mushrooms and chives
  • 9th: Cottage Pie, peas
  • 8th: leftovers, etc
  • 7th: Mango chicken
  • 6th: Chorizo, potato & thyme quesadillas
  • 5th: Sweet potato and red lentil soup
  • 4th: Lamb, chickpea and pear tagine
  • 3rd: Frenchish chicken and red wine casserole
  • 2nd: Thai style mince with fragrant rice
  • 1st: Spiced cauliflower, potatoes and okra

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mar 30th: Cheesy Bacon Puff

Recipe Source: Good Food Magazine

Tasting Notes:  This tasted really nice, but didn't puff up as high as the recipe implied (or the photo showed) - this is possibly because I put a bit more bacon in it than the recipe called for, so perhaps the extra fat hindered it.  It wasn't flat, but just didn't get the high edge like in the photo. We had it with a big salad - it was very tasty...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mar 28th: Lamb, coconut and mango pilau

Recipe Source: Good Food Magazine

Tasting Notes:  Very tasty, and despite the fact that it requires lengthy cooking, extremely easy to do. The mango really worked well with the pilau - a great contrast in both flavour and texture. Leftovers for lunch!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mar 27th: Penne alla Calabrese

Recipe Source: Gino's Pasta, Gino  D'Acampo

Tasting notes: everyone liked this. Not surprisingly.

Monday, March 26, 2012


On my quilting & art blog, there's a list in the sidebar of what I've been reading.  At the moment, it's stupidly long, so I decided to trim it back a bit, maybe to just this year, but of course I don't want to lose the list, so I've decided the easiest thing to do is make it into a blog post, perhaps with a few divisions as to years, etc (these may be somewhat approximate, as I didn't used to put a date down in my sidebar, except for those books read for my postal book group).  I used to have a notebook wherein I wrote down the names of all the books I read (by month) and starred the ones that were particularly good - these days, I tend to use, unless I forget...

Anyway.  Here's it is, for those interested. Or just for my personal record, as the case may be.

  • The Promise of Rain, Donna Milner
  • The Story of Beautiful Girl, Rachel Simon
  • Lies, Enrique De Heriz
  • Lick Creek, Brad Kessler
  • Clara and Mr Tiffany, Susan Vreeland
  • What I Loved, Siri Hustvedt
  • The Lighthouse, Alison Moore
  • Juxtaposition, Piers Anthony (re-read)
  • The Attenbury Emeralds, Jill Paton Walsh
  • Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
  • Blue Adept, Piers Anthony (re-read)
  • The Red Queen, Margaret Drabble
  • Noah's Ark, Barbara Trapido
  • The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer (re-read)
  • Split Infinity, Piers Anthony (re-read)
  • Great House, Nicole Krauss
  • The Return of Captain John Emmett, Elizabeth Speller
  • Bleeding Heart Square, Andrew Taylor
  • The Memory Stones, Kate O'Riordan
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Tom Franklin
  • The Case of the Imaginary Detective, Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot, Jasper Fforde
  • Keeping the World Away, Margaret Forster (pbg Aug 12)
  • The St Zita Society, Ruth Rendell
  • Fixing Shadows, Susan Barrett
  • Taft, Ann Patchett
  • Your Blue-Eyed Boy, Helen Dunmore
  • The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney
  • Monday Mourning, Kathy Reichs
  • La Cucina, Lily Prior
  • Death Comes to Pemberley, PD James
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen (re-read)
  • Excellent Women, Barbara Pym (pbg July 12)
  • State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
  • Beyond Black, Hilary Mantel
  • The Underground Man, Mick Jackson
  • The White Woman on a Green Bicycle, Monique Roffey (part)
  • Stones for my Father, Trilby Kent (teen)
  • The Red House, Mark Haddon
  • State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
  • Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor
  • Aria, Susan Segal
  • The Fourth Hand, John Irving (part)
  • Bare Bones, Kathy Reichs
  • Labyrinth, Kate Mosse
  • The Post-Birthday World (half), Lionel Shriver
  • Notes from an Exhibition, Patrick Gale
  • The Magician's Assistant, Ann Patchett
  • Jamrach's Menagerie, Carol Birch
  • Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  • False Colours (reread), Georgette Heyer
  • Blue Water, Manette Ansay
  • Abhorsen (jfic, reread), Garth Nix
  • Lirael (jfic, reread), Garth Nix
  • Sabriel (jfic, reread), Garth Nix
  • Ashes (jfic), Ilsa J Bick
  • Island of Bones, Imogen Robertson
  • The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown
  • The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
  • Grave Secrets, Kathy Reichs
  • An Invisible Sign of My Own, Aimee Bender
  • The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Amnesia Clinic, James Scudamore
  • Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs
  • Good Things I Wish You, Manette Ansay
  • The Song House, Trezza Azzopardi
  • These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer (re-read)
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy, Philip Pullman (re-read)
  • Five People you Meet in Heaven, Mitch Ablom
  • The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler
  • The End of Everything, Megan Abbott
  • Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen
  • Started Early, Took my Dog, Kate Atkinson
  • Dragonharper Trilogy, Anne McCaffrey (re-read)
  • The Girl of his Dreams, Donna Leon
  • The Somnambulist, Essie Fox
  • Becoming Jane Eyre, Sheila Kohler
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins
  • Day of the Bees, Thomas Sanchez
  • The Sea Change, Elizabeth Jane Howard
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
  • Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda Eyre Ward
  • The Prince of Mist, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Hand that First Held Mine, Maggie O'Farrell (pbg, Feb 12)
  • Girl Reading, Katie Ward
  • The Death Instinct, Jed Rubenfeld
  • The Travelling Horn Player, Barbara Trapido (re-read, pbg Jan 12)
  • Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
  • The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson
  • Dark Assassin, Anne Perry


  • The Sealed Letter, Emma Donohue
  • Deadly Decisions, Kathy Reichs
  • The Whisperer, Donato Carrisi
  • God of the Hive, Laurie King
  • Beatrice and Virgil, Yann Martel
  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett (half)
  • The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obreht (pbc Dec 11)
  • The Sisters Brothers, Patrick de Witt
  • Death du Jour, Kathy Reichs
  • Blue Poppies, Jonathan Falla
  • The Piano Teacher, Janice Y K Lee
  • Cage of Stars, Jacquelyn Mitchard (pbg Nov 11)
  • Deja Dead, Kathy Reichs
  • A Presumption of Death, Jill Paton Walsh
  • The Shifting Tide, Anne Perry
  • The Riddle and the Knight, Giles Milton
  • The Great Lover, Jill Dawson
  • December, Elizabeth Winthrop
  • The Mathematics of Love, Emma Darwin
  • The Brutal Art, Jesse Kellerman
  • When God Was a Rabbit, Sarah Winman
  • The School of Night, Louis Bayard
  • The Long Song, Andrea Levy
  • The Winter Ghosts, Kate Mosse
  • The Lake Shore Limited, Sue Miller
  • Waiting for Columbus, Thomas Trofimuk
  • The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
  • The Year of Eating Dangerously, Tom Parker Bowles
  • Underfoot in Show Business, Helene Hanff (pbg July 11)
  • The Summer of the Bear, Bella Pollen
  • Grace Williams Says it Loud, Emma Henderson
  • Last Night in Twisted River, John Irving
  • The Red House Mystery, A A Milne
  • Luncheon of the Boating Party, Susan Vreeland
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Steig Larsson
  • Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie (part)
  • A Complicated Kindness, Miriam Toews
  • Dancing Backwards, Salley Vickers
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire, Steig Larsson
  • City of the Mind, Penelope Fitzgerald
  • Clare, Janice Galloway
  • Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
  • The Twisted Root, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Whited Sepulchres, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Weighed in the Balance, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • The Silent Cry, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Cain his Brother, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Sins of the Wolf, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • A Sudden Fearful Death, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Solar, Ian MacEwan
  • One Day, David Nicholls (pbg Mar 11)
  • The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford
  • The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald
  • The Rector's Daughter, F.M. Mayer
  • The Other Hand, Chris Cleave (pbg Feb 11)
  • Defend and Betray, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • A Dangerous Mourning, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Face of a Stranger, Anne Perry (re-read)
  • Howard's End is on the Landing, Susan Hill
  • C, Tom McCarthy
  • The Children's Book, A.S. Byatt


  • The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, Louis de Berniers
  • Goldengrove Unleaving, Jill Paton Walsh
  • Room, Emma Donoghue
  • In a Strange Room, Damon Galgut
  • Duplicate Keys, Jane Smiley
  • Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Margaret Forster
  • Noah's Compass, Anne Tyler
  • Ella Minnow Pea (reread), Mark Dunn (pbg Nov 10)
  • The Savage Garden, Mark Mills
  • Crown of Dust, Mary Volmer
  • Empress Orchid, Anchee Min
  • The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
  • The Food of Love, Anthony Capella
  • A Buyer's Market, Anthony Powell
  • Waltzing through Flaws, Paula Sharp
  • The Marriage Bed, Regina McBride
  • Elsewhere, Gabrielle Zevin
  • Swift as Desire, Laura Esquivel
  • My Tango with Barbara Strozzi, Russell Hoban (pbg Sept 10)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
  • Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  • The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Forest Lover, Susan Vreeland
  • Bel Canto (reread), Ann Patchett
  • The Ice Queen, Alice Hoffman
  • Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Language of Bees, Laurie R King
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
  • Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell
  • the Resurrectionist, James Bradley
  • The Angel's Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Incendiary, Chris Cleve (pbg, summer '10)
  • A Question of Upbringing, Anthony Powell
  • Journeys in the Dead Season, Spencer Jordan
  • A Map of the World, Jane Hamilton
  • Remember Me, Trezza Azzopardi
  • The Middle Kingdom, Andrea Barrett
  • The Passion of Artemesia, Susan Vreeland
  • The Boy Next Door, Irene Sabatini
  • Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland
  • Burnt Shadows, Kamila Shamshie
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
  • The Quickening Maze, Adam Foulds
  • The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver
  • My Dream of You, Nuala O'Faolain
  • The Dark Room, Rachel Seifert
  • When Will There Be Good News? Kate Atkinson
  • The Welsh Girl, Peter Ho Davies
  • The Outcast, Sadie Jones
  • Steal you Away, Niccolo Ammaniti
  • Fly in the Ointment, Anne Fine
  • The War of the Worlds, HG Wells
  • The Conjuror's Bird, Martin Davies (pbg, Apr 10)
  • Inkedeath, Cornelia Funke
  • The Lighthouse, PD James
  • Miss Wyoming, Douglas Coupland (re-read)
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier
  • The Probable Future, Alice Hoffman
  • American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld
  • The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Eva Rice (pbg)
  • Lord Sunday, Garth Nix
  • The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • The Return of John Macnab, Andrew Greig (pbg)
  • The Winter House, Nicci Gerard


  • Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
  • The Rose of Sebastopol, Katharine Macmahon
  • The Private Patient, PD James
  • Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (6 books in the series), Laurell K Hamilton
  • The Wilderness, Samantha Harvey
  • Inkspell, Cornelia Funke
  • Soul Mountain, Gao Xingjian
  • The Gathering, Anne Enright
  • The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, Siri Hustvedt
  • Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre
  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Mohammed Hanif
  • Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
  • Poppyland, Raffaela Barker
  • Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby
  • Other Eden, Sarah Bryant
  • The Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko
  • Run, Ann Patchett (pbg - Sept 09)
  • Shadow Catcher, Michelle Paver
  • The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro
  • Home, Marilynne Robinson
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence, Susan Cooper
  • A Painted House, John Grisham (pbg - Aug 09)
  • Painting Mona Lisa, Jeanne Kalogridis
  • The Pirate's Daughter, Margaret Cezair-Thompson
  • Bitter Sweets, Roopa Farooki
  • The Distant Land of my Father, Bo Caldwell
  • Random Acts of Heroic Love, Danny Scheinmann
  • Mr Toppit, Charles Elton
  • First Among Sequels, Jasper Fforde
  • The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
  • Sea of Poppies, Amitav Ghosh
  • The Unfortunates, Laurie Graham
  • Mudbound, Hillary Jordan (pbg - Jun 09)
  • The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
  • The Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim
  • A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth (finally!)
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
  • Reading the Oxford English Dictionary, Ammon Shea
  • The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber
  • Heaven's Edge, Romesh Gunesekera
  • The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (re-read)
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S Buck (pbg - May 09)
  • Enduring Love, Ian MacEwan
  • Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
  • Lost in a Good Book, Jasper Fforde
  • The Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  • The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
  • Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
  • The Scapegoat, Daphne duMaurier (pbg - Apr 09)
  • Empire Falls, Richard Russo (pbg - Apr 09)
  • In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant (pbg - Mar 09)
  • Twilight (jfic), Stephenie Meyer
  • North Child (jfic), Edith Pattou
  • The Last Girls, Lee Smith (pbg- Mar 09)
  • The House at Riverton, Kate Morton
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
  • In her Shoes, Jennifer Weiner
  • Veronica, Mary Gaitskill (pbg - Jan 09)
  • Burning Bright, Tracy Chevalier


  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (pbg - Dec 08)
  • The Enchantress of Florence, Salman Rushdie (most of it)
  • Property, Valerie Martin
  • I'm Not Scared, Niccolo Ammaniti (pbg - Nov 08)
  • People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
  • The Daughters of Egalia, Gerd Brantenberg (pbg - Oct 08)
  • A Lost Lady, Willa Cather
  • My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time, Liz Jensen (pbg - Sept 08)
  • East of the Sun, Julia Gregson
  • The Other Side of the Bridge, Mary Lawson
  • The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff
  • A Wedding in December, Anita Shreve (pbg - Jul 08)
  • Crow Lake, Mary Lawson
  • The Mysteries of Glass, Sue Gee (pbg)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club, Kate Jacobs
  • Eve Green, Susan Fletcher
  • Mother Country, Jeremy Harding (pbg - Apr 08)
  • O, Jerusalem (reread) Laurie R King
  • The Moor (reread), Laurie R King
  • A Letter of Mary (reread), Laurie R King
  • A Monstrous Regiment of Women (reread), Laurie R King
  • The Beekeeper''s Apprentice (reread), Laurie R King
  • Back when we were Grownups (reread), Anne Tyler (pbg - Mar 08)
  • Uniform Justice, Donna Leon
  • Bloodlines, Jan Burke
  • The Cross Country Quilters, Jennifer Chiaverini
  • What was lost, Catherine O'Flynn
  • Hey, Nostradamus, Douglas Coupland
  • Nella Last's War (diary) (pbg - Feb 08)
  • The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  • Restoring Grace, Katie Fforde
  • The Silver Pigs, Lindsay Davis (pbg- Jan 08)
  • Lighthousekeeping, Jeannette Winterson (pbg- Jan 08)


  • N is for Noose, Sue Grafton (pbg - Dec 07)
  • City of Light, Lauren Belfer
  • A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon
  • Anil's Ghost, Michael Ondaatje
  • The Grenadillo Box, Janet Gleeson
  • Lirael (reread), Garth Nix
  • Watership Down (reread), Richard Adams
  • The Half Life of Stars, Louise Wener
  • The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
  • Snow, Orhan Pamuk (pbg - Oct 07)
  • Now in November, Josephine Johnson (pbg - Oct 07)
  • Digging to America, Anne Tyler (pbg - Sep 07)
  • Practically Perfect, Katie Fforde
  • All 7 Harry Potter novels (the first six are re-reads)
  • Dorothy L Sayers: All the rest of the Lord Peter books (again - yes, a binge!)
  • Spring Sonata, Bernice Rubens (pbg - Aug 07)
  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards (pbg - Jul 07)
  • The Foundling, Georgette Heyer
  • The Untelling, Tayari Jones
  • Keeping the World Away, Margaret Forster
  • Tennis and the Masai, Nicholas Best (pbg- Jun 07)
  • The Secret River, Kate Grenville
  • Like Water for Chocolate (re-read), Laura Esquivel (pbg- May 07)
  • Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman (pbg - Apr 07)
  • Dorothy L Sayers: all the Peter & Harriet novels
  • Disobedience, Naomi Alderman
  • Black Swan Green, David Mitchell
  • Locked Rooms, Laurie R King
  • Eldest, Christopher Paolini
  • The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld
  • Emotionally Weird, Kate Atkinson
  • The Sea, John Banville
  • How to be Lost, Amanda Eyre Ward (pbg)
  • The Colour, Rose Tremain (pbg)
  • Case Histories, Kate Atkinson
  • The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Neffenegger
  • These Foolish Things, Deborah Moggach (postal book group)
  • Fasting, Feasting, Anita Desai


  • Every Breath you Take, Michelle Spring
  • Ragtime in Simla, Barbara Cleverly
  • The True Adventures of the Amazing Hunt Sisters (about half), Elisabeth Roberts
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
  • Round Robin, Jennifer Chiaverelli
  • Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear
  • Madam, Will You Talk?, Mary Stewart (re-read)
  • This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart (re-read)
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini
  • The Island, Victoria Hislop
  • Attention All Shipping, Charlie Connelly
  • The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier
  • The Bonesetter's Daughter, Amy Tan
  • I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (re-read)
  • Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
  • Fleshmarket Close, Ian Rankin
  • An Equal Music, Vikram Seth
  • The Amateur Marriage, Anne Tyler
  • When we Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Headmaster's Wife, Jane Haddam
  • Never Let me Go, Kazue Ishiguro
  • The Shape Changer's Wife, Sharon Shinn
  • Minaret, Leila Abouleia
  • Things we knew were true, Nicci Gerard
  • The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud, postal book group (hated this)
  • Gem Squash Tololoshe, Rachel Zadok
  • City of Falling Angels, John Berendt
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver
  • She's Come Undone (re-read), Wally Lamb
  • Sir Thursday, Garth Nix
  • The Dream Life of Sukanov, Olga Grushin
  • Astonishing Splashes of Colour
  • The Reader, Bernhard Schink
  • Life with a Star, Jiri Weil
  • Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
  • Metro Girl, Janet Evanovich
  • Housewife Down, Alison Penton Harper
  • The Olive Readers, Christina Aziz
  • Plain Song, Kent Harif


  • Shadows in the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Drowned Wednesday, Garth Nix
  • Blue Smoke, Nora Roberts
  • Grim Tuesday, Garth Nix
  • Mister Monday, Garth Nix
  • The Boy who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, Susan Hill
  • The Looking Glass Wars, Frank Beddor
  • Strangers, Taichi Yamada
  • Flora's Lot, Katie Fforde
  • Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson
  • The Quilter's Apprentice, Jennifer Chiaverelli
  • Emma Brown, Clare Boylan 

2005 covers only August - December. This is the point at which I started keeping track of my reading again, after not doing so since 2003 (I do have a book which starts in January 1999 and goes up until 2003 - I will spare you those reads, though) - I guess 2003 was really busy and I either didn't read much, or got out of the habit of writing down what I did read. Considering that my 3rd child was born in Feb 2003, I can't imagine why I was busy at all! 

Mar 26th: Roasted Vegetable salad

Recipe Source: Waitrose Magazine, unsure of date

Tasting notes: I added some swede, as I had half of one in the fridge which wanted using. It was ok, but I don't think it added much.  In general, very tasty, though of course there were complaints about the aubergine...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mar 25th: Spanish Style Meatballs, Roast Potatoes & Swede

Recipe Source: I think Good Food magazine, though I can't swear to it.

Tasting notes: not sure what was particularly Spanish about these, but they were tasty. The potatoes and swede I just cut into fingers and drizzled with olive oil, throwing in a little sage and rosemary.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mar 24th: South Indian Pepper Chicken (new)

Recipe Source: Fresh Indian: Over 80 Healthy Indian recipes, Sunil Vijayakar

Tasting Notes: we liked this - the heat, such as it was, came from black pepper rather than chilis, so it had a different type of taste to some curries, but that was nice. Very creamy, without being full of fat. A definite one to repeat. Served with okra and tomatoes (which was less popular with the kids!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mar 22nd: Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

Recipe Source: none, really. I've made this so many times, I just make it!

Tasting notes: Always a favourite. Usually I make it with at least part frozen spinach (defrosted) because otherwse you need a LOT of spinach and it's a pain.


about 6 sheets filo pastry
spinach - a lot. I use about 500g frozen spinach, defrosted and a large bag of fresh spinach
3 eggs
a bunch of spring onions, chopped
fresh nutmeg, optional
1 block feta cheese
melted butter or spray oil

To make the filling, squeeze out the frozen spinach really well and put in a mixing bowl. Pour a kettle of boiling water  over the fresh spinach, then squeeze out and chop finely; add to the bowl.  Chop and add the spring onions, break in the eggs, crumble in the feta cheese and mix well. Hands work best. Add a grating or two of fresh nutmeg if you like.

Spray a sheet of filo pastry with oil or brush with melted butter and place in the bottom of a lasagne, etc dish.  Do this again with 2 more sheets.  Add the filling, then put three more sheets of pastry on the top and bake in a medium oven (about 150C) until set and browned, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mar 21st: Spring into summer pasta

Recipe Source: Good Food Magazine

Tasting notes: nice and fresh, liked the ricotta with this, really light and fresh tasting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mar 20th: Red Onion and Cannelini Bean Risotto

Recipe Source: Sylvana Franco, Delicious Low-Fat Recipes

Tasting Notes:  Forgot to take a photo of this before it was mostly gone! Tasty, easy, etc. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mar 19th: Salmon with greens and creme fraiche

Recipe Source: Good Food Magazine

Tasting notes:  Despite not photographing well, this tasted very nice - the broad beans especially benefitted from having a sauce (frozen ones can sometimes be a bit dry). 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mar 18th: Surprise Tatin

Recipe Source: Plenty, Yottam Otolenghi
Tasting Notes:  this was really nice though it did fall apart a little when served. I used already sunblush tomatoes, rather than drying my own cherry tomatoes. We thought the puff pastry was a little thick; next time I will roll it even thinner.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mar 15th: Spinach and Cheese Lasagne

Recipe Source: Good Housekeeping: Favourite One Pot and Slow-Cook Meals

Tasting Notes: Yum. I used more spinach, a 500g bag - I chopped up a few handfuls like in the recipe, the rest, I just put in a layer under the pasta (both times).  We like spinach, though. Didn't use pine nuts as I was out and didn't feel like walking down to the local shop (our local shop does have them, though, as it's a fabulous middle eastern grocery, etc).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mar 14th: Chicken Broth

Recipe Source: The New Covent Garden Food Co; A Soup for Every Day

Tasting Notes: Other than the fact that we all like chicken soups, the attraction of this one was that it used the other half of a swede I had leftover from the Cornish Pasties the other day. It was nice, a good winter warmer. I didn't return the potatoes to the pan until everything was almost completely cooked, though.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mar 13th: Leek & bacon risotto

Recipe Source: Good Food Magazine, date unknown

Tasting notes: Very nice. Not that I precisely use a recipe for risotto, but the idea of bacon, leek and chive was a nice one. I admit, I had no parmesan cheese (unusual for us) or emmental (which would have been my second choice) so I used a bit of a nice, strong, cheddar, which worked fine.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mar 11th: Meat & Veg Pasties

Recipe Source: Hairy Bikers' Perfect Pies. 

Tasting Notes: We wonder if we aren't allowed to call them Cornish Pasties because we aren't making them in Cornwall!  Lovely, really nice and the pasty especially good. I've made Cornish Pasties before, but not using this recipe - I think I used a Rick Stein one before, which was also good, but this one edged it a bit, especially the pastry.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mar 10th: Penne with mushrooms, spinach and chives

Recipe Source; magazine, not sure which (but not Good Food as the layout and font aren't right)

Tasting notes: Really nice. The kids complained about the mushrooms, but actually, not as much as I expected. Doubled the spinach and and usual, used 500g bag of penne, which gave us some leftovers.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Mar 9th: Cottage Pie

Recipe Source: no recipe. Basically, chopped onion, carrot, parsnip and celery and beef mince (for shepherd's pie, I'd use lamb mince), brown everything and then cook with a little stock for as long as you have time to (usually 1.5 - 2 hours); then strain, reserving the cooking juices for gravy and top with mashed potato, returning to the oven to crisp up the top of the potato...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mar 7th: Mango chicken

Recipe Source: Chinese Food Made Easy, Ching-He Huang

Tasting Notes: A few changes to this one- I increased the amounts to make it feed 4 (Sarah not in for dinner tonight) and I put some carrots in, as I had no red pepper in the house. The mangoes I used were both not very ripe; I used the riper one for the puree and the greener one in the dish, which was perfect - it made it a little sour, in a good way, and the texture was nice. I did pre-cook the carrots and mango a little, rather than simply add them at the end.  Unusual, but really, really tasty.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Mar 6th: Chorizo, potato & thyme quesadillas

Recipe Source: Mexican Food Made Simple, Thomasina Miers

Tasting Notes: We all really liked this. I doubled the recipe, more or less, and there was some (but not a lot) leftover to have cold the next day in lunches, which also worked. I served it with an avocado & tomato salsa, quite basic, just avocado, tomatoes, lime juice, chopped chili - but it helped keep it nice and fresh and added a little veg to the meal!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Mar 5th: Sweet potato and red lentil soup (new)

Recipe Source: Good Food magazine, date unknown

Tasting notes: Geoff said this was a bit sweet, and I guess it was, but I like sweet potato, so it doesn't bother me. Alex loved it, but he's a soup monkey. 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mar 4th: Lamb, Chickpea and Pear Tagine (new)

Recipe Source: Lorraine Pascal, Home Cooking made simple

Tasting notes: we were originally unsure about the pear, but actually it works very well. I served this with couscous and it was a lovely, earthy, flavourful tagine, great for a really dismal March day. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mar 3rd: Frenchish Chicken and Red Wine Casserole (new)

Recipe Source: Delicious Low-Fat Recipes by Silvana Franco

Tasting Notes:  this was lovely. Often when you cook chicken without the skin, it's dry, but this was nice and juicy, from cooking in so much liquid I guess. I used only thighs, not drumsticks (and one breast, which was lurking in the freezer). And I used Kalamata olives, not black - we all prefer them. The bread topping was great. I took the lid off the pan completely for the last 20 minutes or so of cooking (before putting the bread on and putting it in the oven) and turned the heat up, to reduce the liquid a bit. Just the right amount of orange (I used quite a small one; if it was larger, I might only juice half of it) - any more would be too much. 

Here it is before I've finished putting the bread on and putting it in the oven...

Friday, March 02, 2012

Mar 2nd: Thai style mince with fragrant rice

Recipe source: Ainsley Harriott's Low Fat Meals in Minutes

Tasting notes: This is one we've had many times before; everyone likes it. This time, I more or less doubled it, and we have some leftovers.  We liked it cooked longer than in the recipe - I usually let the mince cook for more like 20-25 minutes, not 5-10. 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mar 1st: Spiced Potatoes, Cauliflower and Okra with Ginger and Garlic (new!)

Recipe source: The Great Vegetarian Cookbook, Rosamond Richardson

Tasting Notes: Forgot to photograph this when we had it! To be honest, this wasn't that inspiring. It was fine, nothing wrong with it (though Olivia prefers a curry with a sauce to a drier curry), but not inspiring. Might make a nice dish in a big Indian buffet, but as a main dish or one of two main dishes, just not that thrilling.