Monday, April 30, 2012

April Roundup

  • 30th: leftover cold chicken, salads
  • 29th: Courgette and Lancashire Cheese Crumble; Warm Leek and Bean Salad
  • 28th: Roast Chicken, roast potatoes, cabbage, gravy
  • 27th: Five-spice vegetarian stir-fry
  • 26th: Spinach and potato pastries (repeat)
  • 25th: Bacon and artichoke pasta
  • 24th: leftovers
  • 23rd: Zoe's chicken, new potatoes
  • 22nd: chili con carne, cheddar biscuits
  • 21st: Spiced vegetable biryani
  • 20th: leftovers
  • 19th: Zippy Black Bean Burritos
  • 18th: Dynamite Chili Beef
  • 17th: Speedy Spaghetti Bake
  • 16th: Sweet potato and red lentil soup (from freezer)
  • 15th: Pan-roast lamb with port and cranberry gravy; vegetable gratin
  • 14th: leftovers (chicken, moussaka)
  • 13th: Homemade Pizzas
  • 12th: Roast Vegetable Moussaka, Salad, Bread
  • 11th: Honey Mustard Chicken, Mashed Potato, Green Beans
  • 10th: leftovers
  • 9th: Creamy chicken masala, okra with mustard seeds
  • 8th: Roast pork, roast potatoes, cabbage
  • 7th: Courgette Lasagne, garlic bread, salad
  • 6th: Beef Bourginon, carrots, saute potatoes
  • 5th: Sticky Chicken Wings, oven chips, green beans
  • 4th: Teriyaki Tuna steaks, baked potatoes, tenderstem broccoli
  • 3rd: ate lunch out, no formal dinner
  • 2nd: Sausages, potatoes, peas
  • 1st: Chinese Ketchup Ribs, Pak Choi, Rice

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apr 29: Courgette and Lancashire Cheese Crumble; Warm Leek and White Bean Salad

Recipe Source: Bean Salad - not sure, not Good Food. Nothing on the magazine page and I can't be sure from the font.  Crumble:  An old recipe from, I think The Observer Food Magazine. It reads like a Nigel Slater recipe, but I can't swear to that. (OK, I went for a quick google and found that yes, I'm right - it's NS in the Observer, Sept 2003. Sometimes it takes me a bit of time to try a recipe!)

Tasting Notes: We really liked the crumble, though the kids would have liked the courgettes a little less cooked. Geoff and I didn't mind. Geoff, Olivia and I really enjoyed the bean salad; Alex and Sarah found it a little mustardy for their personal tastes.  Definitely both keeper recipes, though.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Apr 28th: Roast chicken, roast potatoes, cabbage

I don't have a recipe for this one, but I thought I'd share a photo anyway. Yum. Leftover cold chicken on Monday - also yum!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Apr 27th: Five spice vegetable stir-fry

Recipe Source: not sure, but not Good Food Magazine, as it's not the right font.

Tasting notes: We've had this before and like it. I usually throw in a few other vegetables beside what's in the recipe - especially if we have two small pieces of pak choi and a courgette to use up. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apr 25th: Bacon and artichoke pasta

Recipe source: Waitrose Seasons magazine

Tasting notes; we've eaten this before, it's always yummy. And nice and quick for a Wednesday night (as I don't get home from Olivia's flute lesson until nearly 6 - this takes only as long to make as for the pasta to cook).  We were in a hurry and hungry, so I actually forgot to take a photo, but I promise we did eat it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jack Petchey award

Last Thursday evening, I went to watch Olivia receive a Jack Petchey award (given through Guides) - the Jack Petchey Foundation is an organisation that supports young people in London and Essex, helping boost confidence and encourage them to achieve. The award consists of a medal and certificate (you have to actually attend the ceremony to receive the medal) and a cash prize of £200 for your organisation. Lots of girls receive the award through their dedication to guiding - Sarah had one a few years ago as well. 

The ceremony is quite long as there are over 100 girls receiving the award (it's  yearly ceremony) in the Greater London West guide district and they do read out a short statement about why each girl was nominated for the award - Olivia's said something like "She is organised and creative and creates a great atmosphere within her patrol, which she has led since she was 10 1/2."

They do the awards in small group, interspersed with some entertainment, also provided by the guides (some bits better than others) - this year's, I admit, was better than Sarah's year - I think they've tightened it up quite a bit, so it's not nearly as long. Still, it started at 7.30 and finished around 9.15. 

The bottom, better, photo was taken by the offical Jack Petchey photographer - the top one was on my phone, so not too brilliant.

Well done to Olivia. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Apr 23rd: Zoe's Chicken

Recipe Source: Christmas Collection 2011

Tasting notes: Very nice - a bit like one way we like to cook porkchops, but with spinach and mushrooms added. I put in more spinach than called for - we like spinach and it cooks down to nothing. Served with new potatoes - definitely needs something for the sauce.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Apr 21st: Spiced vegetable biryani

Recipe Source: Good Food magazine

Tasting notes: We've had this before and always enjoy it. It's got a lovely full flavour without being too spicy and it's really easy to make.

Cardomom and Orange Banana Bread

Recipe source: Olive magazine, Feb 2012

Tasting notes:  I didn't make the candied orange slices for the top because I couldn't really be bothered, but I really liked the cardomom and orange zest in this banana cake, not to mention the richer flavour provided by using brown sugar instead of white. Nice.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Apr 19th: Zippy Black Bean Burritos

Recipe Source:  unsure - it's from an American magazine of some sort

Tasting Notes:  We've had these before and always enjoy them. I usually serve with some lettuce as well, and salsa, etc. The first time we had them, we decided they were too gloopy, so instead of the tin of tomatoes, I use chopped cherry tomatoes and fresh chili, which works better. And of course, I use 2 tins of beans, which gives us enough to eat - otherwise there's not an adequate amount...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Apr 18th: Dynamite chili beef

Recipe Source: Keith Floyd, Flash Floyd

Tasting Notes:  I cut back on the chili a bit because of the kids (left the two birds eye chilis out) but in fact, we could have easily used another chili - it wasn't very spicy. It was lovely, though. I didn't have fresh green peppercorns, so I used dried. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Apr 17th: Super Speedy Spaghetti Bake

Recipe Source: Ainsley Harriott: Gourmet Express 2

Tasting Notes: Despite it's resemblance to macaroni cheese from the description, this was actually quite different. It was easy, tasty and filling. Probably needs a little milk or cream to loosen it up a touch  - but then I did double the recipe so there was quite a lot of pasta to mix up. I used capellini, which is a very very thin spaghetti like pasta - cooks in about 4 minutes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Apr 15th: Pan fried lamb with port wine and cranberry gravy; vegetable gratin

Recipe source: Good food magazine for both

Tasting notes: The photo of the lamb was really out of focus, so I haven't shown it - it looked a lot like the one in the recipe below, only I used lamb steaks, so no bone. The flavour was nice, but it made a huge amount of gravy, so there's lots leftover. Next time I would definitely serve this with mashed potato. The gratin had a nice flavour, but didn't cook anywhere near enough in the time given, which was awkward and frustrating. I haven't shared the recipe because I don't think it's worth sharing ones that don't work!

Jam Doughnuts

Verdict: a little fiddly, but no worse than baking bread. Not quite as light and airy as bought doughnuts, but baked rather than deep fried, so a good deal less fatty. Tasty!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Apr 12th: Roast vegetable moussaka

Recipe Source: Good Food Magazine

Tasting notes:  I forgot to take a photo of this before we ate it - so here's the leftovers. A little messier, but not that different from what it looked like when I made it.   As expected, there were some complaints about the vegetables, but everyone liked the flavour, even those who didn't much like the aubergines (all three kids) or peppers (Olivia). Olivia said "If I liked the vegetables, I'd really like it".  I did use a bit more yogurt than in the recipe and about double the amount of feta, and even so, the topping didn't really cover all the way across the casserole - mine was probably larger than in the photo - but it was enough to go with the vegetables.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Apr 11th: Honey Mustard Chicken

Recipe Source: Good Food magazine

Tasting notes: served with mashed potatoes and green beans. A nice casserole with an excellent flavour. Easy. The sauce was great with the mash. 

Wetland Centre

Another day with a reasonable forecast, unlike the rest of the week, so Alex and I went out again - this time on our own - to the Wetland Centre. We had a nice time with just the two of us - it's nice for him to sometimes get to be the one to decide what to do and how long to stay with any one activity (ok, sometimes I moved him on a bit, but at least no sisters bossing him around!).

We had a few visitors during our picnic lunch. The geese were, not surprisingly, a bit more pushy than the crows!

Lots of heron were there. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A walk in Morden Hall Park, and so on

Alex and I decided to take advantage of the temporary respite in bad weather and head out to Morden Hall Park for a walk (and along to Deen's City Farm and perhaps Merton Abbey Mills, if the weather held up, which it did).  Sarah and her friend Katharine, who had stayed over th enight with us, decided to come along, putting lie to the myth that all teenagers want to do is laze around.

The water wheel...

An interesting tree.

Apparently, there are some things you are never too old for - like climbing tree stumps

and playing Pooh Sticks.

And apparently, never too old for mucking around trying to cross rivers (they gave up and went back, as it was quite chilly and they didn't want to risk falling in and getting wet).

Never too old for making shadow puppets...

Here's a barn owl at Deen's City Farm. 

And the tram crossing.