Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dinner, 30/11/14: Chicken Jalfrezi

Geoff kindly cooked dinner this evening, as Alex and I didn't know how late we'd be at the Lego Show, or how tired we'd be afterwards. This is a Hairy Bikers recipe which both he and I have cooked before. This is (apparently, according to my blog) the fifth time in under 2 years - for us, that's almost regular!  But I don't seem to have shared the recipe before, so here it is - it's from their Hairy Dieters cookbook, which means it's a nice, lowfat version of this curry. Hurrah.

Whole lotta Lego going on

Lego show with The Small One, shown here with a Lego bust of the queen. 

This is part of a huge contraption for moving little footballs from one place to another -- 

it went all the way around this huge enclosure - the black table on the far side of this photo is still part of the same contraption.

It was lots of little mechanisms for moving balls around, joined to one another, from things like this ball slide

to things like this ball picker (shown here in motion, and thus a bit fuzzy). This was my second favourite thing at the show.

We took part in building a giant Lego mosaic - 

here's our little square of it, nearly finished, 

and here it is being put into place.

There were Lego models of everything (not surprisingly) from St Pancras Station

to Westminster Abbey

(love the stained glass effect)

(more of St Pancras) animals such as this turkey, 

this rockhopper penguin, 

this blue jay

and this cockatoo. 

Lots of scenery, like this snowy village

and this street scene, done in black and white (and grey, of course) - this was actually very clever - it really looks like a black and white photo but as you can see from the red carpet in the background and the tiny bit of lego in the upstairs windows, it was just built from black, white and grey Lego.

Of course there was a fair share of geeky cross-over stuff, like these Star Wars models

But there were also some more topical things, like this little model of The Great British Bakeoff tent.

My favourite Lego creation, though, was this amazing fantasy world - the Brick Abyss (you can see more on their own website) - a German and Swiss creation. It was truly amazing. 

See what I mean? Words can't really do it justice. (This was was came first in my list of favourite things - you can probably see why!)

I also liked this possibly recognisable Lego picture -it looked even more striking from a distance, as it appears pixilated up close, but from farther back it was hard to get a photo without someone's head in the way.

We took part in other Lego activities as well, such as seeing how many bricks Alex could stack in one minute

and building in the white "architectural Lego" area

...a rather precarious tower.

Having purchased a wee bit of Lego for the upcoming winter festivity, we stopped back by the mosaic to see how it was coming along - quite a ways on from this morning, though a long way to go, I reckon!  (Earlier sections of the mosaic from other venues weren't on display, so I'm not sure how large the final thing will be...)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dinner, 29/11/14: Provencal Bake

This is a recipe from my new Jamie Oliver cookbook that I got as a birthday present (Comfort Food). It's kind of like a lasagne, except the layers are done with pancakes (crepes).

It was gorgeously gooey and tasty and quite filling - really nice for a chilly autumnal day. 

There was quite a lot of prep (though nothing tricky), which means it's a weekend only type of dish - tomatoes to skin and chop, ham to chop, cheese to grate, herbs to chop

a white sauce to make and pancakes to cook. And then, 

layering it all up like a lasagne and popping it in the oven to bake through. 

Highly recommended as a lasagne type meal when you want a change from lasagne!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Dinner, 28/11/14: Spicy Enchiladas

Enchiladas are always a family favourite, and this is a very easy recipe - makes plenty for us, even though it doesn't seem like it will initially (they are filling). I did put in a second tin of beans, I admit.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dinner, 24/11/14: Fusilli ai Quattro Formaggio

A quick weeknight supper from the book Gino's Pasta by Gino d'Acampo. I looked online for this, and although there are references to it, I didn't find the whole recipe, though you can find his similar recipe for maccaroni cheese here...

We all liked this - it was a little spicy, which was nice (but not too spicy) and we liked the variety of cheeses - none of the kids complained about the blue cheese. I used tricolour fusilli, but you don't have to!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dinner, 23/11/14: Beef Biryani

This was another slow-cooked dish, and unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing. The rice was only added towards the very end, but even so, it was a bit mushy - however, even if we'd got around that by not combining the rice but rather cooking it separately, the biryani itself had almost no flavour.  We are going to try jazzing up the leftovers with some extra curry paste and maybe a little beef stock, when we reheat it. Won't fix the problem with the rice, but might give it some flavour!

A few more pressies

Great stuff - a couple of tea towels, the most wonderfully citrussy scented candle I've ever smelled, some flowers, an apron, some stationery, a few bath & body bits and a bag. And a little Christmas ornament. What lovely friends I have...

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!