Monthly Archives: January 2013

Wednesday 30th January 2013

Tuesday night was my late night so no dinner for me.  Colin had sausage and mash with his favourite pork and sage sausages.

No picture of Colin in action but Wednesday night was his cooking night and it was a triumph!


This was adapted from a magazine recipe called Chilli Marrakesh.  The adaptations made were to use beef mince instead of the recommended lamb mince- although I think we will make it with lamb mince next time as the spices would work even better.  There was alot of harissa, ground coriander, ground cumin and paprika alongside red peppers, fresh ginger and tomatoes.  Chickpeas are used in place of kidney beans in a usual chilli.  It was absolutely delicious and I am delighted that there is another portion ready for my late night at work on Friday!  Yummy!

Monday 28th January 2013

All good holidays come to and end so back to work we have been!  Tonight for dinner I made a pizza with a really good pre-made pizza base.  I topped it with some tomato sauce, piccante salami, red peppers, onions, jalapenos and some very fresh buffalo mozzarella.  It was delicious if I say so myself- nicer than a bought in pizza as you can put on as much tomato sauce as you like, and we like alot of sauce!  A green salad as accompaniment and a few fried potatoes for Colin.

Sunday 27th January 2013

The final day of our holiday was spent in front of the TV!  Morning watching the tennis, afternoon watching the Daniel Craig version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and an evening watching Meryl Streep in The Iron Woman.  All very entertaining and a good end to a great, restful week off.

So, an old favourite for dinner, unbelievably for the first time in 2013!  Spaghetti Bolognaise!


I made sure I gave the sauce plenty time to reduce, making a thick, juicy and slightly tangy sauce.  It is definitely worth using both pork and beef mince as it gives the sauce real depth.  Instead of white wine I used a small glass of sherry, which I do more and more as it means you don’t have to open a new bottle each time (and have the temptation of a super cold bottle of white wine calling you from the fridge!).  Towards the end I added a tbsp on lemon juice which does something lovely to the tomatoes.  I simmered the sauce for 2 hours and served it with spaghetti, al dente, and a crispy green salad.

Some chocolates for dessert and early night- a 5am start ahead!!! 

Saturday 26th January 2013

We are nearing the end of our week off and I am feeling very sad, but rested, all batteries recharged.  For lunch we popped along to Teddington and went to Carluccio’s- the food is consistently tasty but today it was more than a little chaotic as there was a very big table of ladies, all with little people and buggies.  In fact you could hardly get in the door for buggies, which might not be the best welcome when you are looking for a relaxing lunch out. 

Through the week I have bought 4 new cookery books and we decided against a takeaway tonight in favour of trying 3 new veggie curries from Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Curry Easy’.  This was a good decision as we have now found 3 new favourites.  Each week we are trying some new veggie curries and I will have to have a serious think about which selection is our all time favourite menu.  Tonights offering was:



We had a South Indian Potato Curry- lots of mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves and coconut milk.  This was truly delicious- next time I will par boil the potatoes first as they took so long to cook in the sauce and I didn’t want to spoil it. 


Second up was a Bangladeshi Dal which was cooked differently to how I would normally tackle it- onions and tomatoes fried first with the spices before adding the red lentils.  I finished it off with a dash of coconut milk instead of the butter it suggested and this gave it a richness which it needed.

And last but not least was a tomato and aubergine curry- fresh tasting, lots of chilli, cumin and mustard seeds, perked up at the end with a good squeeze of lemon juice.  Delicious.

A really lovely Saturday night dinner- lots of taste and tang but not too much food, given the amount we have shifted on our week off!  I feel a diet coming on from Monday……


Burns Night 2013

We are not Scottish, and Colin isn’t particularly bothered about haggis, but we decided to have haggis, neeps and tatties!  


And it was ok, but just ok- I did have massive indigestion afterwards.  So we will stay true to our English roots from now on!

Thursday 24th January 2013


I absolutely love my little gravy pan!  So any excuse to use it…

Tonight we have had sausages with root veg colcannon cakes and onion gravy.


The sausages are Colin’s favourites from Waitrose- Old Spot pork and sage.  The gravy was also bought (fresh red wine and onion gravy, also from Waitrose), but perked up with a little beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and a little soy sauce.  The cakes were fantastic so here’s the recipe:

Root Veg Colcannon Cakes

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 large carrot, peeled and cubed

1 small parsnip, peeled and cubed

1 small onion, cut into half moons

1 large handful of kale

  • boil the potato, carrot and parsnip until just cooked.  Drain and roughly mask.
  • in a large bowl mix the root veg, onion, kale and salt & pepper.  Leave to cool.
  • take a handful of the veg and form into small burger shapes.
  • heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes on both sides until browned.
  • pop onto a baking sheet and keep hot in the oven until the sausages and gravy are ready and the cakes are hot through.

I should’ve made the gravy but I was feeling very lazy!

Wednesday 23rd January 2013

Venturing out into London, battling the crowds and a little snow flurry, we had a great lunch at Pierre Victoire- check out the restaurant page for pics and what we ate.

After such a lovely meal we didn’t fancy a huge dinner but wanted something tasty and a bit spicy.  So it was a take on the Keralan Fish Curry (3rd January 2013), but made with veg instead of fish.



I used a mixture of all the odds and ends of veg in the fridge- onion, swede, green pepper, parsnip, potato, courgette.  I fried them in a little walnut oil first until softened, and added them to the sauce at the same time I would have added the fish.  It was fantastic, and even better is the spare portion I have in the freezer for my late night once I’m back to work! 

Tuesday 22nd January 2013






Charred Lamb with Baba Ganoush, Harissa and New Potatoes

This picture does not quite do justice to what was a very yummy dinner!  It is a mishmash of many different recipes, but as similar as I can manage to a dish I had twice at The Ivy in 2011.

The lamb steaks were marinated in 1tbsp runny honey, 2 tbsp dry sherry, 1 tsp paprika and salt & pepper for a couple of hours.  They were then simply griddled until charred on the outside and a little pink on the inside.  I poured the marinating juice over them for the last 5 mins and popped them in the oven to keep warm. They are sitting on top of some new potatoes, green beans and runner beans, all cooked ‘al dente’ I guess, and great at soaking up the juicy gravy. There are 3 little dollops of sauce- only 1 homemade I’m afraid!  On the left is a spoonful of roasted red pepper puree bought from Waitrose and on the right is a tbsp of rose harissa.  I did, however, make the baba ganoush in the middle and here’s the recipe:

Baba Ganoush

1 aubergine

olive oil

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 lemon, juiced


  • stab the aubergine all over with a fork, massage it with some olive oil and bake in a hot oven for 45 mins, until blackened all over and soft inside.  Remove from the oven and leave until you can handle it without burning your hands off!
  • Remove the skin from the aubergine- it comes off really easy.  Discard the skin and chop the flesh finely.
  • In a bowl mix the aubergine flesh, tahini, lemon juice and salt & pepper till thoroughly mixed and looking like a dip.  Eat it all up!

I have made a version of this with 1 tbsp thick greek yogurt instead of tahini if you don’t have any and it was almost as good.  Tahini is worth getting in though as it lasts for ages in the back of the cupboard….

Tomorrow we are venturing out now the snow has almost gone- a day in London on the cards with a nice lunch out.  The week off work is flying over far too quickly- as always!


Monday 21st January 2013

Still on holiday, still snowy!  But, after a morning visit to the gym (!) we ventured out to Richmond for lunch and shopping.  Check out the Restaurant page for what we had……

An old favourite for dinner- Kebab Night- unusual on a Monday night but very much appreciated.  Nothing different from before but we had some chapatis left over from our Curry Night on Saturday so we used them instead of flat bread or pitta.  The spicy lamb balls were a triumph and led to a massive did for me: I made 11, ate 4, and do not need a calculator to see I did not get my fair share.  Colin on washing up duty.

Sunday 20th January 2012

A snowy, snowy day: we only ventured out briefly to buy newspapers and look at all the snowmen on Twickenham Common, very sweet!  I spent part of the day updating ‘My Library’ page- quite nerdy really but for the first time I have a list of all my books in one place.  May be it’ll make it easier for Colin when buying me presents as he can see what I’ve already got….. hint hint hint.

Soup was called for to warm us up.  I saw a recipe for a bean soup with chorizo in it, but didn’t fancy chorizo so I’ve adapted the recipe to keep the paprika flavour without the oilness.


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Borlotti Beans

1 large red pepper

6 large tomatoes

salt & pepper

2 tsps paprika

olive oil

1/2 litre vegetable stock

1 tin borlotti beans

  • heat the oven up to hot.
  • chop up the pepper and tomatoes and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and paprika and drizzle with olive oil.
  • bake in the oven for 40 mins until soft and slightly browned around the edges.
  • pop the veggies into a food processor and blitz, or blend with a stick blender.  Pour into a pan, add the stock and beans and heat through.

It was lovely and warming on a wintry day.  We ate it with some good bread, a couple of sausage rolls and 2 cheeses- a Montgomery Cheddar and a Shropshire Blue.  Lovely.

For dinner we had a pheasant!  They were on sale at the butchers in Twickenham so I thought I’d test out Colin’s new love of game (well partridge and quail!).  I braised it in a large pan  in the oven, covered, with new potatoes, celery, sage and white wine, for about 45 mins until cooked through. I then took the lid off to let it brown while I cooked some carrots.  I really liked it- the bird was still juicy and the celery, sagey, winey juices were delicious.  Colin, however, enjoyed the taste but was not so keen on the texture of the pheasant so only ate a bit of it with lots of the veggies.  I’m pleased he gave it a chance though and I’d definitely try the recipe again with some chicken breasts or some little quail men.

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