Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tuesday 26th February 2013

I had planned tonight’s dinner before I went to Wales so we were going to have some pasta with a chorizo and tomato sauce.  However, it was absolutely freezing which gave me an unbelievable need for shepherd’s pie.  Very good and filling it was but I was a complete glutton and ate way too much- I must master the art of cooking smaller portions!

Tomorrow late night so eating at work.  We are having an evening recruiting product advisers and my Specialists are cooking so looking forward to it.

Monday 25th February 2013

The Waitrose annual conference is held at Celtic Manor each February- lovely hotel, comfy room and good food.  However, possibly more exciting than that was the entertainment- Strictly Come Dancing!  I was close to the stage and was mesmerised!  And I had a little chat with Pippa Middleton- poor woman was besieged by alot of drunken managers. (not me though- unbelievably I remained sober!)

But, back to the food.  I managed to take photos of each course despite the colleagues on my table thinking it was a little strange…. I said it was to show a foodie friend- that’s you!!!

Starter was a mushroom trifle topped with a maderia jus, pickled walnuts and mini mushrooms. The little bread stick on the side is made of lava bread.


It was good, although very rich.  The trifle was more like a rich mushroom pate and the fruitiness of the jus on top worked really well.  I couldn’t finish it all as it was so full flavoured, and I wanted to leave space for the 3 courses to come.

Main course was lamb cooked in 2 ways.  


One piece of lamb was a stuffed saddle of lamb, the other being a slow roasted breast.  The breast was sat on top of smoked potato mash- really lovely, and like nothing I had tasted before.  The gravy was a reduction using pomegranate molasses, but it was quite weak as I would have liked to see more of the sweet/sour flavour of the molasses to shine through.  One the side were some griddled leeks which complemented the meal very well.

Dessert looked absolutely amazing!


I’m not entirely sure I can accurately describe this creation- it was quite something.  The plate is actually white but had been sprayed with chocolate!  There is chocolate ‘soil’ on the plate with the blackcurrant sorbet, and this was absolutely gorgeous.  The chocolate sphere was holding a chocolate mousse on a fennel compote.  Quite amazing, very rich, and not something I could ever make.  Lovely.

As of that wasn’t enough there was a cheese course!  It was actually about 11pm by now and I wasn’t sure I could fit any more in….


The left hand cheese was very unusual.  Italian, it was made from the milk of cows, goats and sheep.  This made it very creamy, rich and yummy.  The middle cheese was a gouda which was almost crunchy, and the blue on the right hand side was very strong and a good contrast. I didn’t eat the welsh cakes as I am not keen on them, but the rest of the table gobbled them down.

I have come back about 3lb heavier I think!  Good job it’s only once a year.


Saturday 23rd February 2013

It’s our weekend off so we are having a nice relaxing time.  I did get up early and go to the gym though- although there was an ulterior motive as it meant I could get some lovely seeded sourdough bread from the farmers market and some cupcakes from the cute cupcake shop in Twickenham!

Lunch was a weekend off favourite- soup, bread and cheeses, and sometimes some sausage rolls for Colin.


The bread and cheeses came from the Farmers Market- the sourdough from The Celtic Baker and the 2 cheeses from The Wyfe of Bath.  The blue cheese in particular was delicious- a strong blue cheese with a smooth, creamy texture.

I made the soup and have loads left over for lunches through the week.  It’s a red lentil, tomato and cumin soup.  I simply sauteed an onion and a clove of garlic in a little olive oil in a large saucepan.  I then added red lentils and cumin, with a pinch of paprika and chilli powder and added 2 tins of tomatoes and a tin full of veggie stock.  This was then simmered for about 40 mins until the lentils were soft and cooked.  Really lovely and warming.  The leftovers are more stew like and will be perfect for some wintry lunch in the week ahead.

Being Saturday it must be curry night, and another Veggie Curry Night adventure.


Working clockwise from top left we have lentil vadas (yes!!!), aloo gobhi, aubergine, red pepper and tomato curry and a radish, tomato and parsley salad.  The lentil and cauliflower recipes were new whereas the aubergine and radish dishes were my own creation.   All really good, but lets face it Lentil Vadas have the best name ever!!!  The came from Feast Bazaar by Barry Vera.  They really were worth the effort, Colin loved them, so here’s the recipe.

250g lentils- I used Urad Dal, but you could use a mixture of red lentils and yellow split peas

1 onion, sliced into fine half moons

2 tsp ground coriander

1 hot chilli, sliced

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp bicarb of soda

vegetable oil for frying

  • soak the lentils for a couple of hours.  I actually forgot about this and only soaked them for about 30 mins and it turned out fine.
  • pop the drained lentils into a food processor and give it a couple of mins to break down into almost a paste.
  • transfer to a bowl and add the onion, coriander, chilli, ginger, bicarb and salt. Mix well and leave to stand for 15 mins.
  • heat some oil in a wok or saucepan.  Add little spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil-you can shape into balls or strips or freeform!  Fry for 5 mins, turning often, until browned all over and crispy.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and eat.

They were lovely- the outside bits of lentil and onion go all crispy and the inside have a great texture.  Much better than an onion bhaji by far.


Tomorrow I will make a pizza for lunch- being careful not to make it too sloppy…..  And then I am off to my conference in Cardiff until Tuesday.  I’ll update if I come across any yummy delights on the way- here’s hoping!


Friday 22nd February 2013

Tonight it has been a long awaited kebab night!  Not totally as usual as we had leftover pork and  beef mince from the balls last night so we used that up instead lamb mince.  It is always better with lamb mince- it simply suits the spices better, but a nice, spicy dinner in any case.

Thursday 21st February 2013

Tonight’s dinner comes from a new addition to the Library- Jez Felwick’s The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook.  I had seen this book reviewed in several of this months food magazines and it is just up my street.  The balls are not only meat- there are fish and veggie balls, as well as all the accompaniments and sauces.  Highly recommended!

Tonight we tried Great Balls of Fire, with a Red Onion and Tomato Sauce


Mine is on the right with all the salad!

The meal was delicious- the balls juicy and the sauce spicy, really yummy.  Here’s the recipe for the balls.  I’ve slightly adapted it from the main to reduce the number of balls made.

60g ricotta

1 egg

200g pork mince

200g beef mince

60g breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves, chopped

handful fresh coriander, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chilli flakes

  • heat the oven to 200.
  • in a bowl whisk together the ricotta and egg.  Add the meat, breadcrumbs, garlic, coriander, salt and chilli.  Min with your hands until well combined.
  • form the mixture into meatballs- whatever size you like.


  • bake in the oven for 15 mins, turning half way through.
  • meanwhile you will have been making your sauce- a spicy tomato sauce is good, or the red onion and tomato sauce from the book.
  • add the balls to the sauce and simmer for 15 mins.  
  • Eat!!!

There are many more recipes ear marked from this great addition to the library.

Guest Spot: Marie!

My very talented little sister Marie lives with her lovely boyfriend Paul and is making some very yummy food in the French Bateman household!  Last weekend she was entertaining Dad and this is what was served:


These homemade fish cakes look very tasty- crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

And for dessert….


PassionFruit Tart!

This looks so yummy- I just wish I lived nearer so I could have popped round for my dinner.



Wednesday 20th February 2013

Somewhat of a disaster dinner tonight- well maybe not that bad but not the yummy delight I was hoping for after a long day.  I was supposed to be making a chicken traybake which I’ve made hundreds of times, for just the 2 of us and for other people, always successful and always tasty.  However, tonight it was sloppy and looked crap so chicken was rescued and served with potato wedges and salad.  Filled the tum but not with great happiness!  No picture so I can forget all about it….

Monday 18th February 2013

Today has been my day off and I am not sure where time has gone!  All of a sudden it was 4.30pm and still had the shopping to do- luckily the day was still light and sunny so I have a leisurely walk along into Twickenham and met Colin for the walk home.

Because I was being lazy I had nothing particular in for lunch.  After an appraisal of the fridge I realised there was enough for a fabulous omelette!


The photo may not make this look like the yummiest of lunches but it was!  I sauteed some onion, mushroom, yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes until a little softened, but still a bit crunchy.  I whisked 2 eggs mixing in a little grated pecorino (you could use any hard cheese, pecorino was all I had in the fridge!) and poured it all over the veg.  I popped this under a hot grill for 5 mins until set.  Served with a green salad and kept me full all day.

For dinner we had one of our favourite meals- spaghetti bolognaise.  Always yummy and always clean plates!

Tomorrow is late night again.  Colin is going to make a big chilli so that I have several in the freezer ready to take in for my late night dinners.  Lovely.

Sunday 17th February 2013

Stuffed Chicken with a Pea Ragout (sorry Marie! Marie=pea hater)



I’ve stuffed the chicken with a mixture of sausgaemeat, sauteed mushrooms, fresh rosemary and thyme and a small handful of breadcrumbs.  I squidged this mixture together with a little salt and pepper and stuffed into a battened out chicken breast and roasted in the oven for 30 mins until cooked through and browned.

The pea ragout was lovely and worth trying.  You could substitute peas for broad beans, or add some stem broccoli instead if you are Marie!

10 little new potatoes

10 little onions

10 little carrots

150g peas (I used fresh but you can use frozen just as well)

300ml chicken stock

1 little gem lettuce

  • boil the potatoes, onions, carrots and peas until tender.  I started with the potatoes and added the other veggies a bit at a time.  Drain well.
  • heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the veggies until they are a little golden.  Add the stock and simmer until the stock had reduced by 2/3rds.
  • stir in the lettuce and cook for a couple of mins until it wilts.
  • serve with the chicken sliced on top.

The original recipe sautes some bacon lardons at the beginning, before you add the veg to the olive oil, and I think that would have been tasty, but I didn’t have any bacon in so we went without!


Friday 15th February 2013

Well, I got sucked into buying the M&S Valentine meal deal- I feel a bit of a traitor but we sold out of all the good stuff in my own meal deal earlier in the week so I was easily tempted in!  We decided not to eat the entire meal in one go so starter (coquilles st jacques) is in the freezer, dessert is on the fridge for Sunday, wine is on the wine rack and the chocolates are in the cupboard.  What did get eaten was steak- simply seasoned and griddled to each of our liking, with chips for Colin and some salad for me.  An easy going dinner before a busy weekend.  Tomorrow I on late night so some sausages in for Colin and no dinner of any excitement for me…..

%d bloggers like this: