Monthly Archives: February 2013

Valentine’s Day 2013

Love is in the air!!!!!


We both managed to get the day off which may be a first on Valentines for us so Colin took me out for a lovely lunch at Antica Broca in St Margarets- a favourite Italian we are lucky to live near.  I’ll write it up on the restaurant page as soon as I get a chance.  A lovely day!

For dinner we wanted something a bit spicy, and I got a bit carried away with the chilli and my mouth has not quite recovered….


These filled lettuce leaves may look innocent enough but, believe me, they pack a punch!  Here’s the recipe:

150g pork mince

150g beef mince

1 garlic clove, chopped

2cm piece of ginger, chopped finely

2 red chillis, chopped- test to see how hot they are first!!!

1 tbsp fish sauce

zest and juice of 1 lime

6 spring onions, chopped

2 little gem lettuces

Dressing/ Dipping Sauce:

1 tbsp soy sauce

juice 1/2 lime

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 red chilli, chopped

fresh coriander leaves, chopped

1 tsp fish sauce

  • dry fry the meat in a frying pan with a little salt and pepper until brown.
  • add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir for a couple of mins.
  • add the fish sauce, lime and spring onions, stir through and take off the heat.
  • mix all the dressing ingredients together and put in a small bowl.
  • separate the lettuce leaves and lie on a plate.  Fill with the spicy mixture.
  • Eat- drizzling a little sauce over the meat.

Colin has made this lots of times before, mainly for lunch, and it has always been lovely.  Too hot today- all my fault!  It’s usually Colin that over does the chillis!!!

Last night I was late night so no dinner for me.  Colin had a pie and mash- no horse in there as far as I am aware…..

Tuesday 12th February 2013

Our resolution of eating more fish and veg and less meat has been good- we’ve actually kept to it! Tonight is no exception, and a new recipe too.


This is pan-fried hake on a puttanesca sauce and celeriac chips- and really yummy it was too.  You could use any white fish: it was simply seasoned and pan fried in a very little drop of olive oil. When cooked all the way through it had a squeeze of lemon juice, and that was it.

The puttanesca sauce was delicious, although I doubt that it’s all that authentic.  I heated a little oilve oil in a saute pan and sweated down a small, chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic.  When soft I added 2 small red chillis, chopped finely.  To this I added 2 tins of tomatoes and left it to bubble away for about 20 mins.  1 tbsp of capers and about 12 olives (green and black), sliced, were added and the sauce bubbled away for about another 10 mins until quite thick.  

To be honest the celeriac chips were ok but I doubt I’d bother again- they didn’t go as crisp as potatoes and Colin felt they were too sweet.  Maybe some greens would be good to mop up the sauce.  

All in all a good, tasty and healthy dinner.  Washed down with a nice bottle of red!

Monday 11th February 2013

Today has been my team building day with my management team, which went really well.  At the end of the day we went to Bill’s in Horsham for dinner which was really good, and enjoyed by all.  I’ll write it up on my Restaurant page.

Colin was working late and had some left over chilli from the freezer with some rice when he got in.  It certainly smelled tasty when I got in and no complaints from Colin!

Sunday 10th February 2013

Look at these lovelies!


Pre-cooked mini toad in the holes!  Here’s them all cooked…


These are really lovely little lads and we have them fairly often.  They batter is simply eggs, flour and a little mustard powder.  I pre-cook the sausages so that they lose some fattiness before popping them together and cooking in the oven for 30 mins until all risen and browned.

Served with some red wine gravy(I have to admit this is not home made- Waitrose fresh red wine gravy with some beef stock…), mini roasties and mini carrots this is a lovely Sunday night dinner.  Indeed, one of our favourites. 

Saturday 9th February 2013

Today we have been to visit Colin’s parents as they have returned from 3 weeks in Tenerife, during which time it was Barbara’s birthday- we had not got our act together in time to give her a present before she left so today we made up for it.  She had made a coffee and walnut cake which tasted as good as it looks, quite rich though so you can only have small piece at a time!


In the evening I made a pizza with some salami which was ok- not great though as I put way too much tomato sauce on it so it went a bit sloppy……



Friday 8th February 2013

Looking back through the week to bring us up to date.

Wednesday I had a recipe in mind from a new book on meatballs but I got in a little later than expected and so opted for a simpler version.

Spicy Meatballs with Roasted Potato Wedges and Salad



I simply seasoned beef mince with salt & pepper and added 1 tbsp ras-al-hanout, then shaped them into small balls and baked them in the oven for 20 mins until cooked through and browned.

In a saute pan I fried a small, chopped onion with a little garlic in olive oil until soft.  I added 2 tins of tomatoes and cooked down for 20 mins.  I then added half a small tin of coconut cream and 2 small, hot red chillis and simmered for another 10 mins.  I added the meatballs just before serving.

The wedges were pretty good and crispy.  I just cut some big potatoes into wedges, tossed in a little olive, salt, cumin and paprika and baked in the oven until the potatoes were cooked through and crispy.

All in all very good.

On Thursday I was working late night so no dinner for me.  Colin had the majestic meal of fish fingers, chips and beans!

Tonight we have been out for a very good meal at A Cena in Richmond.  Look at the Restaurant page for a review!

Tuesday 5th February 2013

We hadn’t made a ‘normal’ curry for a while- and by ‘normal’ I mean what we used to think of as normal= a chicken curry!  

The ‘normal’ French Thomas Curry

1 garlic clove, chopped

1cm piece of ginger, chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp black mustard seeds

5-6 curry leaves

chicken- breast or thighs chopped into bitesize pieces

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp garam masala

2 hot chillis, chopped

1 large onion, sliced

1 red and green pepper, chopped

1 tin tomatoes & 3-4 fresh tomatoes

squeeze lemon juice

  • heat a little oil and fry the garlic, ginger, cumin, mustard and curry leaves for 1 min.  Add the chicken and stir until browned.  Remove from the pan.
  • add a little more oil if the pan is dry.  Add the paprika, turmeric and garam masala and combine to a paste- you can add a little water to make the paste if it is a little dry.
  • add the onions and fry until softened.  Add the peppers and fry for 5 mins.  Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to combine.
  • add the tomatoes and leave to simmer for 30 mins until thickened.
  • stir in the lemon juice just before serving and season with salt & pepper.
  • Eat!


Monday 4th February 2013

When we were last at Wholefoods we bought some very thinly sliced pancetta which I’d almost forgotten about, so before it reached the end of it’s life it became dinner!  

Tonight was a simple pasta dish after long days at work for both of us.  I sliced the pancetta into strips and sauteed in a pan, without any oil as the fat from the pancetta was sufficient.  I added a little chopped garlic and a small chopped chilli for a minute or 2 before adding 2 tins of tomatoes, seasoning, and I left it to bubble away until thick- about 40 mins I think.  We had this with some pasta shells- a breakthrough with Colin as he thought he didn’t like them!  Nice and comforting and we went to bed with happy full tums.

Sunday 3rd February 2013

A relaxing day off today and a really lovely lunch of eggs poached in a spicy, Turkish style tomatoey sauce.  Not Colin’s cup of tea so I often have this on my day off when he’s a work!

I think I might have to enrol on a food photography course as you will see from the following picture of dinner!



I bet you can’t even guess what this was!!!

Well, dinner was a marinated, grilled chicken with latkes and broccoli with chilli.  The chicken pieces were marinaded through the day in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin, and some salt & pepper.  I then put it on a baking sheet, sprinkled over some za’tar and grilled in the oven for 30 mins until crispy.

The broccoili is from the first Ottolenghi book and it is delicious.  You can blanch the broccoli first but I bought some slender stem broccoil so this wasn’t necessary.  I heated a little olive oil and when hot threw in a chopped garlic clove and 1 hot, sliced, red chilli.  I stirred this for a couple of seconds and then added the broccoli, sprinkled with a little water.  I stirred this for only 5 mins of so until the broccoli was a bright green, slightly softened but still nice and crunchy. 

This was a lovely dinner, all gobbled up, definitely better than my photography suggests!

Saturday 2nd February 2013

Welcome to February!

We had some lovely looking sea bass fillets in for the fish counter this morning so I decided to do some pan-fried fish for dinner.



Not a brilliant picture- I can assure you it tasted alot better that it looks!  The bass was simply seasoned and pan fried in a little olive oil, skin side first, until crispy.  It is sat on top of a spicy sauce of tomatoes and roasted red peppers.  On the side some little roasted potatoes, crispy salad leaves and a red onion, tomato, coriander and lemon juice salad.  A nice, fresh and light dinner after a busy day.

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