Weekend 19/20th October 2013

We had not managed to get a day off together since we were in Italy so we had been looking forward to this weekend off together for what seems like ages!!! With grey and miserable weather forecasted I filled the car with food and wine on my journey back from work on Friday night so we could lock the door and not venture out if we didn’t fancy it.

There was another reason to stay in on Saturday- Newcastle playing Liverpool on the TV- so a TV lunch was called for…

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup (homemade) with Rosemary and Potato Bread (shop bought!).

This soup was really lovely, warming and homely, and easy to make on a lazy Saturday morning. I chopped the squash and sweet potato and popped it on a baking sheet with some seasoning and some za’taar. After drizzling over some olive oil I popped it into the oven or about an hour on a low heat to soften and roast the veggies, letting the spices in the za’taar mingle.  I then slid the veggies into the food processor, adding a little water to loosen the mixture, and blitzed. The soup was then ready for reheating in a large saucepan, with a little veggie stock added to get it to the consistency I like.

The bread was from Gail’s bakery which you can buy in bigger Waitrose branches and was a lovely change from the usual. The whole lunch was alto better than the football result….

For dinner I really fancied some chicken, and in particular some Middle Eastern inspired chicken. So….

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This lovely free range chicken was marinated for an hour in Aleppo pepper flakes, sumac, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s sat on some red onion to make a lovely gravy. Roasted in the oven for about an hour, it had crispy skin, juicy flesh, and lemony, spicy juices to pour over- a kind of jus!

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We always love our veggies and Tonight’s were inspired by my Ottolengui cookbooks.

Firstly a chargrilled broccoli little number: broccoli was boiled briefly until softened but still crisp. I then heated a little olive oil in a griddle plan, added a little garlic and chilli flakes before adding the broccoli and charring. 1 min before serving I tossed in a handful of Marcona salted almonds which added an amazing contrast on textures, and seasoned it perfectly.

Secondly I made a gorgeous carrot salad. I chopped the carrot and boiled until almost done. I then left them to cook to a warm room temperature. To these lovely little orange coins I added some chopped salad onions, 2 small preserved lemons chopped up, some olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice and 1tsp ras al hanout. All tossed together ready for the chicken.

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…and of course some roasties for Colin!

We woke up on Sunday to find a blue sky so made the most of it by walking along the river to Richmond for lunch. Coming towards us were runners taking part in some 15k run- we were full of admiration as we made our way to the pub!?! It is always at the time of walking along the river that I am reminded how much I love to live where we do, how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country.

For lunch it was a proper Sunday lunch: pork for me and beef for Colin, lovely gravy, well prepared veg, and crispy crackling for me. The venue was The Duke (@TheDukePub2) in Richmond. It was the first Sunday lunch we have had here and it was lovely. We have been here before and found the food to be very tasty. The only gripe I would have would be the number of small children there- the noise level at times was high!

Space was found for dinner and a little spaghetti was made.

What a lovely weekend. Let’s hope it’s not so long until we can have a weekend off again!

 

 

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