Monday, March 25, 2013

How old was the flapjack?

And there I was trying to stay away from a food theme. Take a look at this.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Aha, the minute she thinks you're not looking Jan serves up a Morrison's Chicken Jalfrezi for lunch. She doesn't get away with it that easily!
Actually, I'm not complaining, it was my reward for being a good boy at the dentist which meant that she didn't have enough time to cook anything.
Must go to the dentist more often, he said, through nice clean, shiny teeth!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Lunch was a favourite (OK, every day it's a favourite).
Jan makes her own pesto which is really good, (approx measures and all to taste, it takes five minutes, 2 handfuls of basil leaves, a handful of pine nuts, a handful of grated parmesan, half clove of garlic, salt to taste, all wizzed together in a small blender as you add olive oil). Sometimes we just sit and eat the pesto with a teaspoon. Yummy.
However a bowl of pasta with nothing but a pesto sauce can be a little bit boring so what she does is add a few tomatoes, usually her semi-dried oven ones. This adds an occasional change of texture and bursts of sweetness and, in my opinion, 'lifts' the dish. She used a mixture of two different pastas which look largely the same but the main one was capunti pugliesi.
My favourite pasta shape is orecchiette, from the south of Italy, which I used to watch my grandmother making as she hollered about the price of fish, but with this shape you would usually use a tomato sauce. There are definite rules about what sauce goes with what pasta shape. Jan and I used to shoot quick fire questions at my Italian aunt who always knew the answer. Funny and interesting.

The evening snack is not one of my favourites, but Jan likes it and I know it's 'good for you'. Smoked mackerel and beetroot (no vinegar) sitting on a green salad with a sweetish oriental dressing. Can't dwell on this one, it's a dish I have to be in the mood for.
There, that's it, a week of food chez nous.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


A slightly less exotic lunch today but still very tasty. Pork chops, baked potato, baby leeks cooked in butter and spiced red cabbage. Excellent.
I'm reminded that I haven't mentioned puddings. At lunch we would usually have fruit, like a bowl of raspberries and blueberries or cooked plums but today we had one of my favourites. A dollop of mascarpone with Buderim ginger sauce poured over. Naughty.

This evening it was rice stuffed into oven roasted peppers. The rice was leftover from Saturday but was pepped up with sultanas and pine nuts. Very tasty.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Today was a Greek day. Moussaka for lunch with organic minced lamb.
Now I don't know about you but I don't do organic. In general I think it's a rip off (call it organic and charge a higher price - and what's organic anyway - something like 80% of 'organic' food is imported and every country has its own rules). Still, it was on offer at a substantially reduced price, so I decided that maybe organic wasn't so bad after all. Just call me fickle.

The evening snack was a Greek salad which I stuffed into a pitta bread to make a juicy, healthy sandwich. Love to all, Stavros.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Not a roast, as might be expected, but my ultimate comfort food, pasta. This one is a fairly simple dish of papaderle with meatballs in an enriched tomato sauce. The meatballs are Booths own, made by their butchery department, so unlikely to contain anything untoward, together with Jan's enriched tom sauce. Tomato sauce recipe below.

Rich Tomato Sauce
 I onion
1-2 carrots
100 gms Pancetta (smoked lardons)
Olive oil (enough to cover bottom of saucepan)
1-2 cloves garlic
Piece of cheap: Beef, Lamb, Pork. Use more expensive cuts if you want to eat the meat afterwards.
Large glass of red wine
Tomato puree (about 1 tbspoon)
3 tins chopped tomatoes
 Chop onion, carrot & pancetta in food processor until in
small pieces. Heat olive oil and gently fry the mix until
softened. Add crushed garlic and fry for another couple of
minutes. Add meats and brown. Add red wine and bring to
Add tins of tomatoes and tomato puree and bring to boil.
Turn down heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hours until pool
of oil floats on top. Taste and add salt and pepper.
Take out meat – it can be eaten after the pasta. Serve the tomato sauce with any pasta.

Sunday evening snack
Light and very fluffy, steamed chicken buns with auntie Jan's dipping sauce and a cucumber salad with ginger, coriander, mint and rice wine vinegar dressing (courtesy of Jamie Oliver). 

Sunday, March 17, 2013


This is madness, I'm still photographing bloody food. Anyway, I told myself that I'd do it for a week so here's the next instalment.

This is a good one for lunch, Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli. Jan makes it with her version of pilau rice and pak choi, and uses chicken thighs rather than drum sticks. Excellent, recipe below. For the evening snack it was leftovers again........... Sausages (leftover from Friday), potato cake (from Friday) with bacon on top and oven dried tomatoes (from every day of the bloody week). I'll spare you the photo!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I've changed things a bit and instead of posting each dish in a new post, I'll post one day at a time.
So today, Friday lunch, potato gnocchi, grilled radicchio and sausage sauce. I really liked this, Jan less so because it was a bit too fiddly, and it was the first time she had prepared it. The thing that took the time was the gnocchi. Potato gnocchi can be found in most chill cabinets so that's what I'd do to shorten the process. Still, IMHO it was really worth the effort. Recipe here.

Evening snack, left over mushroom stoup (correct spelling, from the River Cottage Every Day Veg book) followed by cheese and bacon stuffed potato skins (left over from preparing the gnocchi earlier), spinach and oven roasted tomatoes. A meal of leftovers.

Thursday snack - chilli cheese toast

This is a great snack, much more satisfying than cheese on toast. It's taken from Anjum Anands, Indian Food Made Easy. Recipe here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday lunch - mussel stew

Jan cooked this for mum a few weeks back. Mum liked it so much that she asked her to cook it again. The recipe is here.
IMHO the dish has quite a delicate flavour and can be overpowered if you add too much aioli.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wednesday evening - snack

Reading this article today led me to ask Jan if I could photograph her food for one week, that's assuming that I could remember to do it. We tend to have our 'larger' meal at lunchtimes and a 'snack' in the evening. We believe it's healthier that way.
Anyway, she said, 'no', but despite this lack of cooperation here's the first photo. It consisted of Pata Negra ham, baby spinach dressed with oil and lemon and some of Jan's oven dried tomatoes. Scrummy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A little snow

Seems like we left Brighton just as the fun started.
We headed north-west early yesterday morning to meet up with Jan's sister near Pulborough. There was a little snow but nothing to worry about.
We finally headed north and home mid afternoon. The further north you got the clearer and drier it became. Who says the weather is better down south?
Anyway, when we arrived home we got several phone calls from Brighton hoping that we had made it safely. Seems like they had a lot of snow problems in and around Brighton.
We woke this morning to brilliant sunshine. Yorkshire - God's Own Country.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A weekend away

Hola from Brighton. We visit Brighton a couple of times a year because 50% of our children live there and therefore most of the grandchildren. This trip was a little different because Ben (Jan's eldest) and family were making a flying visit from Spain so it was a good opportunity for a big family get together. That and the fact that our Christmas trip had to be postponed so the grand kids were owed lots of presents and my son has a new arrival, our latest grandchild. Given that it is difficult to get children to bed in a hotel without sitting in the dark whilst they drop off, Jan investigated hiring an apartment to share with Ben. What we ended up with was a very nice holiday cottage north of the town. I say very nice because I'd be happy to live there. The house was situated within the walled gardens of a moated country house and had been built to a very high standard. Everything about the place oozed class making it a great place to stay. Some nice touches like soap, tea and coffee and a wonderful lemon drizzle cake made you feel very welcome. Check out Newtimber Holiday Cottages. Recommended.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

That was good

Over the years we have collected a range of films on DVD, still in their cellophane wrapper, that have begged to be viewed.
I've no real idea why we buy the bloody things and never watch them but there you go. So, prior to one particularly boring evening on television, we opened and watched The Hurt Locker.
I have always found the name intriguing and that was its main appeal to me and it's only as I write this that I've looked up the meaning. I found it in the Urban Dictionary.
Noun: a period of immense, inescapable physical or emotional pain.
Staying on the subject of the Urban Dictionary for a minute, it suggest at the top of the page that I looked at that you look up your Christian name, so I did. And came up with this page. Just count yourself very lucky!
Anyway, back to less important matters. The film was excellent, very powerful and kept you glued. Probably not a good one to watch just before bed time. Recommended. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

What does he know?

My mother has not been well over the last couple of years and of late she has been confined to the house interspersed with short stays in hospital. Naturally  this has led to her wanting to get out of the house and she achieves this by going shopping.
You sense a lot of pent up frustration. This manifests itself in 'over shopping.' Buying all the stuff that she hasn't been able to get her hands on.
Jan looked into her fridge recently and said to me that she couldn't possibly eat all the stuff in there and that she'd have to throw a lot of it away.
She's not wealthy so I decided to sit her down and have a gentle corrective interview.
I failed.
As we entered her house this week, without a hello or how are you preamble, she grabbed hold of Jan and said, 'What's this? What do I do with it?' She was holding a small white packet of something and waiving it in Jan's face. From a short distance I could see 'Paneer' in large letters but decided to let Jan explain.
As the conversation progressed, having to repeat everything three times (she's quite deaf) I lost my cool. Can I say here that as mum is Italian she's used to having shouty conversations and that I'm an expert at them.
'Let me get this right,' I shouted, 'you bought something that you don't have the faintest idea of what it is? How silly is that?'
'I could see that it was made in Denmark, she said.
''Oh that's OK,' I shouted incredulously. 'Indian cheese that's made in Denmark. That's even better.'
She looked at Jan, waived her hand dismissively at me, and said, 'What does he know?'