Sunday, June 29, 2014

344/984 - Mint and spring onion chutney

As per my very organised menu planner for this week, last night's dinner was flathead tails and coleslaw with this beautiful mint chutney.

The chutney was so simple to make, although my youngest and I did spend some time carefully picking the mint leaves and washing them to remove any grit. We discovered that one cup of mint leaves equates to an entire bunch of mint once it is squished flat. 

I threw all of the ingredients (mint, spring onion, chillies, garlic, soft brown sugar, salt, garam masala) into the thermomix and blitzed them to a pulp. I was a bit concerned that the result was a bit salty for my taste and added just enough of the lemon and lime juice to even out the flavour. My chutney was quite wet and so I didn't add any water at all. 

Within moments of sitting down to eat, our plates looked incredibly messy, with all of us wanting to coat both fish and coleslaw with this amazing chutney. 

Love, love, loved this and will definitely be making it to go with salads, fish and possibly even lamb. 


Week 2 menu planner.
I am so organised at the moment I don't recognise myself.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

343/984 - Pasta e fagioli

This meal took a couple of days to prepare, but it was fabulous and absolutely worth it! 

Last weekend I decided that, as a family with two working parents, we were nowhere near organised enough when it came to planning and cooking our weekday meals. A few years ago my sister gave me a menu planner in my Christmas stocking and so I dug it out and started planning!

Once I had picked the recipes, I allocated one to each day, matching the preparation requirements with our anticipated availability for each evening. One shop on Sunday and a planner stuck on the fridge rounded out the preparations. 

So far this new process has worked brilliantly and I have loved coming home from work knowing what I will be making for dinner and not having to figure out what we have in the fridge. 

I used dried borlotti beans for this recipe and so I soaked the beans on Sunday night and cooked them on Monday night. By Tuesday night I had most of the ingredients pre-cut and so dinner was a snap. The bacon made this dish absolutely fabulous and the final drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of parmesan made for a perfect finish. 

A big dish of leftovers was the icing on the cake x

Our week, organised!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

342/984 - Carrot pudding

Yet another way Stephanie has found to make vegetables taste amazing!

This lovely little "pudding" was served alongside a wonderful roast chicken last night and was sweet and beautiful and everything I had hoped for. The onion, celery and garlic were sautéed and then mixed with shredded carrot, breadcrumbs, raisins, fresh oregano, egg, salt and pepper. All of this was squished into an oiled pie dish and then topped with pine nuts and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

I used the thermomix to whiz up my breadcrumbs, blitz the carrot and then to combine all of the ingredients. Have I mentioned how much I love my thermomix?

I used a mix of yellow and orange carrots in my pudding which I think produced a lovely light colour. It was so easy to make, so pretty and kept it's shape so beautifully I am thinking that I might use this recipe for dinner parties, making little moulded individual serves.

The kids were sceptical but after one mouthful I certainly did not hear any complaints. A wonderful success from yet another recipe that may not have caught my attention were it not for this challenge. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

341/984 - Parsnip and curry soup

I purchased a pile of beautiful parsnips and a bunch of coriander on my way home last night with this lovely soup in mind. To be honest I had way too many parsnips, even thought they were quite small, and so decided to roughly double the recipe to make sure we all had plenty to feast on. 

Remembering that I had frozen some home-made curry paste in ice cube trays I was keen to see if was still as lovely as the day I made it. I was pleased with the flavour and was mentally high-fiving myself for keeping some for a rainy day.

When it came time to douse the parsnips I decided to add minimal water and to only blend the soup to a point where it remained a little chunky.  

Strewn with coriander and paired with a lovely Sauvignon Blanc, this made for a beautiful Friday night meal and was a lovely first dabble in the chapter o' parsnips. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

340/984 - Tom's mushroom soup

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to acquire some foraged pine forest mushrooms from my local organic store, Terra Madre.

The mushrooms were served at a recent dinner party using Stephanie's recipe that married these lovely things with garlic, cream and parsley. Not wanting to waste the remainder of my purchase (we bought quite a lot!), I decided to use them in Tom's mushroom soup.

The first batch of mushrooms I cooked with were gently cleaned with a pastry brush and a wet paper towel to ready them for frying. Given this lot were to be used in a soup I decided to unceremoniously dump them in a bowl of water to wash away the debris. A much faster process and it did the job!

I adored the flavour the pine mushrooms added to this recipe, adding an earthy twang to what would I think would already have been a fabulous concoction. 

It's difficult to see the grated nutmeg over the top in this picture (brown on brown!), but its addition to the soup was amazing. Now I am interested to make this with recipe with everyday mushrooms to see if it is still wonderful.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

339/984 - Coconut custards

This was definitely not a Masterchef moment... The custards had trouble coming out and weren't the prettiest thing I have ever seen, but they tasted great!

I brushed the moulds with coconut oil which may have had something to do with my custards getting wedged inside. When I finally coaxed them onto the plates, they were topped with berry coulis and a few tiny basil leaves. Also on the plate were some smashed date balls and a coconut tuile, which could have been made a little daintier but also tasted lovely. 

The date balls were my best ones yet and while I am probably forgetting some ingredients they included; dates, dried figs, cardamom, cloves, almonds, goji berries, white chia seeds and wheatgerm. Loved the freshness of the cardamom! Somebody asked me why I keep both white and black chia seeds in my spice drawer and I told them the truth; I use whichever one will look prettiest with the recipe! Black to go in breads and white to offset things such as these dark little date balls.  

I will definitely make these custards again, loving the sweetness of the palm sugar with the coconut. A bit awkward in the plating but otherwise a winner.

Date balls with sparkly white chia seeds

Sunday, June 1, 2014

338/984 - Pine forest mushrooms with garlic, cream and parsley

I was busy planning a dinner party menu when my local organic store announced on Facebook that they were to receive a load of locally foraged wild pine forest mushrooms. 

I have always wondered where on earth I was going to find the mushrooms for this recipe and so excitedly added it to my dinner party menu, hoping the store would still have some in stock when I went in. 

I have mentioned before that on the day of my dinner parties I send Trev out to shop. What I didn't mention is that he is very resistant to entering what is probably the busiest organic shop on earth at peak shopping hour. Enter my lovely retired stepfather. One phone call later and I knew that the collection of said mushrooms was in safe hands. No doubt this sounds very lazy on my part, but I had lots of cooking to do! 

The mushrooms arrived covered in dirt and pine needles. I gently cleaned the six I required for dinner with a paper towel and a soft pastry brush which took a-a-a-g-e-s but I finally got there. I even fried up a little one as a tester to make sure there was no locked in grit I had missed. I was pleased to note the wonderful flavour, even without salt, pepper or garlic. 

On the night of the dinner party these were sliced at the last minute and cooked in garlic, cream and parsley. I loved the taste and will definitely be heading back for more when they are available. Stay tuned for a post of the soup I made with the remainder! Yum...