Tuesday, 21 June 2011

'Cheese me, cheese me, cheese me, baby'

...the almost words of Chaka Demus and Pliers

Week to week I tend to run an ever evolving list round my head of food I want to cook. Often I only have a vague idea that I keep returning to and tweaking, until it becomes a fully formed meal or dish. Other times my passion wanes and it gets relegated to my pile of ‘meh’.
The following are the semi-conceived dishes I am currently mulling over:

Tuna steaks: Cooked rare with a salsa made from tomato, black olive, red onion, lemon (juice or flesh?) and fresh herbs (one or more of basil, parsley, coriander?)

A beef and mushroom stroganoff-type dish: strips of steak, chestnut mushrooms, some porcini mushrooms for depth of flavour, maybe a shot of brandy, cooked off. Low fat crème fraiche to finish and plenty of black pepper. Does it need garlic?

Pork and rhubarb: Pork steaks/chops/diced, topped with a sauce made of rhubarb, ginger, soy etc and baked.

In other exciting-only-to-me news, there is a cheese shop opening up the road from us. I fear greatly for both my bank balance and my waist measurements. In my expert opinion cheese is a meal in itself. You need only some good bread and I challenge you to find a finer meal. I am predominantly a fan of the soft French cheese family, as it is undoubtedly the mack daddy. I reckon Camembert is probably the very mackest daddiest, but I also make room in my heart for Epoisses and Brillat Savarin. Additionally I have a great deal of time for mature hard cheeses. Aged Parmesan dipped in white balsamic is almost a sexually exciting experience, and Cornish Cruncher is stone-cold amazing. I’ll tell you the cheese that can quite frankly ‘do one’ though, and that is the lowly goat. I CAN eat it, but I wouldn’t choose to. In fact I studiously avoid it. Anything that tastes like goat faeces smells cannot be right.  Endof.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Weekly Menu 20/06

And back by popular demand*, is my plan for this weeks meals.

Monday: Roast butternut squash and feta salad
Tuesday: Ratatouille and polenta
Wednesday: Spicy sausage and gnocchi
Thursday: Lentil soup
Friday: Take away (Indian)

I am doing my utmost to eat better this week. We are going on holiday in 24 days and my stomach is a disaster zone. My general plan is to cut out bread, cut way back on the booze and walk like a bloody demon everywhere I go.

I'm going to be absolutely starving.

* No actual demand

Mead and beans

Have you ever been to a meadery? I bet you haven’t. I wonder if you even know what a meadery is? Well, dear reader, a meadery is a medieval-themed restaurant that serves entirely fried food and mayonnaise-based salads. Oh, and mead, a traditional honey based wine-type of drink. I visited one such establishment on Friday evening and wish to give no further comment other than to say I have never felt so sick after a meal as I did that night. And my trousers stank so forcibly of ‘fried’ that I had a recurrence of my nausea the following morning when I put them on to go for breakfast. Utterly grim.
In fact I had a weekend of food that was almost entirely bereft of any fruit or vegetable and returned home last night desperate for a fresh, nutritious meal. Fortunately for me we had leftovers from last week’s black bean chilli, and it was the absolute perfect meal. As promised, here is the recipe:
Black bean and sweet potato chilli
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cinnamon
Chilli flakes (to taste)
1 tbsp chipotle paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
800g cooked black beans
2 x tin tomatoes
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 tin sweetcorn
Bunch chopped coriander

Soften the onions and garlic in a small amount of oil
Add the spices and fry for 2 minutes
Add the remaining ingredients, except the coriander, cover and cook for 30 mins, or until the potato is tender
Add the coriander.
We usually eat it out of a bowl with crushed tortilla chips, grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Personally I like mine quite spicy, it somehow feels like it’s better for you that way, but you can make it almost entirely unspiced for smaller people, or complete wusses.  *waves at Toby*