Meal Planning 11/04/16

Last week we actually cooked all the meals on the plan. A couple in a slightly different order but still all the planned meals were prepared and cooked. If I had put this post up yesterday, we would already have failed this week. Yesterday involved an English Breakfast, wood splitting and a trip to the pub so the planned Sunday roast is now a Monday roast.

Monday – Roast Shoulder of Lamb
Tuesday – I’m working so the Other Half will be in charge, I suspect Leftover Lamb Curry may be on the cards.
Wednesday – I’m working again so he is still in charge
Thursday – Pork Chops in some form of creamy mushroom sauce
Friday – Chicken stir fry
Saturday – something with gnocchi – probably similar to this spinach and chicken recipe.

 

 

Meal Planning 27th March

What a busy few weeks, no meal plan at all last week but things are a bit quieter for now.

Sunday – the traditional roast lamb
Monday – curry from a jar with the leftovers
Tuesday – Chicken in butter, wine and thyme sauce but with spinach this time!
Wednesday – Sausage and mash
Thursday – Out for dinner
Friday – pig cheeks, probably this Nigel Slater recipe

Any thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcome in the comments below!

A side of lamb or ‘how to make sprouts taste nice’

Not only was the leg of lamb HUGE but, as the Other Half and I had not actually had any sprouts over Christmas, I also set about making a side dish that makes sprouts palatable.

First of all, sprouts. I really do not like boiled sprouts, never have. I have found a way I like them though. Sliced finely and stir fried with sliced leek. It really is that simple, although you can add other ingredients if you wish.

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In this case, I added a small amount of oil to the wok, threw in the leeks and sprouts (2 trimmed leeks, 5 sprouts), then add frozen peas after a couple of minutes. If my main dish was spicy, I would also add cumin seeds. Otherwise you can also add pancetta, bacon or ham. Or a splash of white wine or even cream. Or all the above, this side dish is pretty versatile.

In this case, it was served with a fairly traditional roast leg of lamb, vegetables, lots of gravy and a little mint sauce. I still have over a kilo of leftover meat. I’m planning a moussaka but any other suggestions are welcome.

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Minted Lamb Steaks with roasted new potatoes

This is a bit of a cheat as the lamb shoulder steaks were purchased ready marinated but we don’t often have lamb at home due to the high costs so we had a treat! I love new potatoes but occasionally I like to roast them, very different to ‘old’ potatoes but with a bit of mustard they make a nice change.

Ingredients

Minted lamb steaks
New potatoes
Wholegrain mustard
Sunflower Oil
Kale
Green beans
Peas
Crème Fraiche

Firstly, pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5, cut the new potatoes in half length ways and put into roasting tin. Add a tablespoon each of oil and mustard, then shake or mix well until the mustard coats the new potatoes. Place in oven for about 40 minutes, shaking after 20 minutes and adjusting the temperature/cooking time if needed.

10 minutes before the potatoes are ready I sent the Other Half to barbeque the lamb steaks, set the kale and green beans onto steam and the peas to boil. I would usually steam the peas too but I had decided we were having pea puree so I kept them separate.
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Once the peas are cooked, drain the water but reserve some to use if necessary. Place peas and a tablespoon of crème fraiche in a food processer and blitz until it looks like you have blended Kermit the Frog! Mint would work very well as an addition to this, you can add extra crème fraiche or the pea water until the puree reaches your desired consistency, our household prefers it quite thick so I do not add any extra water.

Serve and enjoy!
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This was polished off the a French Cabernet Sauvignon from Naked Wines which match the meal beautifully, I found after food the wine lost a little of its appeal and it certainly hadn’t improved by the next day, a great food wine though.

Very very garlicky lamb steaks

Lamb isn’t cheap, we had a 30oz rump beef steak between us recently for the same cost as three lamb steaks. This is why we don’t eat lamb at home all that often. It’s a shame for two reasons, firstly I absolutely love it and two, my taste in red wine seems to be an ideal match. However I decided we were having garlic lamb chops so sent the Other Half out to buy lamb chops, thyme or rosemary and potatoes for mash. I got thyme and rosemary, lamb steaks not chops and potatoes. Bless.

This is adapted from a recipe on epicurious. Ingredients are:

Lamb chops (or steaks!)
6 garlic cloves
3 sprigs rosemary
Glug of olive oil
1tsp salt

To start with, peel the garlic and strip the rosemary leaves, throw into a blender, add salt and a good helping of olive oil. A glug is however much you think you need and for me seems to equate to roughly 1 and a half tablespoons. Blend until you have a paste like mixture.

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Spread this mixture over the lamb chops (or steaks) and leave them to make friends for about an hour. You can start prepping any side dishes during this time, we had a buttery/creamy mash so the Other Half peeled potatoes whilst I wrote up a blog post on the previous night’s food. This done, the oven is pre-heated to Gas Mark 5 and when heated the lamb took roughly 25 minutes, check after 20 and don’t forget that cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chop(steak). Potatoes boiled whilst the lamb was cooking, and some frozen peas were the final accompliment. Well, they were supposed to be until I saw how much juice had come of the lamb and decided to make gravy.

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I love ‘proper’ gravy, there’s nothing wrong with gravy granules if thats what you like but I tend to find I can taste the salt in made up gravy now and making gravy yourself isn’t difficult. I poured the meat juices into a pan, heated them up, added a tablespoon of flour (I use 00 flour) and mix until you have a paste. Whisk in a good glug (more than a tablespoon!) of red wine and then add stock. Simmer for 10 minutes to make sure there is no alcohol or flour taste. Et voila, home made gravy.

What would I change about this recipe? Probably less rosemary as it almost overpowered the lamb, so I think I’d stick to 1-2 sprigs in future and possibly even reduce to 4 garlic cloves. Bear in mind some of the ones I used were quite small so its probably the equivalent of 4 good size cloves anyway. There’s no danger of vampires coming near me or the Other Half today!
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And what about the wine? I had this Cabernet Sauvignon from Naked Wines. It was perfectly nice, and did complement the lamb, but this has been in my ‘keep’ rack for two years and I’d expected it to develop and wow me a bit more than it did.

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