We also had to cobble together a vegetarian dinner on Saturday night for herringprincess and wrysprygoat, as we discovered that pesto wasn't, in fact, vegetarian. Go figure. In the end Paul went out scavenging for Quorn sausages, which we minced and turned into a curry. It tasted all right, and the night was saved... We also watched Donnie Darko, which I'd forgotten was so brilliant... Still confusing.
We were also up ridiculously early on Saturday morning to see a man about a bank loan but at least we got all the shopping done by 12.00. We got 23 different incense sticks from the indoor market (mmm), plus some completely black tealights. We also got an African Violet from Sainsbury's (I am somewhat fascinated by naturally blue plants...) but it needs a bigger pot...
So, quiet a productive weekend.
Just because, have a couple of recipes:
Red Pesto Almost-Mashed Potatoes (courtesy of Paul)
2-3 potatoes, depending on size
1 jar red pesto
Wash potatoes if required and chop into small-medium sized pieces, depending on the size of the potatoes.
Half-fill a medium-sized saucepan with cold water and add salt to season.
Place potatoes in water and bring to the boil.
Boil uncovered for 10-15 minutes until they slide off a fork when stabbed. The softer the better.
Drain and return to pan.
Throw in 1/4 jar of pesto (approximately 2-3 teaspoons) and mix until potatoes are coated.
'Almost-mashed' because the outsides tend to go very fluffy and the skins often fall off. It can alternatively be done by peeling first if you don't like skins.
This next one is just because I managed to make the perfect Sunday lunch yesterday and I want to share the joy... Maybe any potential students on my f-list might appreciate it...
Beef Sunday Dinner (for 2)
1lb of beef
3 medium-sized potatoes
3-4 brocolli florets
3-4 cauliflower florets. (Both of these depend on the size. It's roughly half-and-half brocolli/cauliflower, enough for 2 people.)
2 smallish parsnips
some frozen vegetables of your choice (Okay, so that's technically cheating, but it's easier, dammit. For reference, I'm using Somerfield's own frozen veg, which has beans, peas, carrots and baby sweetcorn)
1 jar mixed herbs/Italian herbs
1 clove garlic
grated Red Leicester cheese (quantity to your preference)
gravy granules (mine was Bisto)
stuffing mix (flavour of your choice - mine was Lidl's own sage and onion)
frozen Yorkshire puddings (cheating again. I have the secret family recipe from my mum for Yorkshire/Irish pudding, but haven't been brave enough to try it yet.)
Pre-heat oven to 200 C. (Don't know F temperature and I think it's about gas mark 6...)
Pour a little oil into the base of a small baking tray and place beef in the centre of the tray. Sprinkle on some of the mixed/Italian herbs and leave to stand. The herbs should sink into the beef slightly. Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic, unless you have a really good garlic press. Sprinkle th chopped garlic onto the top of the beef and press into the surface with the back of a knife. Cover the entire tray with baking foil and put to one side.
Chop the thick end from the parsnips., then peel the parsnips and chop them into eighths. Place into a saucepan of cold water. Peel the potatoes. Take one potato and chop into eighths for roasts. Place into the saucepan with the parsnips. Chop the remaining two potatoes into 1/2-inch slices and place into a separate pan for the mash.
Pour a little oil into the bottom of a medium-sized baking tray and place into the oven to warm whilst its heating up.
Bring the roasts/parsnips to the boil and boil for 10 minutes until slightly soft. Lay out onto the warmed tray, leaving room for stuffing balls to be added. Place back into the oven (top shelf) and place the beef onto the middle shelf. Close door.
Measure out half of the stuffing mix and pour into a bowl. It doesn't have to be oven proof because it's going to be rolled into balls. Boil the kettle and add half of the recommended water to the mix, stirring until all water is absorbed. Place in the fridge for about five minutes to aid cooling, then remove and roll into balls by scooping out with a tablespoon and shaping with hands. This should take about five minutes. Place the stuffing balls onto the tray with the potatoes and parsnips.
Leave everything in the oven for a further 10 minutes and sit down to watch television for a bit.
Ten minutes later...
Remove the potatoes, parsnips and stuffing balls from the oven and turn all once so that they don't stick to the pan. Drizzle a little more oil over them and return to oven.
Place the brocolli and cauliflower into cold water with some salt. Bring to the boil both this pan and the one with the sliced potatoes in (for mash).
Boil the potatoes for approximately 10-15 minutes until they are soft. Drain. Squeeze through a potato ricer into the pan, or (if you're not a yuppie like me), return to the pan and mash the traditional way. Return the pan to the heat and pour in some double cream and add a large knob of butter. Stir until the mash is creamy. Leave on a low heat (about 1-2) and stir occasionally.
Boil the brocolli for approximately 20 minutes until very soft and tender. Drain and return to pan, and mash with a potato masher/fork. If they are soft enough they should just fall apart. Add the grated cheese and a little butter and return to a low heat, stirring until both have melted. Add parmesan and stir until melted. Leave on a low heat (about 1-2) to keep warm and stir periodically.
Another pan of cold water should be boiled 10 minutes through this process. Add the vegetables once boiled, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or as per instructions.
Remove the meat from the oven and take off the foil. Leave to stand. It should have been in approximately 40-45 minutes. Add Yorkshires to the oven for five minutes.
To warm plates, if required, place in the bottom of the oven. If they're not ovenproof, place them instead in either a bowl of hot water or the bottom of the grill (SWITCHED OFF), as the heat from the oven will keep them warm.
Boil the kettle. In a measuring jug, drop in three heaped teaspoons of gravy mix. Add 1/4 pint boiling water and stir.
Remove plates from oven/water/grill, dry if necessary, and serve the mashed potato, brocolli/cauliflower mash, vegetables. Remove any string from the meat and carve.
Remove potatoes, parsnips and stuffing from the oven and serve. All should be a golden brown colour and the stuffing should be crispy on the outside.
Remove the Yorkshires and serve.
Finally, drizzle gravy liberally over the plate.
It's all about the timing... Not so much a recipe as a method, but I hope it's useful, in any case...
Oh, yes, and on Friday we taxied to Star City to have a meal and ended up at That Mexican Place, which does really bloody nice food...
That's it, I think. Sorry it's a bit shambolic, but I've been typing this off and on all morning...