Regular readers know that I share the good and the bad and the ugly on this blog. This particular dish falls somewhere between bad and ugly. It wasn’t a total fail — we still ate it, but neither of us really enjoyed it.
I wrote in January that H. & I like to try to cook together at least once on the weekends and that this requires advance planning because of our current living situation. Originally I’d planned a haddock chowder for this particular Saturday. However, when I saw this recipe from Thomasina Miers in the Guardian, I decided to make it instead. Lesson: always go with your gut instincts!
We made an error in cooking this which was part of the reason it went so badly. Instead of placing the dish in a water bath with boiling water, we used cold. This meant that it needed a lot more time in the oven. We ended up eating 45 minutes later than we thought we would. Aside from that, we just didn’t really like this dish. It was my first time making a soufflé and I’m not convinced that the combination of fish, cheese, and egg worked. Though I love haddock I will stick to other forms and will definitely not be making this again.
Continuing my series of eating for one… here is an update on what I have been eating Monday-Thursday for my first six weeks back at work after Christmas. I’ve talked before about how I meal plan and what my priorities are — note that in most cases I make enough for two portions and take the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Monday 8th: My housemate’s vegetable curry with sauteed broccoli
Tuesday 9th: Kale Caesar
Wednesday 10th: Carrot & ginger soup
Thursday 11th: Ate out – Japanese restaurant
Monday 15th: Kale Caesar
Tuesday 16th: Sweet potato & chickpea curry
Wednesday 17th: Kale Caesar & leftover curry [repetitive week!]
Thursday 18th: Pizza (takeout)
Monday 22nd: Omelet with sauteed broccoli
Tuesday 23rd: (bought) Chicken tenders with spinach salad
Wednesday 24th: Haggis, tatties, & carrots (Burns night celebration)
Thursday 25th: Pea ravioli with spinach and sauteed broccoli
Tourtière is a meat pie dish originating in Quebec. There are different versions of this pie across Quebec, the Maritimes, and New England. I decided to try this as a part of my new “weekend cooking” regime for a couple of reasons: 1) I’d never made it before and 2) I love cooking Canadian recipes, even though sometimes it is difficult to get a hold of specific ingredients.
I used Craig Flinn’s recipe, which calls for ground pork and beef. But, as the Wikipedia entry on tourtière says ……. “there is no one correct filling”! I decided to switch out the beef for haggis. Why? We had a lot of haggis on our hands — we were planning on hosting a Burns supper, but ended up having to cancel it for several reasons.
All of the meat for the pie is cooked beforehand. Haggis takes 90 minutes to cook so that was an important factor in planning. I added the spices (cinnamon, allspice, clove, plus salt and pepper) to the pork, along with an onion. The haggis already contains a lot of seasoning so this was a very savoury combination. Once both fillings were ready, I combined them and then assembled the pie. In the end, I ran out of time to make the pastry from scratch so ended up using some pre-bought that I had on hand.
I was worried that the pie might be a little on the dry side, but that was not the case. It came out of the oven after around 40 minutes tasty, moist, and really delicious, proving, I think, the flexibility of this traditional dish.
This unfortunately did not photograph well, so please use your imaginations!
As we start the new year and H. and I once again are back to being separated throughout the week, I decided I wanted to try to institute a ritual of cooking together one evening on the weekends. Depending on schedules, this isn’t always possible of course, but it’s something we love to do and winter is the perfect time for it. There are additional challenges, however, when we don’t live together. The only way to do this is to plan ahead, and plan carefully. No problem — I am a born planner! I started by compiling a list of a few dishes I wanted to make and then assigned them different dates. First up was this pork shoulder ragu.
This is a great dish for chilly, rainy days, which we have had every weekend of 2018 so far. There is something so comforting about putting something in the oven for several hours and letting science take over. It takes time to cook this, but not a lot of effort. The smell was amazing throughout the late afternoon, and the results were good. The meat was extremely tender — melt-in-your-mouth — and very flavourful.
However, while I enjoyed it, unfortunately this was too rich a dish for me overall. I actually felt slightly nauseous afterwards….It was a lot with the pasta and cheese, and I couldn’t finish mine. It needed something to cut the fat, and even though we had it with a peppery salad, it was still a bit too much for me (H. loved it though!), and I am not rushing to make this again.
There are many meals/fishes that I have never attempted to make at home because a) I don’t think my versions could measure up to eating out and/or b) it seems like too much work to make them. Wings are one such dish. Both H. & I love wings. For a couple of years, we have had a favourite tradition, Wings Wednesday, at our local pub, where they make the most delicious, non-greasy spicy wings with a tasty blue cheese sauce. Unfortunately, now that I no longer live in London during the week, we only managed it a couple of times in 2017.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we spent NYE 2017 with my aunt and uncle. My aunt mentioned that she was making wings on New Year’s Day. This got me thinking that I should try the same. My plan is to try out a few different recipes to see if anything I make at home can match up. I’m going to share the results here.
First up was Deb Perelman’s (Smitten Kitchen) sticky sesame chicken wings. These wings were not bad, but in no way did they impress us. The taste was too underwhelming — they didn’t pack any punch. They were also too dry — they needed a sauce or more marinade. I made an accompanying salad spontaneously — chopped cucumber and red pepper with a dressing made of lime juice, fish sauce, a hint of sugar, and chopped peanuts — and I even found myself saying that I liked it more than the wings at one point!
I’ve been in a bit of a slump when it comes to cooking lately, particularly on the weekend when H. & I like to make a meal together at least one of the nights. Despite having a whole shelf full of cookbooks, an rss feed full of blogs, and a cooking magazine subscription, I haven’t been able to find much that interests me.
Ottolenghi’s recipe for lamb meatloaf, which I saved from a recent Guardian weekend magazine, caught my eye, and without any other ideas I decided to try it. Meatloaf is not normally my first choice, but, like everything Ottolenghi touches, this one seemed a bit different. I was intrigued by the tahini sauce.
Unfortunately, this dish was mediocre for me. A disappointment. This is one of the only recipes by him that I haven’t enjoyed. I loved the tahini sauce and the taste of the lamb was okay, but the texture was off for me. H. liked it, but I found it too wet and soft. Meatloaf, to me, needs to be a bit crisp and drier than this one was. I guess meatloaf was not going to be the dish to get me out of my weekend cooking slump! 😉
No surprise that meatloaf doesn’t photograph well, so I didn’t even try this time!
As I have mentioned several times before, I don’t do nearly as much cooking as I once did, now that I am living in two places. An exception to this came recently when I decided to make this “baklava,” from a recent edition of delicious magazine (it is a Sabrina Ghayour recipe, previously featured on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen which is where I have linked the recipe from). This is definitely a weekend project — preferably a cozy Saturday with a glass of wine, the paper, and some nice background music.
Although this dish takes a lot of time, it is not at all difficult and there is very little “fuss” involved. The most difficult part is assembling it, but even that is very easy. So, don’t be put off — what this requires most of all is time, not effort.
I bought a lovely pork shoulder at our local butcher — I have to admit that it was a bit unfortunate to cook it and then not just eat it right away and bury it in the baklava. Next time I buy it I’m not doing anything to it!
The recipe called for fennel, which I left out because I don’t like the taste if it. I think it’s complex enough without it though. The end result looks impressive and was really tasty — the honey means it has a tiny taste of sweetness. My only bugbear was that the sauce ended up a touch dry for me.
This is one of those dishes that is satisfying not only because it’s tasty, but because it’s so simply and easy to prepare. If you get a lot of personal satisfaction about being efficient and keeping things simple, as I do, this is a dish for you!
I’m 9 months into living on my own for 4-5 nights a week, and it’s drastically changed how I cook. I’ve detailed this elsewhere on this blog. Convenience is huge, so a meal like this ticks a lot of boxes: quick, tasty, reasonably healthy (I added fresh spinach to the top). The Kitchn describes this dish this as “weeknight comfort food in 20 minutes” and I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description.
A package of fresh tortellini would normally last me two meals but I made three out of this one. I followed the recipe very closely, adding spinach as I mentioned above. It’s a bit awkward to eat — the floppy noodles create a bit of mess with the tomato sauce — but it’s damn good.
This recipe has been making the rounds on the internet and it’s easy to see why. Use the best tomatoes you can find, and you really can’t go wrong with this late summer dish (I’m a little late posting this — it’s currently about 14 degrees and raining here in London).
I’m a tomato fiend and love anything on puff pastry, so this was really up my street. It’s not as simple as throwing a bunch of tomatoes on pastry and baking it, but it’s worth it. The combination of honey and balsamic vinegar really works.
My pastry really puffed up a lot, so it didn’t lie flat when I turned it over. Doesn’t matter — still tasted delicious. All you need is a side salad with this one!
Greetings from sunny and hot Nova Scotia. I am playing catch up on a few posts I’ve had sitting in drafts for a few weeks now.
Ever since my visit to Toronto’s Grand Electric in May, I’ve been craving fish tacos again. I finally decided to give homemade ones a go, and I am so glad I did because these were easy to make and will become a new staple. I am hoping to recreate them here in Nova Scotia.