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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Cooking, cooking, cooking...

I've a had a mad spate of cooking lately as there have been some good half price offers on at work and therefore I've been buying things I normally would love to eat but can't justify the cost of. Namely, bulk purchases of British lamb chops, chicken breast supremes, succulent lean rump and sirloin steaks. I must say that I have really enjoyed cooking and eating them!!

                              Chicken breast with pasta, creamy pear sauce and basil and mint leaves

This was the day I went a bit mad on the tapas front and started catering for twenty even though there was only lil old me. I didn't (couldn't) eat it all at once honest, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting inspired to create all the dishes. This was my first excursion down the route of making patatas bravas too,

One lot of tapas style food inspired me to make a reduced version later in the week along with a small three or four bite quiche I got cheap from the local Co-Op store. Nice snacky food. Tasty and easy to put together. The eggs were laid by my neighbour's hens and the home made mango chutney given to me as a gift by the local ironmongers. The tomatoes were bought at the village greengrocers and beat any Supermarket tomatoes hands down.

On another day of culinary fun I salivated at my lamb chops cooking in the oven and served them with some simple vegetables with fresh garden mint. I can't abide skinny lamb chops so I made sure the ones I bought were big and chunky.

I so rarely buy steaks that being able to get them half price in the last couple of weeks has turned me into being more of a carnivore than normal. I do like my steak quite bloody and have become addicted to Tesco's peppercorn sauce. Again simply served with a few vegetables and a glass or two of Merlot.

The other day I got inspired to make a vegetable dish (I know, shock horror! Phil does vegetable dish.) based on the French potato dish, Gratin Dauphinois; a bake of thinly sliced raw potatoes layered with cheese, crushed garlic, pepper, a flicker of nutmeg and covered with double cream and milk. In the traditional bake Gruyere cheese is used but I didn't have any so I used up what I had left of Parmesan and Brie. I also got my Dauphinois confused with a Boulanger dish and had already thinly sliced a lot of onion so I added that in the layering anyway. Didn't do any harm. The moment it comes out of the oven all bubbling hot and brown from the melted cheese is heavenly!

served with olives, peppers filled with ricotta cheese and some Spanish cured ham.
I always like to make a solid amount of food when I'm cooking but hate to waste food too. Often what I have left I will reheat the following day or offer my neighbour some. I don't know why but my neighbour's cat also seems to know exactly when the meat comes out of the fridge and he'll often get a small titbit before I start my cooking then he'll give himself a good lick all over and fall asleep contentedly by my window.


Karen said...

You have been busy. The chicken & pasta dish, & the Gratin Dauphinois would be my favourites, though I would serve the gratin just with some raw veggies (I don't eat much meat). I sometimes try to make a reduced fat version, using single cream diluted with skimmed milk, but somehow it's not the same.

Phil Lowe said...

I'm sure the gratin would be lovely with some simple greens Karen.