Sunday, 30 March 2008

An easy weekend!

We have spent the last few weekends away from home or with people visiting us. So this weekend we decided to take it easy.

Andrew did some work on his thesis and I made some quick visits to the lab, just a couple of hours. Basically to check that the machines were working and to do a small amount of lab work. On Saturday I came back via Kember and Jones with some bread for a cheesey lunch. Normally we would have this kind of lunch with an nice English cider for example Westons or Dunkertons but we wanted to do some work afterwards. The cheeses were Cornish Yarg, Shropshire Blue, Arran Blue and Somerset Brie. With this lunch we had some fennel salami and hazelnut saucisson, also some homemade spicy apple and walnut chutney and Andrew's mum's spicy pickled onions. Yum, yum, yum. I may have a cheese addiction!

We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out, looking through our theses (or whatever the plural of thesis is!) and watching Britain winning lots of gold medals in the cycling. For dinner that night we had a beef stew made with Guinness, containing carrots, celery, parsnip and swede. We washed it down with Arran Sunset Ale.

Today I popped into the lab to check that everything was ticking over. Andrew continued to work on his thesis. I am wondering what we will do when we finish our PhD's they have been such a big part of our lives. I am sure that we will find something to fill the gap.I made lunch for the next couple of days, a vegetable broth containing swede, carrot, parsnip, cabbage and pearl barley. All I did was slowly fry the veg for 5 mins then added vegetable stock and pearl barley cooked for one and a half hour, adding the cabbage ten minutes from the end.

Dinner tonight was inspired by a blog I read regularly The Cottage Smallholder. Andrew and I try only eat meat that has not been subject to intense farming. We get the majority of ours from Farmers Markets. This means that we can't afford to eat meat everyday. I personally don't think that this its a bad thing. So I made Delia's (before she went to the dark side) vegetarian shepherd's pie. We didn't have the correct beans so we used a tin of pinto beans and also yellow split beans. It was still delicious. This was accompanied with an onion gravy and purple sprouting broccoli. The onion gravy comes from one of my favourite food writers and possibly one of my favourite cookery books. Its from Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater. I love this book some much, when I got it for Christmas I read it cover to cover. Nigel writes so beautifully about food. Its a great book!

By the way we will be creating a separate blog for our climbing exploits, so this blog will be purely about our food.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Not quite there!

It was going so well until my laptop decided that it done enough on my thesis for one day. So it prceeded to stall and so I had to restart and all the joy that goes along with working on computers. I had finished all the wordy bits and just had to complete two figures, typical!!! The veg box arrived, this week its:

  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Swede
  • Parsnips
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
I know that Andrew will be pleased to see no cauliflower and also that we got some more PSB as promised to do a pasta dish with blue cheese and PSB. Bellfields must have read my mind cause there was a recipe for such a dish in the newsletter. I think I might steal a few things from it.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Something Porky

With a couple of my favourite blogs, Musings from a stonehead and The accidental smallholder recently posting pig and pork related posts. Also with the recent news stories about the plight of pig farmers, I decided to have a look for something porky for dinner in the freezer. I had two pork chops which I had got from Puddledub Pork at the Farmers Market. I vaguely remember a recipe in my cutting folders for pork with red cabbage. Which would use some of the red cabbage from last weeks box. The recipe is from good food magazine.

I also made a batch of Hugh F-W's four root vegetable soup to give me the energy to work on my thesis tomorrow. The aim is to finish the current chapter and move onto the next, fingers-crossed. . .

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Oh dear, cauliflower!!

So the Wednesday writing ritual continues. The box from Bellfield arrived again. This week we have:

  • Red cabbage
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Swede
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
I love cauliflower but Andrew isn't so keen. So it becomes a job for me to think of ways to disguise the cauliflower. I usually favour some kind of vegetable curry. I would love to have cauliflower cheese but that wouldn't disguise it enough!

So today I decide to made some buckwheat crepes stuffed with PBS and cauliflower baked with a tomato sauce and a cheese sauce.

For Christmas my parents bought me a Le Creuset crepe pan. So far me and Andrew have only used it for making American-style pancakes. So I decided to see if I could do the pan proud.

I won't copy out the recipe. It's from one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks, Cranks Bible. As you see from the photo they turned out OK.

I made a bechamel sauce then added some Isle of Mull cheddar, which I bought from Kember and Jones on my way home. I love this deli, the produce is so good. Though I have to resist the wonderful cakes that they make. I also made a simple tomato sauce. I then boiled the PBS and cauliflower for 4 minutes. I added half of the cheese sauce to the veg. I put half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a ovenproof dish. Then put some of veg stuffing into a pancake and rolled them up. I placed them in the dish, then put the remaining tomato sauce on top. Then I put the rest of cheese sauce and finally topped with more cheese. Then baked until the cheese has melted and gone golden.

Andrew did enjoy it though he could still taste the cauliflower. I know that I could just contact Bellfield and tell them not to put cauliflower. But, I like cauliflower and I like challenge!!! We are going to Nottingham this weekend for some climbing . . . hopefully.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The first chapter is the hardest, is it?

Yesterday I continued to work on the same chapter of my thesis that I have been working on for quite a while. Its quite annoying that I haven't managed to finish it yet but hopefully I will finish it next week. So I can start a new one!

The box arrived, this week we got:

  • leeks
  • spring cabbage
  • purple sprouting broccoli
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • carrots
  • swede
  • cauliflower
To break up the chipping away at my first chapter, I made leek and potato soup for tomorrows lunch.

I met up with Andrew in Glasgow centre. We went to Two Fat Ladies for dinner, which was lovely. Its definitely one of my favourite restaurants in Glasgow. I always look forward to dessert as I know I will have the sticky toffee pudding, which never disappoints. We then went to see Dara O'Briain, who was very very funny. Even if he did mention the Scotland V England rugby score :(

Today I was in the lab for the morning and some of the afternoon. After seeing the lovely purple sprouting broccoli in the veg box, I decided to use it for dinner. So getting some inspiration from the newsletter with my box, I decided to incorporate it into pasta. So dinner tonight we had creamy tagliatelle with leeks, bacon and purple sprouting broccoli (PSB).

So I fried the bacon in a frying pan until crispy and brown. I then added one sliced leek. When the leek was soft I added some vermouth, some gruyere cheese and the leftover double cream from the soup I made yesterday. Meanwhile I cooked the pasta according to the instructions, adding the PBS for the last couple of minutes so it was just cooked. I put a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking water in the frying pan to loosen the sauce. Then drained the pasta and PSB, then added to the frying pan. I made sure the pasta was coated with sauce, and topped with some more gruyere and toasted pine nuts, yum yum.

I also made a bacon, cheese and pea frittata for Andrew's lunch as he is doing a lot of site work and apparently soup isn't compatible with site work!

Monday, 10 March 2008

A Busy Few Days

My parents and my sister were coming to visiting this weekend. So for my mothers day present I decided to make Jamie Oliver's Pepper and Chilli Chutney from Jamie at home. My mum text me to tell she thought that it looked yummy and she would make it. But I know my mum and so I decided to make it. Its not that she can't cook, far from it. She just isn't into it! Luckily it made 2 and half jars, so I'll let you know what its like.

On Friday evening we went to see Jason Byrne, so I made a pizza dough for calzones for lunch tomorrow. By the way, Jason Byrne was hilarious. If you are not too sensitive to swearing, I would definitely check him out.

Saturday we had calzone stuffed with olives, salami and mozzarella. I made the dough from my favourite book, Dough. The bread is amazing. I have made some ciabatta from this book. I love it and I got the second book, crust. Unfortunately we didn't take a photo. I am sure I'll make them again so I'll put one on then.

Today, I made a root vegetable lasagne for dinner. I don't think that Andrew was convinced when I told him what was for dinner, but he liked the end product.

Root Vegetable Lasagne:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 sticks of celery (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 2 parsnips (chopped)
  • 1 swede (chopped)
  • 1 head of spring cabbage (sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • splash of vermouth
  • 1 carton passata
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano
  • sugar
  • dried chilli
  • lasagne sheets
  • creme fraiche
  • parmesan
  • cheddar
I heated the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Then I added the onion, celery, carrot, parsnips, swede put on the lid and let sweat for 10 min. Then added garlic, vermouth, passatta, season and add a pinch of thyme, oregano, sugar and dried chilli. This was cooked for 15 min until the sauce has reduced. Then add the cabbage just for a few seconds. I then layer this filling with the lasagne sheets, finishing with lasagne. I then topped with the creme fraiche and cheese. I like a lot of cheese!!! Then I baked for 20 min at gas mark 6.

I also made some brown bread rolls from the book of the moment, Dough. We tend to have soup and roll for lunch, both home-made. Though Andrew has opted to have a piece of the lasagne for lunch rather than soup. So here are a couple of pics of them to end this very long post!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Not such a successful day

My weekly routine of working from home on my thesis whilst waiting for the veg box has been working well until now. I had to go into the lab to start my instruments running. Then I came back to the flat, unfortunately I spent most of today doing work on other things! Which is quite annoying. I had a goal of having 2 chapters handed to my supervisor by the end of month. I don't think this is going to happen. So I have decided to work from home again tomorrow and try to make some progress on the current chapter.

The box arrived. This weeks contained:

  • celery
  • onions
  • parsnips
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • swede
  • kale
  • spring cabbage
  • leeks
I made bubble and squeak, as I got a jealous look from Andrew when he saw picture from last week.

I am really enjoying the regular delivery of vegetables. The only problem I have is the peelings. Andrew and I recycle everything that we can and take our own bags to the shops. But we have nowhere to put our peelings, of which there are lot! If we had a garden then of course they would go on a compost but we don't. I think that this may need some investigating. . .

Monday, 3 March 2008

Nice work if you can get it

The veg box has been used to good effect this week. Our friend Stuart came round on Wednesday for dinner. So Andrew cooked a pan fried sausage dish which has a mustard and apple sauce. I roasted beetroot, parsnips, carrots and potatoes in goose fat (which was acquired from Christmas dinner).

Andrew went off to Nice for a work thing on Thursday, I am sure that he will blog about this at some point. So left alone with the veg box, I decided to take advantage. So I made bubble and squeak with the first decent poached egg I've manage to do:

As you can see I could wait to eat and then remembered that it might be a good to take a picture, mainly to make Andrew jealous!

I spent the weekend in the lab. I would love to finish the majority of my lab work by the end of April as this would give me 5 months to write the thesis. Hence the lack of fun at the weekend. When I got back home on Sunday I made a soup for lunch this week. I got the recipe from veg box recipes, I decided to make the winter minestrone soup.

I thought that I should celebrate Andrew's return to Scotland, so I prepared the traditional meal of haggis, neeps (swede) and tatties. The haggis was vegetarian and very good too.