Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Cooking, Cleaning and Cotton Yarn

Our Christmas triffid amaryllis is growing steadily and ready to pop!

Welcome to my first feed back of the cookery calendar challenge. I started this at the beginning of March and introduced it in this blog. It's been fun, first in choosing suitable recipes that we'd all like and second in food preparations generally. I've cooked two dinners that I've never tried before. My family are thankfully always keen to try new foods and are always very appreciative of great tasting and nicely presented food. The book I choose these 2 recipes from was Eat For Life by The Hairy Dieters based on the TV series. I think their first book in this series The Hairy Dieters was so successful that they wanted to produce another book full of new recipes.

Eat For Life is arranged conveniently with chapters for breakfast and brunch, fast food, family favourites and meals with mates. Then follow what they proudly offer as fab fakeaways, food from afar, meals on the move, snacks and salads, something sweet and along sides. The book finishes with a page on 'what you get for 100 calories'.

The recipe I chose to cook early on in March from Eat For Life was the All-In-One Spicy Pork and Rice from the Family Favourite's chapter- shown simmering in the pan. This particular chapter promises comfort food that's warm and satisfying. Although I'm not watching calories I do however enjoy eating healthy, tasty food that is relatively easy to prepare. I usually cook meals from scratch but am quite happy opening a jar of sauce for convenience. I do favour casseroles, bakes and stews, simply because once it's cooking there's time for other jobs. Recently I've been making more of an effort to cook one and do the preparation towards the following nights dinner.

This recipe is split into 3 main sections, first frying onions. Then fry the seasoned pork adding chorizo, garlic, peppers and beans, before adding spices, stock and bringing to the boil. Lastly reducing the heat and simmering for 20 minutes until tender. It's all cooked in a large covered saute pan on the hob.

I resisted adding mushrooms to this which I thought was quite remarkable for me as I add mushrooms to any meal I can get away with. I think I was just keen to see how it would turn out 'as is' stated in the recipe. The recipe calls for 150g rice which according to the recipe would be enough to feed 4 people, we usually eat 2-3 oz of rice per person or 1 1/2 cups between us. I felt for us we needed to cook this amount of rice or the teens would be hungry in no time. This is the only thing I altered in the recipe.

This is definitely a recipe that I would love to eat again, we all enjoyed it, absolutely delicious with lots of flavour and colour and as it can all be cooked in the same pan, it was a sure winner.

For the second recipe, this time from the Meals with Mates chapter, it's Meatloaf with Spicy Tomato Sauce. Another absolutely tasty meal, a bit similar in flavour to good quality sausages. I was a bit unsure what to serve it with really as the recipe only suggests garnishing it with parsley. Er, no. We ate ours with mock roast potatoes (not previously par boiled) and green runner beans.

The recipe itself initially looks like it has lots of instructions but on closer inspection it's quite straight forward. After frying the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, adding thyme and removing from the heat, tip into a large mixing bowl.

Adding to the bowl the beef and pork mince, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, salt and pepper combine until well mixed. Placing everything in a prepared tin to cook in the oven you are then free to prepare the spicy tomato sauce. Teen 2 found this way too spicy but everyone else loved it.

The sauce was easy to put together with fried onion and garlic, tinned chopped tomatoes, chilli, oregano and ketchup. Simmer the sauce and keep it all warm, it can either be blitzed smooth or left chunky, depending on how you like it.

Like the previous recipe from this book, I'd certainly cook this again, we loved it. I suppose you could serve it with anything really, new potatoes, even chips or take on a picnic. I usually look for alternatives to potatoes as I'm not keen on them. I do however adore roast potatoes so that's what we had.

The next cookery book I've chosen from my collection for April is The Essential Jewish Festival Cookbook by Evelyn Rose. I'll be choosing 2 recipes from this book and stopping by early May to let you know how we got on.

Since my last blog I've carried on with teen 1 washcloth and some more blanket. I don't seem to have achieved much as I had so many other things requiring attention this past week. Today after I dropped teen 2 into school for RE revision (he didn't want to go) I whizzed round town shopping, payed a library fine, annoying as I didn't get round to reading it anyway and then popped into a few wool shops. I needed to buy another ball of grey cotton yarn as I will definitely run out before I finish this flannel.  

At the weekend I did some spring cleaning of a different kind, sorting through craft stuff in the ottoman in my room and throwing out old study materials. Why did I keep it all, boxes and boxes of stuff? The craft books and patterns are now in storage baskets or boxes on the shelf unit and all the wool, material and kits are neatly stored back in the ottoman. The room still needs a bit of a spring clean but it's better than it was. Mustn't allow the clutter back in future! 

QT taking a stroll in the garden managing to look mean, moody and magnificent.

Menu tonight- Chicken soup with homemade bread
Jobs for the week- get cracking with finishing teen 1 washcloth.
Thank you for reading my blog and if you've been inspired, please leave a comment and follow for updates.


  1. Sounds like your dishes turned out really well, and were appreciated by the family too (always a bonus!) I think my oldest son would enjoy the first dish in particular, he loves pork and chorizo, so combining them would probably be food heaven for him. I agree about the rice quantities though, my family would have needed the extra too. Thank you so much for joinjng me this month, and I look forward to reading about your dishes next time x

  2. Yes teen 2 loves chorizo along with normal sausages too. We're having sausage and mash with vegetables tonight for dinner so that'll please him. Thankfully he'll eat most veg though doesn't like courgette or aubergine, it's just salad he won't eat. My chosen recipes probably won't feature salad anyway, so he should love that! It's a fantastic idea of yours Penny, thanks for reply x

  3. My mouth is watering, reading about your delicious dinners! I think we'd all like both dishes. Some might pick out the chorizo maybe but there is always someone else who'd take the rejected sausage happily.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, it is good to see new readers. It is good to meet you and I look forward to reading more. Have a lovely week.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. How interesting Cathy, I have a lot of the Hairy Bikers/Dieters books, including this one, but despite using them a lot I haven't cooked either of these two recipes! They sound lovely. I cooked from the same book back in February if you would like to see which recipes I picked!


      Thanks again for visiting my blog



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