Friday Fridge Raid

Tonight I got home from work a little earlier than usual and so fancied making something Fridayish. Which basically means something a) More time consuming and complicated than my mid week 30 minute meals and/or b) More indulgent than my usual repertoire.

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However, in our house, we usually do the food shopping on a Sunday, which means that come Friday the fridge is looking pretty bare. Anything that can be found in there, should be treated with suspicion.

From looking at this picture alone, you could be forgiven for thinking that I am an alcoholic who lives on yoghurt, jam and condiments alone. I assure you that is not true! I also have a fully stocked fruit bowl, honest.

 

After a little rummaging in the store cupboard, I discovered I had all the ingredients to make a Chicken Risotto. Perfect Friday night food!

Many years ago I learnt how to make Jamie Oliver’s Basic Risotto. Nowadays I pretty much know the recipe off by heart and simply adapt it to suit the contents of my fridge.

Tonight I made a garlic and rosemary risotto, with a dollop of half fat creme fraiche added at the end instead of the butter. Then I topped it with oven baked chicken breasts which had been seasoned with garlic, rosemary, the juice and zest of a lemon and black pepper. I served with a sprinkle more lemon zest, parmesan cheese, black pepper and an abundance of broccoli!

Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary Risotto with Oven Baked Chicken.

Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary Risotto with Oven Baked Chicken.

Served with broccoli!

Served with broccoli.

The Man gave up a takeaway with the boys for this, so I was nervous to hear his verdict…

His exact words were “A strong 8.5 out of 10.”

High praise indeed for a man who is more steak and chips than lemon zest and broccoli.

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WIAW #4

I’ve made a fantastic discovery. Meridian Natural Almond Butter. I’ve seen it cropping up in various food blogs for some time now, so I know it’s nothing new. I picked it up totally on a whim a few weeks ago. Now here’s the shocking part…there’s still about a quarter of a jar left in the cupboard! That has NEVER happened with peanut butter (you can read why here – I can’t bring myself to type that shameful confession again.)

I know what you’re thinking, that if there is still some left weeks later, then it must be because it tastes like crap. But no! It tastes good, great in fact, especially with porridge. It’s just that, the slightly grainy texture and less sweet taste is not quite addictive enough to make me want dive head first into the jar as soon as it is opened. This is amazing news for me!

So here it is, on top of my morning porridge, made with semi-skimmed milk and a big handful of raspberries. Again – no green at Breakfast time today.

Porridge with raspberries and almond butter.

Porridge with raspberries and almond butter.

On Monday night, I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, making sure there was plenty left over for lunch the next day. Nothing beats left overs for lunch, especially things like Bolognese which are always even tastier the second day. A handful of rocket salad and I have my greens. There are also tomatoes, red peppers, onions and mushrooms in the sauce so I’d say I’ve hit my veggie quota here!

Spag Bol with Rocket Salad

Wholemeal Spag Bol with Rocket Salad

For dinner I made one of The Man’s favourites (and another super left-over lunch!) Chicken & Chorizo Paella. Aside from the obvious lump of green (Spinach and Rocket Salad) there are also green peppers and peas in the Paella, as well as yellow pepper and red onion.

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Throughout the day I also munched my way through a banana, an apple and an orange and guzzled down 2 cups of coffee and 2 cups of tea. Don’t worry – I also drink looooooads of water. I’ll finish there, because all that water makes you need to go for a wee at least a hundred times a day…

WIAW #2


It was a bright but bitterly cold morning in SE England today. In an attempt to balance the changing seasons, I decided on a winter menu to warm me up and a spring themed outfit to brighten me up.

I gave my usual x-biking class a miss because my hamstrings were super tight from yesterday’s work out. Usually a bit of soreness wouldn’t deter me, but with a 10k run to complete on Thursday  morning, I figured I’d give my legs a chance to fully recover (in fact, I might even get the dreaded foam roller out tonight!)

On to the food…

There is nothing quite like the power of porridge to warm you up on a chilly morning. Even better, add grated apple and cinnamon and it’s a little bit like eating apple pie for breakfast!

Porridge with grated apple and cinnamon.

Porridge with grated apple and cinnamon.

Our office is freeeeeezing so I reverted back to a winter classic – soup. I pushed the boat out by going to M&S to pick up lunch rather than just Tesco (fancy hey!) and got this delicious Spicy Lentil Soup and a crusty brown roll.

Spicy Lentil Soup with Wholemeal Roll

Spicy Lentil Soup with Wholemeal Roll

Later in the afternoon, I had a bowl of fruit salad. It hit the spot  but left me shivering brrrrrr.

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

Continuing on the winter warmers theme, I made honey mustard chicken, with mashed potatoes and peas for dinner.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Mash Potato and Peas.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Peas.

Now I am going to settle down with a cup of tea and work on my latest project – crocheting a blanket for a friends bump that will soon be a baby. I’ll save posting pictures of that until it is a little more impressive…

Me Vs. Chilli

Chilli con carne, basmati rice, guacamole, coriander and a wedge of lime.

Chilli con carne, basmati rice, guacamole, coriander and a wedge of lime.

I loooooove chilli. I add it to pretty much anything. In fact, when we were back packing a couple of years ago, I kept a pack of dried red chilli flakes in my bag so I could sprinkle away on every continent.

Last week, I wrote about my troubles with choosing recipes and making substitutions within recipes when baking (see here) When it comes cooking dinners however, it is a totally different story for me. Sure, I like to take inspiration from recipes, but generally I have a much more laid back approach. When cooking dinners that I regularly make (ie. Chilli Con Carne, Bolognese, Curries, Kedgeree etc.) I tend to use the same ingredients but I rarely measure them and instead I just keep tasting as I go. It usually works out!

Tonight I made Chilli Con Carne with home-made guacamole. I won’t bore you with the entire recipe, but I will tell you a few of my essential ingredients – ground cumin, chilli powder, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and cocoa powder. I also don’t mind telling you that it was delicious, even if I do say so myself. Winner!

On the exercise front, my gym buddy and I went for our first run together this morning in preparation for our upcoming 10k race on 14th April 2013. We completed 5.5 miles whilst nattering the entire time, which meant the miles flew by despite the miserable weather. If Spring ever arrives then I’m sure the morning runs will be even more enjoyable in the weeks to come!

It’s The Mans birthday this weekend, so what better excuse to try out all of the recipes I have been eyeing up for a while now. The plan is to make Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Icing from The Hummingbird Bakery and Melting Moments from the Great British Bake Off.

The tricky part though, is deciding on the  perfect Birthday Cake recipe.  I’m thinking something super chocolatey with salted caramel (drool!) would be right up my his street. So tonight I am going to gather my recipe books on the sofa for a couple of hours of food porn research…

What are your Chilli Con Carne essential ingredients? 

Have you found the perfect Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake Recipe? 

How do you decide on the perfect recipe for a special occasion?