31 January 2008

Diving into the freezer

The last time I made a bolognese, half of it wound up in the freezer (the other half wound up in me). Nothing really special--meat simmered in tomato sauce, with whatever herbs and spices I feel like. If I'm lucky, a glass or two of wine find their way in as well.

Spent too long at the office and then too long sorting out my bookkeeping to pay bills. Too tired -- and hungry to cook something from scratch. So into the freezer I go, and out I come with the sauce.

So, meat sauce and pasta with buttered bread for supper (and will have the same for lunch tomorrow too). I guess I should have a veggie with it or put some in the sauce...but...well...just didn't feel like it...


27 January 2008

I am a lady who brunches and lunches

You'd think that since I have a week off from work, I'd be updating these blogs a bit more often.

Being a lady who brunches and lunches took up enough time that I just didn't have time to post. Oh well.

Tuesday had a couple of girlfriends over for a good natter. Of course this meant that the cookbook experimentation continued--thumbs up all around. Apart from the experimentation, sandwiches were served--curried apple and chicken salad on French-style artisinal wedges and Parisienne ham with brie on rosemary foccaccia (made by a newish bakery).

Thursday lunch was brought in by a dear friend...well, delivered. She was going to make a masala chicken, but changed her mind ("It would be like bringing coals to Newcastle"--her words, not mine). About an hour after she arrived, two wondrous pizzas came in--a white pizza with cold bruschetta topping and then a quattro staggione. I could have eaten both all by myself...

Saturday an old friend came in from the Big Smoke for brunch. Unfortunately, I thought he'd be in on Sunday. Which meant I wasn't totally ready. A quick trip to the shops and I picked up some essentials (bread, flour, butter, spices, garlic and maple syrup) and then returned to my kitchen where we made brunch together: gingerbread waffles, fried mushrooms, creamy scrambled eggs. All this was accompanied by some wondrous sausages he brought in from the St. Lawrence Market: lamb w. rosemary and pork w. apricot.


24 January 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge completed

Yup, it's done.

Won't be posted until Monday.


20 January 2008

Using friends as guinea pigs...again...

I've a small pile of cookery books sent by publishers, hopeful that I'll say something about them on one of my websites. Given the past half-year, I've not been in the mood to review anything and since my cooking hasn't been very successful, I thought it best to wait until the food I made was, well, edible.

Anyway, don't want to tip my hand on the book or the recipes I tried, but I did have a couple of people over--two friends who've been willing to take calls at pretty much any time, day or night. One is currently trying to sort out the study and the wireless connection...it will be a multi-day project, I think.

Anyway, apart from the tested recipes, The main course was a roasted chicken. Nothing fancy: an organic bird, well buttered and seasoned (s&p with thyme), and the top was spritzed with the juice of half an orange. It's gaping void was filled with the same, but also onion, garlic and the other half orange and the rind of the spritzed orange. I then placed the bird on a bed of thickly-sliced sweet onions and then roasted it. Made a sauce from the drippings and then served the roasted onions and garlic as one of the sides.

V. good.


17 January 2008

Beanie would be pleased if he could get some...

One of the things my mum said before she left was to cook what was in the freezer--makes sense as they are gone for six months. Mind you, they have a deep chest freezer, so I don't know how far I'll get.

Have had a hankering for chicken and pasta so made a really quick creamy-pesto chicken. Sauteed onions, garlic and mushrooms, and chunks of chicken all swathed in a basil pesto and cream sauce. Yum.

And yes Beanie thought I was making this just for him.


14 January 2008

Chili Day

Perfect day for chili...or is it chilli? Can never remember what spells which. Anyway, it's cooled off again and I'm in the mood for some bulk cooking. Made a big vat of chili--not my best by far, but definitely not the worst. I need to develop my own chili seasoning mix as I'm never quite satisfied with the packets and my mood for chili only strikes when I don't have any of the seasoning mix in the house.

Oh well.

Tins of kidney and black beans, niblets, stewed tomatoes, a load of meat along with minced onion and garlic. Doctored the seasoning but it still wasn't there...must put in cocoa next time to see if that helps...


10 January 2008

New Year...

...new beginnings...

Hello everyone. I trust your holidays--sacred or secular--have you safe, happy and well-fed.

It's been ages since I last wrote to you. I'm not going to bore or trouble you with the intimate details of my existence as a widow without consideration these last five and a half months, except to say that although transparent meanness and opportunism still thrive, kindness, although plentiful, can still surprise you in the most unexpected places.

Over the past half-year or so I've received hundreds of messages, either in email, voicemail, cards, visits or messages on this site. Thank you all so much for your thoughts, wishes and prayers. I've also received many notes from people waiting patiently for my return. I've thought of you and this site often, but I knew I wouldn't be able to return until my life settled a bit--thank you for your patience.

I wish I could tell you that I found solace in the kitchen. Unfortunately, as many know, you can tell what my mood is by the food I cook. After a particularly bad batch of brownies, my Dear Little Mummy said "You're just too sad to cook."

To be honest, I tended to avoid the kitchen in any meaningful way. I couldn't even look at cookbooks or read any of my favourite food writers or bloggers. I couldn't even watch cooking shows (but I now have several hours of Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal on the PVR).

The only thing I could make with any degree of competency was jam--pretty simple: stir, stir, stir, boil, boil, boil, stir, stir, stir and pour...and eat.

I am happy to say that my scullery, while not in full buzz, now sings more often with the happy blurblings and sizzlings that marks a proper, working home kitchen. The dish that put me back on track? Nigella's Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding (more on that later).

I don't know how things will go and I will ease back into blogging. I hope to pick up my Savour the Season series in the next few weeks and probably figure out a theme or two....but right now, I'm just pleased to be back.