Saturday, November 24, 2007

November 24th, 2007

I have been rather busy this past month but not too busy to cook. On the way home from work one day, I stopped by the farm shop and picked up some Cod from the fishmonger. I was looking for some halibut, but he said the awful storms we had a few weeks back had affected the fishing. But he should be back in a weeks time and should have some then.

I had been perusing my cooking magazines and I came across a recipe for Savoy cabbage with bacon and cod, they microwaved theirs, I rather fancied mine in the oven. I started off by frying the bacon till crispy and then just barely stir fried the cabbage and onions ( I snuck in some thinly sliced brussel sprouts, don't tell Brian). And then placed in a glass baking dish. Put the cod on top and sprinkled some black pepper and a bit of thyme on top. I forgot to add some chicken stock that they recommended, but instead I added a bit of white wine and some lemon juice.Then I popped the lid on and into the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 c. I also made my Butter bean mash to go with the fish dish and a lovely fresh salad.

Butter bean mash is easy, make potatoes as normal for mash and before adding to the bowl take a can of drained and rinsed butter beans and squish them with your fingers. Then add the mash and proceed as normal. The beans add a nice flavour and texture to the mash. I added my cloves of garlic to the potatoes while they were boiling so it wasn't too overpowering. Then put potatoes and garlic through the ricer. Add a bit of milk and butter and season with salt and pepper. Top with some grated cheddar cheese and just brown in the oven. I made the mash first and put it in with the fish in the oven.

A Trip to London
Almost no trip would be complete for us without seeing St. Paul's Cathedral. We always ride past it on a bus either going in or coming home. On the day this photo was taken it was a lovely Autumnal day and sorry for the specks of dirt and the glare, I took the photo from the top of a double decker bus.

We had two missions that day, actually three.... 1. To have lunch at our fav Italian restaurant Anacapri ..... 2. To check on Hamish's flat. They are off to Peru for two weeks and let us use the flat when they are away. Only thing is Brian doesn't like leaving the cats so we only stop for a rest and make sure things are okay. ......3. To see if I could find some Orzo. Well we managed two of the three. The ever elusive Orzo will have to be ordered off the internet I guess.

When you walk through this door you are greeted as long lost family. The head of the restaurant is so friendly and welcoming. Immediately upon sitting at a table you are looked after like no other place I know. They start bringing out the food even before you are presented with menus. There are fresh celery and carrot sticks with a lovely vinaigrette dressing. Olives, bread and butter and bread sticks are there to nibble while reading the vast menu of delicious options.

We both decided on the Mozzarella and tomato salad. I know it isn't very adventurous but it is really lovely!!! And the starters are as big as the mains!!!

Sorry for the olive pips. I just love black olives. We chose a nice Frascati wine to go with our meal.

I just love their Veal Milanese it melts in your mouth like butter and the spaghetti though it may look plain is so packed full of flavour. I wish I could make a plain tomato sauce that good. I would be a very happy woman if I could.

And Brian's main was veal medallions in a creamy mushroom sauce. I have had veal once in France that was so tough to chew that I sent it back and was really cross with them. Thinking that a French restaurant would know better!!! You only cook for just a bare minimum. And the chefs at Anacapri have it to perfection. They have some lovely pasta dishes that we have had before and loads more on their menu for all tastes. Hamish and Yuk-kin first introduced us to this lovely find....... The lucky sods only live a block away!!!!! I guess it is lucky we don't live so close, as we would probably be there every week and then it wouldn't be so special when we did go. Oh and if the starters and mains weren't enough you really should see the desserts!!!! They make a big presentation of the desserts. And you will usually have about 5 different ones brought to your table to tempt you. We opted for Cream Caramel (mine) and Cheese cake (Brian).

You will not need to lift the wine bottle to fill your glass and you won't go away hungry. The restaurant it's self is rather small, but the food and service sure aren't. So if you should find yourself in the Marleybone area of London around lunch or dinner time..... You would be hard pressed to find a much nicer restaurant than this one. I highly recommend it.

Comfort food
Okay you have been working away all day and it is cold outside and sleeting down with rain and you don't really feel much like cooking tonight.... well here you go.... Couldn't be any simpler than a good ole Sausage Hot Pot!!!

Very similar to Lancashire hot pot except it doesn't have lamb and you use baked beans and don't use mushrooms okay so maybe it is way different....
Start by browning some sausages in a frying pan, this will depend on how many you are cooking for. I usually go with the whole pack as I eat leftovers for lunches. You don't need to cook them fully, just brown well. And while those are browning throw in some chopped onion to slightly soften too. Place into a large ovenproof casserole dish. In the same frying pan saute some slices of carrot, celery and peeled pumpkin. Again giving them just a bit of colour, and just part cooking. Again put into the casserole dish. Now according to how many you are feeding, you can use one or two cans of baked beans. Mix these in and give a good stir. Now take about 4 peeled potatoes and slice really thin. I use my special gadget for this. Layer over the sausage mixture. Bake at 180 c for about 30 minutes covered. Next uncover and sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese over the top and back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Serve with a nice side salad. And this is as nice as a big fluffy blanket on a cold winters eve.

Even though I have lived here for 11 years we still celebrate Thanksgiving, but a scaled down version. We have a roast Chicken instead of a turkey. I do wish I could figure out how they have those gorgeous birds with the legs still attached and all golden brown. Then again those may be really dry, mine are never dry and are always falling off the bone.

And my pumpkin pies I have to make from scratch by roasting my pumpkin and then blending the flesh with two eggs, a bit of milk, some brown sugar and spices.

I even make my own pie crust from scratch, although I could buy this premade.

And then it is roasted potatoes and Stuffing balls rather than the traditional dressing I used to make.

And they do have cranberries here in the grocery, you can get fresh ones or already prepared cranberry jelly in a jar. Oh and instead of gravy I make bread sauce from a packet that is just gorgeous with chicken and roasted potatoes.

Ohhhhhh gotta save room for some pie!!!! Happy holidays everyone!!!!


Cottage Smallholder said...

Thanks for a lovely post, Pat. The butter beans mash sounds great and the sausage hotpot. In fact everything looks scrummy. I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving.

Thanks for the tip about the restaurant. It sounds perfect.

Pat said...

Thanks Fiona!!! It is a really nice restaurant.

Lincairns said...

Mmmmm, more yummy food, Thanks giving dinner looks very inviting. :)
Food at the resaurant looks lovely, and spoiling yourself with desert.

Linda x

katiez said...

Love the idea of butter bean mash - so simple but sounds delicious!
Great picture of St. Paul's. That clear blue sky is such a treat!

Cottage Smallholder said...

I've tagged you for the 8 happy thoughts meme. Hope that you enjoy doing it.

Joanna said...

I've been looking for orzo for ages, and had nearly given up ... but, the other day, in our not very big Tesco (Henley on Thames), I found some, with a whole lot of "foreign" food ... in one of those black cases the shelves in new Tescos have, and this one is not Finest, or really expensive oils, but specialised foreign foods in tins and packets ...

Hope this helps


Pat said...

Thanks Linda!!!

Thanks Katiez It is yummy!!! I sometimes put some sauted onions in with the butter beans.

Ohh Fiona!!! Thank you very much!!!

Joanna, I have looked in our smaller Tesco. Maybe a trip to the bigger one is called for!! Thanks!!! I have also looked on their internet shopping site, but didn't see it there.

Cynthia said...

Okay, this is how I view coming to your blog - as coming to see an long time friend and catching up on what she's been up to.

We don't get Orzo here either. I brought back 3 packets with me when I went to the US in October.

I like the idea of doing the roast chicken since it is for a small gathering and loved that you still did all the trimmings. I too am planning on making stuffing balls this year for Christmas.

It is always a pleasure visiting you, Pat. Hope you and Brian are both doing well.

Big hugs.

Pat said...

Awwww Thanks Cynthia!!! That is sooo sweet!!!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Such a great post Pat. I love your little trips into London.

I've had a butter bean mash in Spain and it was delicious. I never really cook with them but you may have changed that.

Glad your pb turned out well with Herman too.

Amanda x

Pat said...

Thanks Amanda!!! The bread is really nice and I think I may be having it more often. The butter beans add a nice flavour and texture to the mash.