week 26

FRIDAY date night!
SATURDAY meatballs with polenta
SUNDAY roast beef + grape, avocado & arugula salad
MONDAY big vegan bowl
TUESDAY tuna poke
WEDNESDAY chickpea dumplings in curry tomato sauce + roasted cauliflower
THURSDAY togarashi chicken with sesame cucumber relish

tried a couple of new recipes this week as well as an old favourite, updated.

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first up is something i’d been craving for ages. granted, it’s a dish i’d never had before, only its components, but i knew (or at least hoped) it would be amazing. meatballs with polenta. i already had a great polenta recipe… and so i turned to one of my absolutely favourite food bloggers for the meatballs… smitten kitchen’s every day meatballs. they did not disappoint! i followed deb’s recipe to the letter — if you can even say that cos this is a flexible recipe! — using a mix of ground beef and ground pork (about 4:1 beef to pork simply cos i had about 100g of pork in the freezer that i needed to use up; would probs do half and half next time), fresh bread crumbs, milk, and crushed tomatoes. not only were the meatballs lovely, but the sauce was so delicious! you wouldn’t expect so much from such a simple sauce but yum!! also worth noting is an addition to the polenta — i added about ¾ cup of freshly grated parmesan along with the butter and *gasp* i used sour cream instead of creme fraiche cos i am so sick of buying a tub of the stuff only to use ¼ cup (or 1 tbsp as this recipe asks) and have the rest go bad. sour cream worked a treat! this was a new meal for us and a definite keeper! uber comfort food!

roast.JPG
i’d also been craving a proper roast beef dinner. prob since like november but somehow i never managed to fit it in. altho i’ve not been terribly happy with the selection of beef cuts at our local grocery stores and i’d never gotten around to finding a good local butcher. and let me tell you, that’s the key. cos we did. and sunday’s roast was amazing! the best i’ve ever cooked before. it was also the best roasted veg and gravy too, but that’s cos i actually followed a proper recipe instead of winging it as per usual. my previous roast accompaniments have always been good but i’m looking for amazing here. ever since i cooked my first roast, i did what my sister taught me to do, and that was to slather the s&p’d top sirloin roast all over with dijon mustard and then sprinkle with montreal steak spice. and then i followed jamie oliver’s perfect roast beef recipe, which includes a vegetable trivet for making the gravy! life changing! when it was time to “crack on” with the roasted veg, i again followed his roasted veg recipe altho i added shallots cos omg, roasted shallots!! ditto for the gravy (swap beef for chicken), altho i use bisto instead of flour so needed to add more than was called for. i also realised i’d not cut my trivet carrots small enough cos they did not all mash. lastly, i used a splash of dry vermouth instead of wine. was it the best gravy i’ve ever made? a resounding yes!! but let’s talk yorkies shall we? i got this recipe from a former friend who got it from her mum. i understand yorkshire puddings can be tricky but these have not failed me yet.

yorkshire pudding

2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
¾ cup milk (whole or 2%)

beat eggs with salt; add flour and milk, alternating, a little at a time, whisking well with each addition to ensure no lumps. when all mixed and batter is completely smooth, set aside until the roast is out of the oven. i often make this before i start on anything else.

once your roast is out, increase the oven temperature to 425°F. add some olive oil (or drippings from your roast) into the bottoms of a 12-muffin tin and place into the tin onto a baking sheet and into the oven for a minute or two or until the oil is very hot but not burnt.

remove pan and tin from oven and ladle batter evenly into all 12 cups; quickly return to oven and bake for 15 minute.  reduce heat to 350°F and bake for a further 5 min.  do not open oven door before the timer goes under any circumstance!

ps/ i make this grape, avocado & arugula salad (not shown) pretty often; it’s the perfect side salad for a roast of any kind, plus it’s a great potluck salad too! everyone loves it.

so then i had to scrap the poke bowl as well as the vegan salad bowl cos we went out for dinner one night with our daughter and her fella and then the next night we had another roast beef dinner — all hail leftovers!

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but on wednesday i made one of my favourites! chickpea dumplings in curry tomato sauce. i’ve made these several times before but it was only this week i realised the dumplings are essentially onion bhajia balls! these are insanely easy to throw together and, like everything else i’ve been making these days, ultimate comfort food! the sauce is basically  a can of crushed tomatoes simmered with some delightful and fragrant spices and the dumplings consist of chickpea flour, cilantro, onion, serrano peppers and oil! plop dollops of that in the sauce and simmer till done. i always serve roasted cauliflower on the side rather than the suggested rice just cos we can’t get enough roasted cauliflower into our bellies, ever.

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then rounding out the week is another new one: crispy togarashi chicken with sesame cucumber relish. it’s so easy to get bored of chicken dishes so i’m always looking for something a little different. but of course i forgot to pick up a jar of the shichimi togarashi (or japanese 7-spice blend) and upon googling, discovered it was nothing like chinese 5-spice (dang it!) but i figured i only needed a tsp; i’ll wing it! i think i had 5 of the 7 spices and not all 5 were exactly what was called for but whatevs, it worked. i will endeavour to grab a jar next time i’m at a T&T cos i’d really like to make this again. i will say the chicken itself was not out of this world, altho some might ask is it ever? i think i should have pre-seasoned it more. but let me tell you: the cucumber relish is unbelievably tasty and refreshing! i made some easy peasy spicy green beans to go alongside and the relish balanced the spicy in the beans perfectly!

see you next week! i already bought the red cabbage so those vegan bowls will have to make an appearance!

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