A week of two halves

My week started off well and with good intentions. The cawl turned out beautifully and I did have it with the cheesy dumplings, which were perhaps slightly undercooked, but stodge has never been an issue for me.

Sea bream on Monday night with leek mash was very tasty and I would definitely have it again (just as well, as there are another two fillets in the freezer). I made the extra hot smoked salmon into salad for Tuesday lunchtime – half a fillet was enough to make a filling lunch.

I went to the Oxo tower on Tuesday afternoon to taste food for the Christmas party, and dribbled my way through a selection of canapes: aroncini, salmon fishcake with sorrel, duck rillette wrapped in parma ham, rare roast beef on a crostini with parmesan and fig, cheese and tomato tartlet, chorizo sausage rolls, mini cottage pie and scallop with guacamole. We also had bowl foods to taste: rocket pesto pasta, mushroom risotto (neither of which I tried as I hate rocket and mushrooms – foods of the devil), sausage with mustard mash, mini cheeseburgers, salt and pepper squid with thai salad and fish and chips. All delicious, but the chorizo sausage rolls and mini cheeseburgers were exceptional, and I was glad to make sure they both ended up on the final menu for December. I’ll be waiting by the kitchen entrance on the night to swipe them off the waiter before they get to the rest of the room.

We didn’t have any puddings to try, and I was craving something sweet when I got home so ended up having some jam on toast, followed by some chocolate.

On Wednesday, I ended up meeting a friend for dinner (planned, but forgotten) and we went for a quick pizza at Pizza Express in Euston Road … normally we would go there at lunch and so I never have pizza then, but that night I fancied a blow out (quelle surprise) and so we shared doughballs, then I had one of their super thin pizzas with gorgonzola, crispy parma ham and artichoke with chilli oil. I am not normally a fan of anything more than a plain old cheese and tomato pizza, but this one has changed my view – utterly delicious. Why have I been ignoring the deliciousness of a pizza with a topping. For pudding I had a chocolate fudge cake which was a bit crap (didn’t stop me eating it though). It was great to catch up with my friend Jo (over a bottle of wine as well) and I wasn’t completely stuffed at the end of the night, so got home and made a lemon tirumisu for dinner on Thursday with another friend.

My French friend Leonie came for dinner on Thursday night and I made a simple tomato and mozzarella salad to start (I soften the tomatoes with some olive oil and garlic in the oven first), which I top with basil and pine nuts; then Nigella’s sicilian pasta – incredible flavours and simple to make, I will definitely be having it again; and the lemon tirumisu for pudding: sponge fingers soaked in limoncello, topped with marscapone flavoured with lemon juice, zest and icing sugar, and scattered with flaked almonds. It was okay, but not that special so I wouldn’t bother doing it again. I think I should have whipped some cream into the marscapone to lighten it up. A bit too claggy in my mouth and probably not sweet enough.

On Friday I had the day off to go shopping with mum, and had a cinnamon bun (cooked from frozen, bought from Ikea) for breakfast, then meatballs and chips from Ikea for lunch (we ended up there to buy a table and chairs ready for Christmas) and then we made fish and chips for dinner. I had never fried my own fish before but mum showed me a simple batter of self raising flour, salt, milk and a little water. She didn’t coat the fish (loin of cod) in flour first – just dunked it straight into the batter and then into the oil. I made my rather delicious (even if I do say so myself) chips which are basically potato wedges parboiled in salted water, coated in olive oil and then baked in the oven, and we had them with mushy peas – the fish looked like it had come straight from a gastropub – I will definitely be making it again.

Andrew was out to see the rugby on Saturday so after some bacon baps for breakfast, and a long telephone chat with a good friend in Sri Lanka, I just did a quick meal of spinach pasta with broccoli and blue cheese sauce (made with Laughing Cow low fat blue cheese triangles) in the evening. Today (Sunday) was a breakfast of bacon and eggs (grilled bacon, poached eggs) followed by a long shopping trip to Westfield Stratford. We got home and I had a quick snack of melba toast with more Laughing Cow and cucumber, and then for dinner I made red peppers stuffed with minced pork, and baked apples for dessert. With the apples, I had soaked some sultanas in rum the day before, and stuffed those into the apple cavity along with some butter and brown sugar. Yum. We have some for tomorrow as well, and I bet they will taste even nicer then.

So, all in all a week where I mixed good days with bad days and didn’t go to the gym. I stayed the same weight-wise, but I am not feeling great. My back is playing up a lot and so I am avoiding the gym, but I really need to get back into it before I turn into a lump of lard.

This week I plan to be more of a goody two shoes, although I anticipate re-reading this next Sunday with the thought “oh shit, I really should have tried harder”. Tomorrow I am intending to have grilled sea bass with vietnamese style noodles. Tuesday will be salmon fillets with lentils, and I am going to do smoked haddock with poached eggs and crushed new potatoes on Wednesday. I have a friend’s leaving drinks on Thursday and dinner out on Friday so I will have to be cautious on those days. Friends are coming for dinner on Saturday and I am planning the tomato and mozzarella salad, followed by prawn and chilli pasta with homemade onion focaccia, and Nigella’s nutella cheesecake for pudding.

On that note, I will stop my ramblings and try to stop thinking of food for a few hours. It’s not easy being greedy.



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