Sunday, Sunday, here again …

A trip to the fishmonger yesterday meant that we could have one of our favourite breakfasts this morning. Green Lane Fisheries sells a beautiful hot smoked salmon fillet so I bought two, along with sea bass, sea bream, salmon fillets, squid and prawns (all for the freezer).

I had originally seen this recipe on Saturday Kitchen by Danny Millar and it struck us both as a really tasty brunch. The first time I made it I religiously followed the recipe, but the last two times (this morning included) I did roughly along the lines of the following: microwave the salmon fillet to warm it through (one fillet is enough for two people); mix cold mashed potato (leftover from Friday night but without any butter, milk or parsley) with some flour and shape into cakes and gently fry in a non stick pan with a little butter; chop half a small onion and boil with some white wine vinegar and water, then add some cubed butter to thicken, parsley, along with salt and pepper; poach an egg. Put the potato cakes on the plat and top with the slightly squished salmon, add the egg to the top and put sauce on and around (it is a runny sauce). The whole meal takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and the flavour combinations are so tasty. You could have it without the sauce as long as your yolk is runny, but as Andrew likes his eggs hard as bullets, it needed sauce. You probably wouldn’t want this first thing in the morning, but as a weekend brunch it is ideal, and surprisingly light. Hence why I am starving now (5pm).

I also made my version of Welsh cawl yesterday for us to eat today. I boiled lamb neck fillet with swede, onion, leek and carrot, plus some stock made of beef oxo and a little tomato paste. I cooked it for a couple of hours until the meat was tender, and then left it until this morning to cool so that I could scrape off the fat. I am now debating whether to have this with the baked cheese dumplings I mentioned last week (recipe here), or inside large yorkshire puddings (which I always make badly …). Or maybe just with boiled veg to be healthy … I am leaning towards dumplings because the traditional way of eating cawl (according to my brief Google research anyway) is with bread and welsh cheese, so dumplings made with Colliers cheddar seems appropriate, and I can use up the other half of my onion from this morning to make them.

If we want pudding, then there is still a couple of slices of last week’s apple cake left, which has been massively improved by my recipe tweaks – a splash of brandy added to the base mixture, apples grated instead of chopped, some sticky dates chopped and added to the mixture; then brandy added to the topping. Absolutely delicious, and gets better with age (luckily, as Andrew was in no position to eat any of it at the start of the week, so we still have a third left).

For the rest of the week I have planned pan fried sea bream (I have never tried this before but it was on special offer at the fishmonger) with leek and potato bake (not sure exactly what that will be – either mashed or roasted together) for tomorrow (and pasta – no chicken – leftover from Saturday for lunch); something with the other hot smoked salmon fillet for Tuesday as I have lunch planned with a friend and then am going to a food tasting at the Oxo tower for our work Christmas party so probably won’t want anything heavy for dinner – I hope not anyway, I want a decent feed while I am there! To be easy on Wednesday I’ll probably do Youngs battered cod with jackets and mushy peas. I’ll be getting an Ocado delivery then with various Christmas baking provisions, and I’ll also need to plan for Thursday’s dinner so I want something quick and easy. I didn’t bother making lunchtime soups this week as I would only need them on Wednesday and Thursday – not sure what I will have instead to try and be healthy.

My dear friend Leonie is coming for dinner on Thursday, for the first time at our new house, so I want to make something nice but relatively light as it is a schoolnight. I really like the sound of Nigellissima’s Sicilian Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic and Almonds. Even better, I have the fusilli lunghi to make it with! I can make the sauce the night before to be well prepared, so I’ll serve this with tomato and mozzarella salad and some garlic bread. For pudding I have decided to make some limoncello tirumisus – basically made up by me as limoncello soaked lady finger biscuits (savourdi biscuits is, I think, their real name) topped with marscapone which has been mixed with lemon juice and zest and icing sugar, and finished with some toasted almonds. And maybe a little shot of limoncello for after!

My mum is visiting on Friday as we both have the day off work and are going Christmas shopping around my neck of the woods. She’ll arrive early and I was going to do some fruit bread toast for breakfast, but reading back at the last entry, I actually think that stuff is the work of the diet devil so I need to rethink. I’ll make sure extra lemoncello tirumisus so that she can try them. Not sure what else to cook yet as I don’t know when we will be in and out of the house. Our plan for the afternoon is to make christmas cakes for us both using Delia’s recipe. As I will have the ingredients and mum loves mince pies, I might also make some mince meat for her. Next weekend is due to be a quiet one so I would also like to make some homemade Christmas gifts, including Nigella’s chilli jam, sweetcorn relish, spiced port and plum jam, lemon curd and red onion marmalade. I’ll post the recipes when I finally decide what to make.

Right, time to get on with dinner … I think it will be dumplings …

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