Tuesday night pizza/pasta specials

We go to Sienna’s in Mt Lawley because it’s close. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday pizza/pasta specials are an added bonus. And generally we get a good feed.

Last night, not so much. Mr Sparklesness’ spaghetti cabonara was nothing spectacular, and my pizza (chicken, capsicum, olive, and mushroom) was tasty but soggy. I had to fold it over itself to eat it without it collapsing.

The coopers on tap went down a treat though. And for a dinner for 2 for under $50 it wasn’t all that bad.

It probably didn’t help that I was in a cranky panda mood and it was rubbing off on Mr S (as he shall now be known as he refuses to be known by his initial, and Mr Musicfoodlife is silly and Mr Sparklesness takes too long to type on an iPhone).
It was one of those evenings where all the topics of conversation were disagreeable, and no middle ground could be found.

After Sienna’s we stopped at Clarences for a quick pint. It’s a new bar that just opened up, it’s a bit niche (read: wanky) but I think I better reserve judgement until I’m in a better frame of mind.

Cranky panda out.
xx

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Sunday roast

Sundays are a lazy day, mostly. Once all the housework’s out of the way, or procrastinated away, one thing I love to do is spend time reading cooking books and magazines, planning what I could cook for dinner without the rush of the after-work rush.

As I was flicking through, making myself hungry, I asked J if he had any ideas, me said I never make him pasta bake. I argued with “I cooked pasta three times this week” but in his eyes it’s not the same.

So I built a meal around pasta bake.
So tomato pasta bake, cheesy potato and cauliflower, and roast beef was the plan, with a french onion soup to start.
I say it was the plan because it didn’t quite turn out as expected.

The french onion soup (I thought) was pretty good. J thought it had way too many onions in it. I agree, but loving onions I didn’t mind it as much.
The recipe was from a Donna Hay magazine, and was pretty much cook onion and garlic, add white wine and beef stock. Serve.
It was a nice broth, so maybe next time I just take all the onions out of J’s serving and put them in mine.

The cheesy cauliflower and potato was probably the laziest way to make a potato bake or cauliflower cheese. I don’t think it could even come under that category. The potato and cauliflower were boiled for about 3 minutes just so they didn’t have to do all their cooking in the oven. That went into a casserole dish, on top of that went a tin of (low-fat)cream, some mustard powder, grated cheese, salt, and pepper. That went in the oven for an hour.
I could have taken the time to make a decent sauce, but I simply couldn’t be bothered.
When I served it, I just had to take the cauliflower and potato out of the cream. There was rather a lot of it, too much really. But it still tasted good.

The pasta bake I was scared of. Given that it was the only item that J had actually requested I was slightly nervous that it wouldn’t live up to expectations.
So I boiled some penne, and I made a sauce out of a tin of tomatoes, some Worcestershire sauce, some dried chilli flakes, and some water to wash out the tomato tin.
That all went into a lasagne dish, with some cheese grated over the top.
It was probably in there for too long so it was a tad crispy on top.
But that wasn’t the biggest disappointment.

The roast beef.
First time I’ve cooked roast beef.
Well… silly old me didn’t read the instructions properly. There was a note (in little tiny writing) above the instructions, saying “per 500g”.
Now I didn’t read that. I just saw the cooking times and went with that.
So after half an hour we had one very rare piece of beef.

Now I’m colour blind, specifically I have trouble telling shades apart. The difference between red and brown, pink and red, white and light pink; those tiny variances in colour which mean the difference between cooked and uncooked.
So I served up the beef uncooked.

Back it went into the oven for another half an hour.
The little bits that I had chopped off only needed 10 minutes.
So we ate the rest of the meal, and then had some bits of meat.

After half an hour in the oven we took it out, wrapped it in foil and let it rest (as you’re meant to do). After half an hour I thought it just might be cool enough to make into sandwiches.
Lo and behold, it still isn’t cooked!
Back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
This time, sod it! I’m not waiting for it to cool, I’m just hacking into it and checking if it’s cooked.
Chopped it in half, right down the middle.
It looked cooked (J verified my colour deficient opinion).
So it cooled so I could make sandwiches (it was about 9:30 at this point).
20 minutes later it looked slightly less cooked, but probably just a little on the rare side.
Into sandwiches it went.

Note to self – buy a meat thermometer.

So a rather staggered meal, of oniony soup, crispy potato bake, overly creamy potatoes and cauliflower, and undercooked meat which then took another hour.
It was mostly edible. But when a meal is described as edible it’s not generally a good thing.

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Winter stodge.

It’s cold, so instinctively I turn to pasta for a nice bit of stodge.
And a really simple one at that.20110715-010543.jpg
Capsicum, and onion went into the pan to brown.
Some beef mince and once that was cooked, some mushrooms.
A tin of tomatoes, a tin of kidney beans, plus some water to make it saucey.

Then the pasta went on. I was using up leftovers so it was half angel hair and half fettucine.

That went into our new IKEA bowls, as my old ones have grown slightly warped, and now spin on our stable tables.
So into the new crockery set.

Topped off with some grated tasty cheese and some fresh chives from my garden.

The only criticism was too many beans. But that was my taste, and not having any smaller tins in my pantry.

Winter stodge, with a glass of red wine, and how i met your mother reruns.
It makes the domestic life appealing.

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Capsicum, spinach, mushroom, and bacon fettucine

Whilst my gorgeous, lovely boyfriend was putting together flatpack (and solving a slight measurement error), I was making a dinner that would (hopefully) take away some of the flatpack frustration.

Nice stodgy fettucine, dressed with a capsicum, spinach, mushroom, and bacon creamy sauce.

The capsicum, bacon, and mushroom went in the frying pan. That cooked and then some corn flour mixed with water, then some milk. And of course salt and pepper.

That thickened whilst the pasta boiled (and J flatpacked away).

It was some nice stooge to end the day – with a glass of wine. Wine is essential for flatpacking (i’m having way too much fun making verbs from flatpack, unlike flatpack which is anything but fun. But it’s all done! Huzzah!)

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hot food for a cold day

I love a spag bol. Or any variation on a tomato-ey pasta sauce.
From discussions with work ladies I’m not sure that what I make is a bolognaise (they couldn’t agree between themselves), but it’s delicious.

With a bit of a tweak from my partner in crime J, who saw that I had bought chorizo (he has a not-so-secret obsession with chorizo) and decided what my tomato sauce lacked was said chorizo.

So in the chorizo went, with some chopped onion.
The beef mince was browned.
Once that was cooked some grated carrot and celery was added to the pot to sweat.
Then mushrooms, tinned tomatoes , bbq sauce, salt, pepper and dried Italian herbs for some flavour.

The tinned tomatoes are usually rinsed out and that water is put in to thicken the sauce a bit too (does everyone do this? Or is it just something that’s been handed down in my family?)

That then simmered away whilst I cooked the pasta (and made ringtones in iTunes)

Then a roll of the dice decided which season of How I Met Your Mother to watch (season 1), and bobs your aunty.

The pasta was dishes up with some fresh spinach and parmesan cheese

Hot food for a cold day.

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Hotel food

We’ve eaten out so much in the last week, it gets pretty expensive. But with everything that’s been going on, cooking dinner without all my usual staples has just seemed really exhausting.

Fortunately things are starting to get back to normal so i cooked dinner last night.

Chorizo, snow pea, and spinach tomato sauce with pasta or rice.

Done.

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what to do with chorizo

this

so so easy.
cook pasta
cook chopped onion, chopped chorizo, and chopped mushrooms in fry pan
break to help boyfriend put up shelves in spare room
add tinned tomatoes (to chorizo, not pasta)
add cooked pasta to chorizo

serve with chives, cheese, and olives (on the one for me – my boy doesn’t like olives)

om nom nom

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go to – chicken fettucine

you know that awkward moment when your boyfriend brings his brother round unexpectantly to pick up something?
And you’re already in your track pants and settled in for the night playing Final Fantasy 7?
And then asks what’s for dinner and you have to improvise with what you have in the cupboard?

So yeah, Friday night my boyfriend’s brother came over for dinner.

Fortunately i had chicken thighs in the freezer which i could defrost.
They (once diced) went into a pan to brown with some onion and garlic.

Fettucine went in another pot to boil away.

Once the chicken was browned, a little white wine went into the pot.
Once that had reduced a tub of long life cream (i can never have fresh cream – it never lasts).

Once that had reduced i remember that i had mushrooms in the fridge, that would have been perfect but really needed to be added with the chicken.

The chicken and the fettucine ended up cooked at the same time (shock horror).
So it was plated up with some grated cheese and some fresh parsley from my garden.

impressive and super easy.
no pics because i was entertaining.
but this is a pic of a similar dish from a little while ago

it started with a craving for mushroom fettucini

And ended with a fantastico meal…
The most difficult thing was frying all the components.
First into my pan went butter… mmm butter…
with a little garlic olive oil because that stops it burning according to all the cooking shows i watch.
then 2 cloves of garlic, a finely chopped onion, and some finely chopped celery.
That fried (sauteed?) until it went translucent.

Then i added some chicken thigh which i had sliced into strips. The strips was to try and make it noticeable, rather than dicing it and everything kind of mixing in together.
I let the chicken really brown up, and then added some chopped bacon. In hindsight (which is 20:20) it probably didn’t need the bacon, but my boy would probably disagree. He got very excited when he got home from work and i was cutting up a kilo of bacon (most of the kilo went in the freezer, not in the pasta sauce!)
After the bacon was cooked, i added some mushrooms and diced capsicum, and fried that off a bit.
I mixed that all around to combine it, in order to fry it all i kept pushing the individual components to one side until i had to sides left.
I splashed it with white wine, i don’t know much about wine so i confess i just used what i had, i don’t know if it’s what i ‘should’ have been using.
And once the white wine has reduced i added 2 packets of long life cream. I’m never prepared enough to have fresh cream.
And then i let it bubble away until the liquid to solid ratio looked like it would stick to pasta with just that little bit left over. And added some salt and pepper of course.
When that looked just about good i cooked the pasta (a fresh pasta packet, because i had a craving for fresh pasta like my mum sometimes makes)
And i made an improvised garlic bread from a ciabatta roll, which i buttered (shock!) and spread garlic paste over, then straight in the sandwich press.

And it was good…
if i do say so myself…