I’m afraid I’m completely at a loss as regards good bolognese puns… the low-cal bolognese sauce I made yesterday was brilliant, though! Another triumph for the Hairy Dieters 🙂 I’m almost to the end of ‘Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight’, and I can definitely say that it’s been great 😀 For budgetary reasons, next week’s recipe won’t be from that book, but it’ll still be good — I’ll be adapting the tartiflette recipe on the BBC site to make croziflette (which is basically the same but with pasta instead of potatoes). I’m really looking forward to it because it means I have an iron-clad excuse to raid the fancy cheese section at my local Sainsburys! 😀

Speaking of Hairy Dieters, I recently received my copy of their last diet recipe book, Fast Food, which contains recipes that can be prepared in half an hour or less. It’s fascinating stuff and I look forward to trying bits of it out ^^

Another good book that I’ve been reading is Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness, the behind-the-scenes art-book-type-thing for Guillermo del Toro’s masterful Gothic romance piece (it’s *not* a horror film, whatever the marketing tried to say — it’s a Gothic romance with horror in it). I loved the visuals of the movie, with the symbolic use of colour and the detailed sets and the magnificent desolation of Allerdale Hall. Reading AoD, I found out many things that I’d missed on first viewing the movie, such as the meanings behind Edith’s various costumes and just how deeply embedded in the design the moth/butterfly visual symbolism is. The book also contains abridged versions of the biographies which del Toro provided for the four main characters (Edith, Alan and the Sharpe siblings) which provided interesting new angles from which to view them. I was also able to really appreciate the time and skill and passion which went into building the world of the story — quite, quite fascinating!


Having a meatball (or four)

The latest recipe to grace my saucepans was the Hairy Dieters’ Italian-style meatballs in tomato sauce. ‘Twas fun to do, yea verily — the process of mixing the beef mince with the onions and garlic, then forming the meatballs themselves, was rather like kneading bread by hand, which is something that I’ve always enjoyed. The meatball mixture was rather less sticky than bread dough, though!

Apologies for the short post this week; I was ill over the weekend and my creativity hasn’t fully recovered yet… Should be back to normal next week though!

Jambalaya jam session

I have to admit, I couldn’t even think of a pun this time…

As you might have guessed, this week’s Hairy Dieters recipe was Southern-style jambalaya. It turned out pretty well, though I had to make a few modifications:

*Paella rice instead of long-grain rice — I had the paella rice in stock from last week’s paella and my budget didn’t have enough flexibility to allow for the purchase of another package of rice. It turned out well, in any case, because, as the recipe introduction says, jambalaya is a sort of variation of paella. I simply had to apply the appropriate rice-wrangling techniques from last week and hey presto, well-cooked rice-y goodness!

*A very generous heaped teaspoon of ground cumin and enormous quantities of ground black pepper instead of the cayenne — cayenne pepper is simply too ferocious for me, being a painful rather than pleasant heat. My substitution turned out well — surprisingly mellow, spicy-heat-wise, but a rich and multi-layered flavour that was very pleasant indeed.

*Smoked salmon instead of prawns — this was out of necessity, as my favoured grocery store was completely out of both fresh and frozen prawns of all descriptions. I went for the smoked salmon rather than skin-on salmon steaks partly because the preparation would be easier and partly because it would only come into play right at the end of the cooking time, so there wasn’t much point in getting something that would need extensive cooking.

For last week’s paella, I used thinly-sliced sandwich chorizo out of necessity. It was OK, but didn’t impart a huge amount of flavour. This week, I was able to purchase a ring of proper sweet-spicy picante chorizo, which was delicious! It definitely added to the overall flavour of the dish.

Work-wise, I’m fairly busy, but I’m still open to new projects, so if you want something proofread, drop me a line!

Paella visit to my kitchen

My food puns just keep getting worse xD Apologies!

Work is more or less flowing normally at the moment; there’s a decent amount but I can manage the load OK. The recent warm weather that we’ve been having in the UK does sometimes mess with my concentration, though…

That same warm weather means it’s an excellent time of year to make paella! As I mentioned in last week’s post, I left out the mussels and squid (due to suspected allergy and intense loathing, respectively) and increased the quantities of prawns, chicken and chorizo instead. This worked pretty well — chicken and seafood may seem like an odd combination if you’re not used to it, but they’re mild enough to complement each other well[1]. The chorizo enhanced everything perfectly. I also used about 120g of salmon; in the end I went for Sainsbury’s[2] honey-roasted salmon flakes as being slightly cheaper and considerably less salty than the smoked salmon trimmings. The slight sweetness of the honey-roasting actually worked very well with the other flavours, so this is an experiment I’d be happy to repeat.

Jambalaya next week — I’m looking forward to it!

[1] This is part of the reason why I’m not a huge fan of surf’n’turf — the flavour profiles of beef and prawns or lobster are too disparate to mesh well. Either one flavour overwhelms the others, or they clash unpleasantly and leave a very strange aftertaste.

[2] I’m not a Sainsbury’s corporate shill, I swear — it’s just that I have one of their medium-sized stores less than five minutes’ walk from my house, and they carry things that I can’t always find elsewhere

Korma in and take a seat

110,000 words to edit over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend, joyous joy 🙂 I’d been hoping for a bit of downtime, but ah well, it’s all money in the bank to feed my food habit ^^

Did this chicken korma recipe yesterday — though I used 0% fat Greek yoghurt instead of double cream and omitted the bit about marinading the chicken in more yoghurt. It turned out ok, though next time I might use a bit less turmeric (I used one full teaspoon of turmeric instead of the half-teaspoon given in the recipe, because I’d omitted the saffron due to the expense of the ingredient vs the fact that I rarely make things containing saffron anyway).

I’m doing a Hairy Dieters paella next week 😀 I’m really looking forward to it, though I’ll be tweaking the recipe somewhat — I loathe squid and am probably slightly allergic to mussels, judging by my body’s reaction the one and only time I ate them, so I’ll be increasing the quantities of chicken, prawns and chorizo instead, as well as maybe throwing in some salmon. It should be brilliant! 😀