Wednesday, 19 November 2008


I absolutely adore making lists, and not only the grocery-shopping sort. Things to cook, girly shopping, outfits to dream about, Christmas, wishes, stuff to do to the house, parties to hold (one day), all sorts. So here, in no particular order, is a snapshot from my melange of to-do lists...

Learn to crochet

Pack light.

Hold a Girly Afternoon Tea Party (with no children invited!)

Find time to do my BFN coursework assignments

Paint the kitchen purple

Make a Black Forest Gateau

Own some really kick-ass heels

Be fluent in Welsh

Decorate the boys' bedroom

Finish Christmas shopping

Have a Halloween party for the children and their friends

Sort out the front of the house

Go to France again

Clear out the junk in the upstairs drawers

And that's not even halfway through! Some may be pipe dreams, others more realistic - but I love the listing process, it cheers me to look back at past lists and realise how much I have done, when having two small children so often means that days pass with no obvious achievements to show. Except for my gorgeous boys, of whom I am so proud and who are, every day, so much an achievement in themselves.

Monday, 17 November 2008


Perfect for those (regular, in my house) "what on earth am I cooking for supper" moments, this is a pasta bake (yum - my favourite) with bits and bobs hauled from the fridge after one of those blind-staring moments at the open door. I always think that savoy cabbage is a winner with ham or bacon anyway, but this was certainly proved to be so tonight. I think this recipe is most definitely a keeper and up for regular repetition (without hesitation, but as always with me, a little deviation from time to time). It went down well with the children (and the husband who, it must be said, is a darn sight fussier than either of the kids).

Cabbage & Bacon Pasta Bake

200g dried pasta shapes
8 savoy cabbage leaves, sliced
200g smoked bacon, chopped
1/2 pint milk
20g butter
20g cornflour
1 tsp mustard powder
100g strong cheddar, grated

Cook the pasta and the cabbage in p[laenty of boiling salted water. Meanwhile, fry the bacon until just cooked and heat the milk, butter, mustard and flour in a pan, whisking until the sauce boils and thickens. Combine the drained pasta and cabbage, the bacon and the sauce and tip into an ovenproof dish. Top with grated cheese and a good grind of pepper. Bake for 15 minutes at 200°c, the ideal temperature and timing for a frozen loaf of garlic bread to go in alongide, hehehe.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Cop-Out au Vin

Well, the half-term madness is finally over and I have time to return to normality (or at least what passes for it in this house!). James celebrated his 2nd birthday during half-term so that made a busy week even more hectic, We visited my in-laws in Sheffield for a large chunk of the week and I indulged myself with a little pre-Christmas trip to good old Hobbycraft while we were there.

Our supper tonight was a shortcut of a real favourite, something that is a regular 'friends-for-dinner' special. One can't really go the classical French cookery route on a school night though, so here is my whistle-stop version...

Cop-Out au Vin

I serve this with baked potatoes, which I start off in the microwave for 5 minutes, then cook in the oven alongside the casserole pan for half a hour.

1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
170g pack lardons
100g small mushrooms
6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, halved
300ml red wine
300ml chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tomato purée

Whizz the onion and garlic to a pulp in the blender. Fry briefly, then add the lardons and mushrooms. Lay the chicken pieces on top, then pour in the wine and stock. Stir in the balsamic vionegar and the tomato purée (which help to correct the purplish colour and boost the flavour), then add the bay leaves. Cover the pan, bring to the boil and then transfer to a 180°c oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid of the pan for the last 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Scatter with roughly snipped parsley to serve.


Related Posts with Thumbnails