Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mechoui - BBQ Lamb Roadside Extravaganza, Tunisia

Landed for a week with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew in Tunisia. My brother picked me up from the airport in the evening and we stopped for mechoui at a roadside barbecue on the way to his home in Kelibia.

A guy ushered us into a parking space. We then went to the butcher's counter (rather rough and ready compared to the UK or France), to select the cuts we wanted grilled. Bits of sheep were hanging up and barbecue smoke wafter around. It was still very hot outside, and already dark. We chose some kind of rib section, a few merguez sausages and a bit of liver.

Loads of families were eating mechuoi at plastic tables on a terrace set back from the main road. I sat at a table while my brother waited at the barbecue area with our big metal bowl of raw goodies. 'Salade mechoui' arrived ('mechoui' just means grilled, but implies 'over charcoal'), which is minced chargrilled peppers and tomatoes with loads of gorgeous olive oil. It came with flatbread to eat it with (no cutlery provided) and a bottle of water. No booze available here. There was a juice stand next to us, selling virgin fruit cocktails and mint tea.

Eventually, our meat got its turn on the grill. It arrived all crispy and had been dipped in a salt and cumin mix before its roasting, so was absolutely deeelicious. So tasty! So juicy! We ate an enormous quantity. I was still very full after more than an hour on the road, but still wished for a little taster more mechoui before bed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Here I Go Again

Hi there.

Well, last year my meals could have been inspiring to anyone working 9 - 5 (and enduring massive commutes) in London. I did well with limited time to cook most things fresh and from scratch with a good variety and plenty of adventure - plus the odd meal out. I obviously should have done a dinner diary for 2015, which is precisely why I decided to keep one for 2016. But this year started off strangely, as I was splitting from a long-term partner, then living with my parents for a while, before moving back to France for the summer. That didn't last, as my lovely mummy died in early June, so I was back at my parents' again for a while. Being there means less meal control, more of my Dad's (very good) cooking, plus we were doing a lot of quick stuff as we didn't have the heart to make much effort. We did have some nice salads and meals though.

HOWEVER, I've just got back from a week in Tunisia, and the food was so inspiring and so damn tasty, that I feel the urge to record it ALL. I'm now back in France and have found that I want to keep a note of what I'm eating here as well, so it seems I might be getting back into my dinner diary habit...

This was written on the 20th July, but I've posted for the 11th, so that it's in sequence with the subsequent Tunisia posts.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jerk Pork, Rice & Peas etc

I made a Caribbean meal for the family. My jerk 'seasoning' (marinade) is frankly outstanding and totally authentic! I put the pork in it the day before.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Creamy Sausage Parpadelle

I made a sauce by frying the insides of Sicilian style sausages (containing fennel) until browned, then adding onions and fennel seeds, then garlic, then dried porcini soaked in white wine. Finally, cream and loads of black pepper. Mixed in the pasta then served with plenty of freshly grated parmesan (PR natch) and a mixed salad with homemade basil dressing.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Roast Chicken

Dad made roast chicken with stuffing, roast spuds, fennel, leeks, mashed swede and gravy. Not even any room left for cheese.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fire-Cooked Veal Chops

I cooked rose veal chops from the local farm over the fire. My dad cooked broccoli, leeks, sautéed potato, grilled tomato and garlic mushrooms to go with the chops. Had moreish melty gorgonzola and yummy reblochon for afters, with lots of red wine.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Indian Style Lamb Chops, Raita, Onion Salad & Homemade Naan

I just fancied it. Shame I didn't think to cook them over the fire for a more authentic flavour, like we remembered to do the next day.

I marinaded the chops in yogurt, chilli powder, cumin, ground coriander seeds, ginger, garlic, turmeric, paprika, fenugreek and asafoetida. Added salt just before grilling on high until blackened in places. Made the cucumber and mint raita and the onion salad (with tomato, coriander leaves, lemon). Also made the naan dough - basically like pizza dough but with some melted butter and yogurt. I cooked the naans in a dry frying pan, then brushed them with mixed spices in melted butter and sprinkled them with toasted sesame seeds.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Seafood Risotto

Dad cooked this. Apart from wild Alaskan salmon and a seafood mix, it had all sorts in it, including dried cèpes and parmesan, both of which I thought would be a bit weird in seafood risotto. But it actually worked really well. It also had loads of lemon zest and asparagus in it. I liked it so much I had seconds and also had it for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cold Roast Beef with Bubble & Squeak

I love cold rare roast beef, thinly sliced with lots of salt :P  Had it with bubble 'n squeak (cold roast potatoes mashed up with the leftover brussels sprouts and fried), salad and pickles.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Roast Rib of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding etc

My dad made this. The beef was rare the yorkies perfectly puffed. Plenty of rich gravy, roast potatoes, brussels sprouts, green beans, mashed celeriac, horseraddish sauce.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mother's Day Non-Meal - Fry-Up

It's Mothering Sunday, but my mum hasn't been well. She's got numerous health problems due to a reaction to treatment for brain tumours. Also due to all the meds she's on. At lunch, she ate like a monster, perhaps because of a suspected seizure this morning. She was then very sick - could be due to a seizure or due to eating like a monster or a reaction to meds or any combo of the three. Anyway, we were supposed to be having roast rib of beef and all the trimmings but now we'll probably just have a snack like bread and cheese or eggs. We'll have the beef tomorrow, which will be better anyway as my brother will be here then. I'm feeling a tad heartbroken today so wasn't really up for much anyway...

Update: we had a fry-up. Dad made poached eggs on toast, grilled toms, smoked bacon, sausage, black pudding.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

African Peanut Chicken Stew

I made a yummy chicken stew with a Nigerian peanut suya paste. Fried the chicken pieces (cut up a whole chicken) until browned, added the paste, tomato purée, chopped onion and topped up with water. Simmered for about half an hour until the sauce thickened. Served with rice, grilled sweetcorn (I grilled on cob until black in some places to try to give it and Africany flavour. Still not the same without charcoal.) cucumber slices and 'tomavobanonion' salad - a recipe Perry brought back with him for Kenya years ago, made of tomato, avocado, banana and onion, squeeze of lime, pinch of salt.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Osso Buco & Risotto

Cooked by my dad. Everything was thoroughly delicious. Haven't had risotto for literally years. Served with purple sprouting broccoli and string beans. Cheese for after; lots of wine.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Megrim Sole, Mash & Samphire

There's a mobile fish stall every Thursday at the local award-winning farm shop, so I tried it out today. The stall owner advised against plaice (why was he selling it?) due to it being skinny this time of year, after spawning. He recommended the slightly more expensive megrim, which I hadn't tried before, so I took two. I Googled them, and they live in deep sea.

The fish man had good value samphire too some I took some of that, which I somehow overcooked but was still nice. I cooked the megrim perfectly! I floured them (well-seasoned), and fried them in loads of butter with lemon zest and a lots of lemon juice at the end to make a sauce. I served them off the bone with buttery mash, the samphire and some previously frozen petit pois. Megrim is really tasty and a very pleasant texture. I'd definitely buy it again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Shop Pizza & Salad

This is usually something my dad makes for lunch, but as my parents had been out for a big lunch we thought it would save us having to go and buy something for dinner.

It's not one of my faves, but I do always end up enjoying it. My dad buys a basic supermarket pizza then loads it with a crazy variety and quantity of other stuff. It's so far from a traditional pizza I'm not sure it qualifies. The horrible hard base is never pleasant, but the mash-up of tasty bits on top are nice.

I made a salad like yesterday's, with rocket, red chicory, red onion, cherry toms and a mustard dressing. Added some little gem lettuce to it this time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pesto Lamb with Garlic & Rosemary Roasties

I roasted lamb neck fillets in shop bought but luxury pesto. I bashed up some roughly chopped fresh rosemary and mixed it with the roast potatoes at the fluffing-with-fat stage, before they went into the oven, then stirred in some chopped garlic once they were cooked and left them in the oven turned off so they were garlicky but the garlic wouldn't be raw or burnt.

I made a salad with rocket, red chicory, gorgeous cherry toms, red onion and a vinegary mustard dressing.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sausage, Mash & Fried Onions

I was thinking of getting sausages today, to make sausages stewed in red wine gravy. But my dad had already taken sausages out of the freezer to make grilled sausages with mash, fried onions and veg. Very nice but my stew would have been less ...dry.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Roast Belly Pork, Potato Gratin

Yep my dad again. I was planning to get pork belly to make jerk pork today, but he beat me to the shops and made slow roast pork (with crackling), some kind of sticky wine, onion and mushroom gravy, gratin and veg. Yummy.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Lemon Spatchcock Chicken

A difficult day. Went to clean flat for last time, BF (now ex) was supposed to come and help and take away the last bits of furniture among other things. He didn't bother. So I had the trauma of leaving the flat (and him) and of him letting me down one last time. My brother drove up to help (5 hour round trip for him). When we both got home to parents' my dad made me a very strong G&T which was much appreciated. He also had a late dinner on the go, of lemon spatchcock chicken (prep'd by local farm shop's butcher), roast potatoes and various veg. What a star.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Indian Takeaway

Moved all my crap to my parents' for storage. Dad paid for curry from local Indian; I went to collect it. Had chicken tikka masala for a change but it was too sweet. Also had lamb dansak which was nice. Plus chapati (no rice for me), popadoms, niramish and lime pickle.