All the trimmings chicken curry (weekly menu)

Saturday

Lunch: Soup carrot and thyme – this got sidelined until the next week as hungry folk arrived home from their morning music classes demanding any kind of bread with melted cheese. This drives me mad as I feel they have sandwich based lunches at school during the week and I want them to learn how to think beyond sandwiches for lunch. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big sandwich fan. A perfect delivery method. I try to ring the changes during the week with the kids by using pita, wraps, muffins, crackers but it always comes back to ham, chicken or cheese. Well I suppose it’s a darn site better than fussy younger me with my butter sandwiches. My secondary school friends will remember my penchant for cheese and branston pickle. In fact my mother dropped in a lunchbox of these into Holles St for me while I was labouring with Nipper 2.0! This is also the reason I don’t always include lunch in the menus because usually it’s not worth writing about. However

Chicken curry with all the trimmings

Chicken curry with all the trimmings

Dinner: Chicken curry with all the trimmings. This is Himself’s speciality to which my middle brother will avow. Middle brother, his wife, and his kids came home from Paris and we invited them to join us for dinner. Somewhere amidst the mayhem everyone ate. Some kids just ate rice, some just naan, some just curry, some just banana but everyone ate something and we all caught up. A year later or so they were back again and we invited them over for the afternoon and dinner. Somewhere during the meal I got a very strong sense of deja vu and suddenly realised we were serving them chicken curry with all the trimmings again. No-one minded as it is truly delicious. You can get the recipe on Himself’s blog. In fact that is all he has on his blog….

 Sunday

Lunch: We had a big breakfast and an early dinner so lunch was whatever was going. There were no leftovers from the Chicken curry.

Dinner: Macaroni cheese – I was home alone with the kids so made sure to make something simple that I knew they would eat. Plenty of carbs meant they would sleep soundly too.

 

Monday

Casserole Amandine - potatoes, carrots, peas, ground almonds, turmeric and egg.

Casserole Amandine – potatoes, carrots, peas, ground almonds, turmeric and egg.

Dinner: Casserole amandine – this is an old recipe from my vegetarian teenage years. It’s the ultimate comfort food but to be fair it isn’t the most appealing looking. Occasionally I do a clear out of our recipe books, discarding the really useless ones. However if there’s one or two recipes in them that I have made I will cut out and keep that recipe. This was the fate of Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cooking from which Casserole Amandine was the only recipe kept.

 

Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0

Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0

Tuesday

Dinner: Pasta salmon Alfredo – the kids love this. I like it for it’s speed but I’m not so keen on the cream. Tuesdays are nearly always a quick pasta dish as Himself is out and eats when he gets in. There was smoked salmon on special offer the previous Friday so I bought three. I ended up giving one away, using one for this and one of my favourite salads and one is in the freezer.

 

Wednesday

Dinner: Fish pie: mostly a big hit. I think there was some grimacing from Nipper 1.0. I made the Express Fish Pie from The ICA Cookbook (actually from the freebie leaflet that came with the Irish Times a while back but when I get a bigger recipe bookshelf, it might go on it. Maybe I should start loading them onto my Kindle app on the iPad…)

 Thursday

Dinner: Bolognese with rice: Thursday has become freezer dinner night because we usually don’t get home until after 5 due to after school activities. Don’t expect any exciting innovation on Thursdays. About once a month I will cook something another day of the week with the sole intention of making 3 dinners from it. Bolognese is particularly good as it freezes well and can be used for pasta, rice or baked potatoes and at a push it could be used for cottage not shepherds pie.

 Friday Pizza

Elvis cakes

ElvisMy cousin Aoife got in touch last week asking me for my rice crispie cake recipe. You can’t have an kid’s birthday party in Ireland without rice crispie cakes. We call these Elvis cakes in our house because they remind me of  the diabolical sandwiches that Elvis was purported to eat. Not flavour-wise, calorie-wise. They are delicious although not terrifically sweet which I think is down to the fact that butter in Ireland is salted. If you find they are not sweet enough for your liking use unsalted butter but we never have any complaints or crispie cakes left. The original recipe is from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook, Book 2
but mine goes something like this:

  • 150g butter
  • one packet of the funsize faux mars bars from Lidl
  • 150g Rice Crispies or puffed rice equivalent
  • 165g milk chocolate
  1. Melt butter and mars bars together in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. The mars bars never fully melt – I find the nougat stays lumpy-ish.
  2. Take the bowl off the heat and mix in the Rice Cripsies.
  3. Now at this point you can either put the mixture in a lined square tin, pressing down firmly or serve in traditional rice crispie bun style. Either way stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden (like your arteries after eating them.)
  4. If you are making the bar version, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water and then spread evenly over your chilled bars. Return to the fridge until set, then turn out and cut into squares or bars.
  5. ENJOY!

Thank flip it’s Cuma!

For years I have been completely baffled by the manner in which Microsoft Word handles the Irish word “cuma”. I probably write it more often than I should in Irish. “Is cuma liom” means “I don’t mind” or “I don’t care”. We even say “Bhí sé ar nós is cuma liom.” which means something like “He had a real “so what” attitude.” Or “He didn’t give a toss.” It’s not the most positive of sentiments I feel. Nonetheless I have been using it regularly enough that the unusual manner in which Microsoft Word handles it has been driving me quietly insane over the years: whenever I wrote the word in Microsoft Word it would capitalise the initial C. Every single time. Even when I installed the Irish Language pack: still capitalised that C. That copail “is” would always ensure that the c would NEVER be capitalised unless the sentence is being written in conversational Irish (i.e. “Cuma liom,” ar sé”).  The word doesn’t exist in languages I am familiar with which is few to be fair.
Friday, I'm in love
Yes I did the Google searches. Of course, I did the Bing searches. I asked every Microsoft employee I came across (and I met a few in my previous jobs!) to investigate. (None of them did.) Okay yes I didn’t devote my every waking moment to the issue but I certainly wasted a few seconds of my life wondering “What in the heck…?” each time it happened. And then for the longest time I stopped using Microsoft Word. Certainly for my Irish writing. Until today when a lack of broadband (*shakes fist at UPC*) forced me to my offline tools.

Before long I wrote the phrase “Is cuma leo…” and lo! Word 2013 capitalised the C even though it was telling me in the status bar that it knew I was writing in Irish. I had few red squiggles sprinkled throughout the text so I could tell Word was feelin’ me. I have a relatively new machine with a new install of Word 2013 on it that I have yet to train. I rolled over the capitalised C to see what I could do with the Autocorrect tools and REVELATION! The tooltip included the sentence “Stop Auto-Capitalizing Names of Days.” At last A CLUE!

I did a Google Search for “What day of the week is Cuma?” Turns out it is in Turkey they say “Thank flip it’s joo-mah!”

It’s the little things. I know, I know: you are all ar nós is cuma libh.

20 bliain ag fás – apparently.

This week was quiet hectic, kicking off with my 20 year school reunion on Friday. Yes I know I don’t think so either ;-) Although I did stay out until 4am I was sensible with the demon drink and felt fine for the next big do on Saturday. My father in law turned 80 last week so we all got together for food, drink, music and song. It was fabulous! But I really felt all the excesses for the rest of the week. Hmmm maybe it is 20 years since I was in school… Still haven’t learnt a thing about being sensible. Hurrah! Many of my in-laws are amazing musicians. Some of my readers will have heard them at our wedding no doubt. I think between my family, my in-laws and the Outlaws we probably cover the whole gamut of musical styles. So on Saturday, I sang my version of this amazing song, The Book of Love by the Magnetic Fields. It has a strong resonance for me because I first heard it on Valentine’s Day last year. This was an especially difficult time for my in-laws but I knew they would appreciate this song with its down-to-earth romanticism. It’s bitter sweet for me. Here is Peter Gabriel singing it live and lovely.

Music may be the food of love but we’re here to talk actual food so excuse the slight diversion but I like to share many things.

Friday

Lunch: Gnocchi with pesto – I needed a good carbie lunch that I knew they would eat as Fridays are shaping up to be a super busy afternoon too. Nipper 1.0 had his first choir practice in the city centre so I had to keep everyone going for that. To keep crankiness at bay I also brought along Babaduck’s Amazing Star bars (kind of swanky rocky road) and Wellington Splats (my squares that had gotten battered on their travels.)

Dinner: Pizza as usual. Well I went out for dinner with my old school chums. I had a delicious but very garlicky broccoli pasta dish in Marios in Ranelagh. I probably hadn’t been there for about 20 years either!

Saturday

Lunch: Bagels with choice of filling on the hoof before hitting the road.

Dinnner: Pops’ bash with goodies galore.

Sunday

Lunch: We weren’t 100% sure where we’d end up for lunch but due to certain so-called being incapacitated we left early-ish. We stopped en route to Dublin at The Tap, a place, I’ve been watching develop over the years driving up and down. The drive is too short to justify a stop but I was starving so we stopped off and had a lovely lunch. An unusual spot where the kids found much to amuse themselves. Apart from the too-tall glasses that restaurants seem to always give to kids and which they always then spill they were also very kid-friendly.

Dinner: Bolognese from the freezer. I love my freezer as I was now officially exhausted.

Monday

Lunch: Hot dogs which are one of the nippers’ absolute favourite lunch options. Why do I bother…?

Dinner: Chicken and couscous – this title doesn’t really do this amazing dish justice. I absolutely will post this recipe as it is a favourite with the family.

Tuesday

Lunch: Leftover chicken and couscous for some and I honestly can’t remember what the others had.

Dinner: Pasta with roasted brocolli - this was only grand. It was a bit dry so I ended up larruping olive oil on the finished dish thus over-riding any “skinniness”.

 Wednesday

Lunch: Whole wheat pasta with oven dried and garlic sauce

Dinner: Candied pork with sweet potato wedges and green beans

Thursday

Lunch: I had soup from the freezer. PB &J on the hoof for everyone else as we dashed about.

Dinner: Roast trout & little taters with carrots. This fish dish was a hit. I’m getting there!

Friday Pizza

Why does the Gaeilgeoir only have one egg in the morning? (Weekly menu)

I bought more eggs this week when I already had enough (geddit? an ubh. Works in French too.) So they feature rather strongly on this week’s menu. Nobody objected.
Saturday
Lunch: Sossy sambos – these were planned with the fear that we would be hungover and hankering for something greasy and salty. Thankfully we are now grown up and therefore not hungover but we ate the sossy sambos anyway. Classy.
Dinner: Mint and Almond pesto pasta – as the Nippers had declined to eat this during the previous week I included it here. Goodbye mint plant… This recipe is from the excellent River Cottage Everyday Veg which I had to return to the library so it is now on my wishlist. Hint, bloody hint.
Sunday
Lunch:Bagels: BLT/ Rasher/ Banana and Peanut butter
I also rustled up these Banana Oat Muffins and decided to try this new Hermesetas Stevia sugar substitute. Like this reviewer  I get a strong liquorice taste from this sugar substitute so I’m not sure if I’m going to buy it again. Whatever about getting an aftertaste, I find it really lingers.
Dinner: Roast chicken legs with Celery Gratin. Remind me not  to try roasting the potatoes from scratch with the chicken legs. It just doesn’t work.
Monday
Lunch: Nipper 3.0 and I had leftover pasta and the boys had muffins. I wasn’t in top parenting mode due to a nasty cold.
Dinner: Chicken noodle soup – as I had been feeling sniffly for the last few days I felt an old fashioned cure was in order. I read up on a few chicken noodle soup recipes and as I suspected there is not much to it. I had made chicken stock the night before and kept two of the legs over to cook and use in the soup. I’ll post my own version of this recipe although I haven’t got it quite right – it needed something. This was also a response to my kids continued pleas for super noodles and apart from Nipper 3.0 who had conked out on the couch, they larruped it into them. Score one for Rosie!
Tuesday
Lunch: Scrambled eggs on toast
Dinner:  Spaghettie Bolognese- I’ve tried a few different recipes and really there’s not much between them. I’ve tried quick recipes, I’ve tried recipes that involve three hours cooking, I’ve tried recipes with milk, I’ve tried recipes with bacon. The main trick with bolognese is make loads and stick it in the freezer for use in lasagna, with rice, bake potatoes or as a frozen gift for new parents. My sister told me that she judges many restaurants by the quality of their bolognese.  She’s not wrong, unless it’s a Thai restaurant :)
Wednesday
Lunch: Toasted sambos – we had friends from school visiting so I decided to keep it simple. “Who doesn’t love toasted sambos?” says I and one of the very polite children desperately tried to answer me. He learned one meaning of the word rhetorical today!
Dinner: Omelette + 3 salads: This is a dinner we’ll often have mid-week, thinking it’s easy. Salad is never easy. I went with this broccoli salad (I’m a demon for broccoli salad) which is really tasty and actually really virtuous. Nipper 1.0 made his signature Caprese salad and the last was simply kidney beans with red onions and balsamic vinegar. We always call this omelette due to the strong French influence on my childhood but in fact I know this is more like a spanish tortilla with its potatoes and bacon.
Thursday
Lunch: Leftover salads for me and Nipper 3.0′s biccies on the move. Thursday afternoons are very busy for us as the kids have a bunch of afterschool activities. If there’s going to be a homework related fight, it’s going to happen on a Thursday. So note to self, work on a better on-the-go snack box to keep them all going.
Dinner: : Fish fajitas. I was so fed up with attempts at fish dishes that I throw in the towel and let Himself have a bash at it this week. It was a good idea but we should have gone for tacos to transport the battered cod to our gobs. Himself curried even more favour with the nippers by serving deep fried gnocchi.
Friday
Lunch: As shopping will happen before this, it could be anything but currently I’m thinking egg mayonaise in a piece of baguette.
Pizza

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