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.
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂
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.
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.
Lunch: As shopping will happen before this, it could be anything but currently I’m thinking egg mayonaise in a piece of baguette.

Back to school and breathe menu

Six hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic
It’s been a hectic week with kids going back to school, stacks of work and a huge family do to wrap up the week. This blog has never been my life but about my life so it always comes second.
Baguette with choice of fillings. Saturday is nearly always an easy sandwich option, sometimes soup, sometimes pasta or gnocchi. Once music lessons kick off for the boys again we’ll likely picnic,  eat out  or scrounge from my parents on Saturday lunchtime.

Jamie Oliver’s Satay chicken with noodles – this gets an outing every once in a while and I know I’m not the first to say it takes way more than thirty minutes to prepare. Even if by some miracle you manage to make the meal in 30 minutes it’s going to take you twice as long as normal to do the washing up. I should write a real 30 minute meal book… Anyway this is a delicious and tasty meal with meat on a stick which scores highly with the nippers and noodles – double points from them!

Six hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic
Six hour spiced lamb with 40 cloves of garlic

Six hour spiced lamb with couscous. Yep six hours. Himself saw the recipe in the Guardian the previous week and with lamb at a good price in Superquinn we would have been mad not to try it. Mad. While the lamb was pull apart tender the flavour was not as awesome as you would expect. But once it was on we were able to go out to the cinema and come back and still have time to chill out before dinner.

I also made Spinach & Thyme pasties today thinking they would make perfect lunchbox fodder. I was wrong as I would discover during the week.
Spinach & thyme pasties in lunchboxes were not appreciated. I got very cross and refused to make the children super noodles which they will demand for lunch everyday and which I never make. I complained bitterly about the fact that there was no way that super noodles tasted nicer and only mad people could think these delicious little triangles filled with yummy spinach, feta and flavourings were anything except mouthwateringly gorgeous. They didn’t agree and nibbled the corners from them.
Chili with rice. Unearthed from the freezer, loved by all.
Beetroot soup for me and Himself. Also unearthed from the freezer. I regularly make soup, maybe once a week and freeze it for midweek lunches.
Pasta with Sage and Rosemary Sauce. This sounds far more exotic than it is but it is absolutely delicious and a firm family favourite. Here’s a Vine of me making it:

Meatloaf with tomato and basil sauce. Another recipe from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking, a book I came across by chance but have found invaluable, not least because most of the recipes are designed for six diners. This was my very first time making meatloaf. We decided to make it because my brother  told me it was a favourite in his family. A deciding factor for the nippers as well is that this is Johnny Test’s dad’s go to dish. Anyway, Rachel’s version was eaten and appreciated by all but I felt it was a bit bland. Coincidentally we weren’t the only family eating Meatloaf on Wednesday as I divined from Bibliocook’s Instagram and she pointed me at this recipe which sounds much more lipsmacking. I love her tip about pitta bread for breadcrumbs because I never have whitebread but will always have pitta. I know, I know, far from pitta you were raised etc.
Needless to say we sang this throughout dinner because I remember how much I enjoyed my parents’ singing as a child myself… Hah!

I had intended to give the nippers Meatloaf in their luncboxes but they weren’t going for it. However they did demand it for their afterschool snack.
Dinner was supposed to be Sole á la meunière but my local friendly fishmonger had known so I opted for whiting. I subjected it to this Steamed Minted Whiting with Soured Cream which was yet again another unsuccessful fish dish. My big problem with fish is that I don’t like the taste or texture of it generally so when I’m planning a fish meal I can’t visualise how the meal will fare. I had plenty of mint and creme fraiche so this recipe seemed like a good option for dinner. It wasn’t. So I have passed the task for next week’s fish dinner to Himself and removed my bad taste in fish dishes from the aquation. Heh!
Packed lunches
Pizza for nippers as we are away out to a family do!

Menu week commencing 22 August

I’m very late posting this week’s menu. I should be working on next week’s at this stage! However it’s been a crazy week getting ready for La Rentrée and fitting in all those last minute activities we didn’t manage to make time for earlier this summer.
Quick and easy meals today as we headed up north for the afternoon to visit our newest grandniece. Yes I am officially ancient.
From the freezer: Jamaican me crazy chili with tortillas etc.
Picnic pot luck: tabbouleh,potato salad, and red currant muffins. We were invited to the gorgeous Avondale by family for a picnic and we all brought a few bits and bobs to picnic on. I made muffins with the last of the red currants from the garden.
Poached eggs on brown bread – an easy but delicious tea. Still didn’t manage to mop the floor afterwards. I blame the aftereffects of the wasp sting. My first ever (and hopefully last ever) wasp sting.
Beans on toast – turned into wholewheat pasta and pesto due to little visitors’ dietary requirements and the fact that I had no bread. Still blaming that wasp sting.
Macaroni cheese with all the trimmings by request from Nipper 3.0 who started in the Naíonra today. All the trimmings means with a tin of chopped tomatoes in the cheese sauce and bacon lardons on the top. Oh me heart! This was requested because I’ve been experimenting with healthier options that haven’t gone down too well at all.
Beetroot soup for me and Nipper 2.0 and I can’t remember what the other two had. Toasted sandwiches from the George Foreman grill.
Linguine with mint and almond pesto and tomatoes from River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall which was a massive hit. Nipper 1.0 who isn’t madly keen on cooked tomatoes and usually ferrets them out. However as they are raw in this dish he gobbled them all down. I am definitely going to cultivate some mint in the garden for future use in this dinner. Yum!
Lunch in Joburger with family after swimming as it is the last day of the holidays.
Chicken pie a la Jamie Oliver which Himself made as I ironed 35 labels onto school uniforms. Why on earth do two boys need 35 items of clothes just for school. Snooze.

Packed lunches because they were back to school. Disgracefully uninspired on their first day but we’ll get better! I had garlicky mushrooms with granny smith apple and philadelphia on toasted vienna roll.
Salmon with potatoes and corn on the cob by request from the schoolgoers. As usual I made a mess of the salmon by getting all fancy with the salmon. The fishmonger was very happy to see us back after the holidays. I avoid shopping with the children so hadn’t visited while I had three in tow.
Packed lunches: Turkey slices and cranberry sauce – a marginal improvement. They also get cherry tomatoes, pistachio nuts and raisins.
Pizza (of course)
The list
Mint * 2 (could have done with at least one more)
Parsley (ditto)
Leeks * 2
Spring onions
Low fat mature cheddar (Dubliner or Kilmeaden)
Cherry tomatoes
Chicken breasts
Nat yog
Creme fraiche
Almond slivers
Blanched almonds
Strong white
Plain flour
Self raising flour
Juice tropicana
Tinned tomatoes
Cat food
Kids’ toothpaste
Buy Thursday
Corn on cob

Menu for Week commencing 17/08/2013


Moroccan Lamb Burgers with Rice and Bean salad.



Lunch: We’re expecting a family of guests this week so want to make something that has been tested on kids (hence the skewers) and something new that reminds of our holidays (hence the tapas from a new book from my friend who was visiting from Barcelona.)
Chicken and cherry tomato skewers with couscous and Broccoli and Avocado salad and Chickpea & black pudding tapa.

All going to plan I will rustle up some Wellington Squares for the sweet toothed among us. Apparently we currently have so much condensed milk in the cupboard at the moment that Himself tells me “It’s like the war.” I’ll post this winner of a recipe which I found years ago online but can no longer find.  If I have time I might make a crumble for the grown ups to use up the blackberries I picked in the wild, brambly part of our garden.

French Peasant Soup
French Peasant Soup

Dinner: A cup of French peasant soup (made Saturday) for tea for anyone who is still hungry after lunch. (No actual peasants are hurt (except maybe their feelings) in  the making of this soup.) You’ll note from the pic that I have also added potato and carrot to this soup. I love me a bit of potato in a stewy soup like this.

Lunch: Pizza rolls – these are from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking which I got from my godmother. Not a book I would have picked myself but it has fast become a standby for me. There are some great, realistic family recipes in it.
Dinner: French peasant soup with Superquinn’s lovely brown bread. But really I have to crack this brown bread thing: if millions of Irish peasants could make it in a hovel in the howling wind and rain I should be able to make it! Mine always turns out rock hard on the outside and squishy on the inside 🙁 All advice welcomed in comments below.

Lunch: Tortellini with leftover pizza sauce from yesterday.

Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0
Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0

Dinner: Salmon Alfredo – I know pasta twice in one day. Hmmm. I love pasta and when I wonder about how much we eat Himself always says, “You’re a grown-up, you can eat as much pasta as you like.” I might switch the tortellini to another day so.

Bean and chorizo stew (make Tuesday) – This is a receipe I found in a newspaper years ago (Saturday June 28 2003 to be precise; no idea which paper!) that we make fairly regularly. It’s absolutely delicious with new potatoes or crusty bread or indeed couscous. It’s a great summer recipe to use up your tomatoes if you are green fingered enough to grow them but also makes a hearty winter dish if you can brave the garden for a spring if the evergreen rosemary.

Gnocchi w/ pesto
Nut roast with cheese and tomato layer – This was requested by Himself this week when I said we have too much meat in this week’s menu. I think he was trying to avoid me trying Aloo Gobi on the children and the fights cauliflower would produce. This recipe is infamous in my own family as I made it as a teenager and vegetarian. I had received the Cranks’ recipe book from my aunt in England as a Christmas present and was encouraged by my mother to prepare something. It wasn’t until my family were desperately trying to be polite and supportive about my efforts that I realised I had put in a tablespoon of yeast extract (read Marmite) instead of a teaspoon. Yech.

Eat out after a trip to Makeshop as it is our last day of summer holidays for all as Nipper 3.0 starts in Naíónra (preschool) on Monday!

Toasted sambos


[ ]Savoy cabbage
[ ] Strawberries/ raspberries
[ ] Lemon
[ ] Beetroot
[ ] Carrots
[ ] Low fat mature cheddar (Dubliner or Kilmeaden)
[ ] Tomatoes
[ ] Cherry tomatoes x 2
[ ] Bananas
[ ]Oranges
[ ] Apples
[ ] Peaches
[ ] Avocado
[ ] Smoked salmon
[ ] Ham
[ ] Bagels
[ ] Filled pasta
[ ] Milk
[ ]Tinned pineapple
[ ] Tinned beans
[ ] Raisins
[ ] Juice tropicana
[ ] Tinned tomatoes
[ ] Gnocchi
[ ] Brown pasta for macaroni
[X] Garlic mayo
[ ] Cat food
[ ] Cider/ white wine (We recently tried Stonewell Cider from Nohoval, Co. Cork, an area we are very familiar with and we are hooked!)

Meal planning: the (American) facts

Apparently I’m not the only person getting exercised about meal planning. Below you’ll see a visual rendition of what I was trying to say a few days ago as part of Meal Planning Awareness Month 2013 (whoda thunk it?). Mind you sometimes when I’m sitting at the dinner table covering my ears to protect them from the ear-piercing screams from Nipper 3.0 I think my emotional well-being (see below) would be better served if I had dinner in a padded room…