Food highlights…

Actually, there haven’t been any particular highlights this week – the Chinese pork was OK, but nothing special.

I think the Feta stuffed chicken was the nicest (this is the correct recipe – I linked to the wrong one in an earlier post) but next time I’ll make the pepper sauce in a different way. It was too watery made like the recipe suggests. Tinned tomatoes, marinaded peppers and some harissa would be better than using stock, I think.

I was lucky enough to get another 1€ Lidl box – this one had about 10 packs of mange touts. A lot were too brown-spotted, but we got the equivalent of about 5 packets of good ones. That’s 1.25kg, which were blanched and frozen. There were also 1.5kg of mushrooms, all perfectly fine, which were sliced and frozen (some cooked, some raw), and 4 wrinkly parsnips. There was also a completely rotten celeriac and an unusable lettuce, but still it was worth the 1€ and a bit of extra work. Parsnips will probably go in soup at the weekend.

I’m looking forward to trying this recipe tomorrow: Stove top pulled pork, with coleslaw, and sweet potato wedges. My slow cooker died a death last winter, so I don’t have the convenience of that – we will get another, but just not yet. This recipe seems to give the delight that is pulled pork, without the slow cooker experience. We shall see.

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Food – and other stuff – in the past week…

It’s been a bit up-and-downy during the past week, food wise. I’ve tried to be sensible and eat well, then every now and then I crack… Luckily, not having biscuits in the house means that the “cracking” is relatively controlled! Though it was hard to contain my delight when I found an “emergency scone” in the freezer! Although technically it was mine, (I’d put 6 in there a while back; Mr FD had his three, but I’d forgotten that I’d only eaten two!) I shared it with Mr FD. Because I’m nice like that!

Highlights this week included last night’s salmon recipe which was delicious! Baked salmon with tomatoes and butternut squashWe didn’t have it with baby salad leaves, but with some sautéed endives, but it was a really good dish. Although it’s a SW recipe, I’d recommend it to anyone who likes salmon!

On Wednesday we had a “do” with the car – the Fiat has been giving us a few problems, but we thought that the garage had fixed the cause.

I was in Roanne shopping, when, outside Lidl, I tried to start it, and there was nothing. All the lights came on, but it wouldn’t start. I phoned Mr FD, who, luckily, wasn’t far away, with our friend Louis – they’d been about to start picking apples at Louis’ family home some 20/30 km from Roanne. So Louis and Mr FD tried to push start the car down a slope – unfortunately I was in the driving seat, and never having push started a car before, I did the wrong things, and it didn’t start. Mr FD contained his annoyance. Louis drove us back home where we picked up the Pug-bus (Peugeot estate) and drove back to Roanne. With Mr FD in the Fiat 500 I towed it back to the Lidl car park (at the top of a slope), then we untied the tow rope and, with a tiny heave from me, Mr FD drove the Fiat down the slope – it started first time!! Huzzah! He drove off around the corner.

As I’d not finished the shopping, we’d planned that I’d go to Carrefour in the Pug-bus to get what I still had to buy. I dithered…I couldn’t face a big hyper-market, so I thought I’d go to the smaller Carrefour Market instead. I had a choice of two ways to go, but for some reason decided to take the least logical – and who should I come across but Mr FD stalled at the traffic lights, right in the middle of rush hour, and blocking the route for everyone else who were just managing to squeeze past by mounting the traffic island…He couldn’t contact me, as he’d left his mobile phone at home (I’ll tell you this for free: had it been the other way round, with me not having my phone, he’d have been right pissed off with me! I didn’t mention it once. Except just now.)

So we re-attached the tow rope, I pulled him round the corner & somehow he started the car again. After that, I wasn’t sure I trusted the Fiat not to stall again, so I abandoned the shopping and followed Mr FD home…

Earlier in the day I’d met up with someone from the Port – she and her husband live on a narrow boat, Out of the Blue, and travel the waterways of France during the summer and over-winter in Roanne – and we’d had a coffee together. It was the first time I’d met Yvonne, and I think we got on quite well. I’m sure we’ll meet up again at some time. I decided to stay and have lunch in the restaurant, so had a cheese omellette, salad and a big plate of chips. So I felt a bit sick from over eating and stress of cars breaking down. Thus when I got home I didn’t want to eat. I defrosted and heated up a curry and naan bread from the freezer for Mr FD, but I just had a couple of crispbreads later on in the evening. There was lots of curry left over so we had it again on Thursday evening, with added chicken & mushrooms, and with rice. It wasn’t very hot – I’m really not very good at judging the right spices to give enough heat to curries! – but it was flavoursome.

I’ve carefully planned next week’s food – however, as always, something will probably happen to change it all…Including not being able to get ingredients or something. I’m shopping (again!) after work on Monday afternoon. That is when I usually shop, but what with forecast snow last Monday, and not many lessons on Wednesday I had changed the day.

Today (writing this on Saturday, scheduling it for Tuesday) we’re having HM pizza for dinner, and tomorrow I’m pulling the wild boar casserole out of the freezer, to have with mash, carrots and green beans. Mr FD is going to be in charge of cooking on Tuesday (Feta stuffed chicken)and on Wednesday (Chinese Pork) and on Thursday (Roast vegetables with feta and pâsta). From next week he’ll be cooking on Friday too, as I’m restarting with my 5 year old student, from 18h- 19h. That’s going to be mostly crafting and colouring while speaking English, but it’s still work.

Of course, it may all be different if – as we hope – Mr FD’s interview goes well. He has an interview on Tuesday afternoon, which sounds like a job right up his street. We keep our fingers crossed.

We hope…

Eating well?

Hmm, maybe not!

I left you with what we’d eaten up until Saturday 6th October. Our next week went like this:

SUNDAY: Breakfast: Yoghurt & fruit

Lunch: Smoked salmon paté, soup, 1 slice toast. The soup was fridge bottom soup – using up lots of wrinkly vegetables from the fridge.

Dinner: Spanish pork, jacket potato, vegetables. The Spanish pork was something from the freezer; it wasn’t very SW friendly, and contained rice, but Mr FD still cooked a jacket potato too! I can’t remember what vegetable we had. I probably had an apple .

MONDAY: Breakfast: Yoghurt & fruit

Lunch: Soup, smoked salmon pate.

Dinner: Bean burgers, sweet potato wedges and salad. Fruit.

I cook my eggs in the microwave, so the yolk isn’t as runny as these, unfortunately. It’s a lot more convenient though!

TUESDAY: Breakfast: poached egg on toast

Lunch (packed lunch): Soup, 2 ryvitas, 0% cream cheese, cucumber, tomato, apple.

Dinner: Steak-and-vegetable stir fry (one steak between us, 75g rice noodles between us, lots of vegetables and a hoisin sauce sachet.)

We did have some microwave popcorn between us duiring the evening.

WEDNESDAY: Porridge with 0.5 tbsp golden syrup

Packed lunch: Ham/salad sandwich, tomatoes, apple, “emergency scone” ( a scone that was in the freezer…for an emergency!)

Dinner: Chilli with rice, half a roll as garlic bread.

THURSDAY: Breakfast: “Bacon” sandwich (1 slice of bread)

Lunch: Ham and salad, half a roll. Apple. Special K bar.

Dinner: Chicken thigh, ratatouille, jacket potato.

FRIDAY: Breakfast: 0% fromage frais

Lunch: Chicken drumstick, half a slice of ham, salad, slice of bread. Special K bar.

Dinner: Pasta with spinach, lardons (100g between us), mushrooms & a carton of 4% fat “creme fraiche”. Popcorn during the evening.

SATURDAY: Breakfast: “Bacon” sandwich

Lunch: Full disclosure: It was the Cyclo Telethon meal, so I was helping prepare the meal, and then we ate it. Lentils to start, then a thick slice of roast pork and gratin dauphinoise, a wedge of camembert and a slice of apple tart. Plus kir. Lots of kir!!

Dinner: Soup (butternut squash, sweet potato, coconut milk and leftover lentils from lunch!) and a prawn sandwich.

SUNDAY: Breakfast: 0% fromage frais

Lunch: Soup, prawn sandwich, apple.

Piece of praline brioche at a friend’s house (well, it would be rude not to!!)

Dinner: Pork tenderloin, roast potatoes, roast squash, with leek, mushroom, apple & cider sauce.

MONDAY: Breakfast: Egg on toast

Packed lunch: Soup, ham sandwich, wedge of camembert, tomatoes, banana.

Dinner: Pork tenderloin, roast potatoes, roast squash, with leek, mushroom, apple & cider sauce. (Leftovers from Sunday!)

Planned for…

TUESDAY: Breakfast: porridge & syrup

Lunch : Soup, egg sandwich, apple.

Dinner: Salmon & broccoli bake Similar to this, but without the asparagus. Maybe mushrooms instead.

Then on Wednesday, I’m off to Waterloo for Convention, and won’t be thinking about what I’m eating!! I plan to enjoy it, and not worry. There’s always the Bishop’s Dinner on Friday which is a posh do, and another meal out on Saturday, and it’s no use trying to eat SW-friendly. Especially when there’s usually fizzies at the Bishop’s Dinner – not missing that!!

Mr FD is doing the shopping tomorrow, so he can buy what he wants to eat while I’m away, and I’ll shop again next Monday.

Try, try, try again…

So yesterday I lost an entire post. It was very irritating. Of course, it was well-written, lyrically beautiful in its prose and achingly poignant. You would have loved it.

Well, actually, no. It was just a post about what we’ve been eating and plan to eat this week. Let’s try again! As I have said, I’m not very good at remembering to take photos of the food I cook, so any photos on here are from t’internet.

On Thursday & Friday last week I was in Paris. I’m afraid that I didn’t really stick to my Slimming World plan – when there are delicious nibbles like steamed dumplings,chicken saté sticks, and other gorgeous delicacies I can’t hold back. The wine was good too. Then, on Friday I “just happened” to pass a Marks & Spencer food hall, so I went in (It would have been rude not to) and was tempted off the straight and narrow. I bought three boxes of mince pies (now stashed in the freezer), some stilton, some white stilton with cranberries and some halloumi cheese, three bags of snacks, a packet of crumpets, an Indian meal for two, a bag of frozen onion rings (to act as an ice back for the chilled goods), and a Meal Deal lunch (a chicken-and-chorizo sandwich, a bag of crisps and a drink) Hey ho.

So..on Friday evening we ate (and enjoyed) the Indian meal – Chicken Jalfrezi, Butter chicken, pilau rice and naan bread, with a beer on the side. Miam-miam! And then a crumpet & golden syrup to finish it off!

Saturday: Breakfast: 0% fat natural yoghurt and stewed apple. I also always have a smallish glass of orange or grapefruit juice (100 ml juice mixed with about 150 ml water) and a coffee with a splash of milk. So I haven’t mentioned these in the “breakfast” sections.

Lunch: Oh dear. We went to a restaurant to celebrate Friend Richard’s birthday, so I’m afraid I slipped again. Two kirs, a couple of glasses of wine, then a salad with a cheesy fritter type thing, Chinese 5-Spice salmon & rice, cheese and then raspberry pudding.

Dinner: Soup and bread.

Sunday: Breakfast: Egg on toast

Lunch: Soup and cheese sandwich. Crumpet.

Dinner: Sausage, potato wedges, baked beans, onion rings.

Monday: Breakfast: Yoghurt & fruit

Lunch: Soup and cheese sandwich.

Dinner:Spiced yoghurt lamb, and chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables in a tortilla wrap. Crumpet.

Tuesday: Breakfast: Fruit/yoghurt

Lunch: Grated cheese (tiny bit) and salad wrap. Apple.

Dinner: Mediterranean vegetables (again!) with spiced couscous and halloumi cheese.

Wednesday: Breakfast Porridge with 1 desertspoon golden syrup.

Lunch: Leftovers from last night,with some white stilton crumbled over, yoghurt, apple

Dinner: Turkey escalopes in a tomato/vegetable sauce, pasta.

Thursday: Breakfast: 0% fromage frais, fruit

Lunch: Spicy salmon with vegetables & pasta, salad, ryvita.

Dinner: Imam Biyaldi – which, if I’m honest, was a grave disappointment. It was really rather bland, and the Imam might have fainted with pleasure when he tasted it, but we certainly didn’t. Very “meh”. To be fair to the recipe writer I’ve linked to, I didn’t use exactly her recipe: mine had less garlic, and different spices in.

Friday: Breakfast: “Bacon” sandwich (one slice of bread) The French don’t really do back bacon in the same way as the UK, but I bought some of this, which gently heated in a frying pan gives the illusion of bacon!

Lunch: As yesterday.

Dinner: A stuffed pepper, filled with the same filling as yesterday, plus cauliflower cheese, made with my Lidl Contre-le-gaspillage cauliflower last week. I may cook some lardons too, to add a bit of flavour to the proceedings!

Saturday: Breakfast: Fruit & fromage frais

Lunch: Smoked salmon paté – I have some smoked salmon in the freezer that I bought 50% off, so I’ll use that, plus some 0%fat cream cheese. I have tried to use a lot of freezer provisions this week, as I went a bit mad in M&S, so needed to reduce this week’s shopping bill!! I’ll also be making a vegetable soup to use up all the wrinkly bits and bobs at the bottom of the fridge!

Dinner: Meatballs (mince in freezer), with a tomato/pepper sauce, pasta and vegetables.

I’m keeping very quiet about the bottle of red wine that I opened on Tuesday, and am working my way through!!

I think the main thing is that we haven’t bought biscuits, and so there has been much less snacking going on!

I know these posts aren’t to everyone’s tastes, so I’ll only do one a week…And maybe not even that if I forget! Off to take some home made scones to Friend M across the way, who has return,ed home after a longish stay in hospital….I did test the little off-cut scone that used up the leftover dough. It was only tiny….

Just because…

Just showing another card that I’ve made recently…

It is a belated birthday/ Just because card for Richard…he collects strange antiquities, especially old tools, so the violin was a nod to that.

I thinbk everything that was used in the card came from Noz – the violin sticker, the silver “bling” stick on, the paper used – except the yellow card used behind the violin…

That came from the box that contained an Indian Meal for Two for 10€ bought at M&S Food Hall in Paris! We really enjoyed it – but it wasn’t exactly Slimming World friendly. That’s been an Epic Fail this week!!

The fun is finally over.

Judy had two wishes: to see St Roch and to do a wine tasting – so that’s what we did!

On Saturday morning we went to Cervieres, which is a local Medieval village, where we went first to the church to see the stained glass window of our feted Saint

Here is St Roch, showing off his blue knickers, and Spot, the dog, with the Jammie Dodger

After a short walk around the village we headed off to Notre Dame l’Hermitage where there’s another St Roch, which I’ve shown before.

We climbed up to the viewpoint, and looked across to our village and beyond

before heading back home for a lunch of cheese (still lots left to eat ) and salad (and still eating the lettuces from my anti-wastage box too!).

Friend Alison had recommended a Wine maker to visit – they had been with friends earlier in the summer – so on Saturday afternoon, we headed over to la Domaine Vial.

We were greeted by a very barky dog, who, having alerted his master to our presence, followedus into the Cave and then promptly fell asleep. Monsieur Vial was charming – he took time to explain all the wines that they make, to help us taste them, describing what flavours we could expect, and generally chatting away. I was very gratified to actually understand everything he said, and to be able to translate where necessary. Here is M. Vial with the 9 wines we tried – two whites, two rosé, and four red, plus a sparkling wine, which was a tad too sweet for my tastes.

We each bought some wine – Mr FD and I have been entrusted with Judy & mum’s, and have to deliver it next time we go to the UK. It was a really pleasant afternoon.

A blurry photo of the barky dog.

We drove home by a different route to usual, just to give them a different view of the area, and there was time for a snooze, before going to Louis and Odette’s for an apero. Sparkling wine and delicious snacks were followed by a meal at the Hotel de la Poste, just round the corner. Another good meal – rabbit-and-prune terrine, steak (for me. Mum had duck again!), and then the splendid cheese trolley and dessert trolley. I find that after a meal I’m too full to really appreciate either, and they really are so good one could just go to the restaurant just for them!

               

It was a very pleasant meal, made even better by the fact that we didn’t have to pay for Mr FD & my meals, due to the bartering system where Mr FD’s infomatique help and advice is paid for in food!!

On Sunday it was time for mum & Judy to leave, so we decided to go over to Lyon and visit another Medieval village, this one called Perouges. It’s about 30 minutes from the airport, so it’s quite a good place to visit if you have a bit of time to kill.

We didn’t have quite as much time to kill as we could have done, so really only had time for lunch in a very pleasant restaurant courtyard, under the spreading not-sure-but-possibly-a-lime tree.

After our meal, we took Judy and mum to the airport, and dropped them off.

It was lovely to see them both, and to spend time with them. Mind you, after a week in Italy, where I walked quite some distance, and this week, when I walked another 30-odd kilometres I’ve been glad of a somewhat more restful week this week!

The Fun Continues – visiting Villages of Character

On Thursday it is the village market, so the three of us had a wander around, just seeing what there was on offer. (Nothing special – just the usual!) and then we had a coffee back at home, before having lunch.

After lunch Judy went for a walk – getting lost and being befriended by an apparently stray dog – while mum and I stayed home, as Friend Alison was calling round. After that we went for a short walk, which was interrupted by Judy phoning to say that the dog was following her, did I have any suggestions? She decided to retrace her steps, encouraging the dog to go back to where it “picked her up” so to speak, & I guessed where she was and where the dog might belong so went to meet her. My guess was correct, and by the time I met her, she had discovered that the dog belonged to a farm, and that it was, apparently, an inveterate wanderer. The bloke at the farm said that she was very kind to have bothered to bring it back!

This isn’t the correct breed of dog, but I liked the picture!

That evening, we had some apero snacks and acouple of gin and tonics, followed by Spanish pork for dinner, but I can’t remember what we did in the evening…

However I do know that on Friday we went out exploring the local “villages of character” – having first gone to Roanne to explore Noz. I bought a nice top for 3,50€ and a lot of cat food. The last time I bought some of this, the cats wolfed it down. So when I saw it in Noz again, I bought four boxes of 12pouches each. Of course, (and I should have known this would happen!) they are now refusing to eat it! We bought a sandwich in a boulangerie, and took it to the forest of l’Espinasse to eat it.

Then we went to Le Crozet, a medieval village that I have never explored before. We went to the restaurant there with friends a few weeks back, but the village was new to me. It was a delight.

We followed the Discovery Trail around ther village, and admired the beautifully restored buildings. It really was like a film set – with very few alterations, it could have been used immediately! We could imagine the Three Musketeers would come striding round a corner, buckling their swash (or does one swash one’s buckle?!) and demanding a wench to bring them goblets of wine at any moment.

As we left to move on to Ambierle we nodded a Good Day to a Dutch couple in their car.

Ambierle has an ancient priory, with a polychrome roof, typical of the region – although most examples are found further north in Burgundy, in places like Beaune. We had a look around the church, as Judy wanted to see an image of St Roch, after I had told her the story of the Saint. There were many saints depicted in the windows, but not St Roch. However, to some surprise, we did come across the same Dutch couple as we’d met in Le Crozet; slightly embarrassed we nodded at each other, and then the three of us giggled a little at the coincidence.

We had a look around the gift shop and admired the fountain in the courtyard…

… before setting out for St Haon le Chatel, another Medieval village (this time with a tea shop)

We were sitting outside the tea shop, sipping our rather disappointing teas, and nibbling our very disappointing biscuits when Judy hissed “It’s them again!” Slightly unbelievably, it was the Dutch couple again, who were arriving for tea as well. It seemed really bizarre that they were visiting the same villages as us – especially as there are other pretty villages in the area! – but we laughed awkwardly when they arrived, and had a short conversation about the biscuits. We wazlked around the village, but we were all getting a bit tired by then…No Saint Roch in the church again though…

After this we headed home, as we were going out for a meal in the evening. We went to our favourite restaurant, and had a lovely meal. There’s really only one menu – if you have a request, you need to mention when booking (which we did, as Richard, who came with us, is vegetarian) – and so we had a goats cheese and tomato terrine with salad (a late request from Mr FD, who doesn’t eat goiats cheese, meant he had air dried ham with his salad), followed by duck (specially requested for mum)

Richard had a velouté of wild mushrooms, which he said was delicious. Cheese and then a very nice dessert (which I can’t remember, but which was fruity, I think)