Lamb Chops with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables and Fried Polenta

this is what we had for dinner tonight. it was delicious and easy to make! here are the recipes...

recipe my own creation
grilled lamb chops
4 lamb chops
fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
olive oil

Brush both side of the lamb chops with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and salt and pepper. Grill on a hot grill, turning once.

recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Quick Classics
roasted mediterranean vegetables
2 large peppers (red and yellow)
1 aubergine (eggplant)
2 large courgettes (zucchini)
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves of garlic
1-2 fresh thyme sprigs
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
extra olive oil/balsamic vinegar, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F. Cut the peppers into chunks, removing the seeds and membranes. Cut off the ends of the aubergine and courgettes, then cut these vegetables into chunks, Remove any hulls from the tomatoes. Roughly chop the garlic.

2. Put the prepared vegetabels and thyme sprigs in a roasting tin and sprinkle with the garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir well to mix. Roast for 40-50 minutes until all the vegetables are tender and charred, strring several times.

To serve drizzle with more olive oil and or balsamic vinegar.

recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Quick Classics
fried polenta
4 ounces instant polenta
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/2 ounce butter
salt and pepper
olive oil, for frying

1. Cook the polenta according to the package instructions. Once cooked, mix in the parmesan and butter, then season to taste. Turn the polenta out onto a sheet of cling film, leave until just cool enough to handle, then roll it into a tight log and twist the ends. Allow to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator until firm.

2. Unwrap the chilled polenta roll and cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices. Fry in hot olive oil in a non-stick frying pan until golden brown on both sides, turning once. The polenta should be firm and crisp on the outside but moist on the inside.


today for lunch we all made our own wraps. i layed out a selection of items from which to choose and the girls had a great time layering their stuff onto their wraps. andi loved hers and ate a good amount of it. jodie didn't like something that she put on hers (i think it was the caesar dressing) so she just picked the meat and cheese out and ate it. just about anything can be put into a wrap. just take a tortilla and start layering and then roll. i like to cut mine in half for easy eating. for some ideas of what to use here are the things that i let the girls choose from...ham, sliced cheese, cream cheese, mayo, caesar dressing, leftover sliced steak, letttuce, parmesan cheese, roast beef, tomatoes, and anything else you can think of...use your imagination!


Potato-Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

tonight we had steaks cooked on the grill, these potato peppers, and sliced tomatoes from our garden for dinner. it was delicous! the potato stuffed peppers were a nice change from just a regular baked potato. the sweetness of the peppers really comes out after grilling them. here's the recipe...

recipe from the may 2005 issue of southern living
4 large baking potatoes
4 large red bell peppers
16 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup gouda, grated
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Pierce each potato 3-4 times with a fork, and place directly on the oven rack. Bake at 450 for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, cutting through stems and keeping intact. Remove and discard seeds and memebranes; rinse and pat dry. Set aside.

Cut baked potatoes in half. Scoop out pulp into a large bowl, discarding shells. Add sour cream and next 6 ingredients to pulp, blending well with a fork or potato masher.

Spoon potato mixture evenly into pepper halves. Sprinkle with paprika.

Grill peppers, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat for 18 minutes or until peppers are blistered and potato mixtrue bubbles around edges. Serve immediately.


Salmon with Fresh Tomato Salsa

we have had an abundance of tomatoes from our garden lately. we've been eating lots of tomato salads and last week i made brushetta a couple of times. i got this really good brushetta recipe from seven spoons only i made mine without the goat cheese. i liked the tomato mixture so much that i decided to spoon in over salmon fillets tonight. the results were delicious! i'm definately making that again with all of our tomatoes! i made mine with several different types of tomatoes; i had some small cherries and a couple of different larger varietes. the combination was good.

Wedding Gift

this is the album i made as a wedding gift for kelley. i put in it all the pictures that were taken at her hen party. i thought it turned out pretty cute. i hope she thinks so.


Vodka Chilli Chocolates

i just recently bought a new chocolate cookbook. as i was reading through it this recipe jumped out at me. i think it might be the most interesting and different recipe in the book and i decided to try it. they were relatively easy to make, but extremely spicy!!!! i could only take one bite, but i don't have a high tolerance for heat. anyway here is the recipe for those of you who might want to try making them.

recipe from Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes
6 green chilli peppers, stalks on
6 red chilli peppers, stalks on
12 ounces vodka
3 1/2 ounces good quality white or dark chocolate to fill the chillis
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate for dipping

Wash the chillis, then cut a small slit in the side and remove the seeds and the membranes. Marinate the prepared chillis in vodka for at least 12 hours before you prepare the filling.

To make the filling melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Mix in a shot of vodka into the chocolate. Fill the chillis with the chocolate. Store the chillis in a container in the freezer until needed.

To dip the chillis, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in a glass. Dip the chillis so that they are 3/4 covered in chocolate. Place on wax paper to set.


Pineapple Pork

i made this stir-fry for dinner tonight. it was pretty good, but stir-frys are never quite as good as i think they should be. this didn't have quite as much flavor as i thought it should. anyway it was quick and easy to make. here's the recipe...

recipe from ken hom's quick wok
1 pound pork fillet
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons coarsly chopped garlic
8 ounces canned pineapple, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons corn starch

1. Cut the pork into thin strips. In a medium bowl combine the marinade ingredients. Add the pork and mix well and leave to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain and discard the marinade.

2. Heat wok to high heat until it is hot. Add the oil, and when it is very hot and slighty smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry for 15 seconds or until golden brown.

3. Add the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes.

4. Finally, add the pineaplle, cilantro, soy sauce, and sugar, and continue to sitr-fry for 3 minutes.

5. Turn onto platter and serve at once with rice.



tonight we had our friends the phillips and the irvines over for dinner. it was quite a crowd with all of our kids, but we had a really good time. i served lamb kebabs with salad and naan. this time i made a dressing for the salad of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper. i thought dressing was a good match for the lamb. for dessert we had fudge cakes a la mode. mmm...


Salmon Cakes with Roasted Marinated Sweet Peppers

my sister amber is leaving tomorrow morning to go back to the states so tonight was her goodbye dinner, which she picked. the salmon cakes and sweet peppers were a really good combo. here are the recipes...

...salmon cakes
recipe my own creation
4 boneless salmon fillets
cajun seasoning
1 egg
2 spoonfulls mayonaise
bread crumbs
handfull of cilantro chopped
handfull of freshly grated parmesan cheese
juice from half a lemon

Sprinkle the salmon fillets with the cajun seasoning and bake for about 20 minutes or until fully cooked. Let the salmon cool enough to handle and then flake the salmon into chunks with a fork. In a separate bowl mix together the egg and the rest of the ingredients. Fold in the salmon. Form patties of the salmon mixture with your hands and place on a baking tray. Place the salmon cakes under the broiler until they start to turn a little golden and then turn them over and place back under the broiler for a few more minutes.

...roasted marinated sweet peppers
recipe from the sociable cook by katie stewart
4 sweet peppers - red and yellow
1/2 large onion
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
juice 1 lemon

Quarter the peppers and remove the stems and seeds. Place on a baking tray and put them under the broiler and cook until the skins are blistered and charred. Remove the peppers from the broiler and cover the tray with a towel and let stand for about 10 minutes until they are cool enough to handle. Peel off the skins and thinly slice the peppers and place in a serving bowl.
Thinly slice the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the onion and sprinkle with sugar. Cook gently unitl the onion softens and turns golden, then sprinkle with the thyme. Add the salt and pepper and lemon juice and the remaining olive oil. Bring to a simmer and then pour the mixture over the peppers. Marinate the peppers for 6 hours or overnight, preferably not in the refrigerator (although I only had time to marinate them for about 1 hour and they were still really good.


Alice Springs Chicken

outback steakhouse has this on their menu and this is my version. it is a chicken breast topped with bacon, mushrooms, and cheese and served with a honey mustard dipping sauce. my mom used to make something similar and this is kind of a combination of both. here's the recipe...

thin boneless skinless chicken breasts
cajun seasoning
barbeque sauce
bacon, cooked
sauted mushrooms
grated cheddar cheese
sliced spring onions

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with cajun seasoning and grill. Near the end of the cooking time baste the chicken with the barbeque sauce. Layer the chicken breasts with bacon, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese and then sprinkle them with the spring onions. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve with honey mustard dressing.

...recipe for the honey mustard
plain yogurt
yellow mustard

Mix together to taste.


Market To Table

this morning i went to billingsgate market with my parents and my sister. billingsgate market is a big fish market on the isle of dogs. it is open tuesday-saturday from 5:30 in the morning until 8:30 in the morning. there are alot of vendors selling all kinds of fish, prawns, crabs, squid, mussels, and other seadfood. the market has a definate fish smell and the floor is very wet and slippery. it was fun looking at all the different fish. my mom's birthday is today so we were there to buy something for her birthday dinner. we bought two kilos of mussels and some tilapia that the fish monger reccomended. so for dinner tonight we made mussels stuffed with spinach and bacon and steamed mussels with a cream sauce. i grilled the fish whole and seasoned them two different ways. for dessert we had tiramisu with fresh blackberries from our garden. the blackberries made a nice addition to the tiramisu.

here are the recipes...

...recipe from the belgo cookbook
mussels with spinach and bacon

1 pound cooked mussels
1/4 pound fresh spinach
salt and pepper
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 ounces cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
bacon, chopped and fried

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil the spinach for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible. Chop spinach finely.
Saute shallot and garlic in butter in a saucepan for 2 minutes. Add the cream, salt and pepper and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the chopped spinach to the sauce and cook for 2 minutes.
Place the mussels on a platter and spoon the spinach sauce over the mussels. Sprinkle the cheese and the bacon over the top. Put under a hot broiler for 2-3 minutes.

...recipe adapted from the belgo cookbook
steamed mussels in a cream sauce

2 pounds mussels, cleaned
2 bottles beer
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
10 ounces double cream

Put the mussels, beer, onion, celery, and garlic in a large pot and cover. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the mussels until they have opened. This should only take a few minutes.
To make the sauce remove the mussels from the cooking liquid. Return the liquid to the heat and add the butter, lemon juice, and cream. Return the mussels to the pot and serve. own recipe

3/4 cup espresso or triple strength coffee plus more
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brandy or Tia Maria
1 1/2 pounds mascarpone cheese
1/2 pound lady fingers
4 ounces grated chocolate
whipping cream, whipped

1. Line a loaf pan with wax paper.
2. Stir coffee, sugar, and brandy together until the sugar dissolves. Reserve 1/3 cup.
3. Mix coffee mixture into cheese.
4. Add more coffee to the reserved coffee. Dip some ladyfingers in coffee and place in the bottom of the loaf pan in a single layer.
5. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the ladyfingers and then sprinkle with half of the chocolate.
6. Repeat with ladyfingers, cheese, and chocolate.
7. Then end with one more layer of ladyfingers.



this morning rebecca, chrissy, and jennifer left for paris. it was sad to see them go. it was such fun having them here. last night we all got indian take away for dinner. we watched the last few episodes of friends season nine while we ate. after dinner dan built a fire in our grill and we roasted marshmallows and made smores. they were yummy! tonight we are having leftovers for dinner. for some reason we have quite a few this week. i'm trying to empty our the refrigerator so that i can defrost it tonight before my next round of company arrives tomorrow. right now my ice cube trays are frozen to the freezer and i can't get them out. my parents arrive tomorrow. they have been at leap this past week. we're looking forward to having them.


House Guests

we have a housefull this week. my sister amber arrived yesterday afternoon. it was fun to see her again. we haven't seen each other since christmas. last night two of rebecca's friends arrived to stay with us for a few days. rebecca and the other two girls, chrissy and jennifer, have been in ireland for the past eight months as part of world harvest's map program. it has been fun having a full house.

this morning i went to work at cafe forever. amber and andi and jodie took the train with me to work today and then they went on to greenwich for the morning while i worked. amber brought the girls back to the cafe for lunch and rebecca, chrissy, and jennifer also joined us. it was alot of fun. this afternoon while the girls napped amber and rebecca and i vegged in front of the tv and watched several episodes of friends of dvd. it was very restful.

i haven't done much posting on food lately. with all the guests we've been having i haven't had time to look for and try new recipes. i've been pulling out the favorites. sometimes its nice to eat familar things. so here's what we've had to eat so far this week...
monday...lamb steaks on the grill with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini
tuesday...grilled chicken legs with garlic rice and sliced tomatoes
wednesday...grilled salmon steaks with butter and lime, goats cheese crostini with roasted peppers, and cucumber salad
thursday...vegetable enchiladas and rice

also i haven't posted many pictures lately so here is one of dan and the girls when we went to greenwich on saturday morning.


Coming and Going

today was a busy day. i did lots of laundry and some cleaning, changing the sheets for our next round of company. today our friend rebecca arrived and rian left. they overlapped a couple of hours. we all had lunch together, a welcome lunch for rebecca and a going away lunch for rian. we had couscous with shrimp in it and for dessert we had our favorite magnum bars. mmmm....