Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Indian Themed Weekend

This past weekend we had nowhere to go, and nowhere to be, and decided it would be fun to stay in and cook Indian dishes all weekend.  Before hunkering down in the house, we kicked off our theme weekend by meeting up for lunch on Friday at Tamarind.

For our weekend of cooking, we picked six recipes from this book:

When making Indian dishes, we often just wing it, but I've had this book for ages, and hadn't made anything from it, so we figured it was about time we put it to the test.

On Saturday we made lamb daniwal qorma (lamb in coriander sauce), chukandar ki subzi (beet curry), and methi ki roti (fenugreek bread):


Unfortunately we were not impressed with these recipes, and kept doubting/ questioning them as we were making them, because they seemed to have bizarre measurements, were too simple, and lacked the depth of flavour that we love in Indian food.  The bread was a breeze to make, but was very, very bland.  The recipe for the beets was completely wack.  We had to cook them way longer than stated (about double the time), and they were still under-cooked, and also bland.  The lamb was the best part, but still wasn't great.  It was much better two days later for our lunches, although not good enough to make ever again.

We thought about adjusting the measurements as we were cooking, and also adding our own seasonings, but we wanted to know if the book was worth keeping, so we decided to do everything as instructed.

On Sunday we cooked rasedar baigan (curried eggplant in coconut sauce), palak paneer (paneer cheese with spinach), and methi ke chawal (fenugreek rice):

Don't mind the palak panner; it looks absolutely hideous, and didn't taste much better.

Okay, I'm exaggerating, but it was very boring, under-spiced, and just okay.

The eggplant was boring.  You couldn't tell there was coconut milk in it, and it was under-spiced as well.  The eggplant and paneer dishes lacked the sauciness we were hoping for.  Fortunately the rice was well-seasoned and flavourful.  All of the dishes were measurably better a day later, but none were worthy of a remake.  Now, this book does have over 1000 recipes, and we only tried six of them, but we both agreed they seemed untested, and were poorly written

If we use an Indian cookbook in the future, we'll be sticking to this one, which we highly recommend.

For dessert we had a true Indian delight - Saskatoon berry crumble ;-)

Christopher and I can't share a bowl of crumble, because I always do something very, very bad.  I dig around and sheepishly take the bites with all the crumb topping, pretending I don't know what I am doing.

Because the crumble is the best part, I now put two layers of crumble.  I did a layer of butterscotch shortbread crumbs first:

And then the traditional oatmeal-based crumbs:

Mmmm, Saskatoon berries are so good, and with a little ice-cream in there, it's a perfect dessert.

Do you like Indian food?  Do you cook it at home?  Where is your favourite place to go out for Indian food?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hello Spring

Spring arrived on Monday, and I could not be happier about that, as the date brought nice weather with it.  This week we were able to BBQ for the first time in 2017:

We cooked herb potatoes on the BBQ, along with drumettes with a sticky Korean sauce that Christopher whipped up.  A tossed salad with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing rounded out this meal.  We didn't eat it outside, but that will be happening in no time, once we get the yard cleaned up a bit.  This weekend many restaurants around town opened up their patios - yay!

Other eats this week included a Thai curry with ramen noodles:

A giant calzone stuffed full of ground beef (cooked with onions and garlic), loads of kale, mushrooms, cheese, herbs, and sauce:

I brushed the top with a bit of truffle oil, sprinkled it with oregano, pierced the top a couple times, and baked it until golden. 

More kale in the salad that we had on the side:

We were feeling pasta-y after grocery shopping on Friday evening, so we came home and made creamy parmesan fusilli:

We dipped olive bread in oil and balsamic while cooking, and dancin' around in the kitchen.  We sometimes try to be cool and stay up late on Friday nights, but we're terrible at it.  We were asleep by 10:00, and up at 7:15 the next day.

Sausage, egg and veggie skillets for breakfast on Saturday morning:

And nachos for a snack later on:

The rest of our weekend was spent cooking six new Indian dishes from a cookbook we wanted to get a feel for - more on that in the next post. 

Now that spring is here, I am so excited for planting herbs and flowers, sitting in the backyard with snacks and tunes, a fun vacation, rain, wearing sandals and dresses, etc.  It just might be my favourite season.  But, knowing Saskatchewan, we could easily get another snowstorm.  Around here you can't really be sure winter is gone until after May long weekend.

How was your weekend?  What are you looking forward to this spring?  Have you BBQd yet this year?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Irish for a Weekend

In the spirit of Saint Patrick's Day on Friday, we decided to have a whole Irish-themed weekend.

On Friday at lunch I kicked off the theme weekend of eating with an ugly looking, but yummy tasting, shepherd's pie from Canadian Brewhouse.

I had never been to this place before, as we don't often frequent sports bar-type restaurants, but I thought the shepherd's pie was really good, and the menu had a great variety (and was also pretty humorous - you'd have to see it).   The portion was HUGE, definitely enough for two meals.

For dinner on Friday night we whipped up boxty with sausage.  Boxty are Irish potato pancakes, and are delicious topped with sour cream and onions.  We loosely followed this recipe.

Christopher made his amazing homemade French fries sometime on the weekend, because ... well ... potato.

Dinner on Saturday evening was colcannon with lamb chops and salad.  Colcannon is a mashed potato dish, jazzed up with cooked cabbage and onion, loads of butter, some milk, and seasoning.

We marinated the chops for a good 12 hours before giving them a quick broil on each side.

Dessert was Irish coffee cake, topped with whipped cream and strawberries.

We had a basic breakfast on Sunday, with bacon, potatoes, poached eggs, and coffee - festive lattes on the couch to follow.

Dinner was an Irish stout stew, with Irish soda bread for dipping.

The lamb chops, coffee cake, stew, and soda bread recipes all came from the cookbook, The Irish Spirit.  I've made numerous dishes from this cookbook, and they have all turned out well.

What a nice, quiet, tasty weekend at home.

How was your weekend?  What did you do?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Seven on Saturday

1)  We're loving this cheese we picked up the other day.

When we go to the grocery store we often pick up a new-to-us cheese to try out.  This is one we'll definitely buy again.

2)  Dinner the other evening was a turmeric chicken stew.  We followed this easy recipe, although our grocery store didn't have fresh turmeric (laaaaaame), so we used the ground stuff instead.

We had paratha on the side for dipping.

3)  Our 2nd anniversary was last month, and we decided when we got married that we'd follow the traditional anniversary gift theme, but pick out something together each year for us as a couple.  For the second anniversary, the traditional gift is cotton.  We thought about getting new sheets, which we need, but instead decided on something we'd be able to use forever.  Since we're both music lovers, we had the sound wave of our song, Latch by Disclosure, printed onto a throw pillow for our bed.

It turned out perfectly.  It's difficult to tell from a picture, but the quality of the pillow is great!  We were super impressed.  We ordered it online from Finch and Cotter through Etsy.

4)  Breakfast this morning was smoked salmon bagels.  This is our new favourite, and it's so easy to throw together.

5)  Speaking of breakfast, I'm so happy it's finally light out in the morning when I'm making breakfast during the work week; it makes it easier to get going, and is also much better for photographing my morning eats.

Greek yogurt bowls were the staple during this past week.

6)  This weekend we're cooking Irish-themed dinners each night.  We started last night, and have a couple more planned.  We love themed weekends of cooking!  I'll tell you all about it in the next post.

7)  We made sushi bowls last week.

We bought some sashimi-grade tuna, and marinated it in red onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, and cilantro for about half an hour.  Our bowls included sushi rice, cucumber, avocado, seaweed, the raw tuna, pickled ginger, wasabi, and a drizzle of soy sauce.

What are you up to this weekend?  
Did you do anything for St. Patrick's Day?