Last night, a Monday night, became a 2–5 Diet Night because Tuesday night (our regular Diet Night) was one of the few free nights that Jamie’s Italian restaurant on William in the CBD was free for a booking.
We had a fairly standard diet meal: grilled salmon with Di’s signature grilled vegetables. We also “enjoyed” a glass of cold water as our beverage.
By the way, the salmon was Norwegian but it tasted exactly like our Tasmanian salmon.
Yesterday I made an old favourite comfort meal: Penne Puttanesca. It is a delicious, if you enjoy strong flavours as do I, simple pasta sauce I used penne past because the hollows of the pasta shape fill with the liquid of the sauce. I decided to use the entire can of Italian chopped tomatoes because the tomatoes have a good deal of juice and that is what finds its way into the pasta.
I flavoured the tomatoes with anchovies, chopped capers with a little of their juice, chopped black olives and a good shake of chili flakes. Last night I also added some pieces of smoked salmon for a little extra taste.
As a cleanser I made a green salad with crushed cherry tomatoes, about five apiece as I remember, black olives for Di and green ones for me plus a sliced mushroom apiece. Our liquid of choice was a Clean Skin red.
Last night was a left-overs night plus…
Diane began the evening, because Friday night is Party Night, with a delicious Cosmopolitan and some of her legendary baked and flavoured Kalamata olives
After that delightful beginning we finished the remainder of the Baked Lamb in individual serves covered with filo followed by a cleansing salad.
Our beverage was a delightful Taster’s Choice Clean Skin Cab Sav that complimented the dinner superbly.
Diane fixed us a cracker of a meal last night! I wanted to try a bottle of the Greek wine that I had ordered some weeks ago so Diane was sweet enough to make a quasi-Greek tasting meal as a platform from which to try the new Greek wine.
She made another batch of those delicious Kalamata olives that she warms and flavours with: peppercorns, bay leave, whole cloves and olive oil.
She continued the meal with an excellent dish of Hummus (chickpea dip) with small slices of Turkish bread as “dippers.”
The main course was special: I would describe it as a Moroccan Tagine except that it was not made in a tagine and Di added a number of new items to the dish. Rather than make it in a tagine she made it in individual baking dishes; the ingredients were: cubed eggplant, chickpeas, cubed lamb and harissa. A further change to the original recipe was the covering of each individual dish with some filo pastry she had. The resulting dish was superb! It will become, I hope, a staple around the Johnson house.
The Greek wine that we enjoyed was a real winner; it matched the food perfectly. I opened an ’03 Reserve Nemea wine from the area of the Corinthian Gulf on the Peloponissos. It is a distinctively Greek wine and can be noted as different in taste from other wines of the world. I am glad that I have two more bottles!
Last night I repeated A meal from last week: I made from a new chili packet mix, Carrol Shelby’s, another pot of chili in order to finish the skillet corn bread that I made originally and has been languishing in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed once again. Freezing bread of any kind is always done here in Leeming and the corn bread tastes virtually as good as it did originally.
Diane tried a new olive recipe based on the excellent olives served by Joelle at her and Keven’s recent BBQ. Diane’s version was just as good and eating olives heated and flavoured is a real treat and will become, I hope, a regular. Accompanying these delicious olives was another freezer treat, besides the corn bread, six small potato pancakes that Diane had made for her Polish banquet several weeks ago. These also took well to freezing although they lacked the crispness of the original.
As a beverage, chili and corn bread cries for it, Diane fixed us her signature Manhattans made with Wild Turkey Rye and as usual was a cracker!
I enjoy my chili with a little kick so I added six small sliced red “finger” peppers to the mix plus about one semi-drained can of chopped Italian tomatoes, about 2/3s cup of water plus the spice mixture and the packet of Masa Harina (which thickens the added water and adds a special final taste.) I had a Dos Eques beer with my chili and it made everything go down very well.
I have never, but am now considering it, making my own chili from scratch; now that I have finished using all my chili packet mixes I will try to make my own. I don’t think it will work very well but there also seems to be no harm in trying. The spice mixture is the stumbling block because I am unsure that I can get enough flavour in my chili. This one was better than the previous; 1/2 kilo (one pound) of mince is perfect for two people with substantial appetites like Diane and I. As a side note, even with all our eating, Di has lost at least three kilos since we began our 2–5 Diet; not bad for not feeling like you are on a diet!
Last night was day one of our 2–5 Diet and we had what has turned out to be a very satisfying and tasty diet meal: fish on a bed of sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. The only problem last night was that the cook failed to add the sprinkle of chopped shallots so the fish was pretty flavourless.
The fish, Patagonian Toothfish, was as flavoursome as always but without the added flavour of the chopped shallots it was more than a little flat. Actually it was good as an experiment because I had had not known if the shallots added that much to the recipe and yes, they really do add that much!
Along with my fish Diane sliced two rounds of eggplant apiece and grilled them along with two mushrooms for which she made a tantalizing Greek yogurt as a tasty spread to accompany the vegies.
This delicious diet meal was accompanied by two glasses of flavoured water.
Last night was a quiet evening meal after the BBQ on Sunday at Joelle and Kevin’s.
Diane made a simple yet delicious Orecchiette con Prosciutto e Piselli (ear pasta with peas and Italian ham.) The prosciutto was a particularly strongly flavoured type and it added a superb robust flavouring to an already delightful pasta dish.
She added liquidity to the pasta by just the addition of some Vegeta dry stock and a little of the pasta water.
This was accompanied by the ever present salad and two glasses of red remaining from an earlier meal.
Yesterday was a enriching day; enriching because the company of Old Friends from decades ago as well as the delights of the kitchen and the BBQ.
Joelle started the proceedings for the assembled guests, John and Jeong Sook as well as Diane and I by bring out bowls of Kalamata olives that she had flavoured with her own recipe. The guys talked politics and had a beer while the women probably also talked politics and might also have had a beer.
We retired to the dining area inside and took a large spoon of Joelle’s delicious side of flavoured grain while Keven brought in a platter of BBQed lamb chops and sausages, We could not have wished for anything more delicious!
As a dessert Joelle made an excellent single layered cake accompanied by clotted cream and fresh cream–delicious!
She served some herbaceous Kiwi whites that are as good as their reputation alludes.
It was an afternoon of delicious food and delicious friendship!
Last evening was an evening out at the Corner Cafe on upper Hay before the Morgenstern concert at the Concert Hall.
There are few places that serve food in that particular part of Perth and because we always rail into the city the Corner Cafe has become our place to eat before any concert at the Concert Hall further down St George’s Terrace.
The place is not a big deal; it serves a standard Asian menu covering dishes from Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong but they do what they do well and, at least for Perth, inexpensively.
Before our meal we always have some standard but decent Spring Rolls.
We both had noodles last night: Diane had Thai and I had a general stir fry called Corner Mee. With this we had a bottle of McWilliams Chardonnay and a very pleasant dining evening was past before our excellent concert.