To begin this “hump day” meal Diane made us a delicious antipasto plate of the usual suspects: dried olives, pickled mushrooms and artichoke hearts with some toasts spread with Di’s pesto.
Last night Diane made a beautiful pork steak dish smothered in tomatoes with black olives and flavoured with garlic, rosemary and sage.
We had only half of the salad that Diane had made because the pork was so filling.
As a beverage we enjoyed a bottle of Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Siraz Cabernet from South Australia. It is an inexpensive table wine and it was up to that very minimum standard but I am afraid to say that it does not have much personality even by the minimal measure of a table wine.
I love to bake fillets of toothfish which we had bought a few days ago at Garden City and since last night was 2–5 Diet day I made the now standard fish on a bed of sliced mushrooms in a bath of hot stock with a sprinkling of finely chopped shallots. .
I also made a standard robust salad and served all with a delicious Swan Valley white wine: Houghton’s Chardennay Verdelho; this wine is inexpensive and, at leart to my palate, one of the best white table wines in the world–a delicious drop!
Last night I cooked and made a little antipasti plate, my old favourite of penne pasta with a tomato sauce and a robust salad.
My little antipasti plate follows a well established pattern: olives (this time dried), pickled mushrooms & artichoke hearts and toasted breads spread with Diane’s pesto. Simple but with a glass of wine it does put you in the mood for the coming meal.
The main course was the pasta course so there was no second course after the pasta because that is too much food for retired folks like us. The pasta main course was penne with a passata tomato base. I flavoured the tomato base with the usual Sicilian suspects: chopped anchovy fillets, halved pitted black olives, a spoonful of capers, the main addition-a small tin of tuna and a handful of fresh chopped parsley and marjoram. The passata was a little thick so it just needed some water to thin it a bit. Because of that thinness, the sauce was able to thoroughly penetrate the penne (to do what the pasta was designed for) and made for a superb meal (even if I do say so myself.)
The salad also contained the usual suspects: lettuce, olives, tomatoes quartered and sliced mushrooms.
The wine also was an old acquaintance: Riparosso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
When we bought the swordfish we noticed that the shop was offering their oysters, one dozen, on special so we bought a dozen to go with the swordfish. Even though they were a little old (why else would you put oysters on sale?) that night they tasted excellent as oysters always do. We bought some swordfish steaks at the flash-frozen seafood shop at Garden City so Diane decided to use Keith Floyd’s recipe from his excellent, now old ’85, cookbook Floyd on Fish: “Tuna Fish Grilled with Herbs.” Diane uses tuna fish or swordfish interchangeably because the density of the flesh is very similar.
The recipe calls for fresh herbs (at least we have always used them as opposed to dry ones): bay leaves, sage leaves, basil leaves, parsley, rosemary, thyme, anchovy, garlic and the always needed-olive oil. He calls for the herb mixture to be painted on the steaks, marinated for an hour and then grilled under gentle flame for five minutes on each side. It is a fabulous recipe.
Diane served it with some thinly sliced fennel that she had sautéed slowly and some fried potatoes that she had baked rather than fried in the Ainsley manner after having boiled them for five minutes.
She served a particularly good Spanish dry white called Tocado Viura from the vineyards of Bodegas Borsao. Its price belied its quality; a perfect accompaniment to the delicious swordfish which is on the “don’t eat list” of Australian seafood but we succumbed because of Floyd’s recipe and the absolutely brilliant quality of the fish. We do try to buy it very infrequently though.
Last night was my night and we both decided that cleaning up after a large meal and doing all the dishes was just too much so we decided it should be a pizza night.
The good doctor provided his usual delicious pizza with the addition of a few olives, a few mushrooms and sprinkled with olive oil to make the pizza a little softer: the result as always was excellent. His pizzas are very clean meaning that there is not much chemical junk in them; the base is not too doughy so it cuts cleanly. It is a good product and is a sure winner when a simple tasty meal is in order.
I made an insignificant salad because there was am absolute minimum of items in the fridge with which to compose said salad: a halved tomato from a previous meal, the browned end of an iceberg lettuce (cut the browned bits off), a few olives and a salad is completed. Actually it was OK. We also had some dregs of leftover wine of indeterminent origin that was finished. We are retirees without many means so everything is eaten and little thrown out. I should feel really sorry for myself and Diane but for some reason I just can’t.
Because Friday night is Party Night Diane made us a perfect Gordon’s martini and a little plate antipasto to enjoy with the drink.
Two days ago we railed into Northbridge and bought some coffee at the RE Store as well as a packet of their fresh linguine pasta made with pieces of truffle in the actual pasta. We are very lucky here in Western Australia because they grow, very successfully, truffles south of Perth where the rains are more steady and the truffles grow well.
Diane made this pasta for us two days ago and if anything the dish tasted even better than the first time. Maybe some day we will be able to buy an entire fungus and shave it over pasta as we choose.
We had a fresh salad and a bottle of that marvellous Abruzziano wine, Riparosso.
Party Nights are sure good!
Diane and I at a recent foray to Garden City bought a package of the excellent cod pieces available at the flash-freeze fish shop there. Last night I repeated an Ainsley recipe for cod that I had cooked earlier, the 30th of July to be precise, and we both enjoyed it tremendously. I must search other fish chefs like Rick Stein and Keith Floyd for their recipes for cod. Actually I do not remember that cod was available here in WA years ago but perhaps I am wrong about that.
Anyway, Aisley’s recipe is simple and delicious (if the fish is good and flash-freezing seems to do the trick.) He just calls for garlic, olive oil and parsley and seasoning to be rubbed on the fish, set aside for about ten minutes and then baked at 220 c for about the same time.
As a side for the fish I tried a new recipefor Frech Fries. Thursday is a diet day, hence the fish, so how can I serve fried potatoes? His recipe calls for the fries, fairly large cut, to be boiled for five minutes cooled and shaken in a plastic bag with vegatable oil and then baked in the oven rather than fried.
He says that a serving for four it is 190 calories and for the fish 155 so if he is correct the meal falls well within the 600 for me and the 500 for Diane. She said this morning that she really enjoyed the meal so that was a double win.
The lemon scented glass of water was an extra delight!
I began the meal with a repeat of the simple antipasto of the previous night: Italian bread with the crusts removed, toasted on the grill then brushed with olive oil.
We railed into Perth yesterday and made our way over to Northbridge to the RE Store. They have fresh truffles from the southwest of the state but our pockets are not deep enough to buy a whole one so we settled on some of their fresh pasta made with truffle pieces incorporated into the pasta; it was delicious!
Diane made a light sauce of butter and parmessan cheese with some added sliced fresh mushrooms. It was a meal that deffinitely will be repeated!
Diane made her robust cleansing salad to completer the meal.
Our beverage of choice was an excellent, though inexpensive, bottle of Carpineto Chianti Classico. A delicious accompaniment to a delicious pasta meal!
Last night was my turn and I fixed two Ainsley Harriott dishes from his excellent Low Fat Meals in Minutes. Niether recipe had been tried before even though we have had the book since ’03 and virtually all of his recipes are cookable and worth repeating and last night’s were no exception.
To begin the meal I just toasted some Calabrese bread on the grill, then cut the crusts off, dressed it with olive oil and Di spread it with her pesto.
We bought only a single chicken breast from a Free-range farmer in our southwest (Diane won’t buy any other) and it was very large; this hen must have “ruled the roost” as they say simply by the size of her breastshe must have been a big chicken. Ainsley uses crushed garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice , red chili, honey, and grd. coriander as a marinade that also rests in the baking dish while the chick is being roasted. He wants the oven at 200 degrees and the chicken to bake for 35 to 40 minutes but Diane checked it after 20 and found the meat perfectly done.
To accompany the chicken I made Ainsley’s Spicy Casablanca couscous which is a normal couscous except that he flavours it with garlic, cumin, grd. coriander, paprika, saffron, red chilies and pine nuts. He also wants sliced salad onions, lemon juice and zest.
Our bevertage of choice was a delicious bottle of San Marco Frascati and peace settled over the Johnson’s of Leeming.
Diane cooked us a great dish of pasta last night using penne pasta because the sauce was wet enough to coat the interior of the pasta tubes. She flavoured it with fresh margorum, garlic, anchovey, small liguian olives and of course diced tomatoes with some of the can’s liquid.
After this robust pasta she fixed us a frtesh cleansing spinach and mushroom salad.
We finished the bottle of Abruzzo wine also from last night and peace reigned in Leeming!