Thursday, 29 September 2011

atCatharines - Saturday 24th September 2011

.....So on Saturday evening, with masks at the ready and freshly baked breadsticks stacked up, we welcomed another group of lovely, lovely people across the threshold atCatharines.

All in all we had a remarkably stress free day, after a little potato peeling in the sunshine on Saturday afternoon and a couple of white wine spritzas the actual cooking got off to something of a slow start with rather a lot of talk about how terribly well prepared we were (which, as it turned out wasn’t quite as accurate as we had originally thought).....   However, with the arrival of Vic from heyokah photography who rather terrifyingly came to take some ‘action shots’ the cooking started in earnest ... for Vic's sake we should probably mention that none of the pictures here are hers! (they are ours...mostly taken on phones!) 

Thankfully we were forgiven for having tried really quite hard to smoke all of the guests out of the house whilst sealing the lamb at really rather an early stage in proceedings, we cracked on and had a thoroughly fabulous evening!

The menu was as follows

Boozy Lemonade
Home made basil pesto and hummus with gruyere breadsticks

Pea risotto with crumbly goat’s cheese


Chilli & fig rack of lamb, with champ, and cabbage with chestnuts and pancetta

Pithivier of butternut squash, goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade (V)


Lemon Meringue Pie

Pecorino & port jelly

Chocolate macaroons and coffee

And there we have it! Dinner last Saturday, thank you so much to everyone who came for making it the great night it was! 

The next atCatharines will be on Saturday 22nd October, dust off those Halloween costumes, Pumpkins at the ready and we will see you for an evening of ghosts and ghouls. xx Cat & Kat 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Monday blues...

Ok it's Monday, wind is blowing a hundred miles an hour, computer is not working at work, car is nearly on empty, bank account depleting fast this month and worst of all, one of my best friends in Bath is leaving for Germany! It sure looks like the Monday Blues brigade is out in full force. Get a grip Catherine, I hear myself say.

Oh it was so far removed from the weekend just gone. Rewind 3 days. I finished work early on Thursday, met up with Tanya at Indulgence Cafe on Bathwick St run by Katherine Small. She fed us wonderful cakes and choc truffles. Andrew and I had taken the Friday off, went to Bicester for a spot of early Christmas shopping, dinner with our friends on Saturday then the Love Food Festival at Dryham Park on Sunday. Katharine cooked Sunday lunch and while the rain was pelting down on the roof atCatharines, we were dining on lamb with savoy cabbage and chestnuts, red wine followed by homemade chocolate macaroons and baklava bought from the festival. We then finished the evening with cheese and Katharine turned to me and said she began to understand my hatred of Sunday.

Fast forward to present time - Now where was I? Oh yes get a grip Catherine! I finished what I have to do at work, drove over to Lucknam and met Phyllis for a goodbye drink (She is leaving for Germany early tomorrow) then called my saint of a husband to get some ingredients for Thai Beef Salad. I thought if there is one thing in the world to cheer me up, its food.

Thai Beef Salad
12 Sept 2011

Serves 2

1 x Rib eye steak, seasoned with salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix:
2 x shredded carrots
1 x celery stick sliced
6 - 8 cherry tomatoes
handful of coriander, chopped
40g dry glass noodles (optional) Soak in bowl of hot water for 10 mins, drain and run under cold tap
1/3 cucumber, sliced

Juice of 1 lime
1 x tablespoons fish sauce
1 x hot birds eye chilli, sliced thinly
1/2 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar

Grill or pan fried beef 2 mins on each side. Set aside for 5 mins. Cook longer if you don't like your beef pink. Pour the dressing onto the bowl and toss. Slice beef. Either toss with the salad or put the beef on top of salad

Happy Cooking!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Cheap cheap dinners

I remembered a joke that my best friend told me when she was an air hostess for Singapore Airlines. She said that one of her male colleague said that whenever the plane touches down in Hong Kong, the whole crew turn into canaries. She asked why and he said its because all he can hear was cheap cheap cheap cheap!! Pretty lame I know but shopping in HK is cheap apparently. I have never been but my brother is moving there soon so who knows, I might experience the canary effect!

But before I do that, I got to save some money, not a trait I am particularly good with. Well I seem to gain a reputation of being a shopaholic among my family and friends but that is not really true. In fact Andrew said that I don't spend much! I love dressing up and I love my clothes, handbags and shoes ( I mean who wouldn't) but I am quite savvy with mine. I don't care where my clothes and accessories come from as long as I look good in them. I am not at all fussy with the provenance of my clothes not as much I care about food!

After a rather extravagant dinner on Friday at Coles (review, oh and the weekend before and before that, I thought I might just be a bit thrifty. Normally I would do a menu plan for the week. So I will use the same ingredients but cook them in different ways. However over the last month or so, the plans are frequently being obstructed by dinners out! So I have to be good. We went to Giles and Corinne's house and if you have been following my blog you will know that they are my lovely friends who has a greenhouse (still jealous but immensely grateful) They sent us back to Bath with spinach, lots of different varieties of tomatoes, parsley, Thai basil, chillies, mint, courgette flowers and yellow baby courgettes.

Thanks to these delicious free ingredients & leftover ingredients in the fridge, I kicked off my thrifty week with style. 3 meals so far and less than £10...

Spinach - Slow poached spinach in stock with egg flower
Thai Basil & chillies - Stir fry chicken with Thai basil and chillies

Parsley and tomatoes - Parsley in the moules mariniere and tomatoes in the homemade tomatoes & mozarella bread

Tomatoes, bacon lardons, yellow courgettes & deep fried courgette flowers pasta

And the mint, we made Mojitos out of those..hick!