I like cooking for friends. This week we have lots of lovely people coming to visit us and i am planning what to make. Planning menus used to take sometime as I tried to work out what dishes to cook. It is slightly easier these days.
My friends all like different types of food – some are vegetarian some are not, some like seafood, some don’t, some can’t eat gluten others can. This isn’t a problem at all, there is a lot of vegetarian, gluten-free food which are delicious. But then I add me into the mix. I only like to eat what we grow – where-ever possible …. and realising that I am never ever giving up rice or bread … oh yes or soy sauce, lemons, chocolate, coffee, wine, etc etc etc (there are a lot of etceteras) …. but you know where I am going with this.
So what is there to eat in December?
Well we have cabbages, brussel sprouts, celeriac, carrots, leeks, parsley, the odd bunch of broccoli and some crappy celery that is OK for soups in the garden. We have no winter salad leaves as despite planting some rocket etc (and spinach) in the greenhouse, it didn’t really work – I blame book-induced neglect – what can I say?
We also have squash, potatoes, and a handful of onions in storage. Oh and our dried borlotti beans
In the freezer there is cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, beans, pesto, various types of soft fruit and plums.
And then there is our chicken, lamb, pork, eggs, and milk from Iggy Pop.
I reckon we have enough to make some veritable feasts.
So tomorrow I am thinking of a Moroccan theme: houriya (a carrot dip) with some slow cooked borlotti beans and flat bread to start, chicken, preserved lemon and olive tagine, and maybe a clementine sorbet with a splash of cointreau on top.
At the weekend I have so far settled on a couple of curries for one evening – maybe onion bahjis, lamb shank madras, lentil daal, spicy cabbage, yoghurt and then damson crumble and home-made ice-cream for afters. Another dinner will be a roast chicken, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, roast potatoes, carrots and buttery cabbage and then chocolate mousse. and I am probably going to make a squash risotto with slow-cooked borlotti beans on the side and maybe a cabbage and apple salad for starters, I haven’t quite worked it all out yet.
Do you have any favourite dishes using winter vegetables?
Actually do you have any ideas for using up a lot of cabbage?
Yesterday we had our usual Christmas pizza – this year there was a smear of pesto and tomatoe sauce from the freezer, some cooked leeks and onions, home-made mozzarella and some leftover olives and jalepeno peppers from the back of the fridge. As a nod to Christmas we had a brussel sprout, apple and toasted almond salad. We also had a lot of home-made chocolate chip ice-cream made with Iggy Pop’s milk – and some cream – I still haven’t worked out how to make ream from her milk yet – I suspect I need a lot more milk to do that.
N.B. The alpacas have had the rest of the brussels!