Kimchi mixed mushrooms and puy lentil casserole

It was a full-on week at work and I’m still getting to grips with how things run with my new employer.   I was in Sainsbury’s yesterday and really craved mushrooms.  Before long, my shopping basket had the following – shiitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms, a jar of kimchi and kale.

I made my go-to recipe for puy lentil casserole by Ina Garten (Barefoot in Paris) with the addition of kale, parsnips and ginger to boost the earthy flavours.

The mushrooms were cooked very simply as follows:

Kimchi mixed mushrooms (serves 2)

Prep and cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 200g mixed mushrooms (trimmed, stemmed, cleaned)
  • 1 tbsp kimchi
  • 1/2 tsp herb de provence
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan
  2. Add the mushrooms and stir in the oil for a minute
  3. Add the kimchi and herb the provence.  Leave to cook for another minute
  4. Season with salt (be mindful that the kimchi is salty) and pepper

Serve up the puy lentil casserole in a bowl and top with the kimchi mushrooms.

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Meal plan w/c 2 January 2017

We have eaten really well over the last few weeks.  Chocolates and other treats aside, having time off work meant more time to cook up decent meals at home.  One of the things I’ve enjoyed most over Christmas sitting down to dinner as a family of three.

It’s back to work and school tomorrow.  The Bear gets breakfast, lunch and tea in nursery so she normally isn’t hungry for much when she gets home.  Just some fruit or a biscuit.  I’ll see what she asks for tomorrow evening.

Here is the our meal plan for the week. A bit of a cheat’s plan as I have some leftovers in the freezer from the weekend.  I’ve also included tonight’s dinner in for the sake of completeness.

  • Monday – lamb rogan josh, okra stir-fry, basmati rice
  • Tuesday –  leftover pasta bake (inspired by a Bill Granger recipe from Bill’s Basics – ricotta, kale, lobster, homemade pistou)
  • Wednesday – jacket potatoes and leftovers (chili con carne, puy lentils casserole)
  • Thursday – meal out (Gramps is visiting)
  • Friday – homemade veggie broth (black-eyed beans, kale, carrots, celery)

My new office is lacking in kitchen amenities, therefore I have been spending far too much on eating lunch out.  I’m not a coeliac but do struggle with bread.  And don’t get me started on Pret coffees.  So easily done first thing in the morning on the way into work, especially if you are an early riser (5.30am) like me.   So, I’ve bought a big box of Special K to bring into work tomorrow.  Lunch packed and in the fridge (quinoa salad).  Three days a week at least.  The closest I’ve come to making a resolution.  Wish me luck.

Suggestions for (non-microwaveable) packed lunches welcome.

Here’s to a good 2017

Happy New Year, hope everyone had a relaxing break over the Christmas holidays.  We are all heading back to work and nursery tomorrow.  The Bear misses her friends and teachers and is looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.  I was in work for a day last week – emails all up to date and therefore very little sense of foreboding ahead of tomorrow.

Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to see the end of 2015.  Unfortunately 2016 wasn’t an entirely kind year.  Health issues prevailed for most of the year which put paid to plans in general.

Therefore I have decided to embrace January 2017 not as the start of a new year, rather, the beginning of a new month.  As you would a March or August. Events of 2016 gave us cold feet and we resorted to drifting.  But we need to have faith (restored) and to live again.

Happy 2017.  All the very best for the year ahead.

Wendover Woods

As cooler weather sets in, the temptation to stay in and hibernate is rather strong.  Thankfully Hubby the ever sensible one talked me into heading out for a walk and a dose of fresh air.

I suggested a trip to Wendover Woods seeing it was a lovely, sunny Sunday albeit a definite crisp in the air. 

We packed a sandwich lunch for the Bear, wrapped up warm but foolishly left our wellies behind.

Parking starts from £1.70 for 2 hours.  We clearly picked a busy Sunday and managed to snag the last spot!  

It was rather cold. We only stayed an hour. A quick walk, lunch, a spot of running around and then off in search of coffee where the queue wasn’t a mile long.

A date with Hubby

Hubby and I went into London yesterday after dropping the Bear off to nursery.  

I’ve lived in London for many years but never quite made it to the V&A museum.  Hubby was keen so we jumped on the tube and made our way to South Kensington. 

There was no queue and the museum was relatively quiet at 11am.  We had a good browse around – very fascinating displays of furniture, weapons, busts and statues, items of clothing etc

It was lunchtime and we left the V&A museum to locate a little French cafe I had read about online, Raison D’etre.  We scored the last table after placing our order at the counter. A very popular place with young French students from the nearby French Institute. 

Very tasty mozzarella, avocado and tomato baguette and Caesar salad, washed down with delicious coffee. 

We hopped back onto the tube and wondered through Charing Cross to look for some old coin shops.  It started raining as well but we sought shelter and carried on to House of Fraser on Oxford St. A quick cuppa at their tearoom later, it was time to collect the Bear from nursery. 

A very leisurely day had. Hope you enjoyed our date, Hubby.

Tomato, mozzarella, olives and basil

A simple yet tasty lunch.  These were prized beef tomatoes from our garden, topped with store-bought mozzarella, olives, basil, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 

When I was in Asia, the Bear and Hubby showed me the tomatoes ripening in the veggie plot via FaceTime. I was so pleased that they waited for my return to enjoy the fruits of our labour together.

Summer recap

How we are in the last week of September is beyond me.  Time and tide waits for no man certainly rings true.

June

I accompanied the bear on a school trip to a farm. She had fun feeding goats and rabbits, watching a cow being milked, playing with her friends and just generally enjoying the fresh air and break from school.

The Bear brought home a gingerbread man baking kit from school and we spent a whole morning mixing, rolling, cutting and making a good mess in the kitchen.

 July

It had been 2.5 years since my parents saw the Bear and thought it was about time they came to visit! Luckily the weather was fantastic for the duration of their stay. Many trips to Oxford Street were done.  For their last weekend, we made a day trip to Oxford which was simply stunning.

August

A few days after my parents returned home, we flew to Ireland to see Grampy who was recovering from a knee surgery.  We were looked after really well and spoiled with delicious home cooked meals by Grampy’s partner B.  The weather remained fabulous and we did some lovely drives.

The other highlight of the trip was a visit to my good friend E. We are godparents to their eldest son  as they are to the Bear.  She had a blast meeting her godbrothers and we were once again treated to exceptional hospitality.

To mark my milestone birthday and our wedding anniversary, Hubby and I went to Copenhagen.  We stayed near Nyhavn and should we return in future, I would opt for the same location again.  We didn’t make it to Noma as it was a last minute trip. However good meals were had at Kompasset and The Almanak.

We missed the Bear terribly and couldn’t wait for our family holiday in France. The good weather continued, we consumed a copious amount of treats, and were regulars at our local Flunch! The Bear literally lived in her swimmers.
September

We were barely home from France when I had to make my first emergency trip to Malaysia in 19 years. We almost lost dad and the delayed flight of 16 hours was the worst experience of my life, not knowing what messages awaited me when I turned on my phone upon arriving in KL. Thankfully dad pulled through and is at home now recovering.

Garden

I really did struggle with maintaining my veggie plot this summer.  Seedlings died due to late frost and nothing really took off.  We harvested a handful of strawberries, a courgette, some beans, manger out and tomatoes.


Now that summer is over, we are looking forward to some quitter months before the excitement of Christmas kicks in.