Foodie Friday: What we’ve been cooking

Awhile back, I used to do regular Dinner Tonight posts, crossposted to a few places. Then I got bored of cooking and, by extension, of talking about food. After leaving it for some time, cooking is fun again, and I’d like to talk about what we make again.

In the interim, however, I’ve seen some of those old dinner tonight photos, and they really were quite dreadful; I’ll spare us all the photos, and instead just share the recipes and my thoughts on them. I’m also not doing this daily; weekly will suffice. I’m also not planning to talk about or necessarily share every recipe I’ve made in the week, since that gets repetitive. I’ll usually be linking to my own online recipe book (the one Chris made me); you are warned that that is very much a living thing, since I adjust recipes constantly. If you want a copy that’s not subject to change, print it (or print it to pdf). All those caveats in place, let’s get started!

First up, what was for dinner on Boxing Day?

We had a (mostly) English Roast Dinner on Boxing Day when the in-laws came over. Pulled pork isn’t a usual feature at an English Roast dinner – usually it’s a roast of some sort – but we decided to introduce the in-laws to it since:

  1. the timeline for cooking it was convenient for us (we could cook it in advance and then warm it up),
  2. we knew we’d have turkey at theirs on Christmas Day and we didn’t want it two days in a row,
  3. beef isn’t an option (mother-in-law doesn’t like it), and
  4. we have a rule against serving things we’ve never tried before, which limited our options for preparations of large hunks of meat. Clearly this is something I should address before next Boxing Day.

So, we had:

  • Pulled pork – always a favorite recipe for us (thanks, wraith!). Instead of mixing it with our usual barbecue sauce or making it into cochinita pibil, we just mixed it with regular gravy, and it was quite good – it was even a hit with the in-laws!
  • Roast potatoes – always a favorite.
  • Mashed potatoes – I do prefer these ones done with the ricer.
  • Carrots, peas, corn, gravy
  • Stuffing – this came out okay. I’m still struggling with it.
  • Yorkshire puddings – I love these things. On Boxing Day night, they deflated, but I think I’ve cracked it now: using bread flour gives more gluten, yielding a firmer structure that doesn’t deflate as much, and it has a better chew. Definitely doing that from now on. Some crazy people think Yorkshire puds should only be had with beef – I say we should have them all the time, with almost anything!
  • Chocolate cake – Hoooray, I have a keeper! I have searched high and low for a good chocolate cake recipe: moist, chocolately, not fudge: apparently it was a tall order. I finally found the cake! Hip hip hooray!
  • Red velvet cupcakes – we frosted these with green and white icing, just for the fun of it. Red & green aren’t really Christmas colors here – there’s even a rhyme that says “Red and green should not be seen”, but red and green still means Christmas in this house.
  • Mini golden syrup sponges – Yum! We’d tested this the week before and they were absolutely delicious – and reheated well, so we decided they would do nicely. Then when the day came, they took three times as long to bake and never did rise as much or get browned. I finally realized why – the next day. I’d (knowingly) substituted the plain flour for the self-raising, but forgotten to add in the baking powder and salt that you need to do for that substitution. Just too busy in the kitchen that day, and it slipped through the cracks! I’ve rewritten the recipe now to include those (I refuse to buy anymore self-raising flour, since it took me about three years to get through my last bag, and all it is, literally, is plain flour with baking powder and salt added). Amazingly, they were still pretty tasty.

What else we’ve been cooking …
  • Pizza – with this crust and this sauce (made without any of the meat), loads of lovely toppings, and a side of salad. I forgot how good pizza could be. That was delicious, and will make a regular appearance on our menu once again.
  • Turkey Enchiladas – with this sauce and Mexican rice on the side. I love that Mexican rice recipe. Not only is it tasty, but it freezes and reheats beautifully.
  • Alfredo Shrimp Tilapia, broccoli & cheese (the rest of the alfredo), carrots, peas, and rice. This is our traditional New Year’s Eve meal. It is tasty. 🙂
  • Hoppin John – it is traditional where I come from to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year. We’ve finally adopted that tradition. I’m still tinkering with this recipe; first it was too bland, and now I think it’s too seasoned. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually.

That’s really all the interesting stuff we’ve had lately, so I shall close this for now!

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