Breaded scallops

Before we got married Giles would, every so often, disappear off to have lunch with a friend, huffing and puffing as he bundled out of the house, always in a fluster, worried he was late, barking on about how he didn’t want to go and god why did he agree to have lunch with anyone when he’s so busy… the last thing he would say to me, as he returned for the fourth time for some forgotten item, was that he’d be home at 3.30pm and we’ll have beans on toast tonight and watch an episode of whatever boxset we had on the go.

And then, without fail, he would go on a massive bender and not come home until 4am, calling at various points in the evening to say that he was just about to get in a cab, and then turning round and going back to the bar for another two hours before ringing again. “No really I am this time… I got distracted by that bloke, you know, that one with the face… I couldn’t find a cab… I’m coming.. on my way… [muffled] one gimlet please, Geoff…”

I used to get incredibly pissed off about it. It made me feel like such an idiot. And also, when he rang at midnight to say he was getting in a cab and then still wasn’t home by 2am, I would worry. Wouldn’t you? My husband never tells lies usually – there was no reason why I wouldn’t assume he was telling me the truth about the cab. I didn’t have a problem with him going out all night – who cares? – but why not be honest about it and I’ll make plans, too? Once or twice I’d even made him a nice dinner and had it waiting when I’d get phonecall no.1 of the evening from him, declaring that he was just getting in a cab and the dinner would sit there sadly until morning.

It took me a long time to get my head round how my husband really didn’t think he was going to go on a bender, even though it would have been obvious to undiscovered pygmy tribes that that’s where he was headed. I didn’t understand how he could genuinely actually feel like he didn’t want to go out and yet then, after merely spying a corkscrew tucked into a waiter’s apron, find himself weaving his way home at dawn, usually having lost his shoes but with his pockets stuffed full of £50 notes, which he’d won on Blackjack, somewhere – he could never remember where.

In the morning, he would tear at his hair and tremble and shriek about what an awful time he’d had, how terrible he was feeling and how he was never, ever going to leave the house again. Wretched confessions rolled out; he’d passed out on the stairs, in a ditch, in a doorway, he woke up and someone was taking his photo with a bloody iPhone, he spoke for hours passionately to that awful bloke with the face.

He was reformed, changed. It was over between him and late nights. And then it would happen all over again.

After a good year of this sort of nonsense, I realised that the thing to do when Giles had finished his work for the week and was off out for lunch of a Friday, was to ignore his protestations that he’d be home at 3pm, make up the spare room, dig out some takeaway menus, pick a film to watch and settle in for a nice night in on my own. Once I went out with friends without telling him, got reasonably drunk myself, came back in the small hours and was STILL in bed before he stumbled in.

He’s much better about all this since we had Kitty. But the thing is, unless my husband goes on out a bender every so often, he goes a bit mad.

He will claim, over and over again, that all he wants to do is bath Kitty, make dinner, watch something on the telly and go to bed and read his book. But after a straight 6 weeks of this, he starts to lose it and fray round the edges. If he was a parrot, he would start pecking out his feathers. He becomes catty, stroppy and unmanageable. He mopes about the house like a depressed King Kong. He starts wailing “Are we just going to go to bed at 9.30pm every night for the rest of our lives??”

At which point, I send him off out of the house and tell him not to come back until morning. Like on Thursday, when he left the house at 12.30pm for lunch and didn’t come back until 3.30am. He’d had strict instructions to sleep in the spare room but he decided that this was not on and so came in and got into bed, waking me up. Then he woke me up further at 5am when he needed to wee, battering the door jamb with unsteady shoulders and stepping heavily on both outward and homeward journey on the really creaky floorboard that we both hop over in the night (when sober).

The next morning he was as contrite and pliable as a feverish child, his eyes trembling with pain as he tried to recall exactly what happened to him between 8pm and 3am. “And I think I’ve lost my black jumper,” he said, sadly. “I’m sorry I’m such a terrible person,” he added, wringing his hands together.

And just like that, he will be good as gold for at least a fortnight. Tee hee.

But when  he is not on a bender, or revving up for a bender – and is instead feeling uxorious, he often cooks for us. I am a terribly resentful cook, finding the whole thing an awful drag as I do it all the time, while my husband revels in it, when he has the time to do it, and cooks generously and imaginatively.

Anyway the other night he made us a starter of breaded scallops, which he found in Nigel Slater’s fast food and they were really great

1 clove of garlic, crushed
finely grated zest of one lemon
3 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
75 room temperature butter
black pepper
1 quantity of scallops – about 3 handfuls small ones?
1 beaten egg
fresh breadcrumbs or medium matzoh meal would work just as well
butter and groundnut oil for frying

1 Mix the garlic, zest and parsley into the butter and season with black pepper

2 Dip the scallops into the beaten egg and then roll them in breadcrumbs

3 Heat some oil and butter in a pan until you have about a cm in the pan. Heat until hot and then fry off the scallops for about 3 mins each side. Set aside

4 Chuck out the oil and butter and then heat your garlic/parsley/butter concoction and spoon over your scallops when midly frazzed and melty – about 30 secs.

Eat and wash down with an Alka Seltzer.

Spaghetti with Creamy Butternut Leek Parmesan Sauce

Something magical happens to pasta when you combine it with a creamy butternut squash puree, a little Parmigiano Reggiano, leeks, garlic and sage.

I found this out by accident.

This started from a mistake, a butternut squash puree that was far too thin and liquidy.  A very HAPPY mistake!

Sauteed leeks and a good quality cheese make this simple savory pasta dish a HUGE success, even if you’re not a fan of butternut squash. You’ll swear this is full of cream and butter… but it’s not. This is perfect for Meatless Mondays, or any night of the week.

It’s super easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is very filling. To speed this up, you can buy pre-cut butternut squash. I was craving a thick spaghetti, but any pasta shape would work. Whole wheat of gluten-free pasta would also be great! My family isn’t a fan of whole wheat, so I use Ronzoni Smart Taste or Dreamfield’s low carb pasta.

And by the way… if you want a chance to win a Blendtec Blender, head on over to Skinny Bits[1]! One lucky winner will have a chance to win this amazing blender (ends October 28th).

Spaghetti with Creamy Butternut Leek Parmesan Sauce
gordon-ramsay-recipe.com
Servings: 4 Size: 1/4th of recipe Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 7
Calories: 266 • Fat: 3.5 g • Carb: 56 g Fiber: 9 g • Protein: 9.5 g • Sugar: 2 g
Sodium: 97 mg (without salt)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 8 oz spaghetti of your choice (use brow rice pasta for gluten-free)
  • 1 (1 cup) large leek (white part only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • 4 sage leaves, sliced thin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, melt the butter, sauté the leeks and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water to thin out to your liking. Stir in parmesan cheese and sage and mix in pasta until well coated.

Serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side.

References

  1. ^ Skinny Bits (www.skinny-bits.com)

?Baked? Beans

“Baked” Beans

by Pam on October 22, 2012

I wanted to make some baked beans for dinner but didn’t have the time to deal with dried beans.  I found this recipe that I adapted on Martha Stewart[1].  I added a little bit of bacon crumbles to the sauce  and used regular mustard instead of dried mustard. I planned on adding some brown sugar but didn’t because they were sweet enough without it. The beans turned out tangy, sweet, and very delicious! My kids both really loved these beans and so did I.

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Cut the bacon into pieces and place into the pan.  Cook, until crispy, for about 2 minutes on each side; remove from the pan and place onto paper towels to drain.  Crumble.  Add the onion to the pan (add a bit of oil if needed) and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the rinsed & drained cannelloni beans to the onion mixture then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Add bacon, 1/2 cup of water, ketchup, molasses, and mustard.   Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve & enjoy.

Print[2]



“Baked” Beans




Yield: 6

Prep Time: 10 min.

Cook Time: 1-2 hours



Ingredients:

2 slices of lean bacon, cooked & crumbled
3 tbsp sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 15 oz cans cannelloni beans, drained & rinsed
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of molasses
1-2 tsp mustard

Directions:

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cut the bacon into pieces and place into the pan. Cook, until crispy, for about 2 minutes on each side; remove from the pan and place onto paper towels to drain. Crumble. Add the onion to the pan (add a bit of oil if needed) and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the rinsed & drained cannelloni beans to the onion mixture then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Add bacon, 1/2 cup of water, ketchup, molasses, and mustard. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve & enjoy.



Adapted recipe by For the Love of Cooking.net
Original recipe by Martha Stewart

 

References

  1. ^ Martha Stewart (www.marthastewart.com)
  2. ^ Print Recipe (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)

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