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    Monday, August 20, 2007

    There are Changes Afoot.

    Renovating The House.
    I have had a strange week. I haven’t been cooking First I got a 24 hour virus.
    Lack of appetite... nausea...tired
    Dale had baked beans on toast while I languished in bed. The painter's sheets were off the furniture so there was a slight amount of normality. We could watch TV in the lounge again.
    We are fare-welling Dougie "The Uber Painter" (he has completed an awesome job for us)
    and welcoming the flooring people.
    The next job on the agenda…new flooring.
    Thursday dawned and the wooden flooring man came.
    We had empty the dining room.
    The exciting bit -The Piano.
    With difficulty 3 of us got it up into the lounge area.
    And he started.

    Then the Video technician arrived the Plasma TV is going on the wall

    It’s looking good.

    Of course it needed overnight settling-in time.
    We ate out.

    Friday morning The Carpet
    Now move everything back down including The Piano.
    This time we enlisted the help of 3 burly men!!!

    Surprisingly enough there was a problem. The manufacturers sent the wrong carpet
    So our carpet layer could only work on the stairs.
    Luckily there was a farewell lunch for Per (one of our presenters at Juice TV who is off to live in the UK with his lovely wife) at Portofino “The Clubhouse”.
    This is our local and we love it there.
    Alex once again put on superb food.
    I have to say their grilled squid is pretty hard to beat.
    A feast of squid, and pizzas was ahead of us.
    Washed down with some excellent wines.
    Gino’s pizza has a wonderful spicy chorizo on top.
    Crisp bottom melting cheese, I think artichokes and that superb chorizo.
    Sad to see Per go, he has been a great presenter, but we wish them both well for their future life in the UK.
    Back at work...A little Sing Star and some extra wine A fun day.
    This is the state of the kitchen so on Saturday I went shopping for ready prepared food at my local Supermarket for lunch and dinner.
    The food wasn’t that bad.
    I had Green Chicken Curry a little mild for me but quite tasty,.
    Dale liked his Roast Vegetable Curry

    Katie offered her kitchen for Sunday Dinner. Any excuse to see the little girls.

    This new baby Cleo is such a good girl. So far, doing everything right. Her big sister Mia is coping reasonably well with the interloper.
    It was good to be cooking again. I cooked Hapuka(Grouper) accompanied by Risotto flavoured with a Cauliflower and Parsnip puree.
    Very good. Didn’t take any photos but I did make the following soup a couple of weeks ago and it is excellent.

    So while on the subject of Cauliflower try this.

    Roast Chicken and Cauliflower Soup
    I really love velvety soup and this soup is so delicious, not overpowered by any of the flavours a beautiful blend.
    Just to puree the vegetable is not really enough for that extra gorgeous smoothness,
    there needs to be a roux.

    You will see that I have boosted the chicken flavour with some chicken stock powder.
    The addition of the braised leeks at the end add a nice dimension to the texture, little speckles of green.
    So I seasoned and roasted 2 large chicken thighs on the bone sitting on a large onion with some thyme and rosemary to make stock.
    Should take about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile I braised 2 leeks my word they do look pretty
    Just slice thinly and sauté gently in 2 tablespoons butter,
    Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Add a little water and cover and cook gently about 5 minutes just till tender.

    Put aside
    When the chicken thighs have roasted

    Take 1 cauliflower and break into florets
    Throw into a large pot
    Add all the contents of the roasting pan and cover with water.
    Bring to boil and simmer till cauliflower is tender
    Strain cauliflower and reserve stock

    Remove chicken and herb sprigs (the chicken could make some nice sandwiches for lunch the next day minced with a little mayonnaise and grated cucumber)
    Place cauliflower in blender
    With a little of the stock, puree till smooth.
    Add half of the leeks and puree again

    In your pot add 2 tablespoons butter and melt
    Add 2 tablespoons flour stir well and

    cook for a few minutes to get rid of the “flour” taste

    Add 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and

    2 teaspoons chicken stock powder.
    Plus a good grind of freshly ground black pepper
    Mix in the rest of the stock
    Bring back to the boil stirring to stop any lumps forming.

    Add more water if it is too thick
    Add the cauliflower and leek puree.

    Add reserved leeks
    Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

    Who could believe my little lemon tree could produce so much beautiful fruit.
    I have pruned it is a sparse, look how pretty it is now with the daffodils and freesias


    Asha said...

    Wood floor looks great Gilly:)

    Anali said...

    Your renovations look like they are going really well. What a great house! And I love the lemon tree! I'm also loving all your soup recipes. It's been really chilly here the past few days. I'm going to make some soup when I get a chance. And I can't wait to try the brussel sprout one that you posted for me!

    Jim said...

    You can grow a lemon tree in a pot?

    This information changes so many things.