Monday, 14 April 2008

Chestnuts on the menu

This week's menu has the odd bit of chestnut content, surprisingly enough. It's also a good example of how I try to make good use of leftovers and oddments.

Sunday night was Asian spiced beef - marinaded in soy, mirin and spices, then roast. Serve with spice poached chestnuts, pumpkin mash, and mixed stir fried greens. The recipe for the beef came from one of the flyers at the chestnut farms - it worked very nicely, except that my oven is even faster than expected, so I got medium instead of rare.

Tonight we've just eaten Toulouse pork sausage with chestnut and potato mash, apple sauce, and mixed steamed veg. The sausage comes from the City Market butcher; the apple sauce is a simple use-up of old apples that got left in bags for days uneaten. Peel 2 large apples, chop off bad bits, chop up, microwave for 3 minutes, stir. Done.

Tomorrow will be a non-chestnut meal - I'm using up some of the roast beef in a pseudo stroganoff. Stir fry sliced mushroom & onion, add sliced leftover roast beef, light sour cream, a dash of brandy; sprinkle with parsley and serve with fettucine and green veg.

After that it's on to leftovers and scratch meals, with chestnut, pumpkin and potato soup on hand. To make the soup, mix up the leftover chestnut mash with the leftover mashed pumpkin. Add chicken stock and milk, to get to desired thickness. Whiz with the stab blender if it seems necessary. A cup of soup and a sausage or beef sandwich is not a bad lunch.

Recipe: Chestnut Mash
250g peeled chestnuts
500g potato
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon brandy
salt, to taste

Boil chestnuts and potatoes together for 20 minutes. Drain, and mash well with cream and milk. Stir in brandy, and add salt to taste.

I used broken pieces for this, and used the whole chestnuts with the roast. It was pretty good, though not as smooth and sleek as Christophe's. I used an ordinary potato masher; which I prefer for normal mashed potato. But perhaps a finer puree would be preferable in this case.

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