Friday Night… Simple, Quick and Tasty English Meal

It’s Friday night, the night I’ve been looking forward to all week and no work tomorrow, so a proper chilled Friday night.  Normally we treat ourselves to a takeaway, but being on a mission to save money and home cook our meals, I knew I would have to cook.  I had some pork loin chops which I had defrosted in the fridge yesterday, but was too tired to cook them last night after a full day at work (instead, we had a couple of frozen meals of leftovers of meals I had cooked two weeks ago and frozen).

Anyway… Friday night and I didn’t feel much like cooking but had to use those chops, so I set to work – peeling potatoes, slicing them, in a leisurely way – sitting in the kitchen and listening to music, glass of wine a few inches away!.  And.. I thought…. how nice on a Friday evening to be sitting next to my partner, chilled…. the  22 year old and 19 year old ‘kids’ drifting in and out….. a cosy night in!  And how nice to prepare and cook a meal for those near and dear to me.  So I set to work….. and, as you know from above, the recipe includes potatoes, since I was peeling them!  And the recipe only needed everyday ingredients that most people would normally have in their kitchen….

Cheesy Oven Baked Chops with Potatoes  (Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced to a medium thickness

1 onion finely sliced

50 mls water

50 mls wine  (You can instead substitute the 100 mls of liquid above (i.e. wine and water) for cider or stock

2 tbspns olive oil

4 medium to large pork chops

100 gms Cheddar cheese (I used Cathedral City http://www.cathedralcity.co.uk/)

1 tbspn of Wholegrain Mustard (I used Rosebud Preserves (Masham, North Yorkshire) English Country Wholegrain Mustard  http://www.rosebudpreserves.co.uk/)

4 tbspns milk (I used semi-skimmed which I get delivered from my local milkman http://www.milkandmore.co.uk/home)

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 230c/fan 210c/gas 8.  Toss the potatoes, onion, liquid (i.e. wine, water etc) and olive oil, salt and pepper, in a large bowl.  Place in a large, lightly greased Pyrex  http://www.pyrexware.com/  (ovenproof) dish.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the potatoes start to brown.  Next, place the chops on the potatoes and cook in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Whilst the potatoes and chops are in the oven, mix together in a medium bowl the grated cheese, wholegrain mustard and milk.  When the chops and potatoes have been in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and spread the cheese mixture over each chop evenly.  Place under a medium to hot grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

Serve immediately, with garden peas.

I have the thumbs up from partner and son…. They say it’s absolutely delicious.  A Friday night simple, quick and tasty meal.  The two boys were greedy and ate two large chops each – it should serve 4.  But, it’s Friday night and much tastier than a takeaway I am told… and a family evening.

A simple and traditional English Friday night meal, with all the atmosphere of a family Friday night. 

“Most Simply Traditional”

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Simply…. traditional…… Marmite on toasted bread….

The recession that we have been in … are in, has made the cost of living go absolutely sky high.  As a result my weekly grocery shopping bills have over doubled in cost over the last six years.  I am now very conscious of ‘no wastage’ when it comes to food, and as a result I am discovering very simple and traditional food, that can be made from leftovers, and which is extremely tasty.  Probably more tasty than dishes that I have slaved for hours over to prepare and cook.

Today my most simply traditional snack made from leftovers… and bloody tasty!!…………………

On the kitchen counter is a discarded crusty roll, bought on Sunday, one of a pack of four crusty rolls and forgotten about.. until today .. three days later almost.  Was  it going to get wasted?  No…. I’ve just had the most delicious and cheap snack.  The leftover roll (which would have been destined for the birds in times of no recesssion!) was torn roughly in half, and then toasted in the toaster.  Because of its uneveness it charred slightly on the edges (the smell of slightly burning toast in the kitchen, which smelt heavenly actually).  But this  made for a magnificent pallette for the large dollop of salted Devon butter which I then roughly and unevenly daubed on the toasted, what had been stale, bread roll.

I then searched the fridge, did I want to put salad on it, did I want to put jam on it….?  I shut the fridge and went straight to the food cupboard.  What it needed was MARMITE.

A large smearing scooped out of the jar and roughly and unevenly applied to the hot buttered toasted half of roll. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM

It was delicious, and …. simply traditional

Our Great Composers….

As I sit here full of cold and having done a hard week and Saturday morning at work, I have the prospect of getting back on the ‘hamster wheel’ and doing cleaning, washing, cooking etc.  BUT  I chose to listen classical music to wind down.  And whilst doing so I felt as I do many times and felt I should put that down in writing.  Our Great Composers,  our Masters, to name a few – Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Chopin, Dvorak and Mahler – our people we should wonder at.  In their day no marketing by way of television, Internet, mass magazines etc to push their music.  It became known and known now due to its ….. total artistry and beauty, and still has a large impact on our world.  We have been inspired by it.. even now many of these composers’ pieces have been used as theme tunes for tv series, films and adverts.  The compositions of these Masters continue to mould our musical world and so they should.  Have you heard of any other composers as great of this in our very clever modern day world  Well yes there are a few who have achieved success through different media of our modern world.  But our Great Composers’ beautiful compositions of music go on forever and will be known by all generations.

At this moment I am listening to Schubert’s ‘Serenade’, wow….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHEj2nJg36M

Schubert’s immortal “Serenade” was written in 1826. it is so familiar that it needs no analysis, nor is one necessary from any point of view. It is simply a lovely melody from first note to last, written upon the inspiration of the moment, and yet characterized by absolute perfection of finish and a grace and beauty of which one never tires. It was originally composed as an alto solo and male chorus and was subsequently rearranged for female voices only. The circumstances of its composition as told by Schubert’s biographer, Von Hellborn, are of more than ordinary interest. Von Hellborn says:

“One Sunday, during the summer of 1826, Schubert with several friends was returning from Potzleinsdorf to the city, and on strolling along through Wahring, he saw his friend Tieze sitting at a table in the garden of the ‘Zum Biersack.’ The whole party determined on a halt in their journey. Tieze had a book lying open before him, and Schubert soon began to turn over the leaves. Suddenly he stopped, and pointing to a poem, exclaimed, ‘such a delicious melody has just come into my head, if I but had a sheet of music paper with me.’ Herr Doppler drew a few music lines on the back of a bill of fare, and in the midst of a genuine Sunday hubbub, with fiddlers, skittle players, and waiters running about in different directions with orders, Schubert wrote that lovely song.”