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We have recently gone from taking turns in cooking dinners from scratch each weeknight to me batch cooking on the weekend for a few hours and this meaning that we cook about once during the week and we have stuff for lunches.

I'm curious how other people eat in the evenings. 
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Let me start by saying I've got an excellent Kenwood mixer/processor/blender and a myriad of attachments.  I also have a slow cooker.  When I heard about this new amazing continental thing called a Thermomix or the local equivalent of a Kcook by Kenwood, I was interested to find out how these things could 'revolutionise my kitchen'.

Both of these consist of a heated bowl which can chop, blend and heat at the same time.  The Thermomix costs about £800.00 and the Kcook about £200.00.

I've spent quite a while looking at the recipes and I don't really get the time saving angle of it.  You still need to be there to put the stuff into the thing.  You might have one less pot to wash but that's it.

Am I missing something?
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Further to this, the very helpful input I got has led me to a reduced (and probably saner) menu

Potato, Prune and bacon cake
Vegetable terrine (V)

Cucumber amd mint salad (V)
(Bread, butter, humous, pate and tapenade will be served)

Salmon en croute
Spanakopita (V)
Tomato salad (olive oil and sea salt)(V)
Roasted artichokes (V)
Hasselback potatoes (V)

Charlotte Royale
Clafoutis aux Pruneaux
(Served with cream)
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I'm looking for some input on a menu I'm planning.  Please assume you are either vegetarian or have no dietary requrements. (NB If I did have someone with other dietary requirements I would of course adjust accordingly).  This is a summer menu so is light on purpose.

Salmon and white fish terrine wrapped in spinach
Vegetable terrine with goats cheese(V)
(Bread, butter, humous and tapenade will be served)

Salmon en croute
Spanakopita (V)
Courgettes with curry spiced oil (v)
Asparagus in butter (v)

Charlotte Royale
Clafoutis aux Pruneaux
Tarte aux pommes
(Served with cream or a chocolate sauce)
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A healthkick has been declared chez us.  We have not dived into the realm of low fat ready meals and weight watchers products which always seem to include chemicals in the ingredient list rather than, y'know, things recognisable as foods.

Nope.  I succumbed to the River Cottage Light and Easy book because I dream of a small holding where the nearest neightbours are at least 100 metres away and can't hear you sneeze through the wall.  Honestly when my neighbour opens her mug cupboard (springy hinge), I hear it.  But there I digress.  Anyway it's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new book which aims for gluten free and dairy free.  That is not to say we will become staunchly either of those because I adore dairy far too much.  You can call me dairy free when you pry the Jersey milk container and Lescure butter wrapper from my cold dead hands.

My Ocado order (yep back with Ocado after a brief flirt with Tesco), is littered with flaxseed, various flours which are not wheat, malt rice syrup, seeds and nuts and other such stuff.  And as I now have Fridays off thanks to working four ten hour days, I will be heading to the markets to buy fish and then coming home to bake: Granola, Oatcakes, Chilli seedy bars and Castagnaccio to keep us going throught the week on the nibbly side.  Having a baking day feels quite traditional.

And the coming week's evening menu looks like this:
Chicken with lentils and rosemary and broadbeans
Trout Chermoulata with rice and cashews
Broadbean fish rizo with rice and kale
Parships, chorizo, kale and lentils
Fish and tomato curry
Vegetable and nut risotto.

There will also be fruit in abundance and nuts to scoff.

We shall see if this works. It is possible that I may end up with a cupboard full of languishing unusual flours/nuts.  That said I have already ordered the appropriate tupperware to neatly store them in (with labels).   And if I do fail I have a feeling that [ profile] purpletigron could take a good deal of it off my hands.

Does anyone have any gluten free favourites for week day dinners?  Nothing too faffy please.
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A while back I made this Goat cheese, prune and pistachio cake (although I'd call it a loaf) and the general reaction was - 'not sure about that'.  And recently I made this sweet chard tart and again wasn't that sure; the crunchy vegetables, boozy raisins and feeling that you were eating a Christmas mince pie made from vegetables was just a  bit strange - but I went back for seconds.

Anyone else got any recipes/memorable meals which really shouldn't work - but did.

I recently got a good book called the Flavour Thesaurus and was intrigued by some of the combinations it comes up with.
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I'm thinking of writing a blog post  on excellent kitchen gadgets and I'd like to pick the hive mind.

So far I would rate:

A mechanical apple peeler
A bread maker (capable of jam and compote)
A slow cooker
A hand held blender/liquidiser ( the type you can plunge into a pan and means you don't dirty a liquidizer
A lemon juicer which drains into an integrated glass jug

And my least favourite gadgets
The Whizzy Whisk

And suggestions?
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Ever since [ profile] hano and [ profile] coughingbear 's Christmas party where [ profile] star_tourmaline' s amazing gluten free Nigella Clementine cake went down so well, I have been cooking.  The Clementine cake is just fab and I have evangelised it and it is becoming popular in the Foreign office.  Since then I have hunted for a good wholemeal banana loaf recipe and had mixed success.

I unearthed a very good chocolate cake (Mary Berry's Very Best Chocolate Cake) and am currently tracking down a chocolate cake made with wholemeal flour and with bananas and whipped cream as a filling.

So in the spirit that got me started - can anyone recommend good simple cakes which create limited washing up?  

I am also interested in complex ones although ever since Raymond Blanc's Maman Blanc, I reserve the right to swear and tweet about complex verbose instructions.  


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December 2016

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