Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

One of my new (for me) favourite foods is roasted cauliflower.

Take the cauliflower and break into florets. I then cut the florets in half so that I get better caramelisation and a better looking dish.

Heat a pan and add butter. I usually add a little olive oil to reduce the risk of the butter burning.

I pan fry the cauliflower with lots of foaming butter, before transferring to a heated roasting pan for 10-15 minutes.

If you have an ovenproof pan then, put that straight into the oven.

I sometimes use a grill seasoning to add additional flavour.

Christmas Four Bird Roast

I usually write a blog post about our Christmas lunch, in the main when it comes to the following year I can remember what worked well and what was less of a success.

A few years ago I spent over a hundred pounds on a four bird roast from Marks and Spencers. It was nice, but was very much a turkey with a little bit of goose, duck and chicken.

The Sainsbury’s version of the four bird roast is a goose stuffed with turkey, duck and guinea fowl. I will say that this is basically a stuffed goose; it’s 62% goose, 9% turkey and there is 8% duck and 8% guinea fowl. Like the Marks and Spencers’ roast it wasn’t cheap, but was half the price of the Marks and Spencers’ version.

This year I would have been tempted to get it again, however Sainsburys weren’t doing it this year. In the end I went with the Aldi Christmas Four Bird Roast again, which we had enjoyed last year.

Christmas Four Bird Roast

The Aldi four bird roast was a little skimpy on the goose and duck, but I did expect that for a ten pound roast. It was simple to cook, but I did let it rest for thirty minutes which seemed to help with carving and the meat was very tender and moist.

It was quite tasty, stuffing wasn’t anything to write home about, but I did supplement it with some homemade stuffing, as well as bacon wrapped sausages.

Overall a success and good value for a tenner.

Cooking the Turkey

Well the Christmas dinner was a real success this year, really pleased with the end result. I like to write about it so next year I can remember what we had, what we liked and what I should avoid.

We had a fair few extra people around so I cooked two roasts, one was the four bird roast from Aldi (which costs just £10) and a more expensive roast from Morrisons, comprising turkey breast wrapped around a smoked pork tenderloin and then covered in pork crackling.

Both roasts were simple to cook and were both full of flavour. Turkey can often be dry, but I managed to avoid that, but that was probably much more down to the style of the roast, it wasn’t a whole bird.

The Aldi four bird roast was a little skimpy on the goose and duck, but I did expect that for a £10 roast. The stuffing was okay, but was slightly overpowering and could probably have down with less herbs.

Alongside the main dish I served a range of vegetables, including a brussel sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta. Timing I find is quite critical with this kind of meal, so I had done a fair bit of preparation in advance, so things went smoothly. For example I had made and prepared my stuffing the night before, I had already trayed up the pigs in blankets and cocktail sausages.

Overall the meal was a success and enjoyed by all.

Four Bird Roasts

Over the last few years we have had our main Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.

There are many reasons for this, the main is that we have found it makes the meal so much more enjoyable. The children enjoy it more, it feels that Christmas lasts longer.

Last year we went with the four bird roast from Sainsburys, which I really enjoyed, it was easy to cook, looked great and was quite tasty. The Sainsbury’s version of the four bird roast is a goose stuffed with turkey, duck and guinea fowl. I will say that this is basically a stuffed goose; it’s 62% goose, 9% turkey and there is 8% duck and 8% guinea fowl. I really enjoyed the roast, it was what I wanted, though I would like to have more of the other meats alongside the goose.

Four Bird Roast, Goose, Turkey, Duck and Guinea Fowl

We had the four bird roast from Marks and Spencers in 2009, it was basically a stuffed turkey, the chicken, duck and goose only comprise 17%, but with 66% turkey it’s way too much turkey and at £120 is a little expensive for what is a stuffed turkey.

Though we enjoyed the roast, I did find that it contained a bit too much turkey, which is fine if you enjoy turkey, but as a result I do think at £120 it is a little expensive for what is basically a stuffed turkey. It isn’t a “proper” four bird roast, as in a turkey stuffed with a goose, stuffed with a duck and then a chicken. No, it’s a turkey stuffed with portions of the other birds.

According to my blog in 2010 we had a three bird roast, which to be honest I don’t remember.

So what are we doing this year? Well the plan is still to eat the main meal on Christmas Eve, but what will be the centrepiece? Haven’t yet made a decision.

What are you having?

Sunday Lunch at the Summerhouse

The Summerhouse

The Summerhouse in Weston-super-Mare is probably the place I visit most often, the reasons for this are geographical, historical and habit. It is currently owned by the Marstons chain so uses a corporate menu, though they also usually have a range of specials available too.

Though the quality of the food has fluctuated over the years, however the service has always been really good, friendly and genuine. The food is typical pub grub, nothing awful, but nothing really special, just good food, cooked well, served with a smile. They also, as they are a pub, usually have a nice range of beers on tap.

A last minute decision meant that we decided to go out for Sunday lunch and after a little hesitation and decision making, we chose the Summerhouse. The decor and furniture is quite stereotypically pub like, dark wood, dark carpets, brass fittings. You know that the place is a pub, but the internal layout means that the “actual” pub bit is on the ground floor, whilst there is a nearly separate restaurant area on the first floor (and on a mezzanine).

The menu is full of typical pub menu choices, stuff that is placed on the grill, dropped into a deep fat fryer or bunged into a microwave! Not that I expect much moe than that with this kind of place. My wife went with the pie, my son chose fish and chips, I perused the menu and plumped for the Sunday lunch which was a reasonable £7.15.

As we were quite early, for a Sunday, the food arrived promptly, I had a huge plate, covered in vegetables, a portion of cauliflower cheese in its own little dish, roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, a small jug of gravy and a large Yorkshire Pudding. It took me a while to find the roast beef that was on the bottom of the plate. I did initially feel that the portion of beef was a little on the small side, but when you consider the price and the large quantities of vegetables perhaps it wasn’t so small after all.

I was hoping that this was going to be fresh hand carved beef, alas I was to be disappointed, it had been sliced on an electric slicer! The beef itself was tender and had some flavour, but nothing special. Certainly a lot better than a lot of the beef, you usually find in “cheap” roast beef dinners. The vegetables were nice, the cauliflower cheese was a nice touch. According to the menu, you can have “unlimited” roasties and vegetables, however it wasn’t very clear about how you would get more veg and roasties. Having said that, and as pointed out to me by my wife, the portions you get to start with are quite large and generous, so you would need to be really hungry to actually want more veg. When you consider that a roast beef dinner at a supermarket cafe, where y queue up to order is usually in the £4.95 price bracket, I do think that the Summerhouse meal was good value for money.

We did enjoy our meal, my son polished off the fish and chips, and my wife really enjoyed her pie. The service was excellent and friendly.