I’m off out to a friend’s hen night later so needed a filling lunch to soak up all that alcohol I’ll be drinking.

I sautéed half an onion with a chopped garlic clove in olive oil, then added a pinch of dried oregano and four skinned and chopped tomatoes. I simmered the mixture until the tomatoes broke down. Then I seasoned and added about two tablespoons of cream cheese and a squirt of tomato puree.

Quick, cheap and cheerful.

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Sauté half an onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped, in olive oil until softened and taking on some colour.

Add two chicken breasts sliced into strips and sauté until coloured. Add a wine glass full of Madeira and cook for a few minutes then add a 284ml pot of sour cream (or as close in volume as you can get) and the same amount of chicken stock. Season with salt and add a bay leaf then simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced and thickened.

Remove the bay leaf and stir in chopped parsley (optional). Serve with rice.

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It feels chilly tonight and I’m tired. Thankfully Rob cooked – rump steak. Thick, juicy, red meat was just what I needed and I didn’t even have to cook it, so I could put my feet up with a cup of coffee and a book. Perfect.

Rob cooks a damn fine steak so he’s usually the one behind the griddle pan. He’s also usually the one to buy the steak from the butchers. I think he likes being in charge of the steak buying and cooking, I guess the hunter-gatherer instincts kick in. He proudly comes home with a huge slab of meat saying ‘look at the size of that’. It must be a man thing.

A few tips for cooking steak:

  • Use a griddle pan
  • Get your pan HOT, as hot as you can, before putting the steak in
  • Oil the steak, not the pan, otherwise it will smoke your kitchen out
  • Once the steak is in the pan don’t move it until you’re ready to turn it
  • Leave it to rest before serving.

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Dinner tonight was the sea bass we bought from the fish market yesterday, baked in foil with lemon, parsley, bay leaves, seasoning and a slosh of white wine, served with sautéed potatoes. Simple and fabulous.

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After a hearty breakfast this morning of eggs on toast, lovingly cooked by Rob, we drove down to Whitstable for some sea air and fresh fish.

There is a wonderful selection of freshly caught fish at Whitstable fish market which looks and smells fantastic. This is the good stuff.

The fish mongers will prepare the fish for you as you want, so if you’re a little squeamish you can get them to deal with the heads, scales and guts.

You’ll also find an array of cooked fish at the market such as lobsters and crabs brought in from Cornwall.

There is plenty of sea food to be eaten and if you’re a lover of oysters you can’t possibly visit Whitstable Harbour without trying the famous Whitstable oysters. They are a truly divine eating experience. You get the very best taste of the sea which lingers in your mouth long after you’ve eaten them.

But there is more to Whitstable than fish. Walking past the local shops we noticed a quaint sweet shop which was unfortunately closed. Two older gentlemen stopped to look at the jars in the window, their faces lit up with smiles. The little shop is clearly a delight for children young and old.

Next we stopped for salty chips which we ate by the sea front. The weather was lovely; surprisingly warm and sunny with a light sea breeze. The seagulls did well as several people, including Rob, had fun throwing chips to them. When the chips were all gone it was back home to put our feet up with the Sunday papers.

But the best is yet to come, as we’re off to Rob’s parents later for roast beef. Sundays don’t get much better than this.

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I’m starting to feel much better after what now appears to have been flu. But I’m taking it easy and continuing to rest this weekend.

Once again there is a chicken roasting in my oven, which is a regular occurrence. Traditional roast chicken with proper home made gravy would be my last meal request, without a doubt.

Rob picked up the latest River Cottage DVD ‘River Cottage Road Trip [2006]‘ today, along with James Martin’s ‘Great British Winter Cookbook’ which I asked him to look out for – yet another addition to my ever growing collection of cookbooks. We both like James Martin and really enjoy watching Hugh’s adventures on River Cottage so we’re going to sit back and watch that now.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend!

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