The de-skilling of Mr Battenburg

On February 3, 2014 by battenburgbelle

So apparently I have de-skilled Mr B, with my cooking exploits. He tried to claim this exempts him from all activities in the kitchen, including anything related to the dishwasher and washing machine. Having put him straight on that point, I suggested that whatever fancy stuff I might be trying to create, he hasn’t lost the ability to peel a potato or warm up some homemade soup and bread for Missy B and himself. So that’s what I left him to do, while I spent the day rehearsing for the school’s version of Strictly Come Dancing. That’s what can happen if you have a second glass of wine at the festive school raffle-drawing drinks – you can find yourself signing up for Tantalising Tango, despite extremely limited knowledge of the dance. But we had a fabulous teacher and choreographer, Peter (, who whipped our very enthusiastic but not terribly experienced (to put it mildly) asses into shape, ready for a magnificent performance on the night!

I did feed the family on Friday and Sunday though. I re-visited an old favourite for Friday evening. This is straightforward and quite easy to rustle up at short notice. Give it a try!

Spicy Salmon with Puy Lentils

4 salmon fillets

1 tpsp olive oil

1 tbsp garam masala

150g Puy lentils

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

juice of 1/2 a lemon

a handful of spinach (I only did this because there was some in the fridge that wasn’t going to last much longer, but it worked very well)

sour cream, a dollop or two

Mix the garam masala and olive oil and rub onto the salmon fillets. Leave for 15 minutes.

Cook the Puy lentils for 20 minutes.

Stir in the onion, garlic, lemon juice and spinach. Season to taste.

Grill the salmon for about 8 minutes or until cooked the way you like it.

Serve with the lentils and sour cream.

Mr B, whatever his culinary skills or otherwise these days, felt able to pronounce that it was all cooked to perfection. Which was nice.


While I was dancing the afternoon away on Saturday, Mr B went to the butchers and, not for the first time, came back with enough meat to feed a small army. (Maybe he’s worried that I’ll go back to being vegetarian again, so is eating as much as meat as possible while he can. He doesn’t need to worry). To help us tackle the mountain of food, we invited Becky, Tom and Lily for an impromptu Sunday dinner. I made a lamb daube and Missy B’s favourite potatoes. The daube is a great recipe – it tastes as though it’s been cooked for hours and the meat is utterly melt-in-the-mouth tender, but once you’ve got it started with a bit of frying it only takes an hour and a half or so in the oven. It really should be served with good old-fashioned mash, but Missy B will eat pretty much any meat if there is a portion of dauphinoise to go with it, so I decided to indulge her. 


I also managed to use the last of the Speakeasy leftovers – four limes. I found a recipe in the Marie Claire Flavours book. There was no picture and the name, “Simple Lime Puddings”, didn’t give much of a clue as to what I was making. It became apparent that they were moussey soufflé-ish things: slightly undercooked, and therefore elegant presentation was not an option (hence no photo), but they were very tasty. I’d definitely make them again if I had four limes and no particular plan!


2 Responses to “The de-skilling of Mr Battenburg”

  • Mary Martin

    I can remember the days long ago when Mr. B was regarded as an excellent cook able to do a lot more than peel a potato. When we visited he would say “You spend time with your parents while I do the cooking”. He always produced something delicious. There were two possible reasons for this: a) he spent less time talking to us and 2) he got to cook meat for an admiring public.
    Grandma Battenburg

  • Well done Grandma Battenburg – you are very modern! I couldn’t possibly comment on your theories re Mr B’s cooking of yesteryear!

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