Citrus Brazilian BBQ is back!

It was nice to see that the Schwartz Citrus Brazilian BBQ seasoning is back in stock at Aldi. This is one of a temporary range, which also includes Monterey Steak and Shish Kebab.

I wrote about this seasoning pack back in September 2022 and how I used it to cook some chicken thighs.

I picked up some packs from Aldi and will use them to cooks some chicken. I might even try cooking it on the barbecue this time.

Four Seasons Parmentier Potatoes

pack front of Four Seasons Parmentier Potatoes

When working during the week and with rushing off for clubs and going out, sometimes I don’t always have the time (or the motivation) to cook. Sometimes the convenience of getting a pack of prepared “stuff” out of the freezer, putting it in the oven and getting it to the table is what it is all about. 

Sometimes the “stuff” isn’t worth getting, but I have quite liked the Four Seasons Parmentier Potatoes from Aldi.

These are small seasoned cubes of potato, which are cooked in the oven. In the freezers at Aldi you can find various packs of Four Seasons Parmentier Potatoes. There are three flavours: red onion and rosemary, salt and pepper, and garlic and herb.

Each bag is 500g and is enough as two large portions, or three normal sized portions. They are simple to cook, in and out of the oven.

My personal favourite is the salt and pepper variety, but I do like all three.

What we had for Christmas Dinner

Every year I post what we had for our Christmas Dinner, partly as a note to my future self. This year we had less people around, so didn’t go too crazy.

I did notice that across the supermarkets there was a lot less game based roasts about. Aldi for example didn’t do their excellent game box they did last year. That box came with two pheasants, partridges in puff pastry, partridge breasts, and some cranberry stuffing. M&S didn’t have their three bird game roast which we have had before, nor did they have their stuffed partridges or pheasant. I still wish Sainsbury’s did their four bird roast, a goose stuffed with duck, turkey and guinea fowl. However they’ve not done this roast for over ten years now… which is a pity.

In the end we had a Two Bone Rib of Beef from Aldi and the Slow Cooked Three Bird Roast from M&S.

We had the Slow Cooked Three Bird Roast from M&S last year and though initially I thought I had made a mistake in buying this roast, we really enjoyed it in the end.

This is the picture from the box.

This year, though I cooked it according to the instructions I don’t think it was a good as it was last year. Last year it was very easy to carve and didn’t fall apart, this year not so easy.

Last year we had a M&S salt dry-aged  British sirloin of beef roast. It was nice, but it was also expensive. We didn’t eat that much on the day, so it lasted for a few days cold. I decided that I would save some money and buy a cheaper beef joint this year and was impressed with the Two Bone Rib of Beef from Aldi, which was less than half the price of the M&S beef roast.

Though I cooked this medium, I had planned to cook it rare, was really good. Lovely and tender, and very tasty. I was really impressed with the end result.

We did have a range of stuffings and pigs in blankets, I mange to do crispy roast potatoes, and we had a nice selection of vegetables. I didn’t do any festive red cabbage this year, I also didn’t do my festive carrots.

Overall we had a delicious meal, which everyone enjoyed.

We have a tradition of having our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. We’ve done this for ten years now. We do this for a few reasons. On Christmas Day itself, the children are often too excited to sit down for a long meal, so don’t eat or enjoy the meal or the occasion. It also usually means I spend a fair few hours in the kitchen, which means I miss them opening and playing with their presents. I also find it quite demanding to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, whilst creating a wonderful dining experience.

Having the meal on Christmas Eve means that we can both spend a bit more time preparing the meal (less stressful in itself) and enjoy eating the meal (as do the children). As a result for them it helps pass the time on one of the more exciting days of the year as they anticipate the arrival of a sleigh full of presents being pulled by eight tiny reindeer! Even though they are older now, we still maintain the tradition.

As to what we eat on Christmas day itself, well we have lots of lovely leftovers, cheeses, pickles, hot bread, etc…. quick and easy to prepare and delicious.

Beef Short Ribs

I do quite like the short release items that you find at Aldi. I don’t like that they are short release items, so you can’t buy them on a regular basis.

Aldi released a range of dishes for Valentines Day, including some slow cooked beef short rib. 

Beef Short Ribs

These British Beef Wagyu Short Ribs have been slowly cooked to deliver a deep flavour and succulent texture that falls off the bone. Serve with the rich Red Wine Sauce for the ultimate experience

I bought a box and cooked them according to the instructions, which was 35 minutes in the oven and then serve the red wine sauce on the side.

The beef was lovely tender, and fell off the bone. I didn’t think the flavour was as deep as advertised on the box, but it was tasty.

I would say I would buy it again, but it’s only on sale for a week, and I picked up the last box from the shelf.

New Year Fish Supper

An annual tradition in our house is to have a fish supper on New Year’s Eve. This year we had a great selection of fish and seafood.

I bought some prosecco & lemon butter lobster tails from Aldi, these were rather good.

I made some crispy squid, using some fresh squid, which I then coated in seasoned flour and fried in oil. A combination of a crisp crunchy coating and sweet tender squid.

I also cooked some queen scallops, simply pan fried in butter.

I did baked lemon salmon fillets in the oven.

The prawns were cooked in a pan with herbs and butter.

All served with homemade paella.

Manky Cheese

I bought some brie from Aldi and when I got home I put it in the fridge. 

The next day I opened the pack and wasn’t impressed by the sight and smell of the brie. It was brown and smelt really bad.

It had been obviously badly stored at some point before it hit the shelves at my local Aldi.

I really should have taken it back for a refund, but didn’t. Partly as I no longer had the receipt, wasn’t going that way, and in the main as the cheese smelt really bad, now it was open!

So I won’t be buying brie from Aldi again anytime soon.

Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza

Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza

Rushing about meant I didn’t have time to cook anything special for dinner. So I popped a shop pizza in the oven. I had a Specially Selected Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza from Aldi. It had a great doughy base, good proportion of toppings and some nice flavours. I have had this pizza before and I would have it again.

Should note I did add some extra salami slices and olives to the pizza.

Pork Shoulder Kebab

When I was last in Waitrose I saw in their barbecue range a Mexican inspired pork king kebab

Outdoor-bred British pork (shoulder) is seasoned with a spicy Al Pastor rub which blends chipotle and ancho chilli, black pepper, cumin, clove and cinnamon. Finished with a sticky pineapple, chilli and oregano glaze. 

I did quite like the sound of this, but then I saw the price of £9.50 (£11.88 per kg). Well this put me off slightly and I did think it might me a little too spicy for some.

So I decided to have a go at making it myself. I got some pork shoulder from Aldi, which was £3.19 (£4.56 per kg). This I cut into strips and then rubbed with some pepper and garlic seasoning, and some salt.

I then threaded the strips onto skewers. I used two skewers so that the pork was like a flat slab.

This I then chargrilled on my griddle pan.

Once the pork was cooked, I let it rest and then I sliced the pork off the skewer.

It was rather good.

Not enough time

One of the nice things about Aldi is also one of the annoying things about Aldi.

Each week they have new stuff, alas they only get limited stock in for that week and once it is sold they don’t get any more stock in.

This means that you can find something you really like, but you generally won’t be able to buy it again.

I recently managed to make some tasty raspberry and white chocolate cookies using a pack of raspberry and white chocolate from Aldi. This was one of their one week stock, as a result I am not able to replace the pack I finished.

A couple of weeks ago they had venison steaks for sale, I bought a pack and cooked them for dinner and they were some of the best venison steaks I have ever had. I cooked them in a frying pan in butter with garlic and herbs.

venison steak

The end result was tasty, delicious and really tender meat.  To go with it I made a sauce with pancetta, mushrooms and port. I really enjoyed and cooking the venison steaks.

However I wasn’t surprised when I went back to Aldi they no longer had any and weren’t selling it any more.

This week though they were selling venison fillet. I bought a pack and cooked it in a similar way. It was very nice, but was not as good as the steaks.

Next week, well there could be anything there…

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

One of my regular breakfast dishes is gluten free breakfast waffles. I use a quick and simple method to make these puffy waffles.

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

I bought a special waffle frying pan from Aldi a few months back and it works really well for cooking these breakfast waffles.

Waffle Pancake Pan

These ingredients should make three batches, so twenty one waffles in one cooking session.

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. You may want to add extra milk if the batter is too thick.

Heat the pan on a moderate to low heat, you need these to cook through and not be overdone on the outside and sticky in the middle, You’re aiming for a puffy waffle with crisp outside.

I brushed the pan with some sunflower oil and pour Not too much) of the batter into the pan. I always put less in than it looks to fill the waffle area, as the batter will expand as it cooks.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone on the surface. I find turning them can be quite messy, so I use two spoons to turn them. One to scoop underneath and the the other to keep it from slipping and messing up the pan.

I served these with sugar or golden syrup. I think I might need to get some maple syrup if I am going to make these again.