Sunday, December 28, 2008

I can't believe we haven't done this yet.

Roast. I haven't done a proper roast with you guys yet. Now I'm sure some of are either:
a) Over roasts for the time being, what with Christmas and all.
b) Living with me in the Southern hemisphere and probably going to leave off the roasts for the next few months.

But the new flatmate and I cooked up a Roast today and damn if it wasn't ... good. Not great, but good. I wanted to make the lamb roast from scratch but we used the butcher's prepared one. It was good - stuffed, plum sauce, etc. But nothing, to my mind, beats the old fashioned lamb roast. Though I must admit I'd still probably accept a call from Nicole Kidman during the meal (an insider joke for us old Aussies).

My flatmate's potatoes are better than mine though so I'll share his recipe for that =). Turn on your oven to preheat at around 180 and spray a deep sided tray with oil (canola's fine for this - I use olive oil because I've got a thing for it). Chop potatoes up into wedges / chips. Finely slice some onion as well and mix that in (one onion will do a whole pan). Then add your herbs and spices of choice (garlic, pepper, some italian herbs, whatever). Cover with alfoil (yes I know this steams them initially - be patient) and put in the oven until they're cooked.

Start preparing your lamb roast. You need rosmary, garlic (the real stuff this time), olive oil, and sea salt (the stuff in the grinder is my preference). Stab slits in the lamb with a sharp knife all over about 1 inch apart. Put a leaf or two of rosmary and a sliver of garlic (ie not the whole clove - about 1/8 - 1/4 of that) into each. Give it a thin coating of olive oil and crack the salt over the top rubbing it into the skin.

Put your roast in the pan (on one of those frames that keep it from touching) and cover it with alfoil (not the lid) making sure there are some gaps. This makes sure the lamb roasts rather than steams (like we're doing with the potatoes). Put the lamb in. You should be able to smell when the potatoes are done. The steam mingles all the flavours of the onions and herbs. Remove from oven and take off the alfoil. If you want to be environmentally friendly you can leave the alfoil off the roast until this stage and use this one.

I cook my lamb roasts for 20 minutes every 500g - this gives about a rare roast. If you like it medium it's roughly 25 minutes, well done is 30 minutes (perhaps a little longer). Half an hour before it's done add your veges and uncovered potatoes. You'll get some great flavours with this. I tend to leave the gravy out. But if you like it then collect the juices from the bottom of the pan and stir on high with a tablespoon of flour until it start to thicken. Add a cup or so stock (beef works well). Depending on the kind of gravy I like to add other things. Seeded mustard works well. As does a little red wine or some cream (or sour cream).

You can make the gravy while the roast rests. If the veges are done pull them out then and there, if not you can leave them in a bit longer (I like to leave the wedges / chips in a bit longer so that they're nice and crunchy).

We've now got enough leftovers to tide us over until the New Years barbecue. I'm going to do a 'make your own hamburger' type deal and serve with the chips shown here. This works well for kids and adults parties alike, and will keep everyone happy =).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh, and I meant to give you all Christmas love too.

Merry Christmas!

I'm heading off to see the whole family for Christmas tomorrow morning. Woo!

Hope you and yours have a good one too and see you after New Years =D.

Happy Christmas and a Merry Birthday to me =D.

Had my birthday a couple of days ago (Yay me!) - turned the big 3...0 *gulp*. I'm hoping it doesn't mean I have to grow up. Too bad if I do - I've just signed up to go back to Uni. =)

Life has been full of changes. I'm a year out of the country now, and settling in to city life. It can be tiring. Just the time it takes to get anywhere using Adelaide's wondrous public transport system *tone of biting sarcasm*.

I've taken up sewing. Doing one part-time and one casual job and I'm way too exhausted right now to make with the funnies - but they both do have their points which I'll be sure to update you on when I return in the new year. If it's allowed within my employers' privacy policies of course =D.

PS I hope Aunt Sarah and Uncle John* do eventually get their Christmas card, and all those others out there like them who had their cards sent to them with only their first names (possibly second names), or even just 'Grandma,' etc and no address whatsoever. They made the hand-sorting of mail more amusing (and a little sad sometimes the card from a grand child who lovingly hand decorated envelope wouldn't make it before Christmas).

Yes, I was sorting mail for the Australian Postal Service. It's a fun summer job if you're wondering - highly recommended to Uni students. Get in early though - the more training you have, the more fun it is.

PPS Square envelopes are the devil. Not that I minded too much - I just looked at them as extra work (hours) for those of us doing hand sorting.

PPSS But the person who invented the triangular envelopes should be paper-cut repeatedly. Christmas will be interesting for Aust Post if those things take off.

*not the actual names so if Sarah and John are missing some mail - it wasn't me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Well me hearties. It be "Talk like a Pirate Day" soon. I even have some Rum in the cupboard - though I doubt I'm going to drink it. This Friday - Yay! I mean Yaaar!

Steaming Punks!

I've just discovered the joys of Steampunk. It's a beautiful aesthetic - based on Victorian era sensibilities (lots of dark woods, silks, brass), clothing (mmm waistcoats), with steam and clockwork versions of technology. I've been reading The Steampunk Home which has a lot of interesting examples of the genre. If you've seen the film 'Wild Wild West' you'll have a good idea of what I'm talking about.

I just watched another imagining, The Golden Compass and did the 'what kind of daemon do you have test.'

What do you think, is it accurate?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Faking It

Time to add another recipe. Picture to come because it looks better than mediocre!

This is where I wrap chicken breast with cheese (a swiss works well) and seeded mustard in bacon. Then cook it in a medium oven for about 30-40 minutes. Couldn't be easier - but it looks at least as good as the ones they serve in the restaurants. You can serve it with a salad or with roast vege. I put the vege on about a quarter of an hour in. I used sliced sweet potato, capsicum, carrots and onion cut into halves with a little golden syrup on top to caramelise.

Serve it to a special lady or friend then get down to playing singstar =). I can fake it there as well. Never fake it anywhere else though ;-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rissotto Cheat!

I've never really mastered the art of the risotto. Too much stirring - I'm lazy.

Today I came up with a pretty good substitute. Mixed some leftover pumpkin soup through some (pre-cooked) brown rice, added some bacon and steamed veg. Dinner done =). I wouldn't serve it up to others (looks ordinary) but it was easy =).

I found this little gem. A cute little Aussie short.

Because I've not been bringing the humour, or the gay =), so I'll let this film do it for me. Still damn I'm glad I've left home and highschool though.

Made me look for more, but hit duds. If you've got more comment, comment, comment =).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Class not Arse

Simple and cheap but looks (and tastes) like a classy effort? Count me in. There's nothing like cheating and getting good results.

Not bad if I do say so myself. And so easy - don't even have to fry anything up first like pumpkin. Into ye olde slow-cooker it all went. A full head of broccoli, a couple of carrots, a shake of cumin (roughly a teaspoon would be my guess), 1 clove of garlic, and a cup or so of stock (enough to cover the veg - minus the florets). Cook on high in the slow-cooker for a couple of hours. Add the juice of a small lemon, then a massive tablespoon of sour cream (or a normal cream) and mush it up (however you do it - blender, soup mate thing (the wizzy sticks with blades that you just put into the pot and whir - love it!) or food processor).

Can be served hot or cold (you get bonus posh points for any soup served cold). I added a little sour cream and a couple of bacon chips (real bacon, made by me) to serve. Of course if it's vego then some parsley, or a some grated carrot looks just as good.

Can be served with the garlic bread or rolls if you want to make it a meal.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I've Had My Drive Now

I was just reading The Wishful Writer's blog, and the most recent post made me laugh. Because it was a funny story, but also because the way she tells it brings home how alien our experiences can be.

Heather (the Wishful Writer) was amazed by her driving 'lesson' - but to me that was part of growing up. I still remember my Dad sitting me on his knee and letting me steer. I first started driving by myself when I was about 8. I wasn't very good. In fact I think I'm why Dad finally got rid of 'The Suzi.' Damn I loved that old paddock basher.

I think my slalom style of driving in and out the hay bales may have scared Dad. Damn it was worth it though, even if I was banned from driving for a year.

I've never seen my big macho cousin look so pasty. Well, except for the snake incident. Oh, and that time with the spider. Actually, now that I think about it he really was just a big girl. *waves*

Or it could have been baby bro's first drive that did it. I was 11 and Brad was 9. We were both driving, and Alastair (the 3 year old 'baby') was pestering Dad to let him drive too. Poor boy, it wasn't fair. One day at morning smoko Dad hears a vehicle start up. Then stop. He stands to go see what's up, when in walks Alastair, pleased as punch, "I've had my drive now."

Mum and Dad exchange fear filled glances. Nearly falling over each other they rush outside to see the damage. Thankfully not much. But Dad did stop leaving the keys in the ignition.

These are my growing up stories. It takes someone from outside looking in to make me realise how very rural I am. It was like the time I lived in Japan. The thing that really brought home that I was in another country wasn't the different language, foods, or faces. It was a simple thing that happened during one of my large group lessons.

The couldn't get their heads around lunch boxes. I mean lunch boxes? I took my lunch in one to school everyday. But they found them exotic, eating sandwiches everyday was weird. They asked questions in the same way our kids might ask "they eat with sticks? That's when I realised how different our experiences were.

Thanks Heather for reminding me of those stories.

PS Remind me to tell you about the snake incident some time.

EDIT: I've just worked out why this tastes familiar. Remember poptarts?

Povo Apple Pie

I felt like apple pie tonight. But couldn't be bothered making pastry or crumble, and well, I'd already defrosted an extra pita bread. So I gave the following a go.

Cut the bread open and buttered the inside. Sprinkled the bottom with sugar and mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice). I added peeled sliced granny smith and topped with some more sugar and mixed spice. Baked in a medium oven for 15 minutes, the smells were just like apple pie should be.

And damned if it didn't taste like it too. I'll be doing that again, that's for sure =).

EDIT: My brother just suggested that this could be done using normal bread and a toasty-toast (sandwich press, jaffle maker, whatever you want to call it). Make sure you butter on the inside and the outside of the bread, and add sugar and herbs as per above.