Sunday Night Pork In My Belly.

Orange, Garlic and Soy Pork Belly with White Bean Mash.

You would think that having a daughter who will turn 20yrs old this year,  I would have a lot of time up my sleeve to do my own thing…you would think, wouldn’t you?

Well, that’s not how it works around here. My daughter, you see, actually likes spending time at home with me. She teases and jokes about sticking me in a nursing home and hiding my Vodka but I think she really actually likes me! She must – she said so in her Mother’s Day card to me…

So, when she told me she was going to spend a whole 3 days at her dad’s, I did a little secret dance in my bedroom and felt all giddy inside. Finally, 3 days to myself…what would I do?

Well as it turned out, I didn’t do much at all. Which was wonderful. When I say I didn’t do much, I actually meant I didn’t leave the house much. I went out for drinks with the girls after work on Friday as there was no need to rush home to cook. I knew what I was having anyway, thanks to ‘foodisthebestshitever’ – WTF Nachos – for sure!

Those nachos were the bizz…

bubbly cheesy goodness with a lava of spicy beans underneath...

bubbly cheesy goodness with a lava of spicy beans underneath…

Thanks Graz for the best after drinks Friday night, absolutely no sharing dinner idea...

Thanks Graz for the best after drinks Friday night, absolutely no sharing dinner idea…

The pantry and fridge were already full in anticipation of this free weekend – so it was washing clothes, sitting outside with a Cosmo (it was a beautiful day) and flicking through cooking magazines and whiling away time on FB.

Back to reality today (after a great sleep in followed by an afternoon nap) and in went the pork belly with an orange, garlic and soy glaze for a slow roasting. Served with white bean mash – so yummy!

Yep, she walked in, slapped me on the arm, called me something and then we sat down and enjoyed a yummy Sunday night dinner – although, she said she didn’t like the mash.

Hmmm, I had moved out of home at her age…think I’m making it a bit too comfortable around here…

I managed to get one dodgy photo and then my phone died…sorry about that.

 

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Cleaning out the Fridge

Grilled Lebanese Zucchini with Spicy Yoghurt

I think I have posted every day this week, maybe even 2 posts per day, I’m not sure.  I do know however that I have spent a hell of a lot of time on wordpress lately, checking out new blogs and looking through others I haven’t read for a while. Somehow I managed to finish reading a novel today, which I had only started reading last night, and still managed to cook, take photos and cook.

I even cleaned out the fridge, which is where I found a bag of Lebanese Zucchini (or baby marrow or itty bitty courgettes), and to my surprise they were still ok.

So, I sliced them and coated them in the same spice mix and olive oil I used on Mondays’ ‘souzoukakia’ and Tuesdays’ pumpkin soup and grilled them. I also had half a tub of Greek yoghurt left over so I made a garlic yoghurt dip thingy and served that up with the zucchini and some wonderful crusty bread and feta cheese.

After all my posting over the last few days, this is all I can cope with at the mo’

Check ya later 🙂

Get them ready, slice them and spice them up!

Get them ready, slice them and spice them up!

Grill them and make the dip.

Grill them and make the dip.

Serve, eat and be happy!

Serve, eat and be happy!

The Long and Short of Kebabs

Slow Roasted Forequater Lamb for Kebabs

Kebabs are considered a type of fast food but that’s only if you want to eat shit and almost die as http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/the-late-night-lamb-sandwich-consumed-one-afternoon-at-bay-kebabs/ found out after a ‘fast food’ kebab. After this post I was supposed to make kebabs for dinner that night – but I didn’t – so I made them today. This will definitely not satisfy the people who are busting for a kebab at 2am after a night on the piss but those people are probably not reading this anyway…so who cares right?

The ONLY way to make a kebab, and by that I really do mean THE ONLY WAY to make a kebab is to slow roast the lamb with whatever herbs and spices you like – 5 to 6 hours should just about do it. There is nothing fast about this food apart from when it’s done and you’re stuffing it in your gob! The other thing to remember is to make your own dressing – be it a yoghurt or tahini based thing – just make it yourself with the best ingredients you can afford. I’m being serious here, don’t buy crap, don’t support shitty supermarket brands – get the fuck out there and buy decent produce/ingredients from decent places – it really isn’t that much more expensive and your food will taste fucking sensational!

What’s with the swearing? Not really sure. I think it’s a combination of being totally relaxed now that I’m on holidays and don’t have to be a teacher and being a little more than fed up with crappy produce being sold to hard working people who deserve better – but then again the more of you who support these fucked up supermarkets the more shit we will be sold – SO STOP DOING IT!!!

I can’t even look at store bought tzatziki  (never ever touch this crap) and while we’re on the subject – there’s no such thing as ‘low fat tzatziki’ or ‘skinny tzatziki’ – are you friggin’ kidding me!…eat it the way it was supposed to be eaten – full fat Greek yogurt – it’s actually good for you!

On with the show people. Here’s what I did:

Slow Roasted Forequater Lamb

Ingredients

  • 2 forequarter lamb racks
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 handful each of fresh oregano and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of  crushed peppercorns
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon and zest
  • good slug of olive oil
The herbs

The herbs

Method

Take all the herbs and spices and pound them into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Add lemon juice, zest and olive oil and mix to combine. Add additional salt to taste.

Awesome ingredients

Awesome ingredients

Cover the lamb in the marinade and place in the fridge for a few hours. Remove the lamb from the fridge and preheat the oven to 150C for half an hour.

Slathering the meat

Slathering the meat

Cover the lamb in foil. Place lamb on a tray, reduce oven to 120C and cook slowly for around 5 hours . Have a nap – I did!

Remove the lamb and rest for approx 15 mins (the lamb, not you…you already rested while the lamb was cooking remember)

Yummo!

Yummo!

Succulent and full of awesomeness!

Succulent and full of awesomeness!

Flat Bread

Ingredients

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
100g butter
375ml milk
¼ cup olive oil

Method

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.  Heat the butter and milk in a jug until the butter is just melted.  Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the milk and butter in, gradually bringing the flour in from the sides.  When the flour is all incorporated, you should have a soft dough.  Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes on a floured surface, until is stretchy.  If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.

Wrap the dough in Glad wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for half an hour or so.  Divide the dough into 8 piece and roll out on a floured surface as thinly as you can.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a frypan over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, place one piece of flatbread in the base.  It will immediately start to bubble up.  When the edges are starting to look golden and the bread is becoming less floury looking around the edges, flip the bread over.  Cook for a further 40 seconds to a minute and remove to a piece of paper towel.

Make your own flat bread - they're really simple and delish

Make your own flat bread – they’re really simple and delish

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 cup greek yogurt, strained
  • 2 – 4 lebanese cucumbers ( I peel the skin off then use the peeler and continue peeling the cucumber until I get to the seeds – you end up with long ribbons of peeled cucumber then I chop the ribbons into smaller pieces and squeeze the life outta them)

Method

Scoop yoghurt into a large bowl and add salt, pepper, vinegar and chopped garlic. Mix slowly to combine.

Beautiful cucumber ribbons

Beautiful cucumber ribbons

Loads of garlic - never skimp on the garlic!

Loads of garlic – never skimp on the garlic!

Add the strained and chopped cucumber and mix once again. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, stopping and mixing slowly then adding more olive oil and mixing once again.

Once combined scoop into a serving bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Finished product with a drizzle of olive oil.

Finished product with a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve your mouth watering sliced up slow cooked lamb on your home made flat bread with a tomato/onion salad topped with tzatziki  and never again complain about shitty take away kebabs.

Salty and tangy tomato and onion salad.

Salty and tangy tomato and onion salad.

Eat it in your face and die happy!

Eat it in your face and die happy!

Thank Goodness for Bad Weather

Beef and Guinness Stew with Parmesan Cheese Dumplings

We are into our second month of Spring here in Melbourne but today you wouldn’t know it…it’s freezing!

Last week we were bathed in sunshine – beautiful mid to high 20’sC – not today however, with a top temp of only 13C. The sky is dark and the rain has been on and off for most of the day. Just as well really as I had a craving for a rich, dark and tasty stew with cheese dumplings.

It’s probably what I love most about my home town. I’ve written about this before. There are times when I just get a little tired of Summer food and can’t wait to settle down to a hearty stew or pumpkin soup and warm from the oven bread. There’s a dreamy quality to Winter for me.

Living in Melbourne gives me just what I need…when I’m sick of the unbearable stickiness of another 40C day, I’m happy in the knowledge that the sky will inevitably turn dark and the temperature will drop about 20C within 30 mins and the next few days will see us all digging out our Winter clothes and turning on the Central heating ( actually if you come from Melbourne, you never really put your winter clothes away!). No jokes, I had the cooling on one day last week and the central heating the next day.

Might sound just awful to you, but I find the unpredictability of Melbourne’s weather quite comforting. I also don’t really care much about what the weather does – can’t control it so don’t really worry about it…dress and eat accordingly…that is all!

With so many bloggers posting about cooking stews as the weather gets colder, I have been unable to get my mind off Winter food today. So I sent my man out to buy some Guinness and settled in for the day preparing the evening meal.

As my daughter is now 18 years old, it’s not often she hangs around for dinner at the weekend, but she did tonight and as my man was out visiting his father, it was a rare Saturday night at home with my girl.

We already had our pjs on by 3pm and it was so cosy and warm inside that I was positively radiating relaxation (any more relaxed and I would’ve been in a coma – or was that just the red wine I was drinking?)

Food – magnificent!

Company – lovely!

Pj’s and my awesome couch – heavenly!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1kg chuck steak, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 cups Guinness
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • thyme
  • cheese dumplings

Method

  1.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook steak, in batches, for 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Heat remaining oil in pan over medium heat. Add leek, onion, carrot and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender.  Add flour and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually stir in Guinness. Add stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return steak and any juices to pan. Cover and simmer for 1 – 2 hours.
  4. Remove lid. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until steak is tender. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.  *See below for dumpling instructions…Serve, eat and then nap on the couch for a while 🙂

 Cheese Dumplings

  • 4 oz/ 100g self raising flour
  • 2 oz / 50g shredded suet
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • chopped thyme and parsley
  • salt
  • cold water
  • In a large baking bowl mix the flour with the suet and a pinch of salt.
  • Add  grated parmesan, chopped thyme and parsley to the mixture
  • Add 3 tbsp cold water and stir. If the dough is dry add more water until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  • Divide the dough into 8 and shape into balls with floured hands. Leave to one side.
  • After the stew has cooked for 2 hours, add the dumplings, cover with the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Burn Baby Burn!

Eggs In Purgatory

I love the name of this!

I have a confession to make…I have a ‘thing’ for Nigella Lawson! Apart from being ridiculously beautiful, she is a damn fine food writer and cook. I don’t always use her recipes but am a little obsessed with watching her shows…love the way she wears heels when she cooks! I also love how she knows Anthony Bourdain (another of my little obsessions) well enough to call him Tony…

Last night I was excited to see the first episode of her new series where she made “eggs in purgatory.” Now, this is Italian in origin but my mum used to make something very similar to this for us when we were kids. I, in turn made it for my daughter when she was little but of course as my daughter is now in her late teens, she thinks it looks like spew and won’t touch it…(and yet she eats that horrid store bought chicken and sweet corn ‘soup’)…where did I go wrong?

I dreamt about this dish last night, so of course my man and I had to have it for dinner. Nigella is right about one thing…great as a hangover cure!

Not much to it really just heat a pan with olive oil and add grated garlic (lots of it), and as much chilli as you can handle (I can handle lots). Nigella used tinned tomatoes but I used fresh, only because I had a huge amount of them in the fridge that needed to be used, otherwise use 2 tins of tomatoes. Wait for all this to bubble and reduce a little, then crack as many eggs as you like into the pan. I used 4 eggs as there were two of us eating this. Top the whole thing with freshly grated parmesan (please don’t use that pre packed stuff that smells like smelly socks!) and ground pepper and pop the lid on the pan in order for the eggs to poach.

I had popped some great bread smeared with garlic oil under the grill and we were done. We ate right out of the pan, dunking the bread into the still runny egg yolk, mopping up all the wonderful tomato. Yes, it was hot and I burnt the roof of my mouth but my chilled glass of vodka and pomegranate juice helped soothe and ease the pain.

The beauty of this dish is that you can make it for one, two or many more people, just increase/decrease the amount of tomatoes and eggs according to the amount you are feeding.

The sun was out today and I’m feeling pretty good 🙂

Did I mention that I love being on holidays?

Oink Balls are the bomb!

Pork  Meatballs

I love pork!

I re typed this first sentence so many times…first it was “I like a good pork”..then…”I could be porked every night and never get tired of it”…finally I came up with “my butcher gives good pork”…but it all sounded a bit crass so I will stick with “I love pork!”

I want to know one thing from bloggers out there…how many of you buy meat from a local butcher or market or wholesaler and how many of you buy meat from the supermarket? I don’t think I’m a food snob (actually, maybe I am) but I just don’t see how anyone can justify buying meat from the supermarket in those awful cling wrapped containers.

I guess I love shopping for food and don’t mind spending my Saturday driving from place to place in order to purchase my favourite food items from my favourite places. If I have to drive half an hour just to buy my favourite cheese, I will. I’m busy just like everyone else  but Saturday is my food day, unless I’m on school holidays, then everyday is a food day with one trip out to a winery with friends guaranteed.

Get to know your butcher people! Don’t give more money to those fuckers at the stupidmarket! Coles and Woolworths bloody brands everywhere forcing people to buy their shitty products…so tired of it!!!

If someone can tell me where I can buy toilet paper and cleaning products without having to go into a supermarket, please tell me, and don’t say bloody COSTCO because I’m not giving them my money either!

OK! On a lighter note…

I love my butcher and he minced up some wonderful pork, veal, chicken and beef for me this morning and this made me soooooo happy! Did I mention that I love my butcher?

I used the pork mince to make these tasty meatballs tonight and they were so…well…tasty! With herbes from the garden and a little bit of mashed potato and mustard in the pork balls and cooked in a fresh tomato, onion and garlic sauce, I was feeling pretty self righteous!

A great meal with not one cent of my hard earned money going to these horrible stupidmarkets!

Eat well and fight on!