Priorities.

Last night when I was having a hissy fit, chucked a wobbly, cracked the shits and generally behaved like a spoiled brat, (polite description) because in the space of a few hours, I’d burnt the chicken casserole, stuffed the raspberry meringue layer cake and then when I’d chosen to make a lemon tart to replace it, dropped the dutch oven into the middle of the tart just as the curd was setting. I was not happy and had thought for a moment my world was just crap because I couldn’t present magazine perfect food to our guests who were coming on Australia Day. For god sake, get a grip, it was only a BBQ. Having said that I like to make sure whatever I do is done well. This morning I had to (no, chose to), make focaccia, throw a couple of sourdough bread sticks into the BBQ because the ‘toy oven’ was full of focaccia and then throw in a loaf of bread for us for the week. I think the strain of returning to full time work, not having sold our property that will fund my new kitchen and reno and just  generally being out of sorts had built to pressure point and I lost it. My dear old dad used to say I was like a pressure cooker, build it all up then explode and then its all calm till the next time. Never really understood what he meant until times like this. Thankfully it  doesn’t happen often! Happy birthday for yesterday Stan, miss you more every year.

Well the explosion has been and gone and today we had a lovely day with friends just chillin’  and enjoying the day. No one gave a crap about how the food looked (and for that matter tasted) laughs, wine, relaxing and appreciating what he have is a far better priority to focus on. We used the holiday for Australia Day as an excuse to get together. We haven’t had many opportunities to host gatherings at this house yet but I hope we have many more opportunities in the future. It was a great chance to see how far we have come with establishing the back yard landscape. 2 1/2 years ago this was what we hadIMG_4480.

A bungalow filled most of the back yard, no fencing, no design form and in this shot 7 or 8 trees had already been culled. This next photo was taken today from pretty much the same spot in the yard but things are in leaf. I’d say we’ve made headway! That’s the mulberry tree back right. Vegies and chooks on right.

IMG_9484Our  Australia Day food included Chad Robertson’s potato and thyme focaccia with rosemary instead of thyme. I was thrilled with this.

IMG_9521 Crumb shot

IMG_9546My beautiful daughter is trying to resurrect the lemon tart in this shot. Golly, I’m so proud of her, she has grown into the most beautiful woman and I greatly appreciated  the help she gave today. She also made a pavlova, which she will tell you is the best you’ll get. I disagree, mine is! There is also the rest of the Annabel Langbein’s Pork Rillette that I froze before we went away along with some cottage style cheese with lemon and thyme I made last night (that wasn’t a train wreck!). My little small rye sourdough loaves are hiding in there behind the cheese. Knife placement says it all about mood!

IMG_9537Em’s pavlova.

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And here we are just chillin’ in the newly established area where a couple of years ago there was a bungalow, rats, wasps and rancid soil.

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Our lamb sausages were good but it didn’t matter. The best bit of today was just enjoying friends, laughing and sharing some fun times.

 

 

AUSSIE SNAGS…..

Today we made sausages in readiness for a BBQ we are having on Monday to celebrate Australia Day.  It has become a bit of a tradition over the last few years, (mostly due to a highly successful marketing campaign to sell more), that we cook lamb on this day. I took advantage of a great sale price for legs of lamb and used this meat to make our so-called Aussie Sausages. I was a little surprised to see the ingredients in this “Aussie Sausage” were:

3-lbs ground lamb, 2-sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped,8-oz feta cheese, crumbled, 3-tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped, 1-tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 1-tbsp minced garlic, 1-tsp salt,1/2-tsp freshly ground black pepper. Combine all ingredients, mix well & stuff into hog casing.

I had expected more lamb with rosemary and maybe mint sauce! Maybe even some peas and mash thrown in for good measure. I might have to have a crack at that, doesn’t sound too bad. I quite liked the sound of the combination though, so on we went. My deboned lamb weighed in at 2.1 kilos so I adapted the quantities of the other ingredients (roughly) to suit that meat total.

First up was to debone the leg of lamb, quite easily done by following along the bone with a sharp knife and because it’s sausages, you don’t have to be too neat.

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Meat was cut into portions about an inch (2.5cm) square. I added some pork fat (10%) as the leg meat was so lean.

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The shank and the bones I removed are going into the freezer for another day. I’ve changed the way I label things in the freezer, I never can seem to be able to read what I’ve labelled so now I wrap some reno tape around the parcel and mark it nice and big. God, I hope that doesn’t mean I have to start borrowing large print books at the library!

IMG_9467The meat, feta and herbs were fed through the mincer,  a small pattie was cooked to check for flavours and seasoning. We added some extra pepper but everything else seemed ok.

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Next was to stuff the mix into sausage casings. We used the ‘stuffer’ we bought after our visit to Tasmania last year. It makes a job so much easier when you have the right equipment.I buy our sausage casings online from The Casing Boutique. They sell quality, natural casings and have been super quick with delivery, these ones are hog casings.

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The hardest part about the whole process is getting the casings onto the stuffer!

IMG_6160All done! We now have a nice big batch of “Aussie Lamb Sausages” ready to hit the BBQ on Monday. I quite like the fact these sausages include ingredients representing a few different nationalities and cultures. After all, that is part of what has made Australia such a diverse, exciting and wonderful place to live!

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