In My Kitchen. Golly how did it get to be November?

What a busy time it is at the moment! We have just celebrated the engagement of our son and his beautiful partner. Joyous time indeed and a lot of creating food for the celebration.  So in my kitchen is:

10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_n Some of the leftovers of the magnificent cake my daughter made for the event. Ready to pack to put in the freezer for later use. It was beautiful and looked amazing as well as tasting sensational. She is VERY talented!IMG_6254I made some vegetable pakora, they looked much better on the serving platter, see my previous post!IMG_6185

Cauliflower pakora

I cooked up some VERY spicy tiny sausages and meatballs. These were a great hit.IMG_6179In my kitchen are a few beautiful roses, this one is  a week old in the photo and still holding up well.IMG_6186 These beautiful ‘Jude the Obsure’ blooms are from a bush our daughter gave us after her wedding. Very precious to me.IMG_6206 In my kitchen are 2 heads of broccoli freshly cut waiting to go into our tummies.IMG_6230Sadly, I have to say goodbye to the last of last seasons garlic. This bag was chockers and has lasted really well. Only a couple of weeks till new crop is ready I think.IMG_6233 In my kitchen is a leek, broad bean and mushroom risotto made from freshly picked veg. It was beautiful!IMG_6237 Some of the broad beans, nearly finished for the season so enjoying them while we can.IMG_6248In my kitchen is a smoked trout. We are so lucky having such an excellent butcher who makes his own small goods and they are sensational. Thanks Wayne from Trafalgar Butcher Shop. Such an easy appetiser, trout, some bread or crackers to serve it on and your done!IMG_6257 Another local producer who grow the most amazing organic vegetables with love. Wendy and Tony go out of their way to make sure their produce is first rate and their service is exceptional. Wendy delivered these beautiful lettuce and daikon and some other goodies to me at work. Love shopping that way! It is nice knowing that the food I served for the after party BBQ has been grown with so much love and care. Check out Thorpdale Organics, it’s worth it.IMG_6260

Didn’t get to take a photo of the view from the kitchen window but it’s looking pretty good!

Thanks Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for giving us this opportunity to see and share kitchens from around the world.

Jerusalem Artichoke Trial No 2

Bit more success this week! One of the recipes I found in my quest for learning about Jerusalem Artichokes was this kale and JA gratin recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it seemed good as I had kale ready to harvest as well.  I had bought a 2kg forequarter of lamb from Wayne The Great intentionally unstuffed as I had something I wanted to try in the back of my mind. Because we are now ’empty nesters’ I cut the meat in half and put 1/2 in the freezer for another day. I unrolled the joint, made a stuffing of sour dough bread crumbs, lemon zest, rosemary, salt and pepper and some mushrooms. Stuffing in, re-rolled the lamb and prepared the remaining accompaniments.

Lamb forequarter stuffing IMG_4245The harvest today included kale, beetroot, parsley, rosemary, the first oranges of the season, jerusalem artichokes, lemons and eggs.IMG_4247Dinner was roast lamb forequarter (shoulder) with lemon, rosemary and mushroom stuffing, kale and jerusalem artichoke gratin, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, roast beetroot and snow peas. The gratin ended up with some mushrooms in it as well because they fell out of the fridge and I couldn’t be bothered putting them back in. It was a real juggle tonight trying to manage cooking everything. Put the roast and veggies into the cast iron casserole but had to leave the lid off  so it fitted into the ‘toy oven’. Of course my bread dough then decided it was ready (after a 24 hour slow rise) to be cooked, so I had to take the cast iron cooker out, put it in the BBQ along with the gratin and put the bread in the oven to bake. Twas time for me to sit and relax!

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Mmmm, will it fit?
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Phew! Didn’t chance the lid too.

IMG_4258 IMG_4260 Made a gravy from the pan scrapings, blanched  the snow peas and served. Not the prettiest plating up but it is Sunday night TV dinner! Mr ATMT actually said it was the nicest roast he’s ever had. Now that’s saying something!

The Reno Update.

After some serious issues with paint blistering and peeling, we are finally getting somewhere with the original fly wire doors. Sensible people would probably have had replicas made to match the design but us no, have had them rebuilt, but painting has proved to be an issue taking far longer than it should have. Getting there now though!

IMG_4235The Anaglypta wallpaper we are putting in the hallway has arrived so now I have to take a deep breathe and ‘man up’ to applying it. Decision was that it should be me  due to Mr ATMT’s more heavy handed approach! Stay tuned for updates.

 

 

Greek lamb salad, tomatoes and crumbed cutlets.

This weekend has been a real mixed bag. With Saturday dedicated to my MIL visiting for lunch to inspect the ‘new old house’. She is a bit of a gun at 84, and a joy to have around. This will be the first time she has visited since we moved into the house in January. She lives on the Mornington Peninsula so my husband did the long trek to collect her while I put my thinking cap on as to what to serve for lunch. Because I had quite a few jobs to do outside I thought either a BBQ or I would make ‘pitta pizzas’. To be honest I couldn’t get motivated about menu planning. I had made some roast pumpkin and roasted sweet potato soup the night before as well as mixing up a poolish with rye flour as a base for a sourdough-ish loaf of bread. I decided I’d just wonder over to Trafalgar Butcher Shop and see what took my fancy and take it from there.

Good Decision, Wayne had some ‘Greek Style’ Lamb fillets so I thought a warm greek lamb salad would fit the bill beautifully. I have before mentioned  in this blog that we only buy meat a few times a year and when we do I want it to be good. I don’t want shitty stuff packed in plastic trays with what reminds me of feminine protection pads in them. I like to support local businesses who I know support local producers and you can’t do this at the supermarket chains. The salad came together beautifully.

My Greek Style Warm Lamb Salad method:

Roasted a couple of beetroot and cut them into small chunks, char grilled a red capsicum and sliced it, blanched some lovely fresh beans. These warm things were put in a separate bowl. Tore up some lettuce, chopped some small roma tomatoes, picked and chopped some mint and oregano, chopped a green capsicum, sliced a small cucumber, grabbed the olives that needed using from the fridge, picked a lemon. Put the lamb onto the bbq, 3 minutes one side. probably less than 2 the other side. While it rested for a good 5 minutes I mixed all the other salad stuff together, squeezed some lemon juice over it and gently mixed through the goats cheese. Spread the lamb on top with some shredded mint and served with greek yoghurt.

Warm greek lamb salad

Very, very nice! Wish I’d bought another couple of fillets!

The unprecedented third course!

During lunch I asked my sons how many times they can remember me cooking a lunch or dinner with three courses. Unanimous answer was only ever at Christmas. I have never been a desert person, kids were only offered fresh fruit or even cereal as a desert if they were still hungry after dinner, (we used to go through an awful lot of cereal).

So today we had, soup with homemade sourdough, warm greek style lamb salad and I had picked almost the last of the oranges, steeped them in some honey, a pinch of cinnamon and some orange juice then mixed through some strawberries and mint. Served with choice of greek yoghurt or ice-cream. Went down a treat! Three courses, light and healthy.

Orange & Strawberry desert

Sunday.

Feeling a bit melancholy today. Not sure if its due to the Federal Election result or because I just don’t want to go to paid work tomorrow or because we have had a few local  people pass away from  accidental or medical events and it plays in your mind.   With the weather  so lovely and knowing I have so much I want to do in the garden I just feel as though I want to power through things. I had one of those days that just didn’t go right. Up early after planning a greenhouse watering system in my head (when I should have been sleeping), off to the hardware store 40 klms because it is bigger than the one 25 klms away. Mmmm,  not be able to get what I needed there and the stuff I did buy was  wrong! Started to feel a bit antsy, but soldiered on (with an attitude I might add). Back to hardware store 25 klms away to get correct stuff and was rewarded this time. Back to the greenhouse and had handed the job to my husband because I just wasn’t in the right space to succeed. Great, progress but we needed some more fittings so back to the 25 klm away store. This was going to be finished today or I’d go he! At the end of the day I can’t say I did the misting system in the greenhouse I have to hand that accolade to my husband. A few tweaks and the young seedlings should be in a very safe zone.

Looking for the positive!

After shaking off the annoying thought of wasting the day  trekking back and forward to the hardware shop, I took a look at the garden and marvelled at the way things are just taking off and growing at a great rate. In particular a couple of the little grevilleas we planted are doing beautifully. Grevillea ‘Australian Beauty’, a low growing to ground cover variety with beautiful flowers that I think resemble pop corn a little bit.

GREVILLEA Australian Beauty IMG_0596

Tomato seedlings all doing well. Couple showing a bit of aphid invasion, dealing with that!

Double Whammy for Trafalgar Butcher Shop.

When buying the greek style lamb fillets yesterday, I spotted some crumbed lamb cutlets that didn’t look too shabby. I’m a bit fussy about my crumbing of meat cuts, I’ve tried a couple of cuts from various places over the years and decided it was just better to do it from scratch to avoid disappointment. Surprised and delighted to say these were absolutely beautiful. REAL breadcrumbs, with a light herb seasoning. Not too salty and the cutlets when cooked were absolutely beautiful. We had reverted into the classic meat and 3 veg aussie family of old for tea tonight. Cutlets, mash, peas and carrots with mustard and honey. Can’t remember when we last had such a meal. Don’t think it will be so long till the next time.

Straight out of the Sullivans! Meat and 3 veg

Cutlets done and dusted   Picture says a thousand words!

Snagged on Snags!

I had some feedback that my comments regarding the quality of food available locally was a bit harsh so I thought I’d just clarify my point. My reference was directed mainly towards the supermarkets more so than the family businesses of which there are a few making a difference to the range but not necessarily the quality available. There are a handful of businesses who are really making a difference to the quality and range available and they are predominantly butchers rather than purveyors of general produce. I still claim that it is near on impossible to get fresh, high  quality (mostly fruit & veg) as a matter of course in most towns in Gippsland. There doesn’t appear to be the demand  by the consumer which is what I find distressing. Most people I work with or know are quite happy accepting what the majors offer without question, along with all the packaging they throw in and nothing will change while this is so. I can only keep spreading the word!

We only eat meat  couple of times a year and when we do I really want it to be a treat, not a trial. This is where lack of planning ahead can strike you down as it did with my hot potato salad last weekend. Having to rely on the local supermarket, I was sadly disappointed. I decided to prevent this happening again so today went to our excellent local butcher and stocked up on some Chorizo sausages to freeze so I wont get caught out next time, and some honey, lamb and rosemary sausages to have for dinner. Very hot day today and a good snag (sausage) and a cold beer are a match made in heaven. I wasn’t disappointed by the lamb sausages, along with gorgeous freshly picked spuds tossed in butter, parsley, mint and served with a little salad of freshly picked offerings. Oh, and a lovely cold beer of course!

Lovely looking sausages from Trafalgar Butcher Shop. Note, no nasty little plastic tray!
Honey, lamb & rosemary sausages, fresh spuds with mint, parsley and a little butter and salad made from, carrot, grated beetroot, lettuce and cherry tomatoes.