Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More spring

Spring might be pretty, but it is also fickle.  Last week  it rained, blew and hailed and we were back in the woollen jumpers and lighting the fire.  I so love the lilacs in the garden, the scent is heavenly...
We had a lot of fun in the school holidays.  There was the Melbourne Show,
some farm work,
friends to stay,
billy tea and marshmallows.

I love finding new ways to cook our lamb.  Last night I made a marinade that I used on some mini roasts that I rescued from the depths of the freezer.

Olive and almond paste for lamb
This amount made enough for 3 mini roasts, and would be enough for a small leg or 8-10 chops.

3 tblsp pitted olives (black, green or a mixture of the two)
2 heaped tblsp ground almonds
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 dessp of balsamic vinegar to taste
1 teasp rosemary leaves, chopped
salt and pepper.

Roughly chop the olives and put them in a container suitable for a stick blender.  Add the rest of the ingredients and whizz to form a paste.  You could do this in a food processor.  Taste the mix and adjust according to your preference, you may prefer more or less balsamic, and it does depend on how salty the olives are.  The almonds give it a good texture.
Spread the mixture over the lamb and refrigerate for a few hours if you can.  
Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook it to get it back to room temperature.
Cook to your liking, either in the oven (start it off at 220c for 15 minutes then turn it down to 180c to finish) or on the BBQ.  It doesn't look much below, but it tasted great.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Beautiful canola crops in the Western District
I am often heard to say that autumn is my favourite season, it is the end of the heat of summer, the relentless moving of hoses and sprinklers and the fire season.  But this year's spring has nearly swayed me with her charms.  The garden is bursting with activity and the evenings in particular, when the wind drops, are glorious.
Blossoms seem to appear overnight..this is the quince tree: (the blossom is actually a delicate pale pink, although they look white in this photo).

And so do the weeds:
I am in the garden most days and I cannot believe how they sneak up on me.  This one was looking me in the eye it was so big.  

Not much to report on the cooking front, I made a pan pie (not really a quiche, not really a pie) which worked quite well:
I had some pastry left over from making a quiche, but not enough to make another one so I rolled it out put it in a cast iron frying pan, threw in some cooked bacon, pumpkin and spinach, then cracked three  eggs onto it.  I mixed another egg with a bit of cream and drizzled it over the top with some grated cheese and seasoning.  Into the hot oven of the Aga and 15 minutes later, lunch is ready.

I learnt another great tip from a friend recently.  When she makes cauliflower cheese instead of steaming the cauliflower first, then pouring over the thick cheese sauce and baking in the oven, she puts the sauce straight over the raw cauliflower and cooks it at a slower temperature for about an hour.  A grating of parmesan on the top will brown it nicely.  I do love a short cut that makes something better than the original..
In other news, our great friends Sara and Jerry Grayson have made an incredible IMAX film called "The Earth Wins".  They have had a great response for it in the States and are seeking some support for its distribution.  It features footage they have taken over the last few years whilst aerially filming (mostly in a helicopter) international sporting events such as the soccer World Cup in South Africa, the Athens Olympics and the Doha Asian Games and it is AMAZING.  I have only seen a promo, but to watch this on a full size IMAX screen would be breathtaking.  Also the music is brilliant and  includes The Temper Trap and New Order, as well as Cold Play and The Who.

This film needs to be seen, especially by, as the website says, "an entire generation of young adults who are about to inherit the earth".   Click on this link and be a part of a truly inspiring project.