27 November 2012

Just cos

So here's a post just for my friend who has posted this very funny pic on Fbook:

Yes I must admit that yesterday I did crack a lovely bottle of extremely wooded chardonnay. However today, when opened the door of the fridge, I spied a little baggie of something that is a healthier kind of weakness.

My local Independent Grocers (yes people, IGA stands for something more than just "convenience store") has the most amazingly fresh, plump, crisp, young cos lettuce leaves and I never can resist a bagful whenever I am in there. Sadly the Hass avocadoes were a little overripe so my usual go-to of "Cos, avo, lemon juice, olive oil" soupy salad was a no-go.

As my hand reached into the fridge for milk for a post-dinner cuppa, it emerged clutching the bag of lettuce like an addict. So here's the craving recipe of the day, healthy-style:

Rinse young cos lettuce leaves.
Decide they are too pretty to slice up.
In a coffee mug, pour some olive oil, then a splash (roughly 1:3 or 1:4) of balsamic vinegar, ground salt, ground pepper and some dried thyme from your homegrown windowsill stash. Swill it around and then pour it in lines over the leaves.
Pick up the leaves by hand and eat them, letting the dressing run all over your hands and cover your phone with oil when you decide to take a photo halfway through:

crunch crunch crunch smile

I did also have a cuppa. Now, I spy some leftover chardonnay in the fridge, excuse me...

15 November 2012

...because we all love a good Kanga Banga...

I just got home from Peru, and had been chatting away with a bunch of North and South Americans about the Australian love of Skippy. To eat, that is. (I ate lots of delicious alpaca dishes, and I even tried guinea pig!)

So, I had a metric sshttonne of things to do after almost forty hours in transit - unpacking, work catchups, clean the house, get the bung oven door fixed... but no, it all had to wait because I NEEDED to cook. Every now and then I just crave fresh food and the joy of wielding a knife into it. I popped down to the local IGA and bought some you beaut fresh fennels (did I mention I forgot my oven was limply hanging open and not safe for use?) in amongst a basketful of luscious green stuff. I knew I had a freezer full of meat and on my arrival home I was pleased to see these bad boys in the top drawer:

A quick defrost in the micro-onde and a cue for Sale of the Century thinking music. Yes, I often build my meals around the protein.

I introduced my Dadsy to fennel with my oven roasted warm salad, and as is his way, he's made it his own by making it the star of many a stirfry, often with beef. I ran with that idea at a recent impromptu extended rellies Shiraz Shindig, serving pan seared kangaroo steaks sliced on the oblique and juicy atop my ovenated fennel.

So, what was it for lunch? Bush tomato Skippy & Fennel Stirfry of course!

It went something like this:
(Jetlag permitting)

Slice the fennel into 1cm-ish width short strips, chuck into hot wok with a generous drizzle of olive oil; pull out some frozen lemon slices from your stash (fresh or bottled juice would be fine too) and chuck them in too. Pour over some water, loads of cracked pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to help with the caramelisation.

Meanwhile, grab your defrosted kangaroo snags (mine already had herbs and bush tomato flavouring) and snip the skins off with some scissors or a knife.
Chuck the meat into a big bowl and smoosh into chunks with a spoon.

Add equal splashes of light soy sauce and dry sherry, heaps of pepper and a punch of sugar or tiny bit of balsamic. By now the fennel is pretty much cooked through (go for soft, not al dente) and the liquid in the pan has reduced. Add the lovely roo meat lumps, stirfry the bejeezus out of the mix...

...and hey presto, lunch is served!

(Albeit, not particularly photogenic!)

I'm a very lucky girl, my past self really looks after me, so I was able to have a box of rice reheated out of the freezer in a jiffy. However, I reckon this recipe could be served with pasta, potatoes or cous cous as the carb base. Also, I reckon the addition of some olives and a dollop of tomato (tins, paste or sauce) could easily convert this to more Mediterranean feel.

Mmm, next time I'll use roo steak (more on that later). But only because good alpaca can be hard to find here.

Yay, leftovers for dinner too. Good to be home in the kitchen.