The title for this post stems from a Monty Python skit from my youth (circa late 1970s). I was going to post the YouTube video and embed it into this post but when I watched it I realised in 2015 it would offend many people.
So in my fiftieth year (please send gifts in May ) I’m celebrating Australia Day with a long weekend of lots of food and eating. I’ve been reading a few blogs, news articles and social media updates on how people regard Australia Day. Many Australians want to change the day, many Australians want it to recognise another aspect of Australia’s history, and many Australians are happy to leave it as it is and enjoy a public holiday after the first few weeks of returning to work after the Christmas–New Year break. For me, I’d like to see a time when all Australians are happy and content with their lot, a time when we are an happy amalgam of the best aspects of many cultures and language groups striving for peace and happiness on our island (including Tasmania, the islands of New Zealand plus all the territories [some islands and a good chunk of Antarctica] claimed by Australia) on the third rock from Sol. Is that too much to ask?
So what have I been eating over the Australia Day long weekend?
The weekend started on Friday evening but I’ve already posted about dinner out with Bron at Sage Dining Rooms.
I woke up on Saturday morning and decided I’d have a fry up. It was inspired by that day’s QI Podcast. The QI elves discussed as one of the week’s facts a proposition from PETA to rename the hamlet of Fryup to Vegan Fryup.
A different take on the great British fry up http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/mar/22/british-fry-up-disgrace-breakfast
On Saturday afternoon I went on a constitutional around Lake Ginninderra.
About two thirds of the way around it started to pour with rain and I got soaked through. It was worth it though. It was lovely and warm in the rain.
I skipped lunch on Saturday and made an early tea with some Angus beef Scotch rib fillet steak along with some beetroot coleslaw on a sesame seed bun that had been fried in butter and smeared with Persian feta. The steak was topped with some American mustard.
On Sunday morning I caught up with Bron and we headed to The Cupping Room for breakfast. Rather than revisiting what we’d had before we both chose different dishes.
I went for the hotcakes which were on a specials list.
Bron went for the Huevos Bollo which is what I want to try next time.
Is this phallic art or latte art?
It’s a pity I don’t live closer to The Cupping Room. I’d probably be there every weekend if I did. The coffee is great. The food is magnificent. The service is super friendly.
We’d been invited to friends’ place for lunch. It was spectacular.
This plate reveals a fantastic lunch of beef sausage, roast butterflied leg of lamb with yoghurt and a haloumi and fig salad with roasted potatoes.
For dessert we were treated to a magnificently made pavlova. The creator was born in New Zealand and is now also an Australian citizen. Rather than start an argument about whether the pavlova is an Australian or New Zealand invention, I just lost myself in the pillowy smoothness of a perfect meringue along with fresh fruit and luscious whipped cream. I’m very grateful to Lauren and Mike for a magnificent meal.
After getting home I started preparing for my Monday Australia Day tea. I planned to cooked some lamb.
I bought a boneless butterflied shoulder of lamb from Coles. Normally I’d buy it with the bone in because I love dissecting large joints of flesh and following planes of dissection with my fingers and boning knife. For this dish though I went for convenience over fun.
Even though I’d eaten a huge amount of food for breakfast and lunch I still felt hungry for dinner and made an open burger for tea.
So it’s Monday 2015-01-26 Australia Day. The Australian of the Year was announced last night and the Order of Australia honours list is published. I’ve had a quiet day. My plan was a light breakfast and a skipped lunch with the focus being on an early tea of the slowly roasted lamb and some salad. I’ve been for a short walk and have watched a bit of Star Trek The Next Generation.
Well I didn’t skip lunch entirely, I did have a few dessert spoons of peanut paste. That reminds me in the Sage Dining Rooms post I wrote that I would explain why I refer to peanut paste and not peanut butter. My formative years were in Brisbane in the late 1960s and 1970s. Everyone in Brisbane referred to peanut paste. Whenever we heard the term peanut butter it was usually on Sesame Street or Charlie Brown comics and we assumed it was an American term. Later in life when I was exposed to people from other parts of Australia I heard them use the term peanut butter. On investigation it seems that in some states of Australia including Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, dairy farmers had persuaded legislators that only butter made from milk could be called butter. In the latter half of the 1900s the legislation was rescinded so that peanut farmers and processors could sell their product as peanut butter to better compete on the open market. Like all language traditions, the terms of our forebears stick for some time. Children in Brisbane now wouldn’t know what peanut paste is but that doesn’t stop some of their parents using the term.
I’ll continue to use words that I’m familiar with and which I decide to use. The words we use as humans reflect who we are and help define us as individuals. I’m proud of my upbringing just as people from other parts of Australia are proud of their upbringing and the vocabulary they desire.
Early in the afternoon after letting the meat get to room temperature I started preparing my casserole. I prefer cooking slow roasts of meat in a casserole. It controls the cooking nicely and I’ve never had a joint of meat that hasn’t come out tender, juicy and moist throughout.
The rosemary comes from the side of the road near where I live (outside Swimming Australia).
This is the boneless butterflied shoulder in the casserole with the marinade juices plus a sprinkling of quinoa to absorb the juices during the long and slow cooking process.
I put the casserole into the oven for about three hours at 150 °C. A kitchen hint for blokes who don’t like cleaning up hard to clean pots. I put a sheet of baking paper between the lid and the main body of the casserole. It keeps the lid clean and one less thing to scrub.
To go with the lamb I made a fennel salad with parsley, red onion and capers (I also added Kensington Pride mango later).
The finished dish looked like this. I now have a good amount of meat and salad for lunches this week
So this has been a bit of a mammoth post. If you didn’t read all the words I hope you enjoyed the photographs.