I love a long weekend. Apart from J playing golf on the Monday, we had nothing planned, so it was perfect for relaxing and pottering around the house. And trying out some new recipes!
The following is what was made in our house over the June long weekend.
First up was a herb and cheese cornbread. This was actually for breakfast on Sunday. Occasionally I like to do what I call a ‘nice’ breakfast on the weekends. This is anything that isn’t cereal, toast or yoghurt. I had a flick through some of my recipes books and presented J with around five options. He chose the cornbread recipe which is served with scrambled eggs. As the cornbread takes a little bit of time to cook I decided to make it on Saturday. I think it turned out well. It was a bit dry, I am not sure if it is supposed to be like that or not? J had quite a few pieces on Saturday with cream cheese and honey which balanced out the dryness.
The cornbread was the first thing out of the oven and finished but the first recipe I prepped was bread rolls. This is the second time I have made rolls and I have been happy with the results both times. There is something very satisfying about kneading and making your own bread. I have made red onion and olive focaccia before and that is really good too.
I think bread is easy to make, as long as the water is the right temperature and the yeast is active. Don’t use out-of-date yeast! It is a time consuming process though. Depending on the type of bread, you have to let the dough sit in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour, then, with these particular rolls, once you have knocked the bread back down and divided it into the individual rolls, you have to let them rise for at least 15 minutes as well. Then you bake them. But it is worth it, just make sure you don’t start them an hour before you want to eat them!
I made the rolls to have with the soup I was making for lunch. I love soup and it is one of the very few things I like about winter. This was a new soup, creamy pumpkin and leek, served with yoghurt and parsley. It was very tasty, and we ate it outside in the sun with hot-out-of-the-oven bread rolls. The soup also gave me an excuse to use my new stick blender. I am in love with this kitchen appliance, so much easier than transferring the soup to the food processor in batches and then back in to the saucepan to reheat.
Dinner on Saturday night was veal osso bucco. This recipe came from Gary on MasterChef who made it on one of the Friday night MasterClasses. I didn’t actually see him do the whole dish, just caught the tail end of it, and thought, wow that looks good, I want to try it.
This dish takes a while to cook and I had planned to start it at 4pm, so we would be eating it around 7pm. However, I had to take our cat, B, to the vet’s as she had been injured in a fight with another cat, so after I got her all patched up and drugged (for the pain) it was after 5pm when I started this dish.
Once all the chopping, dicing and prepping is done, it is just a matter of throwing everything into a pan and letting it cook for an hour or two, giving it a stir now and then. The first step in the recipe says to preheat your oven to 180 degrees. But it never says to put the dish in the oven, I cooked it all on the stove top.
By the end of the cooking time the meat was falling off the bones, it was very tender. J had to plate this dish up as I had a very tired and felling-sorry-for-herself cat passed out on my lap and being the spoilt cat that she is we didn’t want to disturb her!
We ate the osso bucco with the more of the bread rolls and it was good. I didn’t love it but I would probably make it again. It is not a pretty dish, but does taste better than it looks.
Sunday started with scrambled eggs on the cornbread I made on Saturday. I heated the bread up in the oven and served the eggs over the top. I haven’t made scrambled eggs in ages and they turned out really well and worked perfectly with the cornbread. No pic of this dish.
Lunch was a sausage in bread at Bunnings. Bunnings is a hardware store on steroids, you can get everything for your home and garden, including the kitchen sink, here. Since becoming homeowners we have spent a lot of time and money at Bunnings, and we are equal distance between two stores, which is rather handy. J will tell me he is off to Bunnings and I won’t see him for at least three hours.
Charities, schools and sporting clubs take it in turns to host a sausage sizzle out the front of Bunnings to raise money. At $2.50 a sausage it is an excellent fund raiser, and I know that the store in Launceston, Tasmania has a nine month wait list for a Saturday sausage spot.
Here is my question: Do you buy and eat your sausage before you go into Bunnings, or after you have done your shopping and are heading to your car?
After a bit of observation on my behalf it seems the second option is most popular. However, I prefer the other way. The first time we went we brought a sausage after we had done our shopping. Now, this means you are carrying everything you have purchased in the store, possibly pushing a trolley, you then need to dig your wallet or purse back out again, buy the required sausages, and carry them, as well as everything else, to your car through a very busy carpark. You then have to unlock your car and unload everything. If you haven’t managed to eat your sausage on the way how do you manage all this?
Buying and eating your sausage before you shop is much more practical in my opinion. We did this on Sunday. We could leisurely and comfortably eat our sausages before heading into the store, and while watching everyone else attempt the juggling act described above.
Dinner on Sunday night was a pasta ragu. J cooked this one. He simmered the ragu on the stove top for ages. And he made the fettuccine himself. I helped a bit with rolling it out through the pasta machine. It is a messy process, there was flour everywhere, but it is worth it. Fresh home-made pasta is a lot better than the dried stuff. No pics of the finished dish, just one of the pasta making process.
I baked coconut bread on Monday. This was inspired by seeing a lot of people eating this at Bill’s in Sydney. The recipe is in one of his cookbooks. This bread is best eaten warm and with lots of butter.
We had some lamb shanks in the freezer and I think the best way to cook these is to do them in the slow cooker. I normally do them with tomatoes and lentils but I tried a new recipe this time, spicy Asian lamb shanks. They were put on around 11am and simmered away for 8 hours. I love the slow cooker and don’t use it nearly enough. I don’t like having it on all day if no-one is home, which used to mean I would only use it on weekends, but J is working from home now so I can start using it during the week if I want. Throw everything in it the night before and get him to switch it on for me the next day.
It is lovely to have the smell of dinner wafting through the house throughout the day and the recipes are normally quite easy.
J cooked cous cous and I steamed some carrots and beans, and dinner was ready! Another dish that tastes a lot better than it looks.
And then the long weekend was over. I was very pleased with my cooking efforts, it is nice to have the time to do something you enjoy and get satisfaction out of it.