About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006
It's Over
Well, Easter is over for another year.

We've cooked till we dropped - again. After all the cooking we've done lately maybe we are on the cusp of opening a restaurant. Then I would get to yell at my suppliers. My whole lamb shoulder was not what one could call a prime example of lamb butchery, and from one of my favourite butchers too. So I selected the better of the two sections for rolling and roasting and the other section was turned into spring lamb stew.

The butcher had kindly left ALL the fat on, so it took some time to trim up both pieces into something that wouldn't leave that woolly lamb fat taste in ones mouth. It's always a bit tricky trimming fat from meat when the two are interwoven, but after a bit managed to get two hills, one of fat and the other meat; sadly the fat hill was bigger than the meat hill.

Anyway on with the stew. Brown the meat, check. Soften the carrots and onions, check. Add flour and cook out, check. Add garlic, bouquet garni, white wine, chicken stock, tinned tomatoes and season, check and pause. Say, I'm not making Osso Bucco am I? If there was some added chopped celery and besides the different meats, up to this point the recipes are identical. Yet garnishes aside, the results are completely different. However there is one garnish I never add to Osso Bucco as it overwhelms the delicate veal taste, that I would be prepared to add to spring lamb stew, and that is gremolata, the savoury blend of earthy parsley, spicy lemon zest and pungent garlic, all finely chopped together.

It's always interesting to see how people react to new tastes. My older kids were over on Saturday night and they had the lamb stew. One of the vegetables to go with it are turnips. I asked one of my sons what he thought of them and he looked blankly at me.

"What turnips?"

"The ones you ate."

"I didn't eat any turnips."

Looking at his clean plate, "Yes you did."

It sort of didn't surprise me as I recall years ago, I served up turnips to my mum who was very much a meat and potatoes kind of gal. When I asked her how did she feel about not having poatoes, she indignantly told me she had had them, until I pointed out what she ate were turnips.

Next year though I must make more of an effort to go to the blessing of the eggs. Every year my wife D dyes hard boiled eggs all different colours and applies pretty transfers to them, then takes them to the church in a basket along with some bread, kielbasa (sausage) and salt for blessing by the priest. On Easter Sunday morning we then have an egg cracking competition to see whose egg can last the longest before eating them and all the other blessed food.

This year because I was busy in the kitchen, D took our daughter M. D was not very happy with me and it looks like someone else wasn't happy either, for on the first crack my egg collapsed, turning it around for my revenge shot, the other end also went out with a whimper.

Oh well, there's always next year. And maybe a whole suckling pig too.
  posted at 9:49 am

At 10:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Neil,

Yay for Easter. for it being over that is. We also had that egg race, and I got the top cap egg, not that any of the Lebo's there really gave a flying f(u no what). Got your call today but i didnt get a chance to ring. Will tomorrow if Lani doesnt get your allotted spot, hehe. Got my computer back too, as you can see. The best thing about Easter is definately the food. Man, the foooood, was fabulous this year. Kipha (raw lamb with oil) and sambuka (fried lamb in pastry), barbeques galore and doughy soup. Unreal. Well, ill call you and swap notes.

At 8:15 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi Greg, yeah, the food is definately the best. We both share a love for all things Middle Eastern.

At 11:51 am, Blogger Angela said...

Happy belated Easter! Sounds like you had a delicious celebration....as usual.

I am sorry to hear about your lamb. Nothing more disapointing than a bigger fat hill.

Do you think any other kind of meat would work in your Spring stew??


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