|A wonderful way to wake up on Australia Day morning...watching the sun rise over the ocean (Acrylic painting by me)|
|Kidney bean rissoles/patties|
I’m typing slowly. I suggest you follow suit - read slowly. The madness behind my reasoning for unhurried writing and for you reading at a snail’s pace is both might succeed in making 2016 slacken in tempo; for 2016 not to rush by like a maniac. I want to at least be able to eat my leftovers from the Festive Season just past before the next one begins! Let’s leave the breaking of speed records to Daniel Ricciardo, Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton and other motor aces. Strike me pink! 2015 is cactus! 2016 is already off to a flying start.
I must’ve been away with the fairies...or is that not politically-correct these days! Okay then – I must have been away with the pixies (either which way) – ‘aving a good time, I hope.
I woke up to discover Aussie Day, 26th January, is only one sleep away! I’ll ‘ave to make sure I crack a few tinnies or skull a Glenfiddich (the bottle)! I let the side down by ‘aving only two Crownies on Chrissie Day.
Fair dinkum! What kind of true blue Aussie does that make me?
Don’t get ya knickers in a knot! Fair suck of the sav! Ya can bet ya bottom dollar I’ll make up for draggin’ the chain somewhere along the way. Holy-dooly! Go ‘ave a cuppa; take a Bex and ‘ave a lie down. She’ll be apples, mate!
On Chrissie Eve morning I got the shock of me life. Like a stunned mullet I was! About to step into me car to head off to IGA, the local supa supermarket, I sensed something behind me. Lost in me own thoughts, thinkin’ about all an’ sundry, I ‘ad a humdinger of a rude wake-up call!
Bloody oath! I almost hit the ground runnin’ leavin’ me car in me wake.
I turned around, and blow me down - there I found, lookin’ me square in me eyes, two Great Danes!
And I don’t mean it was Fred and Mary of Denmark. I ‘ad asked Fred and Maz to swing by for Chrissie drinks seein’ they were just down the road at the Gold Coast, but they said they were a bit nackered after havin’ lots of fun all day long on their boogie board. They’d run out of time. They ‘ad to pack up an’ shoot through down to Tassie to spend Chrissie with Maz’s rellies! No worries – no dramas. I didn’t do me block. I was kinda relieved really. As the day turned out to be a scorcher. Our Mary might soon find herself parked on the Danish throne, but she’s still an Aussie sheila. She’s a nice lookin’ broad, too. She done good for herself; I reckon Fred done good, too. He knew straight away he was oto a good thing that night he slipped into the Slip Inn in Sydney for a drink and cosied up with our girl!
But I've drifted off the beaten track - so I'd best be gettin' back to me story about Chrissie Eve mornin' and the Great Danes of the four-legged variety.
Dinky-Di! Of course I got the shock of me life! Wouldn’t anyone? First thing in the mornin'... mindin’ me own beeswax I hadn’t expected to come eyeball to eyeball with two mammoth dogs breathin’ down me neck!.
They were almost as big as me car. One of ‘em, in particular – the big white one that had a few patches of black on ‘im was as tall as I am! I kid you not! I’m not yanking ya chain!
Both were as ‘appy as two ‘umongous Larrys; big smiles on their faces; tongues flappin’ in the breeze, keen to lick me to death with kindness. They bounced around like two excited ankle-biters on Chrissie morn.
Me two cats, Remy an’ Shama were inside snuggled up in their chosen pozzies for the day. They didn’t have a clue what was goin’ on outside. Although, they probably were wonderin’ what all the bangin’ on the wall was about. The tails of the dogs were waggin’ so much they kept whackin’ the wall of me cabin. And I tell ya...they were fair whacks – enough to wake up the dead! Well, enough to wake up Remy an' Shama, anyway...you know.
I demanded the both of 'em to go back ‘ome; wherever that was! I’d never seen ‘em before. They ignored me order, of course.
Ridgie-didge! I ‘ad a sneakin’ suspicion they might’ve been Rudolph and Prancer in disguise, muckin’ around, checkin’ out the place.
In case me suspicions were spot on I was polite when I told ‘em to stop playing sillybuggers and to rack off!
Dead set! I began to think I ‘ad a few roos loose in the top paddock, if ya know what I mean!
Rudolph an’ Prancer ‘ad nicked off when I got back ‘ome. Just in case they were still hangin' about, I ‘ad a quick Captain Cook about the place, but by then they’d shot through like a couple of Bondi trams.
I felt a bit of a galah when I ‘ad another squizz around later in the arvo; but I didn’t chuck a wobbly when I found they’d given me the flick. I was on me Pat Malone.
I’m gunna throw a couple of snags on the barbie on Aussie Day an’ a lamb chop or two. I’ll bury a few tinnies in ice in the esky. Can’t stand warm beer! That’d be the last gasp!
For brekkie I’m gunna make a damper, an’ while it’s still hot, spread lashings of butter and Vegemite all over it. For lunch I’ll smother the rest in garlic butter.
Maybe while I’m coppin’ an earbashin’ from me cobber who’s a real dag, I’ll make a batch or two of lamingtons for smoko. We'll both be as full as a googsafter that lot!
I’m not knockin’ me mate. We’ve not seen each other in yonks. He’s a larrikin; always good for a laugh. Once he gets wound up he never knows when to stop. He’s as mad as a two bob watch! He’s got more stories to tell than the bush telegraph; with not one porkie amongst them. Who am I tryin’ to kid?
We’ll have a rip-snorter of a chinwag, yabberin‘ our ‘eads off until the cows come home. You betcha we will! He got the rough end of the pineapple a few times, but ‘is blood’s worth bottlin’.
Never one to slacken off or back away from a job, he’s done a lot of hard yakka over the years.
Some drongos who don’t know 'im from a bar of soap think he’s a sandwich short of a picnic, but they’re talkin’ through their hats. They wouldn’t ‘ave a bloody clue. Blindfolded, me mate could run rings around the lot of ‘em, an' they'd still be tryin' to catch up! He ain’t the no-hoper some dipsticks think he is; an’ that’s for bloody sure!
An’ that, me friends, is the drum. Take it from me!
As ya can tell, I get real cheesed off when others try to sell ‘im short. I stick up for me mates!
A word of advice - don’t be a ratbag by gettin’ aggro on Aussie Day.
Here’s the goss; make love, not war. Sweet as!
Ya little bewdy! See youse round like a rissole!
Damper: Using a cast iron pot (with a lid) such as a Le Creuset or Le Chasseur, put it in the oven and pre-heat to 220C (428F). Sift together 375g white bakers flour, 125g wholemeal flour, 4tsp baking powder and 1tsp salt in large bowl. Using your finger tips rub 30g unsalted cold butter, cubed, into flour; you can cheat and do it in a food processor, if that is how you like to do it. Make well in centre; stir in 375ml milk; mix until well combined. The mixture will be sticky. Turn dough onto a well-floured work surface; knead well for 2-3mins until smooth. Form into a tight ball. Cover with clean tea towel; let rest 20mins. When ready to bake, gently brush milk over damper as a glaze. Using a sieve, gently dust the top with some extra flour. Using serrated knife, score the top of damper, about 2cm deep. Remove hot cast iron pot from oven; slide damper into pot using large spatula. Put the lid back on. Place into oven for 20mins. Remove lid; drop the temperature down to 180C (356F); bake further 20mins. Remove the cast iron pot from oven. Use spatula and tongs to remove damper. Cool on wire rack about 30mins or so before cutting into it. Great with loads of butter and golden syrup, too!!
Vegemite-Sausage Rolls: Cook 16 chipolata sausages until light golden; cool. Heat oven, 200C; lightly spray baking tray. Place 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (thawed) on work surface; spread with 2tbs Vegemite (or BBQ sauce if you prefer) right to edges. Cut pastry into 3 even pieces; sprinkle grated cheddar along centre of pastry; place one sausage at end of one pastry piece; roll pastry to enclose sausage; then cut pastry; place cut side down on tray; repeat process; glaze with a little milk; sprinkle with grated parmesan if you like; bake 25mins/until golden.
Aussie Day Lamb: Combine 1tbs Vegemite, 1/4c honey, 2tbs finely-chopped rosemary leaves and 2tbs olive oil; pour over 12 trimmed lamb cutlets; chill 2hrs. Barbecue cutlets over med-heat, 3 to 4mins per side, or until cooked to your liking; serve with barbecued corn cobs and tossed salad.
Rissoles & Brown Onion Gravy: Combine 1 finely diced onion, 300g quality beef mince, 200g pork (or lamb) mince, 1 egg, 3/4c fresh breadcrumbs (preferably made from day or two-day old bread), a in a bowl. Do this is with clean, wet hands so the mixture doesn't stick. Add 1 medium carrot, grated, (or zucchini or 3 to 4 finely-chopped mushrooms,) too if you like; add 2tbs Worcestershire sauce, 3tbs tomato sauce, 1 crushed garlic clove, a teaspoon or so of mixed herbs or Italian herbs, a packet of dry mushroom soup powder (or French Onion Soup); add pepper. If you like you can add a couple of finely-diced, rindless bacon rashers. Combine the mixture well until it isn’t very sticky; add a few more breadcrumbs to get the right consistency, if needed. Roll the mixture into balls, each about 2-1/2 inch to 3-inch diameter (6cm to 7.5cm). Lightly coat in plain flour if you like Press them gently into flat shape. Put a little olive oil into a pan. Turn rissoles over once you can see the meat has cooked up halfway. (You can cook them in the oven, too, if you prefer). Set aside and keep warm when cook. Leave a little oil in the cooking pan. Slice a couple of large brown onions into rings; separate the rings; add to pan; reduce heat to med-low; cook until onions turn translucent and brown; 20-25mins. You can add sliced mushrooms, if you like (or sliced tomato...whatever/whichever or none-ever). Sprinkle 2tbs plain flour over the onions; stir; cook a few minutes until the flour has browned nicely, scraping the tidbits left over from the rissoles into the mix; then stir in 2c beef broth (or 2c water plus 2 beef stock cubes). Put the rissoles back to the pan and spoon a little gravy over each; bring to the boil; reduce heat; cover; simmer about 15mins. Serve with creamy mashed spuds and whatever greens you like...green peas, are always a good choice...yum...yum!
I won’t give a recipe for mashed spuds. I’m sure everyone knows how to make great mashed spuds; mash that suits their individual tastes. I don’t peel the potatoes, even for mashing (the only vegetables I peel are onions and garlic...all others I cook and eat, unpeeled, no matter what the dish is I’m preparing). I love crushed garlic added to my mashed spuds; or finely-chopped onion/parsley/chives or shallots, depending on the mood of the moment. Butter, milk (and cream, if you have some handy) are integral parts of a velvety mash, of course.
Kidney Bean Rissoles: Make marinade: Combine 1/4c balsamic vinegar, 2tsp x-virgin olive oil, 1tsp minced garlic and 1tsp oregano or basil. Drain and rinse 2-1/2c canned kidney beans. Place in bowl; mash; add 1/2c rolled oats, 2tbs tamari, the marinade (or BBQ sauce, if you don’t make the marinade), 1 minced garlic clove, 1 small onion, minced, (or very finely-chopped shallot), a shake of Italian seasoning, ½ to 3/4c baby spinach torn into small pieces, 2-3tbs nutritional yeast and a handful of sunflower and pumpkin (pepita) seeds. Mix well. Heat non-stick pan with a small amount of oil; heat to low-med. Form patties with bean mixture; heat on pan for few minutes on either side until crisp and brown; add a little more oil if pan becomes dry; or add a small amount of the marinade to the pan, instead of the oil, if you prefer.
Lamington Tiramisu: Combine 1c strong espresso and 1/4c Frangelico or Amaretto liqueur. Whisk 2 egg yolks and 3tbs caster sugar until thick and pale; add 250g mascarpone; beat until just combined; add 3tbs of liqueur; fold in 250ml whipped thickened cream. Beat egg whites until soft peaks; gently fold into cream; try not to lose volume. Cut 2 packets Lamington fingers into sizes to just cover base of serving glasses; dip half of fingers, one at a time, into coffee-liqueur; drain; arrange in bases; spoon mascarpone mix over cake; repeat steps until glasses are full to top. Chill at least 4hrs before serving.
Straya Day Cocktail: Place few drops of bitters in a glass; add 30ml Bundy rum, 3tsp fresh lime juice and 1tsp caster sugar; stir to dissolve; add ice cubes, chopped fresh mango or pineapple, mint leaves; add mango nectar or pineapple and a little sparkling water
By the way...I was fair dinkum about the great danes...they really did rock up.....hooroo!