Tonight I made sous vide duck breast with lentils, broccolini, and potato mash. For the full recipe and story go to Yummy Lummy.
Filet mignon and crunchy chickpea salad
Check out the full recipe and story at Yummy Lummy.
I had my heart set on a bug roll, that is, a Moreton Bay bug (slipper lobster) roll. I got to the seafood shop this morning, and there were no bugs, no lobsters either! There were prawns though, so I bought prawns for a prawn roll.
The motivation for this was again Lorraine Elliott who is better known as Not Quite Nigella. This week, Lorraine wrote about lobster rolls.
- Prawns (cooked and peeled)
- Mayonnaise (I used Kewpie wasabi flavoured mayonnaise)
- Pickled jalapeño peppers (chopped)
- Red chilli (diced)
- Bread roll (I bought a crusty baguette)
- Butter (Lurpak spreadable)
- Iodised salt
- White pepper
- Parsley (chopped)
- In a bowl add some mayonnaise, the chopped jalapeño peppers, and chopped chilli. Mix with a fork and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fold some chopped parsley into the spicy mayonnaise.
- Roughly cross-section cut the prawns and fold the prawn meat to the mayonnaise.
- Make a midline longitudinal incision along the baguette’s ventral surface and spread the two flaps apart with your thumbs to open the incision.
- Spread a nudge of butter on the incision surfaces of the baguette.
- Spread a little butter on the outside of the baguette.
- Toast the lateral surfaces of the baguette in a sandwich press.
- If you’ve added too much butter to the incision surfaces, some melted butter will bleed from the incision. The question I have for you though is, is there such a thing as too much butter?
- Once the baguette’s outer lateral surfaces are toasted, remove it and gently open the incision and spoon the prawns coated in spicy mayonnaise into the buttery baguette’s incision.
- Serve the prawn roll with a side salad of shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber, and halved cherry tomatoes.
I am a little disappointed I couldn’t get a Moreton Bay bug today; however, the prawns were a reasonable substitute.
The spicy mayonnaise complemented the prawns nicely, and the warm buttery baguette provided great contrasting mouthfeel. As far as rolls go, this prawn roll was pretty good.
What would you prefer? Lobster? Bug? Prawns?
After chopping and dicing the pickled jalapeño peppers and chilli, I had to attend the water closet.
Without going into any inappropriate detail, I will be buying disposable gloves to wear on my hands for when I chop and dice pickled jalapeño peppers and chilli. This experience took the shine off, enjoying eating the prawn roll.
So, here I am. I succumbed to the commercial marketing and bought a lump of lamb to cook and eat on the gazetted public holiday officially known as Australia Day.
- Boneless rolled lamb shoulder
- Iodised salt
- Whole black peppercorns
- White refined sugar
- Chilli flakes
- Kent pumpkin
- Brown onion
- Broccoli florets
- Gravox instant gravy
- The night before, or the morning of cooking, remove the lamb from the plastic vacuum wrapping. Dry the surfaces with a towel. Season the outer surfaces with salt and put the lamb back into the refrigerator to dry brine.
- Turn on the oven and set the thermostat to 180 °C.
- With a pestle, grind out some salt, pepper, sugar, and chilli flakes within the mortar chamber.
- Rub the ground salt, pepper, sugar, and chilli onto the lamb flesh and fat. Don’t be gentle, really rub it in.
- Heat a skillet to be smoking hot.
- Sear the outer surfaces of the lamb in the skillet. There’s no need for any extra oil. The sugar and the rendered fat from the lamb will caramelise the outer surfaces of the lamb.
- Insert a wireless thermometer probe deep within the flesh of the lamb. You want the tip of your temperature probe to hit the perfect spot.
- Smear some cooking oil onto a baking sheet and place the seared lamb on it.
- Rub leftover salt, pepper, sugar, and chilli onto the surface of a wedge of pumpkin and place it next to the lamb.
- Top and tail the brown onion.
- Put the lamb, onion, and pumpkin into the oven and cook according to the app connected to the wireless thermometer probe you’ve inserted deep into the flesh. The aim is to get an internal temperature of 54 °C.
- While the lamb and pumpkin are roasting, steam the frozen broccoli florets and allow the florets to cool a little.
- Put the broccoli florets into a mixing bowl and season with salt and add a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Toss the broccoli florets in the salt and oil. When the app suggests 20 minutes are remaining for the lamb, add the broccoli florets to the baking sheet.
- According to the app, observe the resting time to ensure a succulent, juicy piece of meat.
- Make the gravy according to the instructions for use on the tin.
- Carve enough of the lamb with a sharp knife for the meal.
- Wrap the remaining lamb and refrigerate for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
- Serve the meat with the gravy and vegetables.
How did you spend today?
Chickpea Jalapeño potato salad
Lorraine Elliott, who is also known as Not Quite Nigella inspired this meal. This is her recipe with a few additions from me.
- Kewpie wasabi mayonnaise
- White onion
- Pickled sliced jalapeño peppers
- Tinned chickpeas
- Spring onion
- Iodised salt
- Whole black peppercorns
- Boil the spuds until you can use a long sharp tool and penetrate the skin and flesh easily with no resistance.
- Remove the boiled spuds from the water and refrigerate overnight to permit the formation of resistant starch.
- Smile knowing my microbiota will be grateful (if bacteria were sentient).
- The next night, cut the cold boiled spuds into bite-sized pieces with a sharp knife.
- Put the spuds into a large mixing bowl and then squirt in some Kewpie Wasabi mayonnaise and a small handful of pickled sliced jalapeño peppers.
- Finely dice a white onion and add the chopped onion to the mixing bowl.
- Finely slice the spring onion and add the spring onion to the mixing bowl.
- Add in the tin of chickpeas because legumes are also useful for my microbiota.
- Gently mix everything to avoid disintegrating the spuds.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix.
- Peel the shells from the prawns and undertake a colectomy to remove the alimentary canal.
- Transfer everything to a serving bowl and garnish with some peeled prawns.
- Grab a fork, take the bowl, sit in front of the TV, and watch a movie while enjoying the potato salad.
What movie did I watch?
I watched one of my favourite movies, viz., Chariots of Fire. I love the story of Eric Liddell and how he put God and principles before King and country.
What’s all the microbiota talk?
Readers who know me know that I like listening to books. I’m not much of a reader of books, but I’ll happily listen to a book.
I’m a fan of the Audible app and buying audible books from Amazon. To get more users, Audible has provided some free books to get people in.
One of the recent free offerings has been a 10 episode podcast by Dr Joanna McMillan. Joanna is a nutrition scientist and a practising nutritionist. Check her out at her website.
I think some people assume that we learn everything we need to know in medical school about nutrition. Given I went through medical school from 1983 to 1989 (yes that’s seven years, I did an extra degree during the course) it’s no surprise I’m a bit behind. My interest in our microbiota has been in the context of pathology and infection. It’s only recently, as I’ve endeavoured to improve my health that I’m thinking more about my microbiota.
If you’re interested in gut health, I reckon you’ll enjoy listening to Joanna. Her Scottish accent also helps!
One topic that Joanna bangs on about is resistant starch. For a good synopsis of resistant starch, you cannot only listen to Joanna, but you can read about it on the CSIRO website.
You’ll see more legumes and raw oats in my Instagram feed in the future.
Potatoes and rice are useful sources of resistant starch if you cook them and then allow them to cool before eating them. That’s why I cooked the spuds yesterday and then refrigerated the potatoes.
How was the potato salad?
It was good. It certainly had a big kick to it with the jalapeño peppers, wasabi mayonnaise, and the red chilli. I split it in half and will finish it off tomorrow night.
Chilli garlic prawns and rice
I did a linguine and garlic prawns a few weeks ago. Tonight, I thought I’d do something with an Asian bent.
- Raw prawns (large banana prawns)
- Tomato sauce
- Soy sauce
- Sweet chilli sauce
- Garlic (sliced with a mandolin)
- Ginger (grated)
- Chilli flakes
- Chilli (cut in strips)
- Spring onion
- White onion
- Whole black peppercorns (freshly ground)
- Broccoli florets
- Marinate the raw prawns (with the shell on) in a bowl of tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and chilli flakes.
- Leave the prawns in the marinade in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- Cook the rice however you please.
- Heat a wok until it’s smoking hot.
- Add in some high vapour point oil, e.g., Queensland nut oil.
- Fry off some garlic, ginger, spring onions and white onions and then add in the prawns and marinade.
- Cook the prawns by stir-frying them until they turn red.
- Add in the broccoli florets and mix everything until the broccoli florets soften a little.
- Serve in a bowl and eat with the rice using chopsticks.
- Some people will want to eat the prawns by sucking them off and then breaking the head off and sucking its head. The next step is peeling the prawns and eating the chilli-flavoured hot flesh.
- I do it differently; I hold the prawn with my chopsticks and suck the juice off it and then eat the whole prawn, including the shell, head, and legs.
- If I was cooking this for someone else, I would peel the prawns and remove the alimentary canal first because I know most people would prefer it that way.
How do you eat prawns?
10 hours slowly cooked lamb shoulder
During the week, a work friend, viz., MH, mentioned that she cooked two legs of lamb for 10 hours each for Christmas dinner. MH has a large family who all live in rural Victoria.
I’m quite fond of lamb, but I prefer the forequarter rather than a hind leg (also known as the shoulder). I am aware a lot of people aren’t keen on lamb meat. The odour from cooking and cooked lamb is distinct, and some people are put off by it. One of my daughters isn’t keen on lamb meat. Part of her distaste is that she eschews all animal fat and lamb can be quite fat. I like eating breakfast with this daughter because she cuts off all her bacon fat. Guess who gets the discarded bacon fat?
My anatomical preference for lamb is in contrast to my taste for chicken. For chicken, I am a thigh lover over the breasts and wings.
As I was thinking about this meal, I thought I’d try to get things started in the slow cooker at about 6 am so I’d have the meat ready well before my 6 pm dinner deadline.
The day didn’t start as planned. Oddly for me, I slept in and didn’t start the preparation until about 6.30 am.
Last night, I went for a walk and foraged (stole or acquired) a large amount of rosemary from a few bushes on the footpath outside a local hotel.
I browned the fat and muscle meat in a large frying pan over high heat to prepare the lamb.
I added all the rosemary in the slow cooker after I scrunched it up and rubbed it vigorously in my hands to break down the leaves a little to release the natural oils. I also cut a knob of garlic in half, sliced one white onion and put it into the cooking vessel.
Add about ¼ cup of dry oregano leaves and a cup of stock.
I then put the lamb into the slow cooker and discovered it was slightly too big. I had to get a knife and cut away some muscle bundles to get the lid to seal correctly.
After ten hours, I opened the slow cooker and removed the shoulder. The fat and muscle meat were coming away from the bones, making the transfer to a tray in one piece difficult. The meat’s tenderness wasn’t a problem because I wanted to pull the muscle bundles off than carve away large cuts from the bone.
Most of the lamb meat is now in an airtight container and refrigerated. Lamb will be a feature of lunches and dinners this week.
If you’re wondering what I did with the cooking juices, well wonder no more. I filtered out the rosemary, garlic, and onion and used the liquid to make a gravy.
I made a roux with a little flour and butter in a saucier pan and cooked it for about 3 minutes. I added the meat juices and cooking liquid and stirred it until a gravy consistency developed.
To accompany tonight’s lamb shoulder roast, I roasted a wedge of Kent pumpkin as well as some broccolini.
I coated the pumpkin with black peppercorns, iodised salt crystals, hot chilli flakes and refined white sugar which I ground in a mortar with a pestle. I like adding a little sugar to help with the caramelisation of the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in an oven at 180 °C for about 45 minutes.
I gently rubbed the broccolini with some olive oil and cooked it with the pumpkin for the 20 minutes of the cooking period.
MH and another workmate, viz., AP, gave me a cultured butter gift on Thursday. I see lamb and gravy rolls on buttered bread being a thing next week.
Cheat’s shepherd’s pie
I cheated by buying lamb that was already minced (ground for North American readers) and microwave potato mash.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 500 g lamb, minced (80% lean 20% fat)
- 210 g Mutti tinned tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 packet potato mash (I used Bird’s Eye)
- 1 cup provolone, finely grated
- Prepare the vegetables.
- Sautée the onion and carrot and then add the lamb.
- When the lamb is brown add in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomatoes.
- Mix and cook until it has thickened sufficiently to hold its own.
- If this is taking too long and if you feel you’ll be dead and buried before it thickens, add in a few teaspoons of corn flour to thicken the sauce.
- Turn on the oven to 180 °C.
- Put the cooked mince into a baking tray.
- Mix the cheese into the potato mash which has been cooked using microwave radiation.
- Pray there is enough potato mash to cover the lamb. If there isn’t make sure the centre is covered and use cheese for the edges.
- Spread the cheesy mash over the cooked lamb.
- Put the tray into a hot oven for 20 minutes or until the cheesy potato mash is golden brown.
- Allow the shepherds pie to rest for at least five minutes so it doesn’t wobble if you shake the tray. You need to make sure when you take a large serving spoon and penetrate the crust of that cheesy potato mash that it cuts through cleanly and you get a firm portion of cooked mince with cheesy potato mash on top.
If you don’t like lamb
If you don’t like lamb, use minced (ground) beef and it’s a cottage pie.
Don’t hate on people who don’t like lamb. Not everyone likes it. I like it and whenever someone says they don’t like something I like rather than make fun of them, I usually say thanks, that means more for me 😊
Be kind everyone. We’re in 2021 now and we need to be kind to everyone.
Fried rice with pork three-ways
- Pork belly
- Long grain rice
- Chinese sausage (lup chong)
- Speck (smoked pork belly)
- Spring onions
- Red onion
- Frozen peas
- Soy sauce
- Cooking sherry
- Queensland nut oil
- Iodised salt
- Black pepper
- Cook rice in the morning and refrigerate.
- Slice the lup chong.
- Dice the speck.
- Cook the pork belly in a hot oven (220 °C) for 40 minutes to create cracking.
- Slice the spring onions. Slice the white on an angle for a fancy look and the green on a right angle for a more traditional look.
- Slice the red onion into large slices.
- Slice the chillies. You need to figure out whether you want to remove the seeds or not. The chilli seeds add to the heat. I kept the seeds, mainly because I’m lazy.
- Heat a wok to a smoking hot.
- Squirt in some Queensland nut oil and start to fry off the spring onion greens and red onion.
- Add in the speck and lup chong and stir fry until the Chinese sausage and fancy bacon takes on some colour.
- Toss in the chilli and stir fry and add a splash of cooking sherry along with the marmalade.
- Add in the cold rice and break up with the spatula. Add some soy sauce and keep everything moving in the wok.
- With a sharp, heavy knife cut the pork belly into cubes.
- Press down the spatula on the rice to get more contact with the hot metal of the wok. Doing so enables a better Maillard reaction. I add marmalade because the sugar will assist with this process.
- You want a crunchy rice texture and mouthfeel.
- Once the rice is crunchy, turn off the heat and then stir through the pork belly and the fancy shaped spring onion white bits.
I know there are lots of spelling variations for Chinese sausage. The way I’ve spelt it in the ingredients is how we used to say it as kids at home. I don’t mind how you spell it.