Beef short rib fingers and lentils with roast Tabasco flavoured pumpkin and cauliflower, smothered with gravy

Good evening dear readers.

It was a busy day with work, so I sat at my table while the slow cooker did its thing.

Coles Beef short rib fingers

Ingredients

  • Beef short rib fingers
  • Lentils
  • Beef stock
  • Red wine
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Instant gravy

Instructions

  1. In the slow cooker, add the lentils, red wine, beef stock, a good squirt of the Worcestershire sauce, and a few good squirts of the barbecue sauce.
  2. Cook for 8 hours.
  3. Place the pumpkin and cauliflower onto a baking sheet and rub olive oil over each.
  4. Squirt Tabasco sauce over the pumpkin and cauliflower.
  5. Cook the cauliflower and pumpkin in a hot oven for 45 minutes until a sharp paring knife penetrates both vegetables with no resistance.
  6. Plate up the beef on a dinner plate, add a few spoonfuls of the lentils, and then add the pumpkin and cauliflower on the plate.
  7. Serve with instant gravy.

Final thoughts

  • How are you going?
  • What do you think I’ll do with the leftover beef and lentils?

Slow cooker rump roast

Dear Reader,

Slow cooker Rump Roast with vegetables and gravy. Served with lentils, baby green peas, potato, and mushrooms.

It’s a cold, cloudy day in Canberra, with a maximum forecast temperature of eight degrees Celsius today. That’s 46 °F for any reader in the USA, Liberia, and Burma.

It felt like a good day to have the slow cooker on as well as the heating.

While grocery shopping this morning, I saw a nice lump of rump which looked like it would be perfect for this week’s meal planning.

I hope wherever you are, that you are warm and comfortable.

Have a good weekend.

Gaz

Ingredients

  • Rump roast
  • Barbecue sauce
  • White onion
  • Beef stock
  • Lentils
  • Potato
  • Instant gravy
  • Baby green peas

Instructions

Slow cooker

  1. Empty a tin of lentils into the cooking vessel.
  2. Lay the rump roast on the lentils.
  3. Cut a potato in half and place it into the cooking vessel.
  4. Cut the onion in half and put it into the cooking vessel.
  5. Squirt a good glug of barbecue sauce into the cooking vessel.
  6. Add a cup of beef stock to the cooking vessel.
  7. Cook for eight hours.

Baby green peas

  • Cook the frozen peas with microwave radiation.

Instant gravy

  • Prepare as per the instructions for use on the packaging.

Plating up

  1. Divide the rump into pieces for meal planning for the week. My plans include a pasta dish, some cold slices and salad for lunches, and perhaps a noodle soup.
  2. Divide the lentils and keep some aside for dinner putting the rest into a container.
  3. Slice a small piece of beef and put it onto a warmed dinner plate.
  4. Serve a spoon of lentils and the potato onto the dinner plate.
  5. Put the baby green peas onto the dinner plate.
  6. Pour the gravy over the meat and vegetables.
  7. Give thanks to the Lord for wages earned to buy food, cook food, and eat food to nourish my body and my enjoyment.

This week’s highlights in life

  • Work has been good. I remain blessed to work with amazing people. 
  • It’s reassuring to see people in Canberra more aware of their health and safety and cognisant that the δ (delta) variant must be respected. This week, I read a paper that revealed that the viral load associated with the δ variant is about 1000 times greater than with the original virus recovered from the beginning of the pandemic. Without wanting to be morbidly crass, I’m in awe of the biology of SARS-COV-2 and the ability of this virus and the infection it causes (COVID-19) to change and adapt. I’m sure if I wasn’t in a sequestered, safe bubble, like Canberra, I’d be feeling more anxious and worried. ^
  • It’s been worrying seeing what has been happening in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland.
  • I started reading John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation. This book is a collection of three of Owen’s seminal works on the “Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers”, “Of Temptation: The Nature and Power of It”, and “The Nature, Power, Deceit, and Prevalency of Indwelling Sin”. It’s a challenging read in a couple of ways. Owen writes in an archaic style, and the subject matter penetrates deeply. 
  • I’m also reading Tim Keller’s Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. The two works are complementary, in my opinion.
  • I received a bunch of fresh free-range eggs from a friend this week. Fresh eggs are the best!

Final thoughts

  • Have you enjoyed fresh free-range eggs? How do you like to cook them?
  • How have you been coping this week with the pandemic?
  • Are you in an area where the δ variant is circulating in your community?
  • What’s the weather like where you are at the moment? Let me know in the comments how you’re enjoying the weather (or not).

^The Bible App I use today presented me with Proverbs‬ 12:25‬. (‭ESV)‬‬

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

Lux congee

Last week I concocted a congee with Italian Arborio rice and tri-colour quinoa. I used pulled chicken thigh meat and bacon as the meat.

Tonight, I have pulled beef short rib and Speck for lux congee.

Lux beef short rib finger and Speck congee made with Italian arborio rice and tri-colour quinoa. Served with cucumber and soy sauce.

Ingredients

  • Beef short rib fingers (3)
  • Diced Speck (100 g)
  • Dried anchovies (1 handful)
  • Italian arborio rice (1 cup)
  • Tri-colour quinoa (1 cup)
  • Beef stock (6 cups)
  • Soy sauce
  • Fried shallots

Instructions

  1. Wash the rice and quinoa with cold water until the water is clear and not cloudy.
  2. Put the rice and quinoa into the vessel of a slow cooker.
  3. Add in the stock.
  4. Add in the beef short rib fingers and Speck.
  5. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  6. Remove the cooking vessel and pull out the rib fingers. Pick the meat from the ribs, pull the muscle fibres apart, and add the beef back to the cooking vessel. Unless you leave the beef short rib fingers out for a few minutes, you’ll find the process of removing the meat unpleasant as the tips of your fingers burn from the retained heat. I recommend waiting or trying to ameliorate the problem by wearing a couple of latex gloves on each hand to dampen the transfer of heat from the meat to your nerve ending enriched fingertips.
  7. With a wooden spoon (or a metal spoon if you don’t care about scratching your cookware), mix the beef through the congee (also known as jook).
  8. Remove the congee from the cooking vessel and aliquot into containers.
  9. Serve a bowl of congee with some soy sauce and fried shallots.
  10. Given thanks to the Lord and eat with a spoon.

Final thoughts

  • How would you make congee more luxurious?
  • Do you like adding dried anchovies to give your meals a little more umami?
  • What’s been the highlight of your week?

What’s happened this week?

This past week has been great. Work has been busy and exciting. I am so very grateful for the fantastic people with who I work.

Apart from work, I’ve enjoyed reading Don Carson’s book, “Praying with Paul”. I’ve also been bingeing on YouTube videos featuring Alistair Begg. I love his mixture of humour and seriousness with a gloriously compelling Scottish accent.

William Booth. “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.

Notes

Lux is short for luxury.

Chicken and bacon congee

Dear Reader, 

How are you travelling with work and life at the moment?

Tomorrow, I’m presenting at a national scientific conference. My paper is on two Acts that occupy a good portion of my work time. I’m grateful to my workmates, who drafted the presentation for me.

This conference will be the first I will have attended for more than two years.

The conference is virtual because it is in Sydney, and Sydney currently has a significant outbreak of COVID-19. The NSW Government has implemented restrictions. 

I don’t mind the idea of virtual conferences. I know I will be safer, and I like the idea that I can participate and sleep in my bed and cook my food each day. It also means I can exercise the way I want. I like living without disruption. I like the routines I have developed. Pandemic life is my life.

Apart from work, I’ve been reading good books, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, and David Wilkerson by Gary Wilkerson. I’ve also started the Westminster Confession of Faith.

My current favourite podcast is Gospel in Life, which drops a “show” thrice-weekly and features Timothy Keller, a reformed Presbyterian pastor and communicator from New York City.

I’ve been devouring YouTube videos from The Gospel CoalitionCrossway, and Desiring God. I’ve enjoyed the presentations by Kevin DeYoung, Sinclair Ferguson, John Piper, Jen Wilkin, Melissa Kruger, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, R.C. Sproul, Sam Alberry, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Rebecca McLaughlin.

I’ve also been walking daily. I’m getting about 40 minutes each morning. I begin anywhere between 4 and 5 am, depending on when I feel like getting out of bed. On weekends, I also try to do the 6 km circuit of Lake Ginninderra each day. All up, I’m doing nearly 40 km each week. This gentle exercise has helped me feel better with less joint pain compared with this time last year.

Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs (2)
  • Diced bacon (100 g)
  • Italian arborio rice (1 cup)
  • Tri-colour quinoa (1 cup)
  • Chicken stock (4 cups)

Instructions

  1. Wash the rice and quinoa with cold water until the water is clear and not cloudy.
  2. Put the rice and quinoa into the vessel of a slow cooker.
  3. Add in the stock.
  4. Add in the chicken pieces and the bacon.
  5. Cook on low heat for 6 hours.
  6. Remove the cooking vessel and pull out the chicken thighs. Pick the skin and flesh from the chicken thigh bones and add the meat and skin back to the cooking vessel. Unless you leave the chicken thighs out for a few minutes, you’ll find the process of removing the skin and flesh unpleasant as the tips of your fingers burn from the retained heat in the meat. I recommend waiting or trying to ameliorate the problem by wearing a couple of latex gloves on each hand to dampen the transfer of heat from the meat to your nerve ending enriched fingertips.
  7. With a wooden spoon (or a metal spoon if you don’t care about scratching your cookware), break up the chicken flesh and mix it through the congee (also known as jook).
  8. Remove the congee from the cooking vessel and aliquot into containers.
  9. Serve a bowl of congee with some soy sauce.
  10. Given thanks to the Lord and eat with a spoon.

Final thoughts

  • Apart from work, how have you been spending your time?
  • What books have you been reading?
  • What podcasts have you been enjoying this last week?
  • What YouTube videos have you enjoyed lately?
  • Do you get much exercise?
  • Do you attend many professional conferences? How do you feel about virtual meetings?

Notes

  • I used Italian Arborio rice because I like using ingredients that aren’t typical. Mixing some Italian with my Chinese makes sense to me. It may not make sense to anyone else, but it works for me.
  • What is congee? Congee or jook is rice gruel. My Mum’s chicken jook is my favourite food.
  • Sinclair Ferguson is Scottish and has the most mellifluous speaking voice. 
  • In the 1980s, The Cross and the Switchblade was popular reading. Friends told me to read it then. I’m slow when it comes to recommended reading.

Celebration Pumpkin soup

What am I celebrating? 

My last head cold was in February 2020. I’ve been boastfully rejoicing that the pandemic has proven that if we as a community, if we as a society, observe some simple hygiene principles, we can reduce the number of circulating respiratory infections.

There is so much evidence now for the truth behind the importance of physical distance, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and staying home if unwell.

As a society, as a community, we must encourage business owners and leaders to begin the next task, which is changing infrastructure to be safer. By that, I mean increasing the number of no-touch approaches to our everyday lives, such as using sensors for doors, taps, toilets, and lifts, making better use of smartphone apps to avoid touching things.

Anyway, as we’ve opened up more and people are relaxing their observance of the mechanisms for reducing communicable respiratory infections, we see more upper respiratory tract infections. I’ve been trying to maintain my observance of physical distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette as much as possible. But success relies on everyone doing the right thing.

This week I was infected with a respiratory viral infection. I developed nasal congestion and rhinorrhoea, and then a cough. I didn’t have any fever or headache. Given the advice I freely share with everyone, I went to the local drive-through collection centre to have specimens collected by sampling my throat and nasal mucosa for SARS-COV-2 RNA RT-PCR in ACT Pathology. 

I received my result by text message within 12 hours of the collection time, which is excellent.

COVID-19 SARS-COV-2 RNA RT-PCR result

Ingredients

  • Butternut pumpkin (1 diced)
  • Potato (1 diced)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (a good number of glugs)
  • Clive of India Curry powder (1 tablespoon)
  • Mapuche spice Chilean spice blend (1 tablespoon)
  • Cream (1 cup)
  • Sour cream (1 tablespoon)
  • Onion (chopped)
  • Bacon (diced)
  • Rye sourdough bread (1 slice)

Instructions

  1. Turn on your oven to about 180 °C.
  2. Smear some oil on the inside surfaces of a large baking tray.
  3. Lay the pumpkin pieces into the baking tray.
  4. Add a few good glugs of EVOO over the pumpkin.
  5. Sprinkle the curry powder and spice blend over the oiled pumpkin.
  6. Mix everything with a wooden spoon or if you like scratching your baking tray, use a metal spoon.
  7. Put the baking tray into the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the baking tray and pray to the Lord that the pumpkin has started to colour without sticking to the baking tray.
  9. Move everything around with the spoon of your choice.
  10. Put the baking tray back into the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the baking tray and again pray. This time, add in the diced potato and mix everything around. By now, the pumpkin will be soft, and the spoon you choose will deform the pumpkin.
  12. Put the baking tray back into the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  13. While the pumpkin and potato are in the oven, sautée the onion and bacon pieces in a large saucepan on low heat.
  14. When the baking tray has completed a total of 1 hour in the oven, remove it and mix everything up. By now, the pumpkin will be mushy, and the potato will be soft. The beauty of this method is there is no excess water in the soup; this means the soup is rich and unctuous.
  15. Add the mashed up pumpkin and potato into the saucepan with the onion and bacon.
  16. Mix everything around and process with a stick blender.
  17. When the mixture is smooth, put the saucepan back on the hob and add the cream and sour cream. Stir until the soup begins to simmer.
  18. Toast the rye sourdough bread.
  19. Plate up the soup with some chopped chives, garnish with basil and serve with the toast.
  20. Sit down with your plate, give thanks to the Lord for all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Then enjoy your soup.

Final thoughts

I think this soup would have been nice with some anchovies stirred through during the oven phase.

Lamb rack roast and roast pumpkin

Lamb rack roast with roast pumpkin and gravy.

Ingredients

  • Lamb rack
  • Kent pumpkin
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Chilean spice rub

Instructions

  1. Dice a kent pumpkin and, in a mixing bowl, rub the pumpkin with some olive oil, salt, sugar, sesame oil, and Chilean spice rub.
  2. Spread the pumpkin on a baking sheet and put it into a moderate oven for about 45 to 50 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle salt, sugar, and Chilean spice rub onto the fat of the lamb rack roast.
  4. Cook in a moderate oven until the internal temperature reaches 55 °C.
  5. Allow the lamb rack roast to rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Carve the roast and plate up with the pumpkin.

My first eggplant parmigiana experience

For the full recipe including the backstory to this meal, please check out Gary makes eggplant parmigiana over on Yummy Lummy!

Some new readers here may not know, the main purpose of this blog is to direct readers to my food blog so I can post links to Facebook. For reasons beyond my comprehension, Facebook has blocked all links to Yummy Lummy. I don’t know why.

Eggplant Parmigiana with steamed broccolini

Sous vide eye fillet steak with potato gem poutine plus mushrooms and crispy Brussels sprouts

Saturday night dinner is sous vide eye fillet steak with potato gem poutine (provolone and smoked cheddar cheeses and gravy) plus mushrooms and crispy Brussels sprouts.

My personality

I was chatting with a friend today about my personality.

Introverted99%
Observant56%
Feeling51%
Judging51%
Turbulent63%
My personality scores

People who really know me won’t be surprised by how introverted I am. I live alone and for now, I’m happy about that. I enjoy my own company. I’ve lived a full life, I’ve been married, I’m divorced, I’ve learnt a lot about myself, what makes me happy, what upsets me, what unsettles me, and what I think I want for my future.

One thing I know about my future, is food will be a feature. Cooking and eating. Perhaps even growing some of my food. Growing up as a little boy, my maternal grandfather spent long periods of time living with us. Mum was pretty ill when she was pregnant with my youngest brother. She’d already had two very difficult births. My grandfather converted our backyard into a market garden. I don’t have a green thumb and the thought of gardening fills me with horror, but I do have fond memories of picking and eating fresh vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetables taste so much better than what you get in a supermarket.

Faith will also feature more in my future. I’ve been in the wilderness for a long time and around this time last year, a friend started a good thing in my life. It’s been a year of revelation and self reflection and growth.

Saturday dinner. Sous vide eye fillet steak with potato gem poutine (provolone and smoked cheddar cheeses and gravy) plus mushrooms and Brussels sprouts.

Ingredients

  • Eye fillet steak
  • Iodised salt (ground)
  • Black pepper (freshly cracked)
  • Oregano leaves (dried)
  • Potato gems (Tater tots in North America)
  • Provolone cheese (grated)
  • Smoked cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Gravox instant gravy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef dripping
  • Butter

Instructions

Steak

  1. Remove the meat from the wrapping and season liberally with salt, pepper, and oregano leaves.
  2. Vacuum seal in a food safe plastic bag.
  3. Cook sous vide in a water bath at 54 °C for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the meat from the plastic bag and dry the meat with absorbent kitchen paper. Try to dry the surfaces as much as possible.
  5. Take some mushrooms and roughly break them up with your fingers rather than slice them with a knife. You want a rustic rough look to them. Although, if you feel refined, you can slice them, I was feeling like being a bit rough and rustic tonight. Not that I’m ever refined and sophisticated 🤣
  6. Heat a skillet (cast-iron if you have it) until it’s just smoking hot and add in a little beef dripping to smear the surface.
  7. With long kitchen tongs, place the meat in the skillet and press down firmly for about ten seconds and repeat this with all surfaces of the meat.
  8. After the first turn, add in some more beef dripping and butter and the mushrooms so while the meat is searing, the mushrooms are cooking and the butter is browning.
  9. Remove the meat from the skillet and set it aside.
  10. Spoon the mushrooms and sizzling dripping and butter over the steak.
  11. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Slice into just under 1 cm thick slices and hope the meat has a deep red blush to it.

Gary’s “Poutine” and Brussels sprouts

  1. Grate the cheese fresh.
  2. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half and toss in a mixing bowl.
  3. Splash in some olive oil and season the Brussels sprouts liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the oil and seasoning to ensure good even coverage.
  5. Heat an oven to 250 °C and place frozen potato gems (tater tots) into a baking sheet (keep to one side) and on the other side add the Brussels sprouts.
  6. Cook until the Brussels sprouts have become crispy.
  7. Remove the Brussels sprouts and then top the potato gems with the grated cheese.
  8. Cook until the cheese begins to brown. The potato gems should be crispy.
  9. Make the gravy according to the packet instructions.

Plating up

  1. Use a spatula to scoop the cheesy potato gems onto a dinner plate.
  2. Add the Brussels sprouts next to the potato gems.
  3. Lay the slices of steak over the cheesy potato gems.
  4. Place the mushrooms next to the meat and then spoon gravy over the meat, Brussels sprouts, and cheese potato gems.

Final thoughts

  1. What do you think of my version of poutine?
  2. Do you like your steak done like this?