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.
Baby green peas
Empty a tin of lentils into the cooking vessel.
Lay the rump roast on the lentils.
Cut a potato in half and place it into the cooking vessel.
Cut the onion in half and put it into the cooking vessel.
Squirt a good glug of barbecue sauce into the cooking vessel.
Add a cup of beef stock to the cooking vessel.
Cook for eight hours.
Baby green peas
Cook the frozen peas with microwave radiation.
Prepare as per the instructions for use on the packaging.
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.
Divide the lentils and keep some aside for dinner putting the rest into a container.
Slice a small piece of beef and put it onto a warmed dinner plate.
Serve a spoon of lentils and the potato onto the dinner plate.
Put the baby green peas onto the dinner plate.
Pour the gravy over the meat and vegetables.
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!
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.”
While the Coles product is pre-cooked, to get the crackling crispy and crunchy it needs some more cooking.
I went with this because during the week I had a lovely pork belly dinner but the crackling was disappointing. It was soft and limp. I needed some crispy crunchy crackling stat im.
Coles pork knuckle
Queensland nut oil
Flaky iodised salt
Baby green peas
Birds Eye potato mash
Remove the pork knuckle from the vacuum bag.
Remove all the jelly and solidified fat that is clinging to the pork knuckle.
Put the jelly and fat into a small skillet and gently simmer to reduce to a thin sauce.
Dry the surface of the pork knuckle with absorbent kitchen paper.
Rub a little Queensland nut oil over the surface of the pork knuckle and then liberally season with flaky iodised salt.
Place into a baking tray and then into a hot oven (220 °C) for about 50 minutes.
The endpoint you’re trying to achieve is crackling which feels hard when you tap it with a knife.
When the pork knuckle is ready, remove it from the oven and coddle it with aluminium foil keeping the crackling exposed to avoid it going soft and limp.
Allow the pork knuckle to rest for at least 10 minutes in its “space blanket”.
Remove the aluminium foil and peel off the crackling and then cleave off the muscle bundles and slice.
Keep the remainder of the meat aside and refrigerate for consumption later.
Put the bag onto a plate and then into a microwave radiation oven.
Set the timer for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Because my oven is malfunctioning, in that the “2” button doesn’t work, fiddle and cook in two instalments so the total cooking time is 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Allow the potato mash to rest in the bag for 1 minute.
Cut the bag open and extrude the potato mash onto the pre-warmed dinner plate and spread artistically on the plate.
In the reduced simmering pork knuckle jelly and fat add some Brussels sprouts and baby green peas and cook to your liking.
I also finished mine in the oven because I could.
Lay some pork on top of the potato mash.
Top the pork meat with the crackling.
Place the green vegetables next to the potato mash.
Do you like pork?
How do you like your pork?
Do you prefer having your pork prepared by someone else before you finish it off and put it in your mouth?
The last few weeks I’ve cooked salmon under vacuum (sous vide) on a Sunday night.
Yesterday, while grocery shopping I saw a nice thick piece of scotch rib fillet steak and thought it looked too good to go past.
Tonight I cooked the steak by the reverse sear method. That is, I start cooking the steak in a low-temperature oven and then finished the cooking with a hot but short searing on a cast-iron skillet at the end.
I also thought it would be nice to make a blue cheese sauce with some leftover Gorgonzola cheese.
Baby green peas
Heat source (I use a portable induction hob)
Meat thermometer (I use a wireless one connected to an application on a smart device)
Last night, I unwrapped the steak and patted it dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
I put it on a rack over a baking dish and then seasoned all surfaces of the steak with salt.
I put the steak (left uncovered) in the refrigerator overnight and all of today.
Reverse searing the steak
When I was ready to cook dinner, i.e., after a Group FaceTime session with my daughters, I turned on the toaster oven to about 75 °C.
I took the steak out of the refrigerator and inserted the meat thermometer, so the tip of the probe was deep into the fillet portion of the steak.
For readers unfamiliar with the anatomy of a scotch fillet steak, the eye fillet is surrounded in part by the deckle meat which has a fat cap attached. The eye fillet is very tender and is relatively lean, unlike the deckle meat, which is often fatty. Regular readers will know what part of the scotch rib fillet steak I like the best. 😉
I opened the associated application on my smart device and set the desired target temperature to 45 °C.
I put the steak into the toaster oven and then allowed it to cook until the internal temperature had reached 45 °C.
On the application, I followed the progress of the interior and ambient temperatures As the internal temperature approached 45 °C I wiped some Queensland nut oil onto the cold surface of my cast-iron skillet and turned on the heat to high.
When the application signals the internal temperature has reached 45 °C, I turned the toaster oven off and removed the steak. I gently placed the steak onto the hot cast-iron skillet and began searing the surfaces of the steak.
To avoid uneven cooking of the meat, I like to turn the steak over relatively frequently. I also use kitchen tongs to hold the steak and sear the edges of the steak, especially the fat cap, so the fat renders a little.
Once the steak had seared to my liking, I removed the steak from the skillet and put it onto a plate and then brushed it over with some melted butter.
At this stage, I seasoned the steak with freshly cracked black pepper.
I allowed the steak to rest for a few minutes before dissecting away the deckle meat from the fillet. Dissection means inserting your fingers between the spinalis dorsi and the longissimus dorsi muscle bundles and prising them apart. With a cooked steak, the connective tissue plane has dissolved, and the muscle bundles should pull apart with little to no resistance. As the Borg say, “Resistance, is futile.”
I placed the fillet portion into an airtight container and refrigerated it for later in the week.
I sliced the deckle portion for dinner.
On the dinner plate, smother the steak with blue cheese sauce.
Blue cheese sauce
Weigh 25 grams of butter.
Weigh 25 grams of flour.
Crumble some blue cheese. I chose to use some leftover Gorgonzola cheese.
In a cold saucepan, begin to melt the butter on low heat.
When the butter has melted, add flour and cook the flour in the butter for a few minutes.
Slowly add some cold milk and stir until it begins to thicken.
Add in the cheese and incorporate with a wooden spoon until the sauce is smooth.
Baby green peas
Rapidly boil some water.
Add in a cup of frozen baby green peas.
Bring the water back to the boil and turn off the heat.
Drain the water from the peas.
On a warm dinner plate, add the sliced steak and next to the steak, use a spoon to add the peas.
With a spoon smother the steak with blue cheese sauce.
Tonight was the first time I’ve made a blue cheese sauce. It was a great addition with the steak.
If you make this meal, please let me know. Leave a comment or contact me on social media.
I came home early today. I’ve got ManFlu. I went to bed last night feeling a little under the weather. I’d had a poor sleep the night before and I wasn’t sure if I had an infection or if I was just over tired.
I woke up this morning with a headache and while at work developed a sore throat, rhinorrhoea, and a cough. Now I feel febrile.
Hmmm…I really lacked imagination and motivation tonight.
I’d left a chicken thigh dry brining in the refrigerator overnight so knew I had that. I just couldn’t be bothered making a salad and I had some baby peas in the freezer. I’ve enjoyed using a mortar and pestle lately for grinding whole peppercorns and iodised sea salt crystals so I did that for a seasoning on the dried chicken skin.