Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Quest For All Things Tasteful

Once again the weekend has surreptitiously and quickly crept up on us, catching us unawares. Well, it has me, at least. I'm not sure what I've done this week. Have I done anything worthwhile? I don't think so. Have I done anything memorable? I doubt it very much.

While visiting the legendary, local junk-yard up here on the mountain the other day, I did discover a large, old, discoloured brass cauldron. After a spot of "wheeling and dealing", I brought it home with me! My purchase barely fitted into my little car, let alone my cabin! This morning I started restoring my acquisition to its former glory (or near to as possible) with metal polish. Doing so, I felt like one of the witches who visited Macbeth, the Thane of Cawdor! Very soon, I started chanting, "Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble."

'Tis a worry!

Not knowing what to write about, I thought I'd give you one of my nonsensical verses to ponder upon and a couple of recipes to chew over. Included is a thought I think I thought about one night! As evidenced, my mind works in mysteriously weird ways!

The Quest

Throughout the years wide and afar
Trekking life's meandering highway
Defying the ebb stemming the flow
Beating the hurdles conquering the brae
Wistfully she searched high sought low
For him...her Lochinvar

Succumbing she wished upon a star
But to find emptiness heartache and pain
In giving her heart a problem arose
Their love for her so often they did feign
How badly she hurt nobody knows
In her quest for Lochinvar

Exploring on and on it was bizarre
If victorious what then would she do
A life complete with happiness and bliss
Or with tear-filled eyes bidding him adieu
A doleful smile a lingering farewell kiss
Perhaps instead she'd pickle him in a jar
Her Lochinvar.

Quote of the day:

Some men want you for always
Some men want you all ways

I'm not yet sure what I'll be preparing for myself over the weekend, but I do have some green prawns, squid and full-shell mussels in the freezer. I find myself leaning towards something with seafood. Lately I've liked the idea of food, but when the time has come to prepare and eat it, my appetite turns its nose up at it. The same applies to drinking. At the moment, I like the idea of having a few drinks, but don't know what I really feel like imbibing, and then I can't be bothered. I've got some fresh limes in a bowl on my dining table, perhaps the tang of the limes will enliven my palate. There is a bottle of tequila and one of Triple Sec in my personal liquor store...did someone mention "Margaritas"?

Lingune with Prawns & Mussels:
Finely chop 1-2 heads of garlic. In a pan add garlic and slightly less than a pint of olive oil (this recipe serves 10, so don't panic...just cut down the quantities for less if you so desire). On low heat simmer until garlic just begins to change colour. Add dried chilli flakes or paste, to taste and 1 bunch of Italian parsley, roughly chopped. Toss in a dollop of butter. Allow sauce to simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. In a large pot, steam about 1kg mussels until shells open, discarding any unopened ones. Shell about 20 or so green prawns (raw). Lightly saute' empty shells in another dollop of butter and a splash or two of olive oil, a dash of salt and some ground black pepper. Remove shells, then add prawns. Cook until prawns have just turned pink. Set aside until 1.5lbs linguine is cooked al dente;. Drain but don't rinse. Plop pasta into a bowl. Add mussels, prawns and garlic mixture. Top with chopped Italian Parsley. Stir and serve.

Sauteed Sea Scallops with Rosemary & Lemon: Choose a pan that can hold 680g scallops in one layer later. Into the pan put 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 garlic cloves, sliced finely. As the garlic turns golden, add 1-1.5 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves. Stir. Add the scallops, salt and ground black pepper. Turn up heat to high. Cook, stirring fequently until scallops change to a flat white. Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or lime juice, if you prefer). Turn up heat, again. Stir once or twice, then serve with crusty bread.


  1. You can write whatever you like and we'll be happy to read it.
    So what are you going to put in the cauldron?
    I love the poem, sad, but it made me laugh. It's funny that I've been married for 46 years but I have never taken it for granted and always have been mentally prepared for him to run off with his secretary or get hit by a bus or? I must be a very insecure person.
    Scallops, oh yes please. Off pasta for the moment. Not low carb you know.

  2. I've just finished washing it and I've put a huge birds' nest fern that I had out on my patio in the cauldron, jmb...out on the patio area. Now I think I'll race off to the plant nursery to purchase a couple more hanging plants! Can't help myself. I'm trying to make amends for those I lost by being very slack during the colder winter months!

    Glad you like the is meant to make you laugh. :)

    Oh! Well...regarding the low carbs! ;)

  3. Our Fall and your Spring occur at prime out door grilling time. If I may request, some simple grilling recipes for dunderheads like me? Seafood, pork, stuff I can cook over coals. Just looking for new ideas. We have a simple pipe cooker with a vent door at one end and an exhaust pipe at the other. I like to close off both, depending on what I am cooking, and prop the lid open. This heats and smokes the food evenly.

  4. This is for you gtotracker...happy barbecuing. I hope there's something of interest to you in the below recipes. :)

    Add a little inspiration, mixed with a touch of imagination, a blend of good company and the result will be a taste sensation. Here’s a delicious way to prepare your steaks. Combine 1 cup of tomato sauce, ½ cup worcestershire sauce, 1 tblsp plum jam, 2 tblspns chutney, 3 tblspn lemon juice, ground pepper to make a marinade. Place rump steaks in marinade and leave overnight, stirring occasionally. Drain steaks and cook on hot barbecue. Heat marinade to serve with steak.

    A simple, delicious dessert is bananas cooked slowly on the barbecue. When the bananas are just cooked, slit open lengthways. Spoon 1 tspn butter, 1 tspn rum and ½ tblspn brown sugar on each banana and place back on barbecue, cut side up. Cook until sugar etc., have melted. Serve with whipped cream or icecream.

    Asian Barbecued Leg of Lamb: In large bowl or a large re-sealable plastic bag, mix 2/3 cup hoisin sauce, 6tbl rice vinegar, ½ finely chopped shallots, ¼ cup mushroom soy sauce, 4tbl (yes…4) crushed garlic, 2tsp honey, ½ tsp sesame oil, ½ tsp ground white pepper, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Mix together well.

    Place a boneless, butterflied leg of lamb in the bowl or plastic bag. Turn to coat and seal. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat grill for high heat. Oil the grill plate. Place lamb on the grill, discarding the marinade. Cook 15mins on each side or to desired doneness. Transfer to serving platter, allowing the lamb to rest for 15mins before slicing.

    Lime Chicken With Salsa:

    In a shallow pan, whisk together 1tbl olive oil, 1-1/2tbl fresh lime juice, 1/2tsp ground cumin and a couple of drops of hot chilli sauce. Add 8 boneless, skinned chicken thighs, turning to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30mins, even overnight. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Place chicken on grill about 6 inches from heat. Grill for about 4-5mins on each side or until chicken is done. Serve warm, topped with salsa. Serve with rice and grilled vegetables, if you like.

    Salsa: In bowl, combine 16 cherry tomatoes, quartered, 6 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips, ½ cup cooked black-eyed peas. ½ mango, diced, ¼ cup red onion, minced, 2tbls fresh lime juice, 2tbls red wine vinegar, 2tbls olive oil, 3tbls fresh coriander, finely chopped, 1/2tspn salt and 1/4tsp ground black pepper. Stir gently to mix well. Sit it at room temperature for about 1 hour.

    Stuffed BBQ Pork Chops:

    Ask your butcher to cut 4 rib pork chops extra-thick. (This recipe serves 4) Slit a pocket in each chop from the edge of the eye to the bone with a sharp knife. Combine ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs, some rosemary leaves and marjoram, fresh or dried, crumbled finely, 1tbl melted butter, ½ cup onion, chopped finely or minced, 1 garlic clove, crushed and salt to taste. Stuff the mixture into pork pockets. Use a small skewer if necessary to hold the edges closed. Grill over medium-high heat for 8-10mins per side, turning often until the fat is crisp and meat browned.

    Grilled Pork Steaks:

    Wipe 4 pork steaks well. Trim all but a tiny thread of fat from the edges, and score the edges in several places to prevent the meat curling. Combine 1-1/2tbls flour, salt, white pepper and ½ red capsicum grated very finely in 1/1-1tbl water to make a thin paste. Dip the steaks in the paste, place on grill over high heat; cook 1 minute per side to set the coating; reduce heat; cook 12-15mins, turning often. Brush with remaining coating liquid just before turning. In a twist of foil at the end of the grill heat a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2tsp caraway seeds while the steaks cook. Remove pork to serving plate; sprinkle with cayenne/caraway mix; serve.

    Honey-Mustard Pork Steaks with Glazed Apples:

    Make sauce ahead of time: gently heat 125g unsalted butter, 50g caster sugar and 1-2tbl golden syrup together until butter has melted. Bring mixture to the boil, stir well; leave it to bubble steadily 3-4mins.

    Place 4x175g pork steaks in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, mix together 2tbls runny honey, 2tsp wholegrain mustard, 1tspn Dijon mustard, 1tbl olive oil and ½-1tspn ground allspice or cinnamon. Brush over both sides of steaks. Cover pork and leave in cool place until required. Reserve any remaining honey mixture for basting the pork when on the barbecue. Top and tail green apples, discarding end slices; cut each apple into 4 equal slices; scoop out core. Toss rings in caster sugar to give a light coating. Place pork over med-hot heat; cook for approx 7-8mins on each side or until steaks have turned a sticky, nutty brown on the outside and are cooked in the centre. Baste occasionally. A few minutes before the steaks are cooked, cook the apples slices on the Barbie for 2mins on each side until just tender and nicely caramelized. Serve each steak topped with 2 apple rings. Canned or fresh pineapple rings or apricot halves are great alternatives to apples.

    Barbecue Chicken:

    Flatten 4 boned, skinless chicken breasts. Place in a flat-bottomed dish. In a small bowl, combine 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 2tbls white wine vinegar, 1 heaped tablespoon thyme, (fresh is best), 2-1/2tspn Dijon mustard, 2tspn honey, 1/2tspn chilli flakes, 1/2tspn each sea salt and ground black pepper. Mix well. A few drops at a time, add in 1tbl olive oil, stirring after each oil addition. Pour marinade over chicken breast, cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours. Turn the breasts over once or twice during marinating process. Pre-heat barbie grill; place chicken onto greased grill and cover. Put the marinade into a small saucepan; bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2mins. Cook chicken for approx 5mins on each side. Baste with marinade every couple of minutes during cooking.

    I'm off to fire up the barbie! ;)

  5. Lime chicken with salsa it is!!

    Thanks. This looks like a winner for the weekend. I will save the rest for later. Did I say thanks? Thanks!

  6. You're welcome, gto...I'm glad you came back and found them. :)

    Have a glass or two of the good stuff for me while you're barbecuing! ;)

  7. Some men want you for always
    Some men want you all ways

    I represent that remark!

  8. lol, j cosmos newbery! I knew that would draw a comment out of you! ;)

  9. Me too Lee. I need to print this out. Thanks.

    Heck, I thought LST would ban me.

    Dave is too funny.

    TTFN My friend.

  10. lol It's a bit of a surprise, my blog such a good plug and all! ;)

    Good...I hope you enjoy the recipes. :)

  11. lee,
    Always all ways. ;0

  12. Haha...Rel! ;)

  13. Mmmmm. Scallops. I think I know what I'm cooking as part of dinner tomorrow.

  14. Yeah...aren't they great, Lee? I love them, too. :)

  15. Hello Lee,

    I recently started participating in a sort of collaborative effort of beer bloggers that's called "The Session - Beer Blogging Friday". This month's topic made me think of you (for what will become an obvious reason once you read the link). Here is the roundup of contributors. I believe there is probably still time to get an entry into this session if you'd care to.


  16. Talking about Aussie food: I've heard on good authority and several times that Australian restaurants and takeaways are the best in the world!

  17. I'm not really into seafood: do you think I could compromise with "normal" fish? For scallops/etc?

  18. G'day there, Dude. Good to see you. :) I'll definitely have a look at that site...I just flicked over there now but I'll go back for a more in-depth read.

    Hi Gled...sure...any firm, white-fleshed fish would do...try Monkfish, or something like that.

    Thanks to you both for your comments. :)

  19. Hi Lee

    I've had a bit of a cookfest this morning...only because I've got about 20 people coming for an al fresco dinner.

    I've been meaning to tell you, I made your meat loaf the other week. Absolutely delicious! So, along with a vegetarian quiche and bacon and egg pie, I've made it for tonight to have cold with salads and other bits and pieces.

    But I know what you mean by not being interested in food. I've been like that all this week, consequently, I have been eating very simply. Cold stuff...salads and flavoured tuna or salmon. Last night it was just cheese on toast, which I haven't had in so long. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Anyway, must go...I still have heaps to do.


  20. Well, so much for a quiet weekend after your last weekend, Robyn! ;)

    I'm glad you enjoyed the meatloaf recipe. I'm sure your guests this evening will do so, too.

    I'm a sucker for grilled cheese on toast and grilled/toasted cheese sandwiches. They're high on my lists of foods. When I was cooking professionally and was so totally sick of the sight of food, the good old toasted cheese sandwich was my life-line. Often, when I don't feel like cooking, I make a couple for myself for dinner. Whoever invented the toasted cheese sandwich needs a gold medal in my book! :)

    Have a lovely night tonight...the weather is perfect at the moment for al fresco dining.

  21. This week I accomplished a great deal. It's fall, so I polished the furniture ( I should have worn a protective mask do to dust pollution) hehe, and searched for my fall decorations. Now the dining/den, are decorated with gourds, leaves, candles, etc. I love this time of year, the decorations, and what comes next... CHRISTMAS. My vacation to the farm, mid Sept., had me toting home boxes of Mom's antique dishes and one pine cubboard, to put the stuff in. So the house looks fresh with things moved around. Your recipes sound delish, but where do I find the cook? lol

  22. Sea scallops are my wife's absolute favorite. I'll have to share that recipe with her.

    I like your poem. I hope you consider a poem written something constructively done as you ponder what's been accomplished during the week.

    I remember being in a writer's group with a retired gentleman. He didn't write much, but went on and on about his personal clean-up chores, his garden, his home fix-up and the like. I'll be honest. I don't want to be like that when I'm retired. The yard, the garden, the basement clutter I don't want to be my priority. Hopefully, my creative muse comes first.

  23. That all sounds wonderful, home must look lovely with all its fall decorations. Now, as for that elusive cook...I don't think I can help you there! ;)

    I can assure you, Dave...none of what you mention is my priority! ;) Actually, I'm easily diverted away from such things, to be honest! I can't claim the poem as being something constructive I did during the week, as I wrote it a few months ago! I did, however, do some more work on my painting, so that accounts for something! :)

  24. I love the sound of that cauldron. The food, especially the prawns, looks lovely. Whatever you end up deciding to do for the weekend, enjoy!

  25. Hi Serena...I cooked up a mixture of the seafood olive oil and loads of garlic and tossed it in some pasta. It was delicious!

  26. I bet the cauldron is a joy to behold now! I'd have bought it, too. Love the quote. Unfortunately I can't eat fish but great pics.

  27. PS: meant to say I love the poem.

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