Sunday, July 29, 2007

Up And At 'Em! Don't Let The Moss Grow Under Your Feet!

I fell down a hole...well, actually, I was pushed, but I'm back, full of vim and vigour. I've fallen into holes much deeper, darker and more dangerous before and have always managed to climb back up again. This time was no different, probably just with more determination! You can't keep a good girl down for long! I am released! I've seen the light, in the words of the evangelists of the world! (Can you hear the gospel singers in the background?) Clap your hands and sing along!

Enough of that nonsense! Let's get serious about some good food instead. Now, that's much more fun.

When I was living up in North Queensland, regularly my brother visited me on his weekends, coming from Mackay to wherever it was I was living at the time. He loved my meatloaves, so it became a "thing". I would have to make two meatloaves for him to take back home when he left. He would freeze one and use the other for his lunches and meals for the ensuing week. After cooking, split shifts, six days a week, I have no need to elaborate, I really looked forward to having to prepare the meatloaves!!! Needless to say, I've not made a meatloaf since, but enough time has transpired and the thought of a tasty meatloaf meal is making inroads into my mind. Knock! Knock! Okay! Okay! I can hear you!

I have a feeling meatloaf is going to be on my menu in the not too distant future!


1kg or 2lbs ground beef (or half & half using beef and pork mince)
2 eggs
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (up to 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Italian herbs or mixed herbs
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 onion, diced finely,
1 packet dried mushroom soup (or French onion)
1/2 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
8 slices cheddar
8 slices ham
8 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs, garlic, onion, ketchup, Worcestershire. Mix well, gradually adding the milk (if it seems too moist, add bread crumbs until it is a consistency that will form a loaf without flattening. Spray a large baking or roasting pan with a non-stick spray and press the meatloaf out. Layer cheese slices and ham, covering the center line of the meatloaf, then close it together and tuck in the ends, forming a loaf which is oblong. Criss-cross the bacon strips to cover the loaf. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or so.

Let rest 15 minutes, then cut and serve hot with vegetables and gravy, or cold with salad.

(Using the base meatloaf recipe and not stuffing with ham and cheddar is just as good, of course. The above is just a fancy twist on the basic meatloaf...and there's nothing wrong with the "basic meatloaf")

Chicken Saltimbocca

6 (3-ounce) chicken cutlets, pound to flatten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 Sage leaves
Crushed garlic

Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto, a sage leaf on top of each chicken cutlet. Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of oil and crushed garlic to coat. Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach on top of the prosciutto slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over each. Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet. Secure with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.

Sauteed Squid

Extra-virgin oil and some butter
500g/1lb clean squid with tentacles,
bodies cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rings
2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
A load of freshly crushed garlic
A couple of tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Pour some oil and about 1 tablespoon into wok. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Working in small batches, toss the squid into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully add the squid to the oil, pour in some lemon juice and saute' until the squid turns opaque...this only takes about a minute (about 1 minute per batch). Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the squid onto a platter or individual serving dishes. The serving platter or individual dishes can have either rocket or shredded lettuce as a base upon which to lay the cooked squid. Decorate with lemon wedges.

Hopefully those recipes should put a smile on our faces. Today is a new day. Yesterday has gone and only fading memories remain. The future looks bright and breezy. I might even go down to the coast for a couple of days. These sunny, clear blue sky days we're experiencing at the moment are tempting and teasing me. A couple of walks along a wide stretch of sandy, golden beach are perfect natural elixirs. But then, I have some magical areas up here on the mountain to explore as well. I've charged not only my batteries, but those of my digital camera also, so I might do a wander and see what I can discover. Oh! Decisions! Decisions!


  1. A smile on the face and a warm glow in the tummy!

  2. Good to hear, Lee! Keep on smiling! And keep on eating that good food...with an odd potato scallop thrown in every so often! ;)

  3. I have never been able to make meatloaf. I have tried a thousand times it tastes good but it does not stay together. I am beginning to think it does not like me.

    I now though, have your recipe and will try it, I could get lucky! Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Meatloaf.. now you are speaking to my culinary capabilities. This recipe is a keeper.

    We (as in the wife and I) are going to try a Wolf Blass Chardonnay with dinner tonight. Looking forward to this and in due time the next installment of your bio.

  5. G'day, "inside our hands"....we've not met before. Welcome to my blog. I hope you become a frequent visitor/commenter. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    The eggs are the mainstay of a meatloaf "sticking" together,IOHOOH...just make sure the mixture, after you've added all the ingredients, isn't too moist...and on the other hand, too dry. With practice, it becomes second nature to will get the "feel" when it's right. Just experiment. I find mixing the two kinds of minces/ground meats together helps, too. Minced veal can be substituted for the pork, if you prefer.

    You also can roll the meatloaf in flour or dry breadcrumbs, if you desire, before baking it. I hope that helps. :)

    Hi there, gto...nice to see you again. You will love that Wolf Blass...he puts out good wines. Raise a glass for this Sheila Down Under. :) Enjoy your meatloaf, too.

  6. What's wrong with mossy feet?

  7. They get a bit slippery, j cosmo newbery and one can get a sore butt from landing on it all the time! ;)

  8. And, j cosmo newbery...moss between one's toes, is worse than sand between one's digits!

  9. Well I've just come from a 50th wedding anniversary lunch with loads of befores and four courses for lunch so this food post is a bit much for today.
    However, soldiering on, I love meatloaf and make it regularly and mine is similar except I use 2/3 c oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs, plus an egg with my milk.
    The saltimbocca looks good too but you can keep the squid. I don't like the texture, although I'm sure your recipe is great, Lee.
    Looking forward to some nice photos of Spring coming to your neck of the woods. August 1st, Wattle day soon.

  10. Hi jmb...I can well imagine that the sight or thought of food is not what you're looking for right now! lol I, too, have used oatmeal a couple of times in meatloaf, but mostly I use breadcrumbs. I like squid, but it has to be cooked correctly or it's absolutely horrible!

  11. Lee, blogger posting did not work

  12. It must be blogger at your end, I've just posted the last two comments of mine here...try again...and if that doesn't work try again...and if that doesn't work...don't kick your computer! ;)

  13. Cheers Lee

    Got your Email, Thanks. I am not going to reply untill I can mull the whole thing over.

    On the Happy side, Here is Jimb's latest report on Kaylin.


    72 July 29, 2007 at 06:05 PM CDT

    Dr. Yoshor came in earlier today to check out Kailyn and was actually surprised that she wasn't sent home earlier today. As it stands, she will be sent home tomorrow barring any complications. I doubt that any will materialize, though, as well as she's done so far. Kailyn actually gave Dr. Yoshor a bit of a hard time (in jest) for the amount of hair they removed. I think he took it in the spirit it was intended, though.

    There are a few things we need to follow up on - we need to get some post-op directions nailed down, I want to ask the doctor another question about the titanium clips/fasteners they used to secure the opening in her skull (I already know that they won't set off metal detectors and won't cause any problems in future MRI's, althought they need to know about them in such a scenario). We will also probably need some prescriptions for the meds she is on in the hospital for inflammation and pain. The staples should be coming out in 7-10 days. We were also told that she will more than likely need an MRI in the future to see if the tumor has begun to re-form.

    On top of everything, though, we will continue to thank God.

    Oh, by the way, I kept a promise today - the next time you folks who know me see me, I'll have, well, let's say significantly less hair...


    This old guy is tired. I will see you tomorrow.


  14. That is wonderful news about Jim's daughter, Marc. She must be a very strong young lady...and they must have a huge weight off their shoulders. It's been a terrible time for them. Give them my very best wishes and thoughts, please. I hope everything continues along this way and she grows stronger and stronger each day. :)

  15. I hope you are feeling better, Lee. I missed you.

  16. Anonymous10:43 PM

    Lee, I love meatloaf. Thanks for everything.

  17. Hi Lee, I share Grahams ?sp love of Meat Loaf so will try your recipe as it differs from mine a bit.
    Sensed your low ebb recently but knew you would bounce back to normal (whatever that is.)

  18. Aw...thanks CD...I appreciate that. :)

    Hiya Steve and Peter...seems most people like meatloaf. It's a great old stand-by. I used to love my Nana's meatloaf...and her rissoles, too. can't keep me down for long, Peter...I bounce back like a rubber ball! ;)

  19. And, Peter...I have no idea what "normal" is either...all I know is that I'm not normal! lol

  20. Hi Lee, I think a couple of days at the beach sounds like heaven, but then Mount Tamborine is pretty close to heaven, too...literally speaking.

    Thanks for the meat loaf. That's gone into my recipe book for a try in the very near future.

    Keep smiling, you're doing well.

  21. Hey, Robyn...good to see you. All is well. ;)

    I think all of us will be having meatloaf soon! lol

  22. Hi Lee ~~ I haven't made a meat loaf in some time, so will try your recipe
    We will have to declare it Meatloaf
    week as we all seem to be going to make one. Glad you have bounced back
    Can't have you down Lee. We all enjoy
    your life stories too much. Look forward to some photos from you.
    Take care, Much love, Merle.

  23. Mmm, I'm gonna have to give that "stuffed" meatloaf a try. The rest of the recipe is pretty similar to the one I usually use (with the exception of the soup mix -- I've always used chopped onions and maybe some mushrooms instead), but I've never tried it stuffed. Question: Do you use deli-sliced ham, or thicker slices from leftovers or some such?

    And on the subject of meatloaf... I've used the blended ground beef and pork before (the kids weren't as crazy with that combination), but I've seen a couple of recipes lately that called for blending beef with ground chicken or turkey. Ever tried that? I've not been that adventurous yet.

    Good to see ya back! :)

  24. Meatloaf. Yummy. I just love meatloaf sandwiches but we never make it here as the guys do not like it. So, my sister makes one up for me when I visit. Thanks be to sisters.

  25. I think you're right, Merle! We will have to declare a "Meatloaf Week"! ;) Bring out the champers and we can launch it soon! Thanks for your kind words, Merle. :)

    Hi Kyle, you can use the thin or the thick. Personally, I prefer just the plain old un-stuffed meatloaf myself...I was just being a bit fancy there in posting that particular recipe...just to give you all an alternative to try for a change! ;) Nice to see you here again, too, Kyle. :)

    Hey Lady Di...I love meatloaf on sandwiches too...particularly with Worcestershire sauce dotted all over it! Yummy! ;)

  26. Here's the latest Lee.

    77 July 30, 2007 at 02:16 PM CDT

    We just got back from the MRI (they actually came to get her at about 12:30 instead of 2:30). I sat in the room with Kailyn again. Man, those things are loud. Anyway, once we got back to the hospital room, another pediatrician from Kelsey-Seybold came in to check on her. She's going to report back to her normal clinic on how she's doing. I also talked with a nurse from her clinic who's been helping us out earlier today.

    Anyway, we're waiting for the radiologist to send back her MRI results to the surgeon, so hopefully we will get out of here soon. The nurse just came in with some paperwork, so it may be now that we get to go. More later...

  27. Thanks Lee. I'm actually a
    "frequent lurker" - I stop by at least a couple of times a week to browse and see what's cooking down under. Just don't usually comment all that much. :)

  28. Are you now, Kyle? So it's you who is that "presence" I feel? ;) You're allowed to lurk, as long as you do comment every now and's always a pleasure. :)

    Thanks for the update, Marc...she certainly is a tough young lady...and that is great. :)

  29. Hi. Great pics, as ever, and how lovely to see a recipe for comforting meatloaf. I love chicken saltimbocca. Glad you are out of your "hole", Lee. Stay positive - you are worth far more than anyone who has hurt you.

  30. Hi Welsh...thanks for your sincere words. I never let things get me down for one or anything is worth the waste of time and energy. :)

    You'll have to join us in "International Meatloaf" Week! ;)

  31. lee,
    Music, music, music!
    I see still that we're cut from the same cloth. ;-)

  32. Hiya Rel...I was only thinking about you last've been off the radar...good to see you. :)

  33. trying the meatloaf this weekend, I have never made it before, it was Todd's favorite meal at my Mom's. Thanks for the recipe.

  34. You are welcome, Shelly. I'm sure you will thoroughly enjoy it and so will the kiddies...then you'll have to put it into your regular menu list! ;)