Wednesday, November 23, 2016


And then everything goes awry! While mindlessly watching television (or watching mindless television) I’d spent the night before putting everything into order in my mind, plotting what I intended to do the following day – getting “my ducks in a row”. Disclaimer - No ducks were harmed in the process.   

Before nodding off my plans for the morrow were set, if not in cement, in some semblance of sequence.  I went to sleep content I’d wake up after a few hours of restful repose with a semi-structured form already laid out.  Once I’d returned to a conscious state I’d do this and then do that.  Having completed this and that I’d perhaps even get started on the other thing/s I’d been ignoring for a while. Who knew...if my organisational disposition was such...I might also methodically arrange and back-up in an orderly manner data on my computer hard drive; data that needed storing like winter woollies at winter’s end.   

I drifted off into dreamland; my plans laid before I lay at rest. The plans may not have been in a determined distribution, but were, at best, laid.  All might not have been in apple-pie order (probably more like a deconstructed apple crumble);  but my plans were made and laid for chores to be done, one after the other; squared away, even if not in alphabetical order. 

Off to a good start, I woke the next morning.  Phew!  Things were already going to plan from the get-go. Tick!  Once I kick-started my coffee machine I made a bee-line for the bathroom to shower etc., and then I went outside to kick-start my car...nothing!   

It was as dead as a doornail. Apparently, doornails have been dead since the 1300s through until now.  Nothing will bring them back to life it seems.  Charles Dickens in his “A Christmas Carol” rekindled the saying by declaring – “Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail”.  Poor old Marley and me!

Anyway, returning to my great start (or non-start) to the day.  I lifted the bonnet of my car. I’m not sure what that was going to solve, or what I was trying to prove, but I did it anyway.  At least I didn’t find what I found a couple of months ago when I lifted said bonnet.  Then I found a massive nest as high as the Gold Coast’s Q1 and equal in circumference, had been constructed to the side of the oil tank.  The tenants had absconded without paying their rent, taking their bond money with them. Cheeky little critters! 

Knowing my limitations, I made a phone call. I still had a phone at that stage; I’ll elaborate in a moment!  

Two of our mountain’s finest came to my rescue.  Firstly, Rob, the very dashing mobile mechanic arrived in his trusty dark blue steed.  In no time at all he got me started. Or rather - Rob got my car started.  He pointed me in the direction of Chris who has lots of spare spare parts, that is.  So, with the help of those two fine gentlemen - in the words of Willie Nelson – I was “on the road again”. 

The day that had started off with a hiccup got better as it went along.   

The icing on the cake was the generosity of spirit of Kyle, my computer man, who went over and beyond the call of duty to attend to a problem a friend of mine had been having with his computer.  

Four hours after leaping out of bed I finally managed to enjoy a cup of coffee.

That was Monday.  And in the words of Scarlett O'Hara...."After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Come Tuesday, the Energex tree-lopping mob arrived in this laneway to cut back tree limbs and branches along the side of the roadway.   

Energex  is an electric power distribution company owned by the Queensland Government.

I thought I’d been transported back to the Middle Ages.  At any moment I was expecting King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to appear; or at least, Monty Python!  I looked around in the hope of finding some armour to don because I felt I would need it to save my skin and skull.  It was as if my cabin and I were being bombarded by a dozen, fully-loaded medieval catapults!  Missiles were smashing against my exterior walls with great force and noise.  I feared at any moment one, or more, would come crashing through a window.

Thoughtlessly and recklessly the fellow operating the monstrosity of a machine cut my phone line...snap! 

Blind Freddy would be able to see there is a tall pole there with a line attached - with a white post attached informing everyone a telephone line is attached!!

The fateful blow was struck noon Tuesday.

I’m the Last of the Mohicans.  I don’t have a mobile/cell phone.  I’m dependent upon landline.   I was left without phone usage, and with no Internet.  I was in the middle of doing something, using the Net to do it when...nothing!

Realising immediately what had most likely happened (similar had happened a couple or so years ago) I raced outside.  Read – “hobbled”. 

These days I can’t race anywhere because of my bad hips; so hobble it is.  I probably wouldn’t win a hobble race, either...but then if I was being chased by an angry bull, it might be a different story!

I tossed vanity aside quite a while back, if I ever did suffer from vanity.  I doubt I ever did. Either which way, I replaced it with sensibility.  I use a cane. 

Living alone, with tiled floors, one of my greatest fears is slipping on a wet floor, hitting my head and being knocked out.  Living the life I do, I could be laying there forever before anyone discovered me.  So, yes, I use a cane...because I have to use a cane.

I’m not as agile as I once was.  I turned 72 a couple of weeks ago, and after many years working long hours, on my feet, on hard surfaces; covering large areas and lifting heavy weights that I suppose I shouldn’t having been lifting, but had no choice other than to do so, my hips (and arthritis therein or on) said “enough is enough, already)!  Like us all when we’re younger, I believed I was infallible.  It’s funny how Life has its own script.

Fortunately, I realised what had happened to my phone when I did.  Grabbing my walking stick I hurried as best I could hurry outside.  I could see the phone line lying on the ground, and I could hear men’s voices in the distance – down the end of this lane.

They were packing up their equipment and ready to load the huge “chopping” machine onto the back of a truck, and drive away never to be seen again until the next time.  I needed to catch them before they disappeared.

Fighting my way through the trees and the debris left behind from the chopping and lopping, I bellowed out as loudly as I could...a few the men. 

Finally, one heard me...and he alerted his mates...probably saying, “Hey! Look!  I wonder what that old hag wants!  Halloween is over, isn’t it?”

One decided to break away from the herd and walk up to where I was.  I pointed out what they’d done, explaining my situation etc., etc.  I wasn’t rude; there was no need to be – a little cream gets the job done, not sour grapes; but I did impress the importance of having the line fixed as soon as possible.

The fellow told me he would tell his boss of my predicament, and that he would contact Telstra.  Telstra is Australia’s largest telecommunications etc., company.  I’ve been with them since before the Last Supper.

About an hour later, another Energex guy knocked on my door to let me know that they’d been in touch with Telstra and that my phone line would be re-attached late that afternoon.  I shook the fellow’s hand and thanked him for advising me of the progress.

No one turned up as promised.  

I knew I had to get in contact with Telstra first thing in the morning to shake them up a bit or otherwise my predicament could go on ad infinitum.   

I hate being beholden to anyone; and I hate asking others for anything, but I bit the bullet and went up to my landlords to ask if they could ring Telstra for me.  Other using homing/carrier pigeons or smoke signals I had no other choice.

Everything turned into a Cecil B. DeMille production, as it always does.  Nothing is ever simple!  Bends, curves and corners are created where none need exist.  I’m a “straight-down-the-line” person; one with little patience in some situations.  Hence, my preferring to solve problems myself...but, again, in this instance, I had no other choice!

I was forced to talk with someone in bloody Timbuktu, Uzbekistan (in actual fact - the Philippines) who spoke, of course, muddled English.   

After explaining in minute detail the problem I was experiencing; about how the phone line had been cut, and my telling her myriad times I didn’t have a mobile phone; that my phone line was broken and lying on the ground; and that I had no internet connection because of said problem...she insisted on asking me repeatedly for my mobile phone number and I could download such and such!  Also more than once she told me she would have someone test the “$#%^&%@” line!!!!!

By that stage, I think I had one strand of hair left...if that!  I had used up all the cream and I didn’t hold back how I was feeling!  One could not blame me, and I didn’t care if they did!  I was frustrated and angry to the limit and beyond!

A couple of other curve balls were thrown into the mix, but I won't go into that....

At noon Wednesday a very pleasant local fellow called “Roy” who is contracted by Telstra arrived to re-attach my phone line. 

We had fun conversation; he did the job and went on his way.  

And now, I’m back on air - as well as the road!

Duck Breast in Filo with Berry Compote: Combine 300m soy sauce, 3tbs honey, 1 crushed garlic clove and 1tbs grated ginger; pour marinade over 4 duck breasts; cover; chill overnight. Next day pour into saucepan; add 2c water; bring to simmer; simmer 12mins; remove duck; cool slightly; season. Grab 4 filo sheets; brush each sheet with melted butter; wrap a sheet around each breast; brush with butter. Bake parcels on oven tray at 200C, 15-20mins, until golden. Compote: Place dry saucepan over heat; add 100g coffee crystals or raw sugar; watch carefully; swirl from time to time until sugar melts and colours to caramel. Remove from heat; cool a little; carefully add 50ml Cointreau and 300ml of the marinade. Bring to boil, stirring; boil; reduce to half; add 50g each boysenberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries; bring to boil. Pour into 4 deep warm plates; place parcels on top.   Balsamic vinegar can be substituted for the Cointreau, if preferred.

Apple Crumble Slice: Preheat oven 180°C. Line a 20cm x 30cm tin with baking paper. Place 1x250g Scotch Finger biscuits (Arnott’s biscuits) and 100g butter in bowl; stir to combine. Press firmly into the base of the tin, smoothing the top with a spatula. Refrigerate to set. Place 6 peeled, cored, chopped green apples, 2tbs brown sugar, seeds of1 vanilla bean and 2 cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan over high heat; stir well. Cover; cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples have softened.  Remove from heat; stand, covered, 10 mins. Discard cinnamon sticks, roughly mash apples; spread over the biscuit base. Scatter with crushed Butternut Snap biscuits; bake 15 minutes or until golden. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until set before slicing.

Apple Gratin: Have 1/4c brown sugar and 125g chopped fresh or dried dates at the ready. Using 3-4 peeled and thinly sliced green apples, arrange a layer of apple slices over base of 20cm ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with 3tsp brown sugar and ¼ of dates. Repeat with remaining apple, sugar and dates to form 4 layers. Pour over 300ml cream; sprinkle with extra brown sugar; arrange extra chopped dates in the centre. Bake at 180C, 35-40mins; until apples are tender; serve warm with crème fraîche.

Coffee-Choc Pots:  Combine 1c milk, 1c thick cream and 2tbs lightly-crushed coffee beans in saucepan; bring slowly to boil. Stand 10mins; strain onto 150g finely-chopped dark chocolate; whisk until chocolate melts. Whisk 4 egg yolks and 40g vanilla sugar until well combined. Gently whisk in choc mixture; add 40ml Frangelico. Pour mixture into 4x180ml ramekins. Place in water bath, halfway up sides of pots; bake at 170C, 30mins. Let cool in the water 15mins. Serve at room temp, topped with thick cream and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Effort: noun. Strenuous exertion:  display of power: something accomplished involving concentration or special activity.

Frequently on rainy, frosty mornings snuggled warmly in bed under my feather doona I forestall rising.  I have to exert an excessive effort to extract myself from its warm embrace.  There are times this weakness of mine – this affliction – has been known to linger through the months of spring, autumn, and even, sometimes, in summer, depending just how comfortable I am on any given morning.  (I don't mean I remain in bed through spring, summer and autumn)!    

However, on most mornings I’m an early riser, or at least an early waker-upperer.

Sometimes I leap out of bed (not literally) giving the birds a run or flight for their feathers.  Other times I forestall my act of the “leaping”.  If I’m feeling particularly snug and comfortable - as was the case this morning - I purposely will drag my leap of faith out a little longer.  This morning I woke shortly after 5, but I was feeling far too cosy to disturb myself, or Remy, my male cat who was snuggled up close to me.    Remy was in no hurry to greet the day, either; neither was Shama.

Rarely am I still in bed after 7 am.  However, whatever time I do rise is up to me.  I am the boss of my morning rituals. I have no one to answer to other than me, and, of course, my two furry rascals, Remy and Shama.   

In my opinion, upon rising in the morning, and for a period thereafter, is a time for quietness; a time to ready one’s self, mind and body for the day ahead…peacefully, without hectic goings on, fuss, bother, ado and conversation… or it should be. 

One of the joys of living alone, unnecessary conversation does not have to be made; unless, of course, I’m talking to myself – which I admit I often do.  Naturally, because it comes naturally, I’m always talking to Remy and Shama and vice versa!  They are very chatty catties.

 “F” is also for “Fun”…and I’ve been having a lot of fun over the past few weeks.  I always do have fun in November…kicking off with the Melbourne Cup Carnival….and then, being a Scorpio, I’m a November-born Scorpio, I have fun, fun, fun on my enjoyed my way...stealing the words from Ole' Blue Eyes himself and the man who wrote them, Paul Anka. 

My birthday was last Friday, 11th November; Remy and Shama’s birthday was on 4th November; and today, 18th November is a friend of mine’s birthday.   

She’s my best friend up here on the hill.  We spent three or so hours together at her home yesterday morning in celebration.  I’d made a date, banana, cranberry, ginger and walnut loaf for us to enjoy with our coffees, conversation and laughter.  I gave her some dark chocolate-coated ginger…and she gave me some dark chocolate-coated ginger.  We laughed over our similar gifts.   

She also gave me a bar of locally-made coconut-vanilla soap.  I emailed her this morning to let her know I was munching on the delicious coconut-vanilla bar she'd given me!

The strangest gift she’s ever received, I think, are the two salmon fillets I also gave her yesterday. 

For months I’ve been suggesting my friend should pay a  visit to our local “Fisho” when he sets up his van at the local “servo” each Wednesday and Thursday.   He sells salmon that comes from Marlborough Sounds which is situated at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island.  It is the best salmon I’ve ever tasted.

On my way to my friend’s home yesterday I stopped off to buy some salmon fillets for myself, and while there figured she probably had never heeded my sage advice, so I bought two extra fillets for her to share with her husband over dinner last night.   

Being my friend and understanding my foolish frivolity, she enjoyed her gift of fillets (it was the first time anyone had ever given her salmon fillets as a birthday gift) – and she  even enjoyed them more last night when she cooked them for dinner.  I received a phone call around 8 pm last night to inform me I had been right all along about said fillets!

As suspected, she’d not followed my sage advice…but I’m sure she will now, and she, too, will become a customer of Jonathan, our “Local Fisho”.

Last night’s dinner will not be the last time she and her husband have Marlborough Sound’s delicious salmon fillets!

“F” is for “Effort” - I sometimes find it to be an effort to hold my tongue.  I flounder, but the majority of times I manage to succeed in grasping it tightly, forcing the words to remain unsaid. 

There have been times I’ve failed to bite my tongue (the discomfort became excruciating; I just had to give up), and have failed to foreclose its flourish of phrases when in the presence of some folk.  There are some people who make it very difficult for one to bite one’s own tongue.

In my favour, most times I force myself to grin and bear it – waiting to explode in private!  It is at such times when once more I’m alone I cease all efforts of restraint. Within my own four walls and within my own company I have been known to verbalise what I had wanted to say when in the company of someone who has given me good reason to forcefully hold my tongue…if you know what I mean!

Often I do experience moments when it’s an effort to keep a straight face!  

Usually having to effect such effort happens at the most inappropriate times and places – and that makes it more difficult not to break out in laughter.  I’m glad I learned long ago how to keep myself, to a degree, under control!   (A *cough* is allowed here)

What is a “straight face”?

Faces are made up of protuberances, curves and slopes! 

By the time we “keep our tongue in our cheek”; “keep our chin (or chins) up”; try not to “lose face” or “keep a stiff upper lip”, one’s face would certainly be very animated and active!

A massive effort would be required to keep it “straight”!

Fostering and forging friendships should never be an effort, nor should it be an effort to be pleasant. However, as mentioned above there are some who make it hard for one to be forever felicitous! 

We’ve all fidgeted and feigned attention as we’ve wrestled to listen to never-ending laborious speakers. Those times we’ve found ourselves furiously fighting our feral eyelids in faltering attempts to fend off falling asleep! Those efforts, fervently directed at keeping said eyelids open are usually fruitlessly feeble! The well-meaning/self-indulgent emissions of the orator are wasted upon our otherwise occupied feverish, fitful selves!

Christmas is fast approaching! A few amongst us shall be in a flap when confronted with those other “F-words”- “family” and “food”.

If forced to become a fellow- participant in such a frazzled family festivity/fiasco,(which, fortunately, I won’t be) -  attempt to forage all efforts to keep a lid on festering feelings of angst created by past fracture-causing misconceptions or fetishes, whether they be one’s own fault or the fault of others (mostly it’s “the fault of others” - they’re the ones fraught with foibles who are failures at making an “effort”)!

 Don’t fret! No need to fabricate - there’re many favourable “F-words” - like “fun” and “frolic”, for instance!

Have your fill of both! It’s neither folly nor fallacy!

Fennel Seed Dip: Beat 1/2tsp fennel seeds and 1c softened cream cheese together; add  1c sour cream; blend in 1/4c minced onion, salt, pepper and 1tsp paprika; cover; chill.

Feta-Avocado-Chickpea Salad:  Dice 2 avocados; combine with 1 can rinsed, drained chickpeas, 1/3c chopped parsley, 1/3c diagonally-sliced shallots, 1 small red onion, sliced thinly or diced, 1/3c feta cheese, juice of 1 lime and walnuts/pecans. Season to taste.

Fresh Beetroot & Feta Salad: Cook 4 medium beetroot over med-heat until easily pierced through with skewer…around 45mins.  (Add a dash of vinegar to the water).  When cooked and cool enough to handle, remove the beetroot skin; chop beets into cubes. Chop 60-70g Feta into cubes; combine along with 2tbs roughly chopped parsley.  Make lemon vinaigrette – whisk together 3tbs lemon juice, 3tbs x-olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.  Toss beets, feta, parsley, spinach leaves and walnuts with the dressing; serve.

Falafel Burgers: Put 1/4c fine dry breadcrumbs in dish; set aside. Process 450g can rinsed, drained chickpeas, 1/2c chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves and 1tsp cumin until coarsely ground; add 2tbls plain flour and 1/4c chopped parsley. Shape mixture into 4 patties: brush with milk; coat in breadcrumbs. In nonstick pan, cook patties in hot oil over med-heat, 8-10mins or until lightly browned. To serve; Cut pita breads in half horizontally; fill halves with patties, cucumber and tomato slices; drizzle with Ranch  dressing.

Feta-Prawn Linguine: In pan, heat 2tbls olive oil over med-heat. Add 500g prawns, 5 minced garlic cloves, 2tbls chopped shallots, 1/2c red capsicum strips, cracked black pepper, pinch of dried chilli and 1tbl dry white wine; cook 5mins; remove prawns; set aside. Cook 2 chopped tomatoes with 1tsp oregano and 2tsp torn fresh basil in wine mixture for 10mins. Cook 450g linguine until al dente; drain; toss hot pasta with prawns and sauce; add 180g crumbled feta.

Farmhouse Honey Fruit Cake: Cream 175g butter, 175g honey and zest of 1 lemon until light and fluffy; gradually add 3 lightly-beaten eggs; fold in 2c wholemeal flour, 2tsp baking powder and 1tsp mixed spice. Stir in 300g mixed fruit, 50g chopped dried apricots and 25g ground almonds. Pour into greased, lined 20cm cake pan; make slight hollow in centre; arrange blanched almonds around edge; bake in preheated 160C oven 2-2.5hrs; cool in pan 10mins before turning out.

Fine & Dandy Cocktail: Over ice, shake 1 dash Bitters, ½ nip Triple Sec, juice of ¼ lemon and 1.5 nips gin or vodka; strain into cocktail glass; decor

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Whew!  I’m exhausted!  I’ve hung up my silks, rubber spurs and riding crop. Now I might have to take a Bex and have a good lie down!  

It’s not what you’re thinking!  You people!!  I’ve not been watching “Fifty Shades Darker”, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel; nor have I just finished re-reading the trilogy! 

I’m referring to the Melbourne Cup Carnival. As inferred in my previous post, my tradition each year is to watch every meeting and race throughout The Cup Carnival - from go to whoa - from Saturday to Saturday. 

Not one for group gatherings on Melbourne Cup Day I hold my own party with me as the guest of honour.     

By the way, I backed 1st and 2nd in The Cup.    

I can’t imagine me not having a bit of fun on Cup Day...and, as it always seems to turn out well for me.  Each year I do okay with my Melbourne Cup wagers.  I hope my winning streak continues.

I’ve never been one for organised group Cup parties.  I’ve never attended one, willingly or unwillingly.  However, over the years when cooking in restaurants etc., I catered for enough to last me two lifetimes...unwillingly.  Again, I’ve said all this before...apologies for repeating myself.  Where did I hide those antacid tablets?

Furthermore, I’m probably one of the very few who’s never attended a Tupperware Party or similar where the hostess tries to flog whatever it is she’s supposed to be flogging to guests who feel obligated to buy. 

Only once have I been cornered.  It was back in the early 90s. Caught off-guard, I was trapped with no escape hatch.

Having arrived to a new town, Collinsville, and a new job as manager-chef of the Mess and accommodation for the single men employed by Collinsville Coal (a subsidiary of MIM aka Mount Isa Mines),  I was roped into going to, of all things a Lingerie Party.
Shortly after my arrival one of my staff members was hosting the party at her home on a Sunday afternoon. Believing it to be the courteous thing to do, she extended an invitation on the premise I was “new in town; the new kid on the block”. 

In a moment of weakness (or caught unexpectedly without forewarning, with no valid “out”) I thought maybe it wouldn’t kill me to go along to meet some of the townsfolk – the ladies of the town.

The Sunday afternoon turned up far too quickly!

With little enthusiasm off I went, dragging my feet (which was difficult to do because I was driving.  I was my own personal chauffeur). 

My carefully thought-out plan was to make an appearance; purchase an item or two in undying gratitude for the hostess’ hospitality etc., and then, having extended my thank you, depart politely.

Once my commitment was over and done with I’d return home to be left to my own devices, peace and quiet.

Everything was going along smoothly according to my plan when out of the blue a male stripper appeared!   A “Magic Mike” he wasn’t; not that I’ve watched either one of the movies. And I have no intention of doing so.

The hired stripper was a still a wet-behind- the-ears kid in his early 20s it appeared to me. I was old enough to be his mother; as were the other women in attendance! 

As if by magic, the women transformed into a rabble of teenage girls, not yet fresh out of high school!

Something that really grates on me is a mob of screaming females.  And there I found myself - caught in my worst nightmare - in the middle of a mob of screaming females! 

They were carrying on like mentally-deranged hens being stalked by a fox or a snake in a hen yard!

I turn off TV shows such as “Ellen”, “Oprah” (when she still had a show), “The Talk” etc., when the audiences go crazy like a disorderly bunch of obsessed banshees.   They drive me insane!   I rarely watch them; and when I do they’ve been recorded, which enables me to fast-forward through all the nonsense, only watching a guest, if I feel he or she is worth watching.

The mass was carrying on like demented lunatics that Sunday afternoon!  

You’d swear the women had never seen a naked man before...perhaps they hadn’t.
Either which way, it was no excuse to carry on like a horde of giggling, drooling, swooning, screaming school girls!

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse the near-naked young man plopped himself on my lap!   

Wrong move, laddie! 

I’m not a prude, but I do have demarcation lines.  I’m the one who places my lines and limits.  They’re not set in concrete, but they are mine to set and move as I see fit.

When the disrobed, misguided drongo plonked himself on my lap my reaction and words (use your imagination – in effect, I told him I’d seen better) were immediate and spontaneous. 

With one solitary, but firm movement, I sent the barely-clothed fellow flying across the room on his scantily-covered butt.  Whether he got blisters or splinters in his nether regions I cared not.

Finally he skidded to a halt close to his discarded clothes.  I’d never seen anyone dress so quickly.  His departure was equally as rapid.  From that moment on, I imagine he changed his occupation.

My one fluid action caused the room to go deathly quiet.  Mouths and eyes had opened in shock, and remained so. 

It was one way to shut up the previously shrieking, excitable women. 

As for me, I left – and that was it as far as those types of parties were concerned. 

Brazilian Rump: Smash 5 garlic cloves; sprinkle with salt; then make into paste with mortar & pestle; mix in 1tbs x-olive oil. Put 1.5kg-2kg piece of trimmed rump in baking pan; prick all over with skewer; evenly rub garlic paste on the meat; marinate at room temp 1hr. Preheat oven 200C.  Scrape as much of the paste off meat before placing in oven. Put 3tbs olive oil in roasting pan over med-high heat; sear rump until browned on both sides. Transfer to oven; cook as desired. Preheat pan over med-high heat. Alternately thread cherry tomatoes and very small pickling onions or quartered onions on skewers; brush with oil; season. Char on both sides; serve with sliced rump.

Rump Pot Roast: Place 2 chopped large garlic cloves and 1.5tbs finely chopped rosemary leaves in bowl; season.  Pour 1/2c x-virgin olive oil into large pan; add 1-1/2c very finely chopped celery and 1c very finely chopped carrots. Turn heat to med-high; sauté 5mins; add 2c finely chopped red onions; sauté 10mins. Remove from heat. Truss 1.5kg-2kg rump roast with string to keep shape. Make 4 cross-shaped incisions at even intervals along one side of rump. Make a hole in each incision with a finger; fill each hole with some garlic/rosemary mixture. Truss the rump roast tightly with string to keep its shape. With a sharp knife make 4 cross shaped incisions at even intervals along one side of the rump roast, beginning about an inch from either end. Stick a finger into each incision to dig a hole. Fill each hole with a quarter of the rosemary/garlic mixture. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in Dutch oven. When oil is hot, place rump in pot; brown 5 minutes on each side; do the first side on high heat; then reduce to medium; remove the roast to a plate. Transfer the sautéed vegetables, 1 can crushed tomatoes, 4 slices lemon peel, 1-1/2c dry red wine, 2c beef stock, and 1-1/2tsp salt to Dutch oven: stir well. Return rump to Dutch oven. Cover; bake 1-1/2hrs in 200C oven. Turn roast, uncover; bake further 1/2hr. 

Dry Marinated Barbecued Rump:
Combine1tsp cracked black pepper, 2tsp ground coriander/cilantro, 1/2tsp cumin, 1-1/2tsp chilli powder, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1tbs brown sugar and 1tsp salt; mix well. Rub 1tbs olive oil over 2 kgs whole rump; then sprinkle meat with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Rest the rump out of fridge for about 30mins before starting to cook it. Barbecue in covered barbecue or roast in oven at 200C for 1-1/4hrs for medium rare, or done to your liking.  Rest it in a warm place for 15mins before carving.

Plum Fool: Dice 600g plums; remove the stones. Place plums in saucepan with 3tbs sugar and 2tbs water. Bring slowly to the boil; then turn down to a simmer. Cook until plums are soft.  Allow to cool; then strain off juice. Whip 250ml cream; fold in two-thirds of the plums. Pour a little of the plum juice into each serving glass; top with cream and plum mix; then spoon over remaining fruit. Finish with a little extra plum juice and crumbled Amaretto biscuits or toasted almond flakes over top.