Sunday, December 16, 2012


Ooh I ate too much. I feel like Percy Pig (who is bursting his little waistcoat buttons). We seem to have been stuck in the Flinders Island eat-athon. First Jamie brought us a Swiss 'black forest' type choccy cake from his Swiss wife as thanks for hay-help, and we had to have a piece with Jamie, and then we went off to the FIAA (Barbs works for them) Christmas dinner, and seeing as I was spending $45 (she got her tucker for free) and I'm still in the appalling habit of translating that back to Rand, I made sure I ate every morsel and regretted it. The Tavern's chef (who left today) was a big step up, but (Modesty Blaise here the tall poppy speaking) I do cook better. Well, I don't have to cook for those numbers of people. But my feeling is that a rack of lamb should just be pink against the bone OR stripped of almost all fat, as lamb fat needs to be crisp and cooked. Rare and fat is hard going for my taste. The creme brule had great topping but had vast amounts of of slightly lumpy not quite set custard with no real taste except sweet. I like it firm but soft. And now I feel hypercritical and bad. It was a noble effort, as the Tavern hasn't risen to this sort of food much. Anyway after a night of indigestion, we went to church this morning, ahd too much cake after... and then took a crayfish cocktail (this - very typical South Africa 1960-1970 standard restaurant fare - from seafood cocktail (at the bottom), to prawn cocktail, to crayfish cocktail at the best fell out of favor, probably because the silly beggars put too much mayo and rubbish in and too little of the crayfish. Done right, with just enough good mayo to stick it together, a splash of tomato sauce, a tiny bit of chilli pepper, and some fresh chives, it is very good) to a friend's 40th party. Only they'd stocked up on a lot of German food (he is of German origin) which we had to try. And the other 40 families had all brought their party pieces... Barbs has bravely gone to the carols (which the kids and the a-capella ? spell? group are are doing), with port and mince-pies after, and all the island there I would guess. It would be lovely I am sure, but I have seen enough people and eaten enough.

Instead I harvested another 18 heads of garlic - bringing our total so far 24. Some of these are real beauties, and a few just average. There is still a fair bit to come in but I am leaving the plants with good scapes another day or two to let them mature a bit further. Nothing to do with the stress of bending my overful tummy over the planting tank. I will sun-dry them a bit tomorrow and plait them.


  1. The garlics you are growing for bubils need to be left until they burst from the paper and are dry.

    I think the reason that Lamb has fallen out of favor in the US is that people have stopped cooking at high heat. High heat cooking requires your attention and patience. Rack of Lamb should be cooked, with the meat brought to room temperature first, by searing the outside first and then sticking the whole pan in the oven at 450. This makes the outside crispy and yummy and the inside by the bone just right and rare.

    Instead they cook them for groups at 350 or so and the outside is not so crispy and the fat doesn't render and is lardish.

    This, by the way, is true for any prime, fatty cut of meat. A Porterhouse or T-Bone cooked at 500 is a thing of beauty with a crisp of fat. Instead we cut the fat away....

    1. Excellent to have this confirmed - the paper has burst on about half, but they are not dry yet, so I wanted to leave them.

      I like to rub salt into the fat and crisp it with a touch of lemon juice to help the caramelization and flavor. They are cooked under a grill so the rendered fat drips out, very close at a very high heat, and the lower for the second side. Salt only goes onto meat once it has seared sealed. Of course they are very good - and hard work, on a real charcoal barbie. With steaks as I like the fat, but like fat cooked DEAD, whereas the steak can be quite rare (or very rare for Barbs) what I do is to put the steaks on edge onto a very hot ridged skillet- with two skewers to keep them up on edge, and cook the fat quite well, and then cook as normal. For really great steaks I actually do not believe in ridged skillet, as a flat pan seals better IMO. Grin You might guess I am quite fanatical about the subject and you wouldn't be too far wrong.

  2. So when do you ship Toni a Cookbook manuscript? ;)