Sozzled Lamb

Sozzled Lamb, salad and Lime Martini. Perfect Autumn dinner

Sozzled Lamb, salad and Lime Martini. Perfect Autumn dinner

I am quite sure that making friends with your local Butcher is the start of a perfect meal. Balmy Autumn evenings had us thinking of alfresco dining. The Barbeque was standing by for a last fling before Winter drives us indoors again. The last of the Summer salad veg were laid out, all I needed was some meat. Our Butcher listened to my plans thoughtfully as I described crispy salads, sweet potato bake and fresh limes. A mischievous smile played about his mouth as he wandered off to do something dangerous with a bandsaw. A few moments later he presented me with four of the most magnificent lamb-chops I have seen in quite a while. He’d simply taken slices off the meaty end of lamb leg roast. What we had, quite literally, was lamb Osso Bucco. This definitely calls for something special ..

Orange, Cardamon and Poppyseed Muffins

a plate full of bliss

a plate full of bliss

There are a very few things that I simply can’t grow here .. yet. The tropical gingers, including Cardamon, are high on the list of those that I truly regret not having fresh supplies of. Rich and earthy, it pairs so well with oranges that I am always surprised that it’s left out of these traditional treats. Let me do something about that ..

Gran’s Super Lemony Curd

fruit toast, lemon curd and coal-tar coffee. Breakfast of champions

Fruit toast, lemon curd and coal-tar coffee. Breakfast of champions

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
~ Will Holt 1958.

With all due respect to Peter Paul and Mary, they did the humble lemon a great disservice when they recorded “Lemon Tree” in 1962. Far from being inedible, lemons are a delicious, tangy addition to so much of what I cook. None more so than this delightful terribly unsubtle lemon curd. On toast for breakfast, scones for morning tea, spiced apple fritters for lunch, pastries for afternoon tea, dolloped into sauces with dinner, flans for dessert and by the spoonful for midnight snacks, this is one of my very favourite things. Swirled through cheesecake, squeezed into Jammy Dodgers , slathered over pancakes or the basis for a truly cheaty lemon meringue pie, this stuff is your best friend.

Lemon-Lime Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust

Lemon-Lime Cheesecake with Gingersnap crust

Lemon-Lime Cheesecake with Gingersnap crust

When I was little, I used to look forward to parties at Gran’s house. She often made amazing sweet-tart lemon cheesecake that I just loved. When I grew up, I was astonished to discover how very, very simple (dare I say “cheaty”?) it was to make. It didn’t take me very long to realise that its very simplicity lent itself to myriad variations. Berry or chocolate swirls appeared in the lemon filling. Strawberries and grated chocolate appeared over an orange filling. Cherries and cream edged a port wine filling. Crushed pineapple and mint with mango filling. Vanilla shortbread, chocolate crunch, shredded oatmeal or Anzac biscuits went into the base. All spawned from the one basic recipe. This is definitely one of my favourites!

Lime and da Coconut Yellow Fish Curry

Lime and da Coconut Fish Curry

Lime and da Coconut Fish Curry

My co-workers and I meet in a cafe every morning before work. As it’s in the middle of town and the busiest part of the Tourist beat, all sorts of people frequent the place. Students and Faculty of a nearby University, folks taking a break from retail therapy, or hospital patients taking a break from more sinister therapies. I like to sit and watch the stream of humanity pass.

Of course I also take more than a passing interest in what the chef has on offer. Recently the cafe changed management, and the menu has taken a distinctly aromatic turn. Curries from all over India and the sub-continent have appeared, as well as colourful wonders from Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysian. I have to confess that the first few times I saw this one I was skeptical .. I mean fish?? with curry?? .. I was wrong. One taste and I was absolutely hooked. Fresh and zesty, light and clean on the palate, gorgeous soft textures. I couldn’t wait to share this with my family, especially Scribbler .. who doesn’t like her curries “complicated”.