Monday, January 31, 2011

Let the diet begin

Goodbye cheese.  Missing you already!
Ah how we can kid ourselves.  I think of myself as being moderately overweight, a tad chubby - you know just 5 or so kgs.  Boo hoo - I did a little survey on the Dukan diet website and find I am more like 12 kg or more!  No wonder my clothes don't fit very well anymore.  Ah well next Monday is the start of the wondrous Dukan diet.  Protein, protein and more protein. My brother-in-law has just lost 12 kgs on the diet so I reckon I can do it too.  The not drinking wine might be the hardest part!!
But before I begin here is a recipe for the enviably slim Mandy:

Lamb cutlets with curried roast pumpkin mash 

(I made this for the first time on my brother's 50th birthday. It was a fab occasion at Mandala on Bruny Island.  The recipe is from Delcious magazine July 2004)

Serves 6
18 lamb cutlets
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves roughly chopped

800 g butternut pumpkin, cut into 3cm pieces
2 tbs good-quality curry powder

Place lamb cutlets in shallow dish.  Drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil, season with salt and sprinkle with rosemary.  Cover and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160o C.  Place pumpkin pieces in bowl with remaining oil and curry powder.  Place in large baking dish, cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove foil and roast for further 10 minutes.  Cool a bit, process in food processor until smooth, then season with salt and pepper.

Preheat barbecue or chargrill to high and cook lamb for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a tray and cover loosely with foil.  Rest for 4 minutes in warm spot while you reheat the pumpkin mash over the low heat in a saucepan.

Serve the lamb cutlets with the pumpkin and a nice green salad. Yum.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NZ bach life

There really is something special about swimming in freshwater lakes.  No need to worry about sharks or other nasties, the water in Lake Taupo is clear and a nice temperature at 22 degrees.  Johno takes us all out in the boat and we zoom around to a deserted little cove where Alan and I jump off and swim leisurely around a little headland to another long thin strip of beach.  Cicadas sing from the vegetation on the land which is dense and tangled above us as we swim.  All alone on the pebbly beach we lie like lizards soaking in the sun recovering before swimming back. It is one of those magical swims I feel I will remember for a long time.

Another day we walk in Tongariro National Park, a walk from the chateaux on a circuit past a waterfall.  We cross open tundra land with a snow-capped peak in the background and walk beyond the waterfall beside a rushing stream through shady glens. Clean fresh air, wonderful native vegetation - all very invigorating.  I love the way John and Kerry take all the kids on regular walks.  Maia at 20 months enchants other walkers as she ambles along on her chubby little legs singing Eee-I Eee-I Oh.  

Other great bach moments include lazy times in the hammocks on the back porch, later afternoon swims to the pontoon below the bach, walks around Kuratua, ice cream stops near the jetty, a visit to the local vineyard and olive grove, drinking Esk Valley chardonnay while the barby is on, laughing with the kids, afternoon doesn't get too much better than this!  Thank you for a wonderful stay dear John and Kerry, James, Zach and Maia. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh my giddy aunt

West Otago NZ visiting Alan's family on the farm - step one of our visiting-rellie-trip to the shaky isles.

We have been here four days doing lots of eating (a cookathon from our Christmas present: 'Speight's Southern Man cookbook'), plus drinking nice wines, walking country roads looking through flax plants at noisy sheep with daggy bottoms, counting hay bales, walking quickly away from cranky bulls, and driving for hours to the coast - Kaka Point to see the seals and spectacular lighthouse scenery and to Curio Bay to see dozy penguins and petrified forests on the rock platform by the sea. 

There have been lots of laughs generated by cheeky Hans, mother-in-law's risque calendar gift, plus all the usual recounting of stories that go on in these family reunions. I love listening to the Kiwis talk - stories punctuated with phrases like 'the weather turned to custard' and 'Oh my giddy aunt'.  I sleep soundly at night here and my only stress at present is whether the pav I have in the oven will be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside just like the picture in the cookbook...

Just so I have it on record here is Liz's Fruity Nut Balls recipe

1 cup each of sultanas, walnuts, dates and cornflakes
Orange juice, sherry or brandy to moisten
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon

Pour boiling water over sultanas, then drain well, roughly chop in food processor, add walnuts and roughly chopped dates and process briefly.  Add cornflakes - process again and moisten with liquid of choice until mixture is soft enough to form into balls.  

Roll into small balls with wet hands and drop into bag of coconut and cinnamon. Shake to coat.  Can freeze. 

Hey pav is looking good!  I think I have a winner.