Sunday, June 10, 2012


I only had to buy a few ingredients that I had never bought before for this meal. A lot of the cuisine in Australia is derived from British and Irish fare, with a touch of Asian mixed in there as well. And while meat pies are probably considered something of a national dish, I decided to go with a roast and a couple of sides.

Bread dough with a cross scored in it. But it could also be a T, an intersection, or the Japanese/Chinese symbol for 10. 

The bread I made for this is an Australian damper bread.  It was especially made out in the bush and used very few ingredients. Originally, the bread was made by placing it directly on the coals of a fire. But seeing how I was not creating a bon fire or trying to use a grill, I made it in the oven.  This bread was drier than others, but had a nice hard crust. I may have used too much flour because the crumb on the inside of it was dull. It also seemed like it was in layers as well. But it tasted fine. Definitely a dipping kind of bread.

Putting it on that plate made me realize I fail at making circles. 

The meat called for a rib eye boneless cut, and I’m not too keen on my cuts of meat. I couldn’t find anything that said rib-eye, so I started going for the “best three out of four” game. What I bought had the word “beef”, “eye”, and “boneless” in it, so I bought it. And it was good. After it was thawed, you pierced the side of it and place slivers of garlic inside. Then you rub it with an olive oil-salt-pepper-rosemary rub on top. I’ve found that since it’s a thicker cut of meat, it called to brown it first in a skillet before putting it in the oven.

Topped with rosemary, that thing my husband refers to as "sticks." But he ate it, and he liked it. 

While it was baking, I made the red wine gravy. Ok, technically, I made a shiraz gravy.  I had never really made gravy before, so I was a little nervous, but it turned out really good.  Very subtle on the wine notes, and not too thin or thick. I’m pretty proud of myself on that note. It’s rekindling my dream of being a saucier.

To accompany all of this, I thought we needed something green. I found a recipe for mixed mushroom and arugula salad with shaved parmesan. Well, once again, I tried for the best two out of three. I only went with two mushrooms: oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms, sautéed together. I couldn't find the arugula at the store I was at, so I went with baby spinach and dandelion greens (which I’m glad I went for – the slight bitterness of the dandelion greens complemented the balsamic vinaigrette that topped the mushrooms). And I used grated parmesan instead of buying a block and shaving it. I thought it was better my way. (As it usually is, of course.)

I was a little leery serving dandelion greens. I'm hoping they don't start trying to graze the lawn now. 
 According to the recipe for the beef roast, it told me that I can’t make the roast without making the Yorkshire pudding. (And really, it had nothing to do with pudding as we know it in the US. But definitely yummy nonetheless.) I almost liked it better than the bread. It’s basically flour, eggs, and milk and baked on top of some heated oil that’s been placed in a muffin pan. It’s light, unless you get too much oil in it like a few of mine did. Yorkshire puddings have their origin in England but was one of those foods that were taken with them when they colonized Australia.

The finished product! Yeah! I swear it looks like it came from a restaurant. Of course it did: Chez Adams.

And of course I can’t complete the meal without mentioning the wine. Australia has an extensive wine industry. I bought two different ones: Black Swan’s Reisling and Black Opal’s Shiraz. I’ve been a fan of shiraz for many years, and usually buy Yellow Tail’s. I was fairly happy with Black Opal’s, and they have a really cool label on the bottle, I thought.  I’ve not tried a Reisling yet before this, but it’s light with citrus and pear hints in it. I’d definitely do it again.

Awesome, part 1. 
Awesome, part 2.

Overall, the whole meal was amazing. It was hearty, succulent, almost downhome-almost restaurant quality. I think it would fall under the “this is my childhood” kind of meal, or even the “no, let’s cook in for your birthday” kind of meal. Either way, it’s a meal to create memories and to create impressions. 

Up next: Austria


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