Holidays = cooking

I don’t know why that’s true, but it always is for me. Even when we go back home at Christmas, crossing half the country to kitchens strange and eerie, we do heaps of cooking. If I have a day off to potter around the house, I end up with a pantry full of food. I’ve decided it’s not worth fighting.

For example. Newly returned to Canberra after Christmas, tired from the long drive and dreading work on Monday, I spent the weekend making stock. Huh? Sounds crazy, I know, but if you’ve never made your own stock, you’ve never made great soup. No, you just haven’t. Try this recipe.

Last weekend I made hot cross buns using Donna Hay’s fantastic recipe.

Awesome.

I made these once before, last Easter (would you believe?). And OMGOMG, the hot cross buns you make yourself completely flatten every other hot cross bun you’ve ever eaten.

I realise it’s not Easter, but I like hot cross buns, and don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t eat them at other times of the year. I also realise that I could quite legitimately call them ‘sticky buns’ and eat them whenever I fancy if I but left the crosses off, but then they wouldn’t be all hot and cross (or warm and upset, as Phil likes to call them). And then what would be the point?

Another tasty addition to our recent menu has been the bushels, yes, BUSHELS of tomatoes I’ve been picking from my friend’s garden. Said friend, the lovely Amanda, is away for two weeks and guess who gets the privelige of looking after the vegie garden? Ohhhh yesss. Homegrown tomato heaven here we come! There’s been Sophie Dahl’s lovely ratatouille (using zucchini and eggplant from the same garden), Jamie’s tomato and capsicum soup (with homemade chicken stock), and his tasty squashed tomato and smashed olive salad, which went down very nicely with some souvlaki and pitas.

Which leads nicely into the topic of lamb.

The souvlaki above was the first dish made from the assorted cuts of meat now in our freezer, which used to be half a lamb. That’s right folks, I wasn’t kidding when I said I loved lamb, and now an entire half of one (minus souvlaki) is sitting in my freezer, nicely portioned into cuts of my choice. And this wasn’t just a rubbing-hands-greedily kind of purchase, there is some sense behind it.

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about sustainable cooking practises and ethical farming, and decided that where I can, I’d like to start choosing more Earth-friendly-animal-friendly meat: or as I like to call it, ‘happy’ meat. Think free-range, hormone free, stress-free slaughter, organic, etc. Being a student and liking meat these choices aren’t going to happen all the time, but I figure every little bit helps—and buying in bulk is a wallet-friendly move. I bought my half lamb from Wyntrade Lamb. I’m hoping the socially conscious farming is reflected in the taste, and as we eat more of it I’ll let you know—but the souvlaki was definitely a good start.

Anyway, here’s to good eating, many more meals of lamb, and countless lazy days spent baking.

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One Response to “Holidays = cooking”

  1. Alex Says:

    Hot cross buns!!!! Mmmmm. Bookmarked – thanks!

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