I’ve been a little bit slack waxing lyrical about the last cooking club that J’dore Cuisiner held. Our tribute to Modern Australia, or “Mod Oz” as we colloquially were calling it. I mean come one for an Aussie get together if you can abbreviate something then it really has to be done :) Perhaps the slackness of writing about it though reflected our enthusiasm for the event at all. We were suffering from cooking club burn out. If we can recall our last get together had been for the epic Spanish night (http://perthmunchkin.com/jdore-cuisiner/spanish-getting-our-tapas-on/ ). To say we got slightly carried away on that occasion is perhaps an understatement. And the thought of another marathon cooking session like that just didn’t hold much appeal. In our efforts to further our culinary abilities we’d lost sight of what it was all about. A casual cooking afternoon with a cheeky glass of vino before a chance to catch up and all eat together that evening… with more vino
So we hadn’t even planned the menu when we rocked around to Maree’s on the day of the get together. We all recognised where the unexcitement stemmed from though so we got back to basics and planned a menu, that while delicious, was also fairly simple. The theme we’d chosen also gave us a lot of scope too.
We’d all brought along a few cook books to look through and its fair to say Maree has a reasonably healthy collection as well. So we flicked through those and searched on www.taste.com.au and in the end decided we’d go with:
with Cheese and Herb Damper
Lamb and Rosemary Pie with Green Beans
Lemon Delicious Puddings with Vanilla Ice-cream
Tim Tams and an Australian Cheese Platter with Maggie Beer Quince Paste
So as with all cooking club gatherings the first order of business once the menu was set was to write out the shopping list and also figure out where we were going to need to go to get everything. Definitely best to be thorough with your shopping lists. Nothing worse than forgetting that one vital ingredient.
One other comment on the shopping front is the Clinkers are a fun addition to any shopping basket and make for hours of entertainment if one person keeps getting the same colour. Hilarious!
But I digress, with the shopping done there was no where near as much prep that was required for this meal as others. The soup recipe came courtesy of Gordon Ramsey and ok sure he isn’t Australian but we figured that it still fit the bill for our menu. Plus tomato soup felt a little bit special given the cost of tomoatos at this time. They had almost become a luxury itme in the wake of the flood devastation that pushed prices through the roof!
The damper recipe was definitely a step up from the flour and water recipe I could recall from my youth, but the fresh herbs and paramsen were tasty additions.
So getting the soup sorted was the first order of business followed closely by prepping the pie. This was from a Neil Perry cookbook (I have it at home, if you fancy a good pie recipe just let me know). I think if we’d had more time then it would have been good to put the lamb into a slow cooker to tenderise it further, but in the end it had several solid hours in the oven and it wasn’t offensively chewy or anything. We carefully watched the oven.
Plus the pastry we chose was this mega layered buttery wonder that was just super tasty. Maree even splashed out on two new pie tins. We had doubled the recipe for our 6 person gathering and between us we ate 1 pie, had one full one spare and there was enough left over stewed lamb to make probably another 2 pies. Tehehe better to over cater I suppose.
We couldn’t get dessert ready until later but it was a fairly easy recipe, thanks to a Woman’s Weekly recipe book – can’t get more Oz than that! And they just puffed up perfectly. Hot little lemony cakes with creamy vanilla ice cream on the side. Fairly light too, which was pleasant. Some puddings can be very heavy going.
So finally with the three courses done and dusted all that there was left to do was sit and chat while we enjoyed some choice cheese and a cheeky Tim Tam or two.
We kept it simple, we weren’t (too) exhausted and we still prepared a meal we were all proud of. We’d got our groove back.
Next up…. We get our Thai on