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Ossobuco Alla Milanese

Good morning, everyone! Did you have a good night’s sleep?

I have to admit, I haven’t been sleeping all that brilliantly lately. Menopause isn’t helping, but then again, neither is a pandemic.

Last Saturday, I had a particularly restless night, so I had a nanna nap for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon. When I woke at 5pm, I found that Pete had cooked the dinner I’d planned for that evening – Jamie Oliver’s Ossobuco Alla Milanese. I’d bought the beef shanks a few weeks earlier from Haverick Meats, and had been craving the dish ever since. Here’s a YouTube video of Jamie making it – this particular recipe starts at around the 14 minute mark…

. . . . .

So thanks to that lovely husband of mine, I woke from my afternoon nap to the amazing aroma of slow cooked beef. He then served it up with saffron rice and gremolata made from our garden lemons and parsley, and Diana’s fresh garlic. It was a spectacular dinner that had me literally cooing with delight as I ate it…

My $21 worth of beef shank bones made a huge amount – enough for at least two generous dinners for three adults. I’m thinking I might shred the meat and veg and top it with potatoes to make a cottage pie, what do you think? Or maybe I should make a lasagne? Lots of possibilities there, and an easy mid-week dinner pretty much sorted, thanks to that darling husband of mine. Yup, he’s a keeper. ♥

PS. Decision made! The following night, I turned the leftovers into lasagne…

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Savoury Brunch Slice


I recently received the most wonderful meat delivery from the folks at Black Forest Smokehouse! All of this was just $108, which included free delivery to the Inner West, a free mortadella and … A 4.5KG HAM. It was humungous!

We’ve been buying from Black Forest Smokehouse for years now (here’s my post from 2014) and as my fussy brothers-in-law Ray and CC will tell you, Richard (and now his son Josh) make the best ham in the world. So please order from them if you can, because I really need them to be around at Christmas! I ordered individual items from their website this time but their bulk packs are even better value (especially the breakfast pack, which includes their fabulous bacon). As always, their products are beautifully balanced flavour-wise – not overly salty or fatty.

The day after the order arrived, I turned some leftover multigrain sourdough and a chunk of brioche into a savoury slice, using Jane’s eggs, Dotti’s cheddar, and slices of the ridiculously good BFS ham. I used our easy recipe, but left out the cream and reduced the milk and eggs. It was still divine! ♥

Black Forest Smokehouse
148 Victoria Rd
Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone:(02) 9516 3210
Online Shop

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Everyone has a method for cooking corn on the cob, but I reckon Pete’s is by far the easiest (the man is a genius).

We don’t do anything to the cob – we don’t remove the husk or silk, nor do we wash it. If there are lots of fibres on the top, we cut them off with a pair of kitchen scissors.

Then…we put one cob on the turntable of the microwave and cook it on high for one and a half minutes. (our microwave is 1000 watts).

Then we turn it over and cook it on high for another one and a half minutes.

That’s it.

Honest.

Let it cool for a minute or two so you don’t burn yourself, then peel it and eat it.

You can scale up to more cobs at one time, but that involves a bit more trial and error. Please let me know if you try this – it would be nice to know it works in kitchens other than ours! ♥

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Butterscotch Bars

Here’s a super easy treat to make and bake: Butterscotch Bars.

I first posted my version of this Mrs Field’s recipe in 2009 and it’s still one of the simplest (and most calorific) recipes on my blog. Bake it no more than two or three times a year or your jeans won’t fit – you have been warned! But it’s also the perfect recipe to use up any chocolate you might have lying around – one year I used solid milk Easter eggs and broken up supermarket chocolate bars. My most recent bake used five types of Belgian chocolate – Callebaut 811 Dark, 823 Milk, Baking Sticks, Ruby Chocolate and Cacao Barry Venezuela Origin 72% Dark. Yup, five types. I made a double batch for Easter, which was actually a bit crazy because it used nearly half a kilo of butter and brown sugar and 720g of chocolate. It weighed a ton!

Here are the quantities for a more manageable amount, but feel free to double it if you wish. There are more detailed instructions with imperial measures and photos in our original post.

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb (baking) soda, sifted (don’t not sift, or you’ll get bitter lumps in your bars)
  • 215g brown sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 360g mixed choc chips (or broken up bars, or solid baby eggs etc)

1. Preheat the oven to 150C with fan. Line a 20cm (8”) square tin (my photos are of a double batch, baked in a 23cm x 33cm pan).

2. In a bowl, sift the flour and bicarb together, add the pinch of salt, then stir well. Then add ALL the chocolate. Stir to combine.

3. Beat the softened butter and sugar using an electric mixer, then add the egg and vanilla, beat until light and smooth. Scrape down the bowl, add all the dry ingredients, beat on low speed until just combined. That’s it. Simple, right?

4. Scoop and scrape it all into the prepared tin and flatten the top. The dough will be very stiff. Sometimes (often) I use a wet hand to work it all into the corners, then flatten out the top with an offset spatula.

5. Bake for 35-45 minutes until firm and a thin sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean of cake mixture (ignore the melted chocolate). Don’t overbake. Cool in the tin on a rack before cutting.

Eat in very small pieces and share with as many people as possible!

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Cima Di Rapa Quarantina

All is well in our house now, because we finally tracked down rapini seeds!

Also known as cima di rapa or broccoli raab/rabé, these are our staple winter green, growing abundantly in our backyard. All vegetable seeds have been in short supply in Sydney in recent months, so we were pretty happy to discover that The Italian Gardener still had these available. Here’s one of our favourite recipes for this slightly bitter green leaf, but these days we often eat it simply stir fried in garlic and oil. It also freezes brilliantly, so we get to eat it year round.

The name “Quarantina” refers to the fact that the plant takes an average of 40 days to flower (there are also slower flowering varieties, but we’re far too impatient to try them).

Ironically, the origin of the word “quarantine” is not unrelated – according to dictionary.com, it used to refer to “a period, originally 40 days, of detention or isolation imposed upon ships, persons, animals, or plants on arrival at a port or place, when suspected of carrying some infectious or contagious disease.” So these really are the perfect leafy green to be planting now! ♥

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