Friends Of Australia Friday Mushroom Lamb & Shiraz Cab

It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!

Yes, I’m late with this one. What can I say… I could not resist finishing the bottle of red, and it was “suddenly tomorrow” ;-)

This time I used some Cremini Mushrooms and white onion.  Sauteed in 1/2 Olive Oil 1/2 Butter.  When a few minutes from done, Lamb Mince or Lamburger steaks of 1/2 pound each were added to the cast iron (large…) skillet.  About 5 minutes a side.  Slightly pink in the middle.  Side was Bush’s Baked Beans and nice slice of buttered yeast bread. Lamb got a small sprinkling of dry garlic granules at the turn. A shovel of sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions on top for the presentation. 

The wine last night was a nice Shiraz Cabernet blend. Yup, Little Penguin again. Just love it. 

In Other News

Australia is expected to run out of rice by Christmas. Why? Because the Government allocated water to higher cash value Cotton than to rice. Rice growers, not seeing enough water available for crop, didn’t plant. But, no worries, Australia has cut some kind of deal with Viet Nam.

Now, from my point of view, you have too much Barley, as China said they will not buy any, and not enough rice. What I’d do then is pretty simple. I’d cook and eat the Barley instead. It makes a nice pilaf.

This isn’t a hypothetical. Last week I made an experimental pilaf of barley with amaranth mixed. It also goes well in a mix with wheat kernels and other grains. I’ve made a 7 grain mix with barley as one of the grains. It makes a very nice breakfast cereal too. I just cook it in the rice cooker and treat it like whole grain brown rice.

Yeah, you can put it in soup and it makes a hearty soup nicer. But it can do so much more than that. Made into flour, you can add a fair amount to bread. 10% to 20% doesn’t change the bread too much.

So get yourself some barley and start experimenting. Learn to use it in places you would otherwise put rice.

Barley Pilaf

This rice alternative is good with roasted chicken or fish.

Everyday Food, December 2009

Step 1
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pearl barley until tender but still al dente, about 35 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking.

Step 2
In a large skillet, melt unsalted butter over medium-high. Add shallot, minced, and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes; add barley and stir to combine. Transfer barley mixture to a large bowl and stir in toasted pine nuts, finely chopped fresh parsley, and fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook’s Notes
If you make this ahead of time, you can refrigerate the pilaf up to 2 days. Add lemon juice and parsley before serving.

Basically you cook it like brown rice for about the same 35 minutes time. I use my rice cooker with 3 water to 1 barley. Then just stir in whatever flavored sautee you like.

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Food, Political Current Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday Mushroom Lamb & Shiraz Cab

  1. philjourdan says:

    Or just do the Atkins diet.

  2. President Elect H.R. says:

    @E.M. – I was rummaging around in my spice cabinet and ran across some Madras Curry. I got it from a lovely Indian woman (Vasudah) who was my partner for a few MBA projects. It’s te stuff that’s not imported and tourists to India probably can’t get. Local stuff.

    I learned a lot about Indian cuisine from her and she learned a bit of Western cuisine from me. I have a few other small jars of spices that she gave me that she hand ground according to traditional secret family recipes. I got the spices, not the recipes. Secret, you know. 😜

    Anyhow, I opened the jar and it was still wonderfully pungent. Yeah, a bit of the luster was off, but it was tightly sealed is still quite serviceable.

    Since I read this FOAF post just a few hours before, I immediately thought of curried lamb.

    You might want to give it a try, though from your mentions of Mrs. E.M., I suspect you’d be to only one eating it.

    Tuck that suggestion away – curried lamb of some sort – in the back of your bonnet.

  3. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Prez. Electric H.R.:

    I happen to have a tin of Curry Powder in the cabinet bought at an Indian store… I like curry. I typically make a lentil / potato curry with it (that, yes, only I eat). Just cooked lentils and potato chunks, curry powder and a bit of fat / oil, plus salt & pepper to taste.

    (Adding pepper to curry? What am I thinking? I’m thinking I want it a bit hotter and with those lovely pepper aromas tarted up!)

    Makes a nice side dish to other strong foods. Also makes a decent lunch / light meal on it’s own (with sides of bread, flat bread like naan, crackers, whatever) or dumped over rice, or dumped over hot dogs, or dumped over, well, just about anything ;-)

    I’ll try it with lamb, but I love the delicate flavor of lamb so much I’d be fearful of drowning it out with “tastes like every other curry”… Maybe I’ll work up to fire breathing in stages…

  4. Steve C says:

    After your peppery curry, may I recommend a cup of masala tea? – Tea masala should be available in any Asian supermarket, it’s not expensive, and you only need ~1/4 teaspoon in a mug of tea so it’s economical. Hint: If you have any tea or teabags that taste a bit flat with age, tea masala will save the day and make it *much* more interesting. It’s underappreciated stuff.

  5. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    Interesting… I’d not heard of Tea Masala before:

    (Has lots of ads being blocked so probably best not to hit the link but:)

    As you see, this recipe uses lot of whole masalas and elements. But, you are free to skip couple of them if they not available in your part of the world.

    Moreover, you can increase or decrease the amount of spices as per your liking. If you like the bold flavor of any of these spices, go on ahead with increasing the ratio of that spice.

    Green Cardamom (Elaichi) : Cardamom helps to boost digestion and also used in common cold. It gives nice sweet flavour to the tea.

    Cloves (Laung) : Cloves are high in antioxidants, boosts liver and bone health. It also helps to control blood sugar.

    Cinnamon (Dalchini) : Cinnamon is high in anti inflammatory, anti cancerous and anti oxidants properties. It helps to reduce the blood sugar. So, it is good for diabetic patients. It adds nice warmth and aroma to the tea.

    Black Peppercorns (Kali Mirch) : Black pepper has anti inflammatory and anti oxidants properties. It gives nice spicy kick to the chai.

    Dried Rose Petals (Sookhe gulab ki pankhudian) : Rose petals acts as an anti oxidant. And, it is rich source of vitamins like C and E. It is a great for skin and may help to keep acne at bay. Dried rose petals gives calming effect and sweet aroma to the tea.

    Fennel Seeds (Saunf) : It helps in digestion and reducing the water retention.

    Dry Ginger Powder (Sonth) : Ginger powder helps to boost immunity against flu and cold and helps in digestion. It also has great anti inflammatory properties.

    Whole Nutmeg (Jaiphal) : It has anti inflammatory effects. It helps in reducing pains, controls blood sugar and good for heart health.

    The Basic Chai Ka Masala Blend

    Some people do not like to add too many spices to the chai. There comes this basic mix of spices that will surely be loved almost everybody.

    Grab ½ cup of dry ginger powder, 3 tablespoons of green cardamom, 2 whole nutmeg and 1-2 inch of cinnamon stick.

    Grind all of them together to a coarse powder. Addition of little dried lemongrass will work wonders in this recipe.

    Some More Variations For Chai Spice Blend

    The other ingredients that you can consider adding them to the basic tea masala spice mix are….

    Dried lemongrass, dried mint, dried tulsi leaves (holy basil), mulethi (licorice), black cardamom, saffron strands and star anise.

    How To Use The Chai Spice Mix

    Add ¼ teaspoon of masala to 1 cup of milk tea.


    FWIW, just in the last few months I discovered that a small sprinkle of salt into my morning coffee could improve it. Not much though, it rapidly gets a more salty and less ‘interesting change’ effect.

    I found this because I shifted to using up some of my “emergency” freeze dried and not so good coffee. Thought “What can I do to make this more tolerable?” and there in front of me was the salt shaker. As I like salt… “Shake shake” happened.

    Near as I can tell, the Cl ion dampens some of ‘whatever is causing the bitter’ by binding to it. Leaving a little Na in solution but not enough to start causing it to taste salty. Or maybe both bind to things at low concentrations.

    In any case, it’s now become a standard for me on my first cup of the morning. One very small sprinkle…

    It looks to me like this notion of “spice the beverage” generalized to “all spices” and including tea eventually gets you to Tea Masala… (or Tea Masala limited to salt only and put in coffee gets you to my idea…)


    It looks like “spicing your beverage” has a wide latitude of new experiences to explore. So, I’m “going there” !

    Thanks for that!!

  6. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    OH, and I buy Earl Grey Tea in pound-ish sized bags ( I think they are 500 gm and from somewhere out of the anglosphere… over near Persia…) and then divide it up into jars. I have a 1 cup jar that is the “in use” jar.

    At any one time, all the other jars are sealed and no air exchange happens. They stay basically unchanged for months (years?). The “in play” jar is sealed other than when I’m actively taking a tea-ball worth out of it. And when it gets to 1/2 cup, I move it into a little 1/2 cup jam jar… So very little air is ever on it, and that’s only refreshed when opened. In this way it tends to stay “fresh” through the whole use. Then I refill it from one of the other jars that has not been opened since I divided it up.

    Every time I open the jar, a nice waft of Bergamot comes out, reminding me why I like how the jars keep it all in ;-)

    I’ve had tea a year+ old that was still fresh and full flavored. You need not have flat tea… even for loose leaf bulk tea. Just buy some canning jars (or save old jam jars) and pack them, put a lid on, and store in the back of the cupboard…

    I went from buying very expensive foils pouches one cup each to buying bricks of not that expensive much better tea, just by this process of “canning my own”.

  7. patrick healy says:

    Oh dear oh dear! our poor Chefio. Will you for goodness sake stop killing your self with all those carbohydrates.
    Get on a high protein diet while you can before all those global warming fanatics bans all meat.
    Spuds, white flour, rice and wheaten products have killed more humans than all wars and Chinese plagues put together.

  8. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Patrick Healy:

    “All those carbohydrates”? What are you talking about?

    I’m on a modest carbs diet at most.

    Note that the dinner was a lamburger steak topped with onions and mushrooms (hardly a carb in that lot) and the side (THIS WEEK ONLY) was beans – that have a decent level of protein in them too). One slice of bread with lots of butter on it is more fats than carbs as calories count. (And note that prior meals have had no bread and salad as the side dish).

    Yes, we are presently not on the Keto Diet. As we are using up stored for the “15 days to slow the spread” foods. However, we HAVE periodically done a keto diet.

    Even as it stands, my breakfast today was eggs and coffee with a slice of heavily buttered toast. That slice of “foam bread” has almost nothing there at all, carbs or otherwise, and is well inside my calorie burn for the morning. Lunch was fried fillet of sole and a bit of the left over baked beans. So high on protein, modest carbs.

    Note throughout this “high carbohydrate” as you called it diet, there’s a BIG protein serving and a little carbs on the side. As long as the carbs are under your daily burn, they don’t build up issues.

    Per Pilaf:

    Yes, I like it. Whole grains, used UNDER a big chunk of something meat, and not that often. Maybe once every 3 weeks? I make a chicken and saffron rice dish (with added legumes) that’s about 3/4 chicken. I’m not going to call that “high carbs” either…

    So were I having a pilaf, it would have something like 2 x the volume of meatballs in gravy dumped on top… The purpose of it being to sop up the gravy that is largely meat drippings…

    Sheesh, you’d thing I was having Sugar Pops and Syrup for breakfast, Jelly sandwiches for lunch, and noodles with side of potatoes for dinner, given your description…

    The reality is we have a “Meat main course, vegetable side, and sometimes a modest starch side”. So, for example, one of my main meals is Ham, Green Beans, Yams. Emphasis on the ham. Nothing wrong with that meal plan at all.

    So, to summarize:

    We have done, and will do again, a 100% meat and starch free keto diet, as needed for weight control. We do, as reasonable and with carbs at about daily burn rate, a meal plan of 3 parts: Meat (protein course), vegetable (non-starchy), some starch component is allowed, (be that toast with bacon and eggs or yams with ham and green beans, or pilaf under slabs of roast meat and with buttered broccoli on the side).

    Or shorter: Saying “Here’s how to make a pilaf” is NOT saying “Eat only pilaf for dinner”. Just pile your lamb on top of it.

Comments are closed.