It’s once again an Australia Time Friday! It’s FRIDAY!!!!
BUT, this time, again, I’m posting this on California Friday… What can I say? The Little Penguin Pinot Grigio just kept showing up in my glass…
The main course was a 1/2 pound ground (minced) Australian lamb as a burger steak, with a sprinkle of Mexican Cheese Blend cheese melted on top.
Side was just Bag-o-Salad (American made of iceberg lettuce, with bits of shredded red cabbage, carrots, and slices of radish), and my regular dressing was home made “Italian”. A fairly traditional 1/4 vinegar 3/4 olive oil, plus salt, pepper, and Italian spices mix in a canning jar. Add a squirt of mustard to help it mix, put the lid on and shake vigorously, then let it sit 1/2 hour, shake again.
Also on the side was a dish of English Peas, and a slice of home made French Bread well buttered with real butter. Made as a round instead of a baguette as my shaping skill is still a bit primitive and the rounds work better for sandwiches anyway ;-)
I’ve gotten pretty good at the French Bread (now that I’ve let go of the notion of using anything other than the classic mix of bread flour, yeast, water and a touch of salt). This time I put a round ‘cake pan’ with about 1/3 inch of hot water directly under the pan that had the dough in it, with the two racks one layer apart. About 4 inches. VERY crusty crust! At this time, the only bit that needs more polish is shaping a straight and proper baguette. Mine tend to have little irregularities in them. Wobbles or kinks or variable width. My rounds are perfect though ;-)
Yesterday morning I had some lamb gravy over bread bits. One of my favorite snacks. Making gravy is VERY easy once you realize it is best done with pan dripping from the LAST meal, not this one. Why? Mixing flower into HOT grease will start to cook it. Making lumps. You need the pan cool to do it right. So “yesterdays pan” (I like cast iron) will make great morning gravy.
Warm it just to the point where the fat is liquid. Then add flour, a spoon or two at a time, gently mixed with the spatula, until it forms a roux. A nice paste. Then all you need to do is add milk (or half milk / half water) a little at a time with mixing as you keep it warm (about 140 F or a little more, but below cooking temperature). Slowly adding the water based liquid lets you mix it into the roux as a colloidal suspension. If you dump it all at once, the roux wants to break up into lumps… and not mix well. As you get enough mixed in for it to be nicely liquid, turn the heat up to a simmer / low boil. The flour will start to cook and thicken. Add more liquid as needed to keep it a nice flowing thickness.
Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with the spatula (so you don’t get a thick layer stuck to it) but be gentle. Don’t want to overmix and make tough gravy – yeah, it’s a thing, but hard to do really. At this point, take a shaker of salt over the top of it, and add grinds of pepper to your preference. Stir that in, and let it gently bubble a few minutes. Just a few bubbles reaching the surface and stir every so often. That’s it.
IF you make a mistake and get some lumps, taking a whisk to it can usually fix that. I’ve mostly just used the spatula to squash any lump I find, pressing it on the bottom of the pan, then mix it in with a sideways sliding stir…
If your gravy doesn’t have enough flavor, then there weren’t enough bits of ‘whatever’ stuck to the pan. Be less diligent about getting it all out next time, ok? ;-) I mostly only have this problem with chicken gravy when I’ve cooked it in a light oil (plant seed oil doesn’t have the necessary flavors for good gravy, really…). Then I’ll crumble up a bouillon cube into the gravy to boost the flavor. I’ve not needed to do anything like that with the lamb pan.
Left over gravy can be put in a tub in the refrigerator and reheated as desired. If it gets too thick, you can add a bit more water to thin it, but again, I’ve rarely needed to do that. Like never in the last decade or three…
So now I’ve got a nice tub of Australian Lamb Gravy for use on tomorrows baked or mashed potatoes.
I’m making a new loaf of bread this morning as last night’s loaf was gone last night…
Wine was again the Little Penguin Pinot Grigio from the discount store. I got the last two bottles, so now I’ll need to find other wines again.
In Other News:
I’ve not kept up on Australian news this week. Too focused on the Tension In D.C. Then there were a BUNCH of European governments had a turnover of players. A lot for me to catch up on. If anyone has clue, please apply clue stick in comments.