Friends Of Australia Friday Lamb Chops & “Hand Picked” Shiraz

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

The Tucker

Bargain Market Grocery Outlet have now removed the lamb section. That’s confirmation that there’s no Lamb being “remaindered” on the market. People are willing to bid up whatever is available.

Smart & Final had one pound of ground meat and one pound of shoulder chops, so I bought both. About $8 / pound, so price rise firmly in place. They had a few trimmed rib racks at about $17 / lb. (which I passed by for obvious reasons…)

The lamb is a different brand from the usual too. “Opal Valley”. Looks like they import the whole lamb then process and package here (per the label saying processing done in the USA).

It looks like the drought explained in a comment last week has crimped my Lamb supply here.

Tonight we’ll have the lamb chops, and IF I’m ambitious, I’ll turn the pound of ground (minced) into “taco Filling” (AKA Burrito Filling) and see how that works out. I’ve wanted to try it, have the tortillas, and this might be my last chance for a while ;-)

Intended sides are a Caesar Salad and e-steamed Broccoli along with some asparagus.

The Wine

The wine tonight is another “Hand Picked” brand, but this time a Shiraz from 2016. I’ve already started on it 8-) and it has ambition in the glass. An inky dark red verging on black, with a light nose and strong on the palate. Not tannic so much as strongly flavored. Lots of grape in it, with some sense of skins, but not dry acid tannic. It has aged well, and would likely age well for several more years had it not encountered me…

I also bought a bottle of Cabernet, intended for saving until next week, but… Remembering how well a blend worked out in the prior experiment, I’m thinking this ambitious Shiraz would really improve a Cab or even a thin Merlot. So depending on how fast my tongue acclimates to the Shiraz, I may conduct a blending experiment and report back.

I find that with repeated exposure I’m growing quite fond of The Shiraz Experience and finding Merlot increasingly a bit thin and bland…

The bottle says it is from South Australia, but beyond that is low in information. I get the impression that the “Hand Picked” brand buys bulk from vintners, ages it a bit, then bottles it up with a longer dated label than most. It would be interesting to look into them and their operation. So far I like their selections.

Deficiencies continue in the south-eastern quarter of Queensland, and have increased in severity compared to last month

Deficiencies also persist in parts of south-western to central regions of Western Australia, but the size of these areas has decreased substantially following above average February rainfall

Accumulated rainfall deficits at multi-year timescales remain significant in many parts of Australia, and may persist for some time

Root-zone soil moisture has decreased across much of Queensland, and increased across much of Western Australia and parts of south-east Australia

Major water storage levels remain low in the northern Murray–Darling Basin
Northern Australian water storages increased significantly in response to the northern monsoon

South East Queensland storages remain low

So with Australian Lamb being priced up at least $2 / lb more than “regular”, a drought in place, and lamb becoming dear even for folks in Australia: Is it a bad idea for me to be pushing buying more Australian Lamb when the folks Down Under are wishing they could afford it? Is it time to “move on” to some other dish?

I’m going to continue with the wine, as there seems to not yet be a shortage (come on all you slackers! We’ve GOT to drink ’em dry! Get on it!! ;-) But it does look like marketing the Lamb is not suffering from too much supply.

So tell me what’s the thing that’s in excess supply in Australia, exported here, that is The Thing I ought to be searching out. (And do nay say Iron Ore ;-)

I’m going to post this now, and then update after the dinner is done.

Update One:

I couldn’t wait. I opened the Rosemount Estate Diamond Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2019. At just barely 3 years, it is young and ought to be aged more. Still, the fruit is light and the wine rather mellow for such a young year. But that is after 1/2 a glass of the Shiraz With Ambition… so judge accordingly…

I’ve mixed the two 1/2 glasses into a 50:50 blend. Once again this “lights up” the wine. Flavor rises for both. The “a bit too much” of the Shiraz is mellowed down to an OMG on the tongue. The “Nice Cabernet” is lifted up to an “I want MORE” Cabernet. Just enough tannins to make a dry finish along the sides and back of the tongue, but not any bitter after tastes. Nose richer than the Shiraz alone. Deeper and more complex flavors.

I think I’m becoming a blending fanatic ;-)

A bit later I’ll go back to some of each alone and see how I feel about them, but for now, I’ve got a salad to make, lamb to coat with olive oil and lay in the pan, and some vegetables to prep for the steamer basket…

Update Two:

Lambchops, simply fried in Olive Oil, with salt and pepper. 4 to 5 minutes / side on medium (depending on thickness). We never did get to the broccoli… Something about saying “Asparagus” resulted in a hard stop “Yes, just Asparagus”… Buttered.

Well, meal a success, spouse happy, all of us thinking a nap sounds good. (The excess lamb drippings from the frying pan get poured over the dog kibble so they, too, get to enjoy “the fat of the lamb”… and food flavor more closely matches what their noses tell them we are having ;-)

Once again, Thank You, Australia! For making possible Yet Another wonderful evening for dinner & drink & dogs looking for lap time after special kibble…

Oh, and I’ve not yet been able to pull back from the 50:50 mix… I think blending has captured me ;-)

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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...
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16 Responses to Friends Of Australia Friday Lamb Chops & “Hand Picked” Shiraz

  1. H.R. says:

    Well, E.M., if lamb prices become too dear, you can always switch to beef. They have the 10th largest herd of cattle in the World.

    It would be hard to find Australian beef in the U.S., though. As I understand it, some Aussie beef does make it through, but not much.

    They raise quite a few Black Angus. After reading about that, I suspect that the little bit of Australian beef on offer in the U.S. would be the pricey grass-fed Black Angus products. I’m just spitballing there. I haven’t run across where the Australian beef actually winds up in the U.S.

    So now… I’m going to have to start playing, “Can you spot the Aussie beef?” when I go grocery shopping.

    Wait up……….
    Here we go. A site that tells where you can buy Australian beef and lamb in the U.S. It seems I was right. It’s the grass-fed beef that gets through. They have high quality grass-fed beef.

  2. H.R. says:

    Hmmmmm… seems they have it at my local Costco and at a couple of “Whole Paycheck” type grocery stores.

  3. philjourdan says:

    YOu can always tell us the dozens of ways to eat vegemite.

  4. H.R. says:

    @phil – LOL! I suppose there are whole recipe books devoted to vegemite. That oughta keep E.M. busy for a while. 😜

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    Re comment on drought in Australia, heavy rain in the last few days down the east coast from Cape York to below Sydney. Sydney is expecting 100 m.m. of rain today (Saturday 20) after lots of rain in previous weeks. Rain has been heavy in interior Queensland where there is a lot of cattle raised.
    It’s due to a La Niña effect or, if you are ignorant, on “climate change”.

  6. philjourdan says:

    La Niña Broke down at the end of January. I guess parts are still lingering. But the high pressure ridge over the NPO has weakened considerably.

    Time to break out the Vegemite recipes!

  7. philijourdan I think you could be close to be right. I regularly look at the SOI and have been recording daily readings, 30d and 90d averages for the last 6 years. I would have said the turn was around 19th Feb. I suggest that the 30d average end of March will be close to zero. The SOI is normally a good indicator of rainfall in Qld and particularly SE Qld where I live. My recording of rainfall in January and February is actually about half of the long term average (138 years) in my area. So far this month (to 20th) the rainfall (of 139mm) is still well under the average of the month of 265 mm. The weather at present is not that much different from the normal seasonal pattern.
    Chiefio do not believe BOM. They can not even get the weather forecast right in the next few hours although they have radar and satellite images because they do not look out of the window. Maybe they even model and adjust the measurements they are supposed to make. However, I do think that the SOI measurements are correct as they do not control those. At least they can not control the readings in Tahiti and they would not dare interfere with the Darwin ones. I use the calculations from the Qld Longpaddock site

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, so ignore BOM and “weather is weather”… and some of you can still find Australian Lamb… even at Costco. (Wonder if it is a ‘working down regional inventory’ thing and stock out coming to a store near you ‘soon’, of just some California Idiocy …)

    Ah, well. There’s always wine ;-)

    Per Vegemite:

    I tasted a small amount sometime back near my college years. Not another spoonful anywhere near my mouth since. IIRC, it is basically brewers yeast from the bottom of the vats where some effort went into covering up the strong / bitter taste of the high B vitamin content with various spices that just make for an even broader (and worse IMHO…) flavor profile assaulting even more of your tongue surface…

    At least, that’s what I remember of it… I’ve tried to forget….

    So no, I’m not looking for any Vegemite recipes. Nor jars of it. Nor memories of it… (I think I need to go find a bit of toast and jam to clear the taste memory buffers…. )

    Perhaps being diluted into some other food product could make it something worth consuming. Perhaps “straight from the jar” is wrong. Perhaps a few cc in a gallon of Bourbon would work… but perhaps others can “go there”… not me.

  9. philjourdan says:

    AHhhh!!!! And I was so looking forward to leg of Vegemite. With roast potatoes and a nice Shiraz

  10. another ian says:

    A teaspoon of Vegemite works for me on nights when I have trouble getting to sleep.

    The “wars” haven’t been mentioner – Vegemite vs Marmite vs Promite

  11. H.R. says:

    Promite? Hadn’t heard of that one before.

    Now you’ve gone and done it, another ian. People will be coming here from all over the internet to extol the virtues of Promite and condemn the usage of e-e-e-vil Marmite and Vegemite.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    I don’t eat any “mites”… (nor ticks and fleas either ;-)

  13. YMMV says:

    comparing the nutrition and ingredients of Vegemite and Promite:

    The How-To on using Promite, from a fan:

    Promite. Black, sticky, salty, sweet, and savoury as all hell. Kind of bitter and sour too, but not so much. It’s the true underdog in the canon of weird yeast extract-based spreads that we enjoy down here in the Anitpodes. The thing is, as a fan of Promite, I am something of a Pariah in many Australian communities. Because of all the weird black spreads (Vegemite, Marmite, Bovril, Cenovis), this one has maybe the fewest fans (other than Cenovis, which is mainly eaten in Switzerland, and which sounds like something you would put on a rash).

    Hmmm, they are pretty convincing. The suggestion to add avocado to that sandwich is intriguing.
    “Vegemite is like a punch in the face”

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Everyone knows the proper way to consume Brewer’s Yeast is from the deposit on the bottom of your beer bottle… Extracting the beer and just eating the yeast is just sooo wrong ;-)

    “Pour and drink:” is so much better.

  15. philjourdan says:

    I am willing to eat mites. Not fleas nor tics. Maybe you can have a guest host for one of your Friday Down Under menus – invite Another Ian to do a post on the Mites.

  16. philjourdan says:

    Everyone knows the proper way to consume Brewer’s Yeast is from the deposit on the bottom of your beer bottle

    Or as Bock Bier. When the spring cleaning arrives and they drain the vats to clean them (and sell 12% Bier).

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